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From cliques to creativity, get to know model Deba

The Dazed 100-er answers our quickfire pop quiz

The Dazed 100 is back, but not as you know it. For 2020, we’ve partnered with Converse to spotlight not only 100 of the world’s most creative, outspoken, and passionate next-gen names, but also their creative and philanthropic ideas. Explore the list, and you’ll find 100 manifestos to create, inspire, connect, and power change. 

Model Deba has always done things her own way, even when she was still in high school. Now a Dazed 100er, the Kurdish-British 18-year-old is paving the way for more diverse representation in modelling (“I’m a 5’5”, hairy as f*ck, I have a unibrow, and a lot to say,” she told us) and wants to use a Dazed 100 grant to run a workshop for other WOC in the fashion industry. Read on to learn what her secret talent is, how she overcomes a creative block, and what’s overrated – then head here to vote for her idea.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Deba: I wanted to be a dancer. A singer, dancer, and performer. That’s all I really wanted to do as a kid, really. 

What clique were you in in high school?

Deba: My clique was the best, man. We were not popular – nothing like that. We just did our own little thing, and were just… weird!

Who gave you your first break?

Deba: The most amazing lady, Liara Barussi. She’s a legend; a Cardiff icon. She runs Jukebox collective in Cardiff and the South Wales area and she’s just a lovely lady that helps young people dance and be themselves creatively. 

Why do you do what you do?

Deba: As a kid I never really saw (people like) myself or my family being represented in the media, so I thought why not try and be that representation for the younger kids out there. 

Explain your Dazed 100 grant idea in one sentence? 

Deba: A fun day, for very fun ladies, to talk about everything that means the most to us. I’d love to get some (speakers) in to talk about female genital mutilation because that’s an issue that’s very, very close to my heart so I’d love to raise some money for that (cause).

When do you feel most creative?

Deba: When the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and summer’s about. I hate bad weather so, for me, when the weather’s good that’s when I’m happy. 

How do you get over an artistic block?

Deba: Go for a bike ride! Go for a run… Well, I don’t go for a run. But just go for some exercise! 

Name three things that inspire you?

Deba: My mother, my mother, and my dear mother. I love my mum so much. 

What’s the best concert you’ve ever seen?

Deba: Beyoncé. I was 14 or 15. It was just crazy. I was like: “OMG that’s Beyoncé in real life!”

If you could own one piece of art, what would it be?

Deba: Loads, and loads, and loads of authentic Persian rugs. They are the craziest and hardest things to make in the whole world, and (they’re) all done by little old Iranian ladies. 

What’s the last thing you made?

Deba: Lunch!

What’s a lesson that you learned the hard way?

Deba: Nothing in life comes easy. You have to be willing to fail a lot of times or be hurt a lot for something to go right. But, it happens in the end – we gotta make it! 

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

Deba: If you’ve seen H2O, I always looked up to Cleo. Because Cleo was very – not an airhead – but she was very clumsy, and lived in her own world. And I like to think that I do the same thing. 

“Nothing in life comes easy. You have to be willing to fail a lot of times or be hurt a lot for something to go right. But, it happens in the end – we gotta make it!” – Deba

What’s your secret talent?

Deba: I can do loads of accents. 

What’s overrated?

Deba: Bacon sandwiches. I never understood those. 

What keeps you motivated?

Deba: My mother! I love my mum so much. She is literally the reason I do everything in my life. I want to help women like her. 

What will the world look like in 2050?

Deba: I would love to say that we’re gonna be happy and smiling, and getting along just fine. But I have a bad feeling, personally, that it’ll get worse with climate change. I mean if we all step in and do our bit, I’m sure we’ll be fine.

Head here to vote for Deba’s idea on the 2020 Dazed 100.