Happy to have you here, Sonia. Tell us your story, how did you got started modelling and where do you call home at the moment?
I started my career just by sharing some normal photos with dresses that I designed on my social media, 8 years ago. It was a surreal experience, at the time it was the beginning of a new era.
I’m from a small town called Mahabad, in Iran. Living in a small town, they judged me a lot because they still had old cultural values for girls not being allowed to share pictures on social media without a hijab. I took it upon myself to do it, as I was forging a new path for other girls in the same circumstance, who want to follow their hearts desire to become a model. That kick-started my career. Suddenly, I was inundated with photographers from Tehran asking to work with them, which took my career to another level. I then moved to Tehran and worked there for 2 years, before moving to the Kurdistan region of Iraq, as Iran is an Islamic state, I couldn’t do much more.
That was the start of my career as a model. It was hard to live in a new country alone and far from my family but that experience built me and made me a stronger person. Home is where you feel safe and free.
Tell us more about yourself. What else do you do beyond modelling?
I graduated with a Bachelor in Computer Engineering from university. I have been competing in beauty pageants for years. In 2016, I won the title of Miss Iran, which was a huge accomplishment for me. In 2019, I was again crowned this time with the title of Miss Universe Iran and achieving further success in 2021 as Miss Global Iraq.
I recently became an author, publishing my first book called, REBORN. Which is now available on Amazon.
I’m constantly working and trying to improve my craft and creativity. I'm currently working on my music career and will release my first music video soon, there is much more to come and celebrate.
What do you love most about being a model? And, what do you least enjoy?
Being a model was a way to build my personality and career, modelling made me stronger. I had to fight for my right as a woman to make the space for following my dreams. Maybe in most countries, modelling is just a normal job but for me, it became my life and made me see the world from another perspective. I found out much more about my rights as a woman and how my human rights were lost. It bothered me as I began to think about it more often, that is when I started fighting for my own and other women’s rights, using my voice and influence that others have given me for freedom. I’m enjoying how I’ve become someone stronger, in a way that I never expected.
What is the most challenging part of being a beauty Queen?
The international beauty standards and also inside and out standards, that you have to be educated, intelligent, a symbol for the next generation and be a representation of a country. That’s hard to handle because, besides these pressures to be perfect, you have to work hard for this title, which is not easy.
You have to develop your social activities with your title but that’s a really great opportunity, one in a million to represent a country on an international stage.
If you could change something in the modelling world, what would it be?
It would be equality, not that equality of the women’s and men’s rights, equality of seeing new talents. I would like to see designers and casting directors considering new faces and letting them grow within the industry. We don’t see a lot of new breakthrough models, all we see is just the same supermodels, which in turn won’t allow others an equal opportunity. I want to see this type of equality and diversity in the industry.
You recently released your first book, can you tell us more about it?
My book is poetry and the title of my book is Reborn because I feel like human feelings and emotions can make you Reborn, Sometimes someone in your life can make you feel better and give another colour to your life that is a really deep experience and I wrote this book in a love perspective, on how someone truly feels when their heart is open to love.
What fuels your imagination and provides you with inspiration?
What inspires me is people who have sacrificed and survived a great ordeal in order to fulfil their dreams and then finally achieve what they want, opening new doors for the next generation who want to follow the same path. That makes me want to strive for greatness.
What keeps you excited about life in general?
Hope keeps me excited. I went through a lot of difficulties, and I experienced a lot of things that a person with a normal lifestyle could not handle, but my excitement is to see the results of my hard work come to fruition. I have gained a lot of love, respect, credibility and a great reputation and that makes me really excited.
How does it feel to be a businesswoman in 2021? Do you feel as if there is more equal opportunity?
Being a businesswoman in this century requires a lot of experience and work. I try a lot of different businesses to see where I can find myself, the idea is more important than any step in business.
Looking back, how has your experience with modelling changed your personal/professional life? Have you grown more comfortable with yourself since you have started?
I grew up in a place where people didn’t like skinny tall girls, they preferred curvy girls. I used this negative and turned it into a positive. For a long time, I was ashamed about my body shape, I lost my confidence but then I changed the game and I tried to show that my body shape is internationally accepted and that it can be converted into my dream job.
What kind of life would you like to have?
I feel like I was born to have a different life and that’s what made me select a career that gives me a lot of new experiences, bad and good ones helping me grow day by day. I like this lifestyle, it’s like I was born for it, this is not just a lifestyle, it’s an adventure. I have always been a spontaneous person, I like different experiences, being normal is not who I am.
What are the achievements you are proud of most of today?
I am very proud of achieving my titles as a beauty queen, publishing my book and becoming a stronger person that can deal with any situation thrown at me but most of all is the respect and love of the people is the biggest achievement that I’m proud of.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
They can find me on all social platforms such as Facebook (Sonia Beytoushi), Instagram (@Soniabeyt) and TikTok (@Soniabeytoushi). For work and business collaboration, they can contact my agency The Quincy Dash Company (@thequincydashco), which recently started representing me.
Agency: The Quincy Dash Co. @thequincydashco Model: Sonia Beytoushi @soniabeyt Photographer: Darin Naser Makeup Artist: Rinas Fadhil Ali Hair Stylist: Liya Yousefi