Ifrah Hashi is anything but ordinary. As one of the newest members of our #GoodSquad, she’s made major moves in Minneapolis, Minnesota and we couldn’t be more excited to introduce her in this year’s #GoodSquad. We had the opportunity to chat with the Somali-American beauty about modeling, our Open Casting callback, and the importance of representation and diversity in beauty and fashion. Read on to learn more about Ifrah and how she’s taking the fashion industry by storm:
What’s the new beauty ideal to you?
Anyone who is comfortable in their own skin. I don't think there’s a cookie-cutter way to dissuade beauty. I think it is anyone who is comfortable in their own skin and is confident in who they are.
What’s missing in the beauty and fashion industry right now?
I definitely think diversity is 100% missing. I feel like over the last year or so it has gotten a lot better, but I think we still lack that diversity. There are so many different cultures and people with so many backgrounds and you tend to whole a different community. Like for me for instance, I am Somali-American. I’ve never been to Somalia because I was born here, but I know there are so many girls that look like me and would look up to me. So, I think diversity is definitely something the beauty and fashion world is missing.
If you could tell your 12-year-old self anything, what would it be?
As cliché as it sounds, “No dream is too big.” I mean, this in itself is a dream come true! I’m shocked that I'm here, but I would tell myself that no dream is too big and to not conform or change myself to achieve a goal. I can be myself and still accomplish the things I want to.
Tell us more about that dream!
I’ve always wanted to be a model. I used to watch America’s Next Top Model and try the challenges at home with my sisters.
I remember there was one season where they had a spider and it was crawling on them. They still had to pose and look cute with it. I always liked when they’d fall off of things, like the action shots. I was like, “Yo, that's so cool. I wish I could do that!” Watching all the runway challenges was one of my favorites. I used to strut across the house and my mom would be like, “Uh, this child!” Now she sees what I’m doing and she’s like, “I always knew you were going to do this.”
Describe Good American in 3 words...
Change, representation, and kind.
What connects you to Good American?
I just love how inclusive it is. And you actually see it. You see models of different shapes and sizes. You see different backgrounds, different colors. That's very inspiring!
What inspired you to apply to the Open Casting?
I saw it this year on Instagram and my friend actually DM’d the link. I signed up and truthfully forgot all about it until I got the email and was so shocked. It went to my spam box, but then I also didn't believe it was real. I was like, “No, there's no way.”
What makes a Good American casting special?
It’s so personable. Like, everyone is so real, so kind, and so sweet. Meeting all the girls, I was super nervous but everyone is so personable and nice. We all share the same passions and it's just nice to talk and be like, “Oh! We’re a family.”
It is a little bit of what I expected but so much greater.
So tell us more about when you got the callback...
I got the email and it went to my spam box. I was like, “This isn’t real.” It read, “Good American. You have been selected for the Chicago casting.” I responded and I got an email back very quickly, and thankfully, for my job I was able to go the next day and fly out to Chicago.
The callback was nerve-racking. There were so many girls there and everyone was stunning. But, the environment was really nice because everyone was nervous, too. Once I got inside the room all my nerves went away. Meeting Emma felt like I was talking to someone I have known my entire life. It was so personable. Then I talked to one of the recruiters, she was so sweet and we just talked for the longest.
Do you feel a bond now with the rest of the Good Squad?
We were all catching up yesterday on our way to go shoot. Everyone was so comfortable, I felt like we were a little family. I definitely think we are all bonded and have created a sisterhood. Which is so amazing because I was like, “Oh cool! We’re coming here to shoot. But that's just a plus, to be leaving here with friends.”
What did you do when you found out you got casted?
Uh, I cried. It was just so surreal. I kept thinking in my head, all the cities that you guys have been to, and all of the girls you came across. I’m like, they chose me? Oh my god, I'm going to cry. It was amazing, I was just very happy.
Are you proud of yourself?
I am. I feel like for so long I have been trying to put myself out there and get into the modeling agency and just meet people and do cool things, like this. As I was saying, no dream is too big. Look! I'm here doing this.
Okay c’mon Ifrah, get it together.
Have you ever been signed to a modeling agency?
Kind of a funny story. I always told myself that I don't want to sign. I’ve had other agencies reach out to me via Instagram because I’m pretty active on social media. But I always said I wouldn't sign to any agency unless it's IMG. I don't want to settle. I know what I want. And I know one day it will happen.
They signed Halima Aden, who is Somalian. She's from the same background as me. We actually lived in the same state, which is crazy. Finding her is like the turning point for me because I've wanted to do this since I was little. I didn't think there would ever be a model wearing a hijab, that's modest. These designers will not want to cater to my needs just because I have to dress modestly compared to the rest of the girls. So, there were times where I would tell myself, “Just get comfortable wearing a swimsuit. Maybe just conform and you’ll get what you want.” But, to see them sign her and for her to be true to her culture and religion, I knew that was who I wanted to work with.
What message do you want to share with other women out there?
I want to tell anyone who thinks they look different that it’s okay to look different. That is what makes you special. Being different is great, embrace your culture and the difference. Don’t ever feel like you have to conform, do not change yourself or alter yourself to get to your goal. If it is meant for you, they will accept you for who you are.
Did you face any difficulties with others growing up?
Especially before I reached adulthood. Once I turned 20 it was easier, but up until that point, it was difficult. When I started my freshman year in high school, I went to a school where everyone looked like me. Somalian, East African, or Ethiopian. So, it was comfortable. After my freshman year, I told myself that I wanted the real high school experience. I wanted to experience being around different cultures and people, and have real sports teams and that sort. So I transferred to a high school in our neighborhood. It was a culture shock! People would make mean comments. Like, “You Africans. Why do you have that thing on your head? Do you not have hair under there?” Things like that.
It was very uncomfortable. To the point where I would take my scarf off when I got to school and put it in my bag. I didn't want people to keep pinpointing the fact that I have a scarf. So, it was really difficult. If I was at where I am now, I would be like, “This is who I am, and I am rocking it. So, you either love it or you hate it.” But, eventually, things got better.
I was a cheerleader and I would wear my hijab while cheerleading. Shout out to my cheerleading coach! She really believed in me and said it was okay, you can wear that. She went and talked to my mom who wanted to make sure I was covered.
What’s your definition of a Good American?
I think of America as a melting pot, so someone who is appreciative and respectful of difference. Someone who is open-minded, and kind. Kindness is such an important thing. Whenever anyone compliments me like, I’m over the moon. I think it’s so much more than a pretty face. So, a Good American is someone who is kind, open to difference, and open-minded.
Welcome to the Good Squad, Ifrah!
Yeah! I’m part of the Good Squad!! I am never going to forget this ever. This is so cool.