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Modeling agency opens in Ramallah

Oct. 25, 2012 4:48 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 4, 2012 10:47 P.M.)
By: Razan Salameh
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Elite, Vogue, IMG - these are the names one associates with global fashion, mostly found in locales such as Paris, New York and London.

Centered in the heart of a country at war, surrounded by settlements and facing the prospect of intifada, Ramallah's modeling agency is somewhat more perplexing.

Karma is the newest Palestinian modeling agency, run by two Palestinians from Jerusalem.

Nour Kouz's young daughter proposed the idea out of her belief that nothing is impossible for Palestinians. She says Palestinians are thirsty for an agency to represent Palestine's beauty and name.

Indian religions define Karma as the concept of cause and effect. "Which means, 'What goes around, comes around,'" Kouz said in a recent interview.

"I used to have another events management company and I started my own as Karma with my partner," Jerusalem native Tamer Halabi, who had experience running an agency abroad.

Halabi is originally from Jerusalem, but he studied media in Egypt and Jordan. He also owned his own modeling agency in Jordan before moving to the West Bank.

Halabi had wanted to come back to Palestine. After a successful scouting trip to Ramallah, he agreed to create the agency with Kouz’ support and friendship.

Kouz believes that their agency is on the rise to the top of the fashion market and expects Palestinian models’ faces to fill magazines with their "pure smile and beauty."

"I really liked the idea when we first came up with it and then we decided that this idea should be real," added Kouz. "At first it was not easy, it was complicated. How will we tell our people that it's not only for fun and modeling and fashion shows, we can also train people."

She adds: "We believe that this segment of the market is suitable for focus. There is a need for such an agency to secure the models, ushers and promoters.

"In the past all the companies used to call them and work with them without contracts and even without giving them the means to reach their work and homes."

Afif Amireh, a professional photographer based in Jerusalem, has joined the agency. It works closely with Triangle advertising, which is owned by Baha al-Din.

Karma is located at Irsal Street, one of Ramallah's most fashionable areas.
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