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Painter, model and overall babe Safae remains true to honesty and not living up to pre-set social rules and limitations.

You know us—when it comes to leaving what’s sweetest for dessert, we’ll humbly take the role of specialists. That’s why for our fourth, and last, young talent highlight as part of Zalando’s Free To Be campaign, we caught up with painter, model and overall babe Safae.

Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon her vivid art on your Instagram feed, or you’ve seen her on a billboard around town. Neither or both, one thing we do know for sure—as a natural observer with a deeply curious mindset, Safae truly embodies Free To Be’s mission to celebrate unapologetic self-expression. “I like to work intuitively,” she shares, and in both her artistry and being, Safae remains true to honesty and not living up to pre-set social rules and limitations. Below, we got to chat to her about her style, her creative process, and the art of not overthinking.

Hey Safae, how’s your mood today?

I’m feeling fine, though I didn’t sleep that well last night. But, sometimes, I’m very energized from not sleeping that much!

What’s the best part of working in the fashion industry?

That you work with creative people. A lot of the time there’s a big team, like the photographer, their assistant, and me usually modeling, so I to talk with people on set, share experiences and stories. I get inspired by this process.

And what’s something that inspired you recently?

A lot of elements inspire me subconsciously. But, I do think that the change of weather is certainly one of them. It changes your mindset, what you wear too. There are visual changes in the environment that translate in your appearance as well. There’s also not a lot of sun during fall, and your body recognizes that and adapts to the environment.

Can you tell us a little bit about your artistic practice—do you mostly do painting? I mostly do painting right now, although I’m also interested in other mediums, such as photography and film. But for now I like to focus on painting and drawing, mostly because I can work with my hands and I like to work intuitively.

And what do you wish to communicate with your work?

What I try to communicate are the things I observe, to portray the current time we’re living in and communicate what I see so that people can identify with it.

What kind of themes do you mostly use in your paintings?

Mostly people: the relationship and story between people and how they communicate; two people really close together, or just an intimate part of the face or the body. It’s mostly the technique that I experiment with, showing different kinds of shapes, colors and contrast. I try to portray my subjects not in a realistic way, but in a more experimental and personal way.

Beyond painting, what else do you use your creativity for?

I don’t think about that consciously! I simply wish to put what’s within me into the outside world, and I just do it.

Sounds very intuitive and (care)free! What does the concept free to be mean to you?

This may sound cliché, but for me it means expressing yourself the way you want to, and just trying to put your thoughts out there! Thinking about what you really want to communicate, and trying not to give a fuck in the process of doing it. But if you’re overthinking about not giving a fuck, it gets hard because you focus on that aspect only. So, try to not overthink stuff!

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Shun khissed😚😽🌞🌞🌞✨✨❤️

A post shared by Safae (@arulled) on

How would you describe your personal style? Is it also as free?

It’s easy-going, for sure! I mostly like wearing jeans with an easy top. I try to just keep it simple, I don’t like to think about it too much, so I mostly go for comfort. My style can range from quite ‘girly’ to unapologetically tomboyish. I could wear oversized jeans and sweaters, but I could also wear skinny jeans with a tight top. I don’t try to put labels on it; it depends on my mood on that particular day.

What is your favourite thing in your wardrobe?

My vintage Versace jeans.

Safae, it’s been a pleasure! At last, do you feel entirely free to be? 

I do think that I feel the most free when I create. I’m striving towards that free feeling through staying honest, not only to myself, but towards my creative process too. It’s still hard to really call yourself free, because of all the socially set up rules and regulations you have to “live up to”. But I do recognize that hanging out with yourself and knowing how to be alone is very freeing.

Concept and words by Glamcult
Photography by Laila Cohen
Styling by Benjamin Aerts
Hair & Make-up by Cynthia Schippers




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