Farida Khelfa Wants to Challenge the Image of Middle Eastern Women

One of fashion’s first top Arab models has a new documentary about the creative class in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

It came as no surprise to see Farida Khelfa sitting in the front row at last week’s fashion shows in Paris, with her signature chopped haircut and wide smile. Two of the biggest shows were essentially tributes to Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier, designers who took inspiration from and helped elevate Ms. Khelfa to supermodel status in the 1980s.

As a teenager, Ms. Khelfa ran away from her strict Algerian family in Lyon, France, and was discovered while working at a Parisian nightclub.

She still occasionally models, most recently for

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