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Anais Mali

Anais MaliAnais Mali, born on the 22nd of January 1991 in Toulon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France is a French fashion model.

Her mother is from Chad and her father is of Polish descent. In 2009, she signed with Wilhelmina Models.

In September 2009, she modeled for the spring L.A.M.B. presentation in New York City and also walked for Sophie Theallet and Betsey Johnson.

In October 2009, she walked the spring Shiatzy Chen and Vivienne Westwood shows in Paris.

In February 2010, she walked the fall Catherine Malandrino, Cynthia Steffe, Rachel Roy, and Walter shows in New York City.

She appeared in the J.Crew 2010 spring catalogue and in the spring issue of Zink, photographed by David Joseph Perez. In July 2010, www.style.it featured Mali as a face to watch

In September of 2010, she walked the spring Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Derek Lam, Cynthia Rowley, and Carolina Herrera shows in New York City. In 2010 she left Wilhelmina Models and signed with Ford Models.

In December 2010, she appeared in an Interview editorial alongside Melodie Monrose and in January 2011, she appeared in an Italian Vogue editorial photographed by Steven Meisel.

Anais MaliIn February 2011, she appeared in a Vogue editorial, photographed by Mario Testino and in May 2011, she appeared in editorials for Harper's Bazaar, American, French, and Italian Vogue, V, and i-D, photographed by Richard Bush.

Mali walked in the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and in June of 2016, she appeared in a Vogue Nippon editorial titled "Anais Goes Glam", shot by Giampaolo Sgura.

In November 2016, she appeared in The Weeknd's video Mania and in the following year she collaborated with designer Urivaldo Lopes to develop and launch a line of bodysuits under the label Anaïs Bodysuits.

While growing up in Toulon, France, Mali originally had dreams of a career in Hollywood.

“I always wanted to be an actress, actually, but getting a visa for acting in the U.S. was complicated, so I thought, ‘OK, let me get a modeling visa and I’ll see what happens when I get there.”

Mali was 20 when she moved to New York City to begin her modeling career - the next several years were a whirlwind, during which she appeared in multiple issues of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and walked the runway for Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Seven years later, Mali, who resides between Paris and Miami, is still in high demand: She recently appeared in “Mania,” a short film by The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye accompanying his “Starboy” album.

Anais Mali“When I started, I worked almost every single day for five or six years,” she said. “And the more I got into fashion, the more I loved it. It was very important for me to make a name for myself because I didn’t come to America for nothing.”

Her “lightbulb” moment - to launch her own line of bodysuits as wardrobe staples - came to her as it does many designers: She simply couldn’t find anything in stores for herself that she liked.

“Sure, you could find some at American Apparel, but there were no real, luxury bodysuit brands that existed at the time,” Mali said.

Mali called up friend Urivaldo Lopes, a former designer at Blumarine, and together they began to conceive a collection, sourcing metallic hardware and textiles - such as stretch denim, tulle, jersey and neoprene - in Italy.

But it took a few years for the line to come into place. “Sometimes you don’t realize how much you have to work for it. The more we got into it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, what did I do?"

"This is a lot of work,” she said. “But I’m already working on the second collection. I love going to Italy - I love the process. Urivaldo and I design everything together, and it really has become a passion of mine.”

Inspired by Studio 54 and the Nineties supermodel era, Anaïs’ spring debut — an all-black collection with seductive cutouts and sheer fabrics - was meant to make a bold statement, with a few styles doubling as swimsuits.

Anais Mali"Each one is named after a model — the 'Joan' after Joan Smalls; the 'Constance' after Constance Jablonski; the 'Candice' after Candice Swanepoel, and so on — all of whom Mali counts as friends. Everything is produced in Italy."

“In the next collection, we’ll be more diverse with colors and designs, but this first collection was more of a statement to say - here we are, this is our vibe,” Mali explained.

“This is a very specific time for women. There’s a lot going on, and all the designs we make are meant to empower women. You feel something when you put it on. We tried the bodysuits on every single body type.

The girl puts the bodysuit on and she’s like, ‘Oh my God, I feel good.’ That’s what makes me happy. That’s what I want a woman to feel.”

Anaïs bodysuits, which range from $300 up to $1,300 for more embellished styles, will be sold at Curve boutiques nationwide and on the brand’s e-commerce site, launching later this month. Mali’s upcoming collections will include jumpsuits and separates.

She posted an Instagram of her mom wearing one of her creations - focusing on their versatility rather than their sex appeal, Mali was out to challenge perceptions.

Here, she shares her thoughts on confidence, French girl style, and why she wants to see Beyoncé in a bodysuit.

Her mother inspired her foray into design. “My passion for bodysuits started at around 14 or 15. My mom would always wear them and I was just so inspired by her."

Anais Mali"As a model, you’re always involved in the process of seeing clothing made and creating clothes. When I first got the idea of doing the line I just started to ask the other [girls around me what they were into and surprisingly they were just as obsessed, but yet it’s still so hard to find them.

“The idea of naming the body suits after the girls came before I started designing. I would think of the girls and consider what would she wear, what kind of pieces would she have."

"That was a big help for me when it came time to design the collection. Each piece goes with the character and attitude of the girl that it is named for. I couldn’t pick a favorite, but I was wearing the Magdalena the other day, and when you walk around in it, people see you - if you know what I mean?"

"It’s a very strong look, but also something that I felt comfortable in throughout the day.” Confidence is the key to pulling off any look - especially bodysuits."

“I think the girl who is going to wear a bodysuit is someone with a strong personality and a strong sense of fashion. I didn’t design these to be something tied to French girl style or American - just women in general."

"I think the most important thing isn’t where someone is from, it’s the confidence they bring to the look. It’s not easy, but you should try every day to be confident and love yourself."

"It’s one of the first things that matters when it comes to pulling off any style. Having that knowledge that you look great and feel good about yourself.”

Anais Mali“I have a whole list of people who I’d love to see these pieces on. I would say though that the one person I would die to see these on is Beyoncé!

The whole collection is SO her - empowered, strong, sexy. I hear that she’s pregnant with twins, but she could still wear a bodysuit - we’ll see!”

It’s not a well-kept secret that fashion has a complicated relationship with women of color.

In February, The New York Times reported that of the 470 members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America only 12 are African-American.

The picture is not that different when it comes to casting models of color. New York-born Tasha Moore, who has been in the industry for five years, talked about her experiences with race and diversity in fashion in an interview.

After being scouted on a subway platform by Debbie Dickinson, she started working in New York City, but she now spends most of her time in Paris.

She also started FEMME, a lifestyle brand inspired by the French idea of enjoying life to the fullest.

In 2014, French model Anais Mali said in an interview that when she was starting out her career in Paris, she was told that "Black models don’t work here.”

"They said the same thing to me." stated Tasha Moore. "Even the same for Milan, but I am still here. For all intents and purposes, they are absolutely right. I mean, it’s not just a conception that her agency probably has, but it’s true."

Anais Mali"Normally, the biggest markets for Black models are South Africa, New York, and London. And so that’s where they’ll send Black models to work.

When we’re saying Black, we’re being very blunt, because that’s a skin color and not an ethnicity."

"So if you are a lighter Black color like caramel, and you are kind of ethnically ambiguous, you can still work because people are not sure what you are.

You could be Latin, you could be Spanish, or maybe you have really pale skin and dark hair so you could look Middle Eastern, or Colombian, or Persian."

"So we’re talking about models whose skin could be considered brown to Black, they have the most trouble working."

When asked if models of color get less work than White models during Fashion Week? "Absolutely" answered Tasha Moore.

The Weeknd had released the short film Mania, which follows a wild (and bloody) night out. Four tracks appear in the 12-minute video: “All I Know” featuring Future, “Sidewalks” with Kendrick Lamar, “Party Monster” with Lana Del Rey, and “I Feel It Coming” featuring Daft Punk.

The film starred Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), model Anais Mali, and John Holland (of witch-house trio SALEM), and was directed by frequent collaborator Grant Singer.

The visual image maker has also worked on “Starboy,” “Tell Your Friends,” “I Can’t Feel My Face,” and “The Hills.”

Anais MaliMania follows in the cinematic, violent, and gloomy aesthetic that Tesfaye has cultivated well over his discography with a bloody bathroom murder, a sportscar drive through the Hills, and a cat upon a futuristic pedestal. There is, of course, also the element of the male gaze, which permeates The Weeknd's music.

While Mania was an impressive watch, it would not be rated as exactly exceptional: Singer and Tesfaye now have a consistent track record of producing silver screen level visuals with storylines to match.

But as for Anais leaving her brilliant career with fashion - it isn't likely that Mania will rekindle any dreams of Hollywood in her.

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