Hi, yes, I’m here to not-fangirl fangirl over epic human beings again, you’re more than welcome to get a little starstruck, I know I’m desperately trying not to. It is by far one of the most difficult things to be young, male, and do epic creative things in a society that screams “doctor” and “engineer”, where there is family pressure to get a “stable job”, find the “right type” of woman to marry, and be just the “perfect” balance between badass and gentleman – oh, and “ragel”. Guys who choose to do art or any other unconventional thing, guys who choose to put in the effort and time and energy to work on themselves and grow – that’s lit, that has to be appreciated.
Fate has to love me though, because I was somehow blessed with gorgeous friendships with half the people on this list (who have no idea I’m doing this by the way), the other half? Feel free to hop into my DMs or grab my number and let’s have a chat, I’d love to be friends.
1- Ismail Sabet @Izmatique
The world is blessed to have Ismail Sabet; the most authentic, creative, and absolutely inventive guy in the world. Vogue loves Izma so much, it’s practically an expectation now to find his work being posted through Photo Vogue. Izma is the kind of guy that’s puppy-cute; oozing charm and loveliness wherever he goes. He’s crazy tall (like, 190-sth centimeters or more) and he captures the most insane portraits I’ve ever seen. His style is a vibe all on its own, he works with renown local brands, designers, stylists, models, and agencies. He’s also recently done a shoot featuring Yosra Ellozy. All in all, Izma for the win, hit that follow icon asap. Also here’s a good conversation starter with Izma: Food 😉
2- Yousef Soudan @YousefSoudan
Wisest 19 year old I’ve ever come across and the most impactful guy I know. Yousef works in operations at BeFit, he also happens to be a coach – when he’s not at the gym, he’s probably out with friends at ungodly hours or at Dara’s (the New Cairo branch) after a tiring day of PTs and errands. He makes what I like to call “life-lesson” videos and they are the absolute best. I listened to every single one, I am always learning things from him, I am always empowered to grow and transform. He’s got the best energy in town, there isn’t a guy more pumped for life than this guy. He’s independent, honest, hard working, inspiring, and it’s incredible that he can talk about everything under the sun. A person cannot be more of a gift to your life.
3- Ahmed Tarek @Tarek.jpeg
He may be my pseudo-brother, but I swear my jaw is always dropping with the intensity of my awe at his talent. Whether he’s doing commercial shit or creative shit, it’s always authentic, powerful, and – for lack of better term – lit. He’s worked with celebrities and haute couture brands, he’s Disco Misr’s personal photographer, he knows some pretty high-profile people in the field, but it’s his humility and down to earth attitude that truly makes him stand out continuously. He’s never afraid to do something genuine, even if it’s wrapped in a seemingly “street style” package, trust me, if you look deep enough into his work, you’ll find out so much about him as a person, and I think that’s beautiful. Already talked a lot about this guy in my last interview, click here to read it!
4- Marwan Pablo @MarwanPablo
I was never a fan of Arabic rap, till I overheard a friend listening to Abyusif, which lead to a spiral down the rabbit hole of Egyptian rap artists, I quite literally stumbled upon Marwan Pablo, but his music and his lyrics are absolutely ensnaring. It’s like you can’t just listen to one song w el salam, nope, you get dragged into another, then one more, then you’re trying to find out if he made any more music. His tracks are so brilliantly constructed, the lines are occasionally so clever, I snort in both amusement and agreement. God, I can’t imagine what talking to him would be like, I bet there are so many stories, he’s truly gifted, there just isn’t any other word for it.
P.S he’s only 22.
Both accounts are drool worthy, like, ridiculously so (no, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s someone I’d also like to get to know). Seriously though, he’s got some insanely epic, almost impossibly gorgeous, and quite frankly tantalizing shots in his portfolio. I have yet to find someone so young who captures Egypt (and some other parts of the world) as stunningly as he does. Despite the fact that both of his accounts are popular, the content he keeps giving to the world just gets better with time, instead of becoming repetitive and boring in ways I’ve seen many “travel” photographers become. Blessedly, Gendy – who is 24, in case you were wondering – also does portraits, they’re uniquely fitting to his general energy, kinda draws you in.
6- Ayman Badr @Imanstation
Yes! My favorite male model in all of Egypt, who really needs to be given more chances because Egypt needs to adapt. I honestly think he’s stunning, he’s also a spitfire, he doesn’t take shit, and he’s super deep when he wants to be. Also, he’s in dentistry school which sucks (as I’ve told him) but he’s okay so, he’ll probably survive. Ayman knows he is not what a conventional male looks like, he knows his features and body are somewhat androgynous and his huge “fuck you” energy more than makes sure that people don’t dare treat him different. It’s entirely awe-inspiring to watch Ayman put bullies and haters down while loving cats and looking cute with his twin brother. It’s so empowering to watch a guy like that work towards being in a field that’s super selective as is while fighting toxic masculinity. Ayman, you’re an absolute joy.
I’d put both separately, but it’s just easier to talk about this particular pair of twins as a package. First off, cause I know you boys are reading this, Fayrouz is still my favorite family member, no amount of crazy content creation or general uncle-adorableness (it’s mostly Alay + Laila anyway) will change that. Back to the point, Ouda and Eid, or Yousef Twins as some of you may know them, are two of the most incredible guys in town. They have a successful YouTube channel mostly running on vlogs, which is currently under hiatus I think, but only because they run their own digital media agency creating mostly content for social media accounts of various clients. No worries though, Eid said YouTube videos will be back post-summer, and since it’s Eid who said it (sorry Ouda), you know it will happen. Personally, I can’t wait, they’re both innovative, creative, down to earth, and slightly insane – which practically guarantees really good content.
9- Ahmed Dash @RikaDash
Would you guys believe me if I said I discovered Rika through his sister Dina first? I know, it makes no sense, but I generally don’t watch mainstream Egyptian movies. However, I adored Rika the moment I watched him in Clash or اشتباك. Then, I watched him in Taye3 and promptly fell in love with his skill. I don’t know if you guys can tell, but he’s having fun with this, it’s noticeable if you look for it, he’s not doing this for the money or the fame, he genuinely thinks it’s fun, and I respect that. He’s only 18 but he’s worked along some legendary actors, directors, and cinematographers. He’s always doing roles that feel like they fit him, it’s like, you can’t imagine any other person doing that character after Rika’s done it. I also know he’s humble enough just through seeing him a few times around campus (yes, he’s an AUCian). He’s just coming through with some pretty good energy, I hope we get to see more of that.
Well guys, this wonderful list has come to an end, the only reason we don’t have that many younger 14-18 year olds on this list is mostly because either there aren’t any or I haven’t discovered ’em yet. Everyone on this list is young too, they started at those ages -even if only mildly thinking about it. This is not meant to shame you, this is meant to encourage you, empower you, and push you to follow your dreams and chase your passions no matter how “unstable” or “un-manly”. These are all examples of where you could be, if only you have faith in yourself and put forth maximum effort to reach your goals. Your daydreams always have the potential to turn into your reality, all you have to do is pull up, own your shit, and start hustling.
Sending y’all lots of love,