Afghan Model, Entrepreneur, and Activist

Zohre Esmaeli is the only international model from Afghanistan, face of the campaign “Germany – Land of Ideas”, member of the German-French Integration Council (DFIR) under the leadership of the interior ministers of both countries, ambassador of the Red Cross.

Zohre Esmaeli grows up in Kabul, Afghanistan and escapes to Germany together with her family in 1998 – 6 months full of deprivation and disconcerting experiences for the thirteen-year-old. A model scout spotted her while shopping when she was 17 and Esmaeli took it as a chance to build an independent life and jumpstart a professional career. A short while later she moves to Paris as the first step into becoming a successful model. Fashion capitals like Milan, London and New York follow. But modelling is not enough for her: Zohre Esmaeli wants to share her experiences with other people in similar situations to ease their start into a new life. That’s why she initiates different integrative projects like “Culture Coaches” and supports organisations like “Afghanistan – Hilfe, die Ankommt e.V.”

Zohre Esmaeli receives the ChangeAward 2016.

In 2016 she won the Change Award for her versatile dedication, in 2017 Zohre followed Claudia Schiffer as face of the campaign for the place-branding initiative “Germany – Land of ideas”.

Zohre Esmaelis autobiography “Meine neue Freiheit – Von Kabul über den Laufsteg zu mir selbst” was published in 2014 and tells her very personal history. Next to her modelling jobs she’s a successful entrepreneur with different self-initiated projects like her own fashion label. That shows that one can do anything with courage and strength of will. As speaker Zohre includes her personal history in her authentic presentations and passes on her motivation. She speaks with optimism and emphasis about means to overcome cultural differences and brings her audience to take their wants and needs seriously and put changes into action. Zohre is a welcome guest on TV shows and radio like “Lanz”, “Thadeusz” and “Deutschlandradio” thanks to her inspiring personality.


“To my mind, Zohre Esmaeli embodies open German society, which enables people to take advantage of the offers and opportunities of a free society in order to realise their aspirations and to help others do the same. For only if we stay open to new ideas and think outside of the box can we remain a Land of Ideas.”
Ute E. Weiland, managing director land of ideas

„Zohre Esmaeli is a good symbol of how integration and overcoming differences can be successful. She’s a bright example for anyone having to manage the balancing act between different cultures and does so with impressive competence and dedication but also with nonchalance and charme.“ Florian Langenscheidt, publisher and author

„She speaks about disturbing conditions in a quiet manner, is precise and soft at the same time even when she talks about hard facts. Since she’s not grandstanding nor exaggerating, she has a very convincing and trustworthy effect and can chose between being impressive or rather stunning thanks to her overall appearance.“
Jörg Thadeusz, host rbb-TV

„Zohre Esmaeli is an impressive personality that can inspire others. She’s committed to moving issues and is able to convey that to other people.“
Vera Gäde-Butzlaff, chairperson GASAG

„Zohre Esmaeli bears a name in the fashion business not only for being a model. She’s very creative in both entrepreneurial and charitable matters which she expressively prooved at one of our sponsoring events in favour of aid to refugees.“
Anita Tillmann, CEO of PREMIUM Exhibitions GmbH