AN EGYPTIAN/MOROCCAN/FRENCH DIVA MIX
Juny is a french daughter of an Egyptian father and Moroccan Mother. She returned to her father's homeland to join us creating our first special story in the hearts of Cairo's old city and Khan El Khalily historic district. The editorial investigates the challenge of a woman's journey through the streets of one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Cairo. The styling is inspired by the golden age of Egyptian cinema portraying icons like Hend Rostom. The shoot aimed to be spontaneous with minimum post production. As we spoke with photographer "Ämr Ezzeldinn" in his own word: "It was clear that there was no way you can avoid the people if you wanted too. Egypt can be very challenging if you are shooting on the streets. You face a curious and conservative culture. I always wanted to be able to portray that through my images. Most regional clients would not want to take this risk in order to avoid controversy. But I am happy we did it. The kid in the red shirt fell in love with Juny and did not want to leave her alone. Reminded me of Monica Bellucci in Malena. It was a fun shoot and random people wanted to be involved. Actually they just involved themselves. I myself love this energy and enjoy it. I think it has a strong message and builds the real story (even if it is a fashion editorial in the end)"
Photographer and Director: Ämr Ezzeldinn / Styling: Anne Mehany / Model: Juny Breeze / DOP: Muhammad Gamal El Din / Assistant: Bassem El Dabour / Production: Maison Mehany.
Wardrobe: Rouje, Byfar, Mazoura, Celine, Song of Style, Miista.
Juny, tell us more about yourself and how you grew up?
I was raised in France as a french but my artistic education was enveloped by my parents’ background. Playing music from the 50’s/60’s on a Sunday morning starring Oum Kalthoum, Fairuz and Abdelhalim Hafez. My mother gave me beauty tips she learned at the Hammams of Casablanca. During summer, I use to travel to my grandparents in Cairo and watch old Egyptian Movies. falling in love with Faten Hamama every time. I also attend Moroccan music festivals with breathtaking outfits.
What is your favorite thing to do in Egypt?
I love sitting at the traditional coffeeshops in old Cairo streets having a tea with my cousins and friends while local music is being played in the background. I enjoy vintage Egyptian shops, the are full of amazing treasures any Parisian Girl would die for. The road to Alexandria on warm nights where I get to see the splendid Pyramids on the way from Cairo that seems to pop up from nowhere in the landscape. Having dinner in those very 30s British hotels along the alexandrian coast. Watching the Mediterranean see and imagining how my european roots used to meet my Egyptian ones right here on the port of the city. The outcome of these exchanges sometimes resulted in the Golden epoch of Egyptian cinema that I still watch today.
When I watch vintage Egyptian media or see my parents' memory photo books and cassettes. Everything seemed to have an occidental way of life. How they dressed, the music, way of thinking and attitude towards life. That actually had more influence on me through my Egyptian roots.
What about your Moroccan inspiration?
Moroccan roots taught me the existence of another interesting culture in North Africa before my french one; The barbarian, their eccentric yet exotic clothes and jewellery are on of a kind. You cannot find elsewhere. Also the very typical Moroccan food and the fragrances of hammams.
Growing up, I understood that everyone deserve to be respected and appreciated for their existence.
Being a mix of the three cultures, inspires me in my daily art of life.
Which is in the end. The warm Mediterranean culture.
Juny, can you describe to us your experience shooting in the streets of Old Cairo?
It was challenging. As the shoot goes on, you notice the amount of people starring at you;
Little girls were going out of school and would stop and stare at me. And I could see in their eyes that what they were seeing was absolutely new to them. Seeing a woman who seems « arab » posing in what is their usual life with a team around her dedicated to create scenarios in the middle of their routine. I found this cute and as I stared back at some of the girls, I realized that I was actually impacting their life and that they might keep this image of an Arab woman doing something different than their mothers, maybe all their life. I immediately felt overwhelmed if that would put them in trouble when they grow up if any of them got inspired and impacted by what we were doing that day.
I also face the stares sometimes in Paris and other places, but as this was my first shoot in Cairo. I did not know what to expect from people. It was exciting and scary at the same time. However it turned out great! This shooting was an amazing memory I will keep and cherish as I got to know more of what life is made of once again. It was very delightful to work with an artistic team in such an iconic place.