Najah Mansur @Najahmansur, a new face to be the first model to self photograph for the cover of Vanity Teen Magazine, acts not only as of the model and photographer @munglassy, but as makeup-artist, fashion stylist, and creative director for the editorial ‘YOUNG.’ Through her photography, she has shot for top agencies, as well as leading magazines including Vogue Italia. She is continuing her stride to stardom by expressing herself through art in many different forms and she’s only 19 years old!
The editorial ‘YOUNG’ was inspired by Mansur’s new sense of freedom. “I am 19 years old now, and I’ve been an artist ever since I could remember, but the fear to boldly create and the un-surety of how to express myself when I don’t even fully know myself has been a difficult phase to overcome,” she says. “However, the more I create, the less I fear, and the more I express myself, the more self-assurance that inevitably yields a feeling of more freedom, which this story depicts.”
“While creating this editorial, I initially had a very clear picture of what I was looking to create. However, when it comes to art and creativity, my main priority is to flow! I set an intention, I take steps towards such intention, but while in action, I’m flowing like water; like my martial arts teacher always says, “Flow, shift, change, and create, which is adaptability.” – Sijo Muhammad.”
“The mood board is something only I could understand. Considering it was a one women team, I had to ensure that I was playing every role correctly and cohesively. The mood board had a section for hair, lighting, and makeup and a selection of images that exhibited the energy that I wanted to portray. Whether it was down to the pose, the emotion, or the overall essence, it was a mood board written in the language of Najah. Looking back at the mood board now and comparing it to the outcome, my brain would not have fathomed such work before creating it. It kind of just happened; it “flowed.”
The equipment that she used for this editorial was her Canon t3i with a 50mm lens, a Youngnuo digital strip light, v-flats, tripods, and her pebble wireless shutter button. It was photographed in Atlanta, GA, in a daylight studio. The styling consists of pieces from different brands such as Diana MARCO, ASOS, Calvin Klein, Double Zero, ZARA, HiiPPS, and Ann Taylor Loft.
“I’ve noticed my style to be more high fashion and editorial. I think it’s because these styles are composed yet still flexible enough to be very unique and artistic, as depicted in these portraits.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”Nelson Mandela
“The vibes that I want these images to transmit would be freedom; the freedom of youth. The colors, bold yet soft, represent a confident innocence. The emotions, sweet yet poised, depict a season of my life that I am now experiencing.”
“Firstly martial arts, the art of combat, counter offense, and applied pain enable me to physically exude my fire that I didn’t fully know was there! I started training at 13, and the moment I felt a part of me awaken caused a ripple effect of more self-expression. I began tapping into my gifts more than ever before, writing music, poetry, singing, painting, and other creative endeavors that acted as a release for me.”
“Modeling came recently. I recall always getting scouted at random places like malls and parking lots. It sparked my interest a bit, but my mind wasn’t there at the time; until it was. I remember walking my first runway not too long ago, and I felt something I never felt before; I felt confident, beautiful, and free, a feeling I’ve unknowingly been desiring. This has allowed me to express myself in ways that before I would not have even begun to fathom. Photography, for instance, I’ve always enjoyed editing photos. I would pull images off of google and edit them for hours. Quarantine is what really got me into self-portraits. During that time, I needed a way to escape and create. These portraits allowed me to build my photography portfolio and landed me in top magazines, including Vogue Italia. It also aided in my modeling portfolio, where my agent would add some of my portraits to my book! My modeling career has been expeditiously growing, and my goal is to create, innovate, and conquer while remaining authentic. Vanity Teen magazine represents creativity and innovation, and I intend to bring my authenticity and perspective to this platform.”
Najah Mansur’s story
I am Najah Mansur. I was born on April 17th, 2002, which makes me 19-years-old. I’m from Atlanta, GA, and I’m a martial arts instructor, model, and photographer. My mother agent Ursula Wiedmann scouted me a little over a year ago, which is how I started modeling. Being raised Muslim, a farmer, and constantly training in the martial arts, the thought of being a model never actually crossed my mind, though, from a young age, I would always get scouted at random places. I never actually consider myself to be beautiful. Being tall, skinny, big hair, and socially awkward was not precisely the recipe for confidence. I always wanted to hide while in a social environment, but my appearance prevented this. So when I actually started modeling, I wasn’t quite sure where this confidence came from. I remember my first actual photoshoot with photographer Chrisean Rose. I didn’t have an ounce of fear, and I just for some reason knew how to pose and move; this intrigued me and further sparked my interest in modeling. So I started building my portfolio, and then covid hit… Quarantine, LockDown, face masks, I didn’t know what to do. So I did what I do best, create! I started shooting self-portraits during this time and landed myself in top magazines such a Moevir Paris, Vogue Italia, and more. I was able to aid in building my book right in my bedroom, and my agent would add some of my tear sheets to my portfolio.
As the world is beginning to open up, I’ve been able to take my modeling and photography to the next level. I’ve been modeling many brands like Burberry, Missoni, Off-White, and working with companies such as Gilt and Rue La La. I am now honored to be the first model to self photograph for the cover of Vanity Teen Magazine. I’ve also been doing photography a lot more and shooting for agencies, boutiques, and magazines under my photography name ‘Munglassy.’
With this being but the beginning, it is difficult to speak on my journey as all of this is still very new to me. I have such a big vision, and every day I’m aligning myself with such. Though I am an artist with an untamable desire to create, with goals and passions that drive me daily; My purpose is to be successful authentically. Being raised, Muslim I hold my values very closely, and to never comprised them is the main priority. “We don’t integrate; we recreate.” -Yara Shahidi.