Model Monday: Esti Mamo, top Jewish Model
“Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets.”
Esti Mamo is a fighter. Born in poverty stricken Northwestern Ethiopia into the Beta Israel Community, her parents opted for a life with more opportunity and exercised the Law of Return, a law allowing Jews and those with Jewish parents the right to settle in Israel and obtain citizenship. This move might seem promising, but it was riddled with economic hardship and a new issue, racism. Esti said, “When the employer hears my voice over the phone, there is no problem. But when I turn up for the interview with my black skin, suddenly the job is no longer available.” Unable to cope with the magnitude of issues surrounding race and a depressing economic outlook, Esti’s brother committed suicide in 2004.
Unswayed by the hardships she experienced in Ethiopia and Israel, Esti stayed on her path and finished school, in spite of invitations to begin modeling at age 15.
Though she has not been modeling for long, her career has broken down barriers and lifted stereotypes. In addition to being in major fashion publications Elle and Vogue, perhaps her greatest accomplishment was infiltrating Israeli publications that had never accepted people of coolor. “I was the first black face to be regarded as acceptable on the front pages of Israeli magazines.”
We lover her look, perseverance, strength, and most importantly, how she has been able to use herself to bring communities together. Introducing Israeli magazines to a new standard of beauty was only step one….