When models try their luck at another profession—acting, for instance—the discerning public often raises its eyebrow. But how about when a model takes a stab at being an actress, a director, a musical collaborator and a documentarian? For ambitions like these, a pretty face certainly must have the chops to cut it. For Elisa Sednaoui, a modeling career was just an entry point, allowing the part-Egyptian, part-French, Italian-born model-turned-actress-turned-director a chance to, as she puts it, “be trained in images.”
“I’ve seen so many images, lighting and ways of editing. So this time, it’s a great pleasure to be in power,” Sednaoui says.
The power Sednaoui refers to is her first turn as a music video director, where she went behind the lens (along with pal Martina Gili) for Israeli musician Chaim Avital for his new single “Robots On Meth.” The topic sounds like it may be eons away from the Chanel, Armani, and Cavalli campaigns we’re used to seeing Sednaoui work on, but the track appealed to her on a fundamental level. “The song continues to recite the line ‘again and again’ and ‘doing the same,’ which is kind of this leitmotif of the life we lead. My generation is alienated in this urban life, where we’re working and doing a lot of stuff . . . and we don’t even know why we are doing certain things and what is actually important.” What is important, to Sednaoui, is the veracity of what she captures. So like any good authorial presence, she stuck to what she knew. The video, premiering below, stars her own friends—two girls out of a group of six which Sednaoui calls her own “gang” (in which Gili is also included)—as they spend a solid day and night in London.
“It was amazing,” Sednaoui says of working with old friends. “They are not professional actresses. They trust us, so they were an open book. They simply allowed us to introduce a camera and film a situation, and we were able to capture a sense of intimacy. It was real.” From following a girl friend to a hair appointment to an actual 7 a.m. dance party, the hypnotic rolling dance beat provides a soundtrack to what appears to be just another day for the girls. Which reflects back onto Sdnaoui’s theme of the reality of daily repetition. “The storyline is a stream of consciousness. In our mind we keep impressions—one second stays in our mind and we repeat it again and again.”
While this is the first time the public has seen Sednaoui’s work, this has not been her introduction to working behind the camera. In fact, she and Gili have been working on a documentary that takes place in Egypt, the homeland of her father. And she hasn’t given up her spot in front of the lens, either: At the end of the month, she’ll appear alongside Vincent Gallo in the The Legend of Kaspar Hauser. Which means, if you are counting, the woman who once made headlines as a pal of Uncle Karl has not one, but four professions under her belt. Not bad for one of the most beautiful women in the world.