It is always a privilege and an honor to live one’s dreams, no matter how far fetched they may seem. If you had asked me when I was a skinny little brown science nerd girl that my future self would have the chance to work as a model, I would have been stuck between a mixture of sheer complete disbelief and incredible elation! Although the fashion industry is rife with stories of models and other professionals forced into the industry by pushy “stage parents” it was always a dream of mine to be a fashionista. For someone like me who was not very athletic and more of a creative extrovert, fashion was a way for me to express myself without words. When I was essentially discovered as a skinny teen new face by the legendary and beautiful Tyra Banks who graciously put me on international tv and in the homes of millions alongside megastar songstress Rihanna, I was launched into the wonderful world of the global fashion stage. From then on my foray into fashion has been a steady series of milestones beginning with that first fateful one, where one of the greatest models of all time saw something special in me which I didn’t see in myself… so graciously and to some naturally, the rest of the world followed suit. I have been so fortunate to be able to work with the top professionals in the industry, one of them being the peerless Fadil Berisha.
Fadil Berisha is a beloved household name in the world of photography and celebrity. As the longtime in-house photographer for the Miss Universe pageant and resident celebrity photographer for ROLEX he has photographed only the most beautiful and prolific people in history such as Academy Award-winner Halle Berry, tennis star Roger Federer, Martha Stewart, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Beverly Johnson, Zendaya, Sharon Stone, Mario Lopez, and even my original fashion fairy godmother Tyra Banks! To sit for him solidly cements one amongst an elite group of only the most gorgeous humans on earth… very flattering to say the least. Therefore when I had the chance to be photographed by the Master Of Ultimate Beauty, I was beyond thrilled and excited.
His downtown NYC studio is quietly located on a tree-shaded block. The towering airy ceilings and sweeping glossy wooden floors house a luxurious hair and makeup suite which has been seen on social media accounts and behind-the-scenes teasers from some of the hottest names in fashion and Hollywood. SO MUCH STAR POWER WAS HOUSED IN THAT MAKEUP CHAIR! I was almost overwhelmed by all the amazing things happening at once, yet I was immediately greeted with a warm smile and a pair of steely grey eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed glasses. It was Fadil Berisha in the flesh.
For such a formidable reputation in the history of fashion and portrait photography, Fadil is incessantly kind and gentle in his demeanor. He is polite, courteous and professional to a fault and it becomes immediately obvious why he is a favorite amongst the top brands, celebrities and supermodels on the planet. Rather than indulging in superficial small talk, he gives gentle brief direction to his team of top artists and elects to discuss his lifelong passion for charity and humanitarianism. He discusses with a knowing gaze, how he gauges beauty, the main characteristic being inner beauty. He waxes poetic about his love for beauty and for celebrating the beauty of human beings in complete totality. It becomes immediately apparent as to why Fadil is the foremost authority on beauty landing him accolades such as a judge spot on “America’s Next Top Model” handpicked (kind of like myself haha) by his longtime muse Tyra- he understands the term “beautiful” better than most and the ideology is anything but superficial and rather rooted in kindness.
To sit for a master photographer like Fadil Berisha was truly a dream come true. I am so grateful to Fadil and the team at Fadil Berisha Studios for the wonderful opportunity. I hope you all enjoy the photos! XOXO, FAFA
A special video sneak peek inside Fadil Berisha’s world famous NYC studios plus his famous WALL OF BEAUTY!
All million dollar smiles backstage with Elin Hair! 🙂
BONUS POST ALERT!!! Keep scrolling for a gallery of some of Fadil’s famous faces! I shared some of my favorites!