You have probably come across her name in some articles or tabloids front pages, 2 years ago, when the big scandal exploded. Zahia Dehar, call-girl by profession, was the centre of this scandal, which became quickly the “Zahia affair”.
Also involved were famous French national football team players. I know what you think: football players and call-girls, this is no breaking news. I agree, but this one was different: when the events occurred, Zahia (Franck Ribéry’s birthday present as she called herself…) was under 18. Although she tried really hard to claim that she was a free woman and that no one did hurt her, only the “sexual intercourse with an under 18 prostitute” factor did matter. During all the media hype about this affair, Zahia managed to keep a low profile, which was either extreme shyness or clever communication strategy. The latter seems to be the good answer: for her exclusive first revelations, Zahia chose a very famous french weekly magazine, Paris Match (see photo below), and asked 50 000 € for an interview and some photos.
From call-girl to fashion designer
This could have been the end of the story. But it is not. Zahia has initiated a career change as a fashion designer. She sure gets the media’s attention. Not that her lingerie collection is revolutionary in the fashion world, but she is definitely an intriguing woman. Very young and already an iconic figure (some would say), she seems to be cultivating this mystery that encircles her pretty well. She has a good communication style: silence. She certainly does not have so much to say but she also knows how to calculate every picture, interview or public event of any kind.
A french reporter made a documentary on her, where this communication control is obvious. This documentary is a fairytale: everything is pink and shiny and so superficial. She is not talkative but says only things she wants to share: how this football players affair did hurt her, how unfair and humiliating it was that people would call her opportunist after this although she wanted to be in fashion before being in … prostitution.
The woman is a wonder, her body a work of art
The aspect that gets my attention is her image of what a woman should be: extremely elegant and always pretty. The man should do all the work of seducing the woman and not the other way around. Zahia has a very old-fashion vision of men/women relationship. And if we dig deeper, we learn that as a kid, she was fond of old Egyptian movies, starring beautiful women praised by men. She grew up with this as a model of human relationships, very sexualized and seductive kind of relationships. When she moved to France from Algeria at the age of 10, she started to spend time with people older than her (which, by the way, led her to discover the wonderful world of nightlife and some of its dark side a.k.a prostitution) the reason? She wanted to grow faster and become a woman.
Women should be worshiped by men, as the female body is a work of art and therefore entitled to be treated as such. She is afraid of growing old. More specifically, she is afraid of her body getting old and having other people taking care of it. She is afraid of the moment when her body will not belong to her anymore. As a gift to the guests of her first fashion show, Zahia opted for the reproduction in miniature of her bust. This is clearly a way to immortalize her perfect body. It goes without saying that Miss Dehar is taking veryyyy good care of her appearance … every day, 3 hours with the help of her personal make-up artist and hairdresser.
The “personal doll”
The inconsistency between her appearance and her personality (or what she shows as her personality) does not add up. She has a sweet, little-girl like voice trapped in a vamp body. It is curious and somehow freaky, in so much that some might legitimately wonder whether this innocence is real or fake, as a part of her perfect communication plan.
The hairdresser refers to Zahia as her “personal doll” and talks to her as like to a kid. And I could not help but notice that it was a popular trend in Zahia’s entourage. About that, a moment of the documentary got particularly my attention : it takes place a few days before a big event : Zahia’s first fashion show. She is indeed presenting her first lingerie collection and she has to give a name to every item of it. The reaction of the staff is close to being ridiculous: shouting “wow!” and “amazing!” as she would have won a Nobel, just because she named a bra “Kiss me” (so original) seems a little disproportionate. And at the end, when she is done finding 20ish names as sophisticated as the one forementionned, wave of hand clapping. This is not the amusing part. The amusing parts are all the comments that go with it and the maternal tone which is frankly quite disturbing. The same tone as one would use to encourage a kid who just got a good grade to keep up the good work.
Zahia is a little girl in a fairytale locked in a playmate body with dusty ideas about men/women relationships.