Nadine Sami

A fruitful interview with social media influencer Nadine Sami

Nadine Sami is an Egyptian-Lebanese content creator and visual artist based in Beirut, Lebanon. Born in a country, raised in another, and holding the passport of a third, her multicultural background has always fuelled her desire for intense self-expression. In the dynamic world of social media, Nadine Sami emerges as a captivating presence, captivating the affection of thousands on TikTok. Nadine’s voyage weaves a compelling narrative of fashion, cultural immersion, and thought-provoking insights that have deeply connected with her diverse following.

Having graduated from LAU in fashion design, Nadine has thrived in the fashion world for a long time. As a stylist, she was also able to dress talents and high-profile people like rising singer Elyanna. She likes to tackle societal topics on her account, which helped her grow an important following. KHAMSA had the opportunity to welcome the dynamic influencer for an exclusive interview that offers a look into her professional and personal life.

Nadine wears a jacket from Bazaza and a necklace from Alexandra Hakim.

١. What sparked your interest in styling, and how did you get started in the industry? 

I think my interest doesn’t lie exclusively in styling, or even just in fashion. I have always wanted to create, but I didn’t always know that. I believe that fashion is a gateway for a lot more opportunities in different creative industries.

I grew up in the Congo sitting by my mother who used to sew in our garage for a living. Even during my brief medical studies, I looked at petri dishes under microscopes for hours, and all I could see were patterns, garments, and shapes. I think fashion is a very sentimental piece of the multidisciplinary web I want to knit. 

As a child, I always looked at things that were slightly different, and that bled into the way I’ve expressed myself with garments throughout my life. That, and a parallel mix of social media content that was unusual yet genuine to me, is how I slowly got to attract creatives in my community, and how I started styling during my university years.  

On the left, Nadine wears Aquarel Studio. On the right, Nadine wears a top from Vanina, pants from Emergency Room Beirut, earrings from Jessika K, and sunglasses from Dior Vintage.

٢. How do you keep the pursuit of creativity in your work? 

When I drive in Cairo or walk around Beirut, I see that the amount of potential in the streets we live in is actually spectacular. Finding inspiration in the most mundane and populist things that surround me has set me up to constantly be in a state where I’m brainstorming possibilities in my head. 

If the process is enjoyable to me, then that will translate in the final product. I often find myself going back to the way I drew as a kid. Drawing with my non-dominant hand gives me a sense of that child’s play, for example. The pursuit of creativity is meant to fundamentally be fun.   

On the left, Nadine wears a Sandra Mansour dress. On the right, Nadine wears a hooded dress from Yaspis, necklace & bracelet from JPG, ring from La Manso, coat from Jessica K and heels from Jimmy Choo.

٣. Tell us more about the culturally loaded references in your work 

As I am very observant and appreciative of my surroundings, it only makes sense that they make up a decent amount of my design language. I like my visual style and work to contain references we can relate to on this side of the world. High fashion has taken inspiration from the Middle East for years, but I believe many of the creative industries lack true representation of the genuine Arab identity.

So far for me, that has meant experimenting with and reflecting on elements such as our calligraphic streets, making chain metal clothes fully adorned with Ancient Egyptian charms from local souks, creating graphics out of those charms and symbols by merging them with tribal tattoos, and then possibly plastering that on a garment through traditional beading. Creating work that reflects the dynamism of our people and our spaces is very rewarding to me.  

٤. Who is your fashion icon?

Erykah Badu. She is one of the most original artists of our time in my opinion. There is so much genuineness in the way she dresses because it is liberated from current trends and forecasts, and that’s rare nowadays.  

٥. What is your life motto? 

I was created to create.  

On the left, Nadine wears a hood from Rabanne and a vintage coat. On the right, Nadine wears a dress from Maison Rabih Kayrouz, bracelet & earrings from Rabanne.

٦. What cause do you identify the most with? 

Growing up in Lebanon made me experience certain levels of Arab identity erasure. We’re taught that a bright future is synonymous with a life outside the Arab world, especially if you’re a creative. Even though I believe that multiculturalism is a beautiful thing, I don’t think it should be done on behalf of your motherland, and that is something I constantly abide by in my creative language.  

Our regional identity is extremely powerful, but we have taken it for granted. I believe in its liberation, and that simply cannot happen authentically or genuinely without the liberation of our brothers and sisters in Palestine.  

Nadine wears a dress from Maison Rabih Kayrouz, bracelet & earrings from Rabanne.

٧. If you could have dinner with three icons, dead or alive, who would they be? 

Bassem Youssef, Kanye West, and Haifa Wehbe. I don’t think I would ever be satisfied with my answer to this question – it would probably change by the hour.  

Follow Nadine on Instagram here.

This is an editorial submission, fashion credits are:

talent: Nadine Sami, photography: chadykal
styling & AD: Gaëlle Ibrahim + Rinad Saad, muah: Moe Maanieh