Zohre Esmaeli pleads for freedom, understanding and integration

30. October 2018 – Katharina Schlangenotto

An encounter with Zohre Esmaeli touches. Knowing her story, it is almost impossible to look at the beautiful woman without seeing her past. The pictures of former times show a frightened 13-year-old girl with dark circles beneath her eyes, her hair hidden under a headscarf. The pictures of today are taken on catwalks of this world, showing a strong beautiful woman.

The job as a model may be primarily about glamor and material luxury

She has been modeling since she was 17 years old. In her new home Germany she was discovered as a model. At this time, she had already lived in Germany four years, thrown into a completely new world where she found the contrary of what was her life in Afghanistan like. Her old world being full of fanaticism and violence, hunger and dread.

Her discovery as a model became her ticket to an even bigger world and, above all, the ticket away from her parents’ house, away from her family who was unable not comprehend her new understanding of freedom. She says: “As a model, I understood that the new world did not end in Germany. Paris, New York, Milan, London and Istanbul followed – and with it the complete detachment of old chains.”

For us, the job as a model may be primarily about glamor and material luxury. For Zohre Esmaeli, however, it means much more: “For those who, like me, grew up in a disembodied world, modeling is not just modeling. Through my appearance, I got to know the beauty of freedom. My modeling career in front of the camera and the catwalks of this world were the first steps into a new life’s work: becoming entrepreneurial in order to be charitable on a social level.”

Today she is involved in numerous social projects, always with the idea that diversity can only grow through understanding.

She was lucky to have received opportunities. Today, she wants to give back in opening doors for others. She has found her voice, wrote a book about her escape from Afghanistan and her life until now. Zohre Esmaeli says: “For my readers, it’s an autobiography. For me, it is the written proof of a brave decision.”

She has become an integration ambassador because she wants to be a role model for integration, giving courage to people who need it, supporting them to overcome obstacles and to choose the way to freedom. “I act from a permanent representation of my own story. I want to take away fear of strangers or being different so that instead, an understanding of each other becomes possible.“

In her lectures, she speaks touchingly about her story, calling for humanity. Also, she talks about Influencer Marketing, Lifestyle, motivation and success.


Zohre Esmaeli

Afghan Model, Entrepreneur, and Activist