To be honest, before sitting down to write about Israel’s top models, I was slightly apprehensive. After all, this is 2023, and we (as in humanity, and especially ISRAEL21c) are all now much more interested in people’s amazing achievements than we are in their height, weight or hair color.
Thankfully, the fashion industry has also changed. In Israel, for example, singer Mergui is leading a makeup campaign blurring gender lines and stereotypes, while Nurit Gordon, 74, is still busy slaying it.
And when compiling the names for this article, I realized that here too lies an opportunity to celebrate people – their fantastic innovation, inspiring life stories and the many faces of Israel that they represent so beautifully, both inside and out.
Eden Fines, 25, is one of the hottest names in the Israeli modeling industry. Not only is she a pro, she also stands out for her vivid personality and for not being afraid to tackle the less glamorous sides of her life and work.
She’s been super candid about living with polycystic ovary syndrome; the way negative comments affect her; and the eating disorder and bouts of depression that accompanied her first years in the field, urging her many followers to seek help when needed and to be kinder to themselves.
Recently, she even opened up about her first sexual encounter, which was not consensual, airing topics still considered taboo by many and inspiring young women everywhere with her courage.
Yael Shelbia is absolutely everywhere now in Israel – in campaigns, on TV, on social media (and of course in gossip columns).
The 21-year-old, who splits her time between Israel and Dubai, was raised in a religious family in northern Israel, and was famous at the beginning of her career for balancing her religious lifestyle and the demands of the modeling world.
She recently starred in a TV documentary in which she shared the challenges of reaching world fame, being away from her family and making it big time somewhat alone.
If Shay Zanco looks familiar to you, it’s probably because you have in fact seen her: In Beyonce’s Adidas collaboration campaign; modeling underwear for British retail giant Marks and Spencer; in the pages of Vogue magazine; or posing for online empire Asos.
Now 21, the young model recently launched a range of plus-sized underwear, inspired by the difficulties she encountered as a teen in search of comfortable items.
Zanco has also found herself a spokeswoman for women who don’t meet aesthetic expectations, candidly sharing how unhappy she was when she was younger, slimmer, and suffering from an eating disorder. She embraces her gorgeous looks and encourages others to do the same, and is known in the industry for not collaborating with brands that don’t offer their wares in bigger sizes.
Dorit Revelis, 21, has modeled for Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Chanel and countless others, bringing a Michaela Berko-esque vibe wherever she goes.
The young model was previously a professional gymnast, matriculated in physics and completed her army service – proving you can actually be good at everything you do.
While still aiming to reach new peaks in her modeling career, Revelis also has set her sights on acting, which she will probably do just as amazingly as everything else she touches.
Shlomit Malka has been one of Israel’s best-loved and most famous models for quite a few years, despite currently residing in New York.
She’s worked with major international and Israeli brands, and there was one point when you couldn’t stroll through an Israeli mall without having her peek at you from all directions.
A few years ago, she narrowly escaped a head injury while scootering without a helmet, and has since become a spokeswoman for safe riding, leading a very effective, tongue-in-cheek campaign on the issue.
Sun Mizrahi is a relatively new name on the Israeli modeling scene, but the 24-year-old has already reached peaks others can only dream of – Chanel, Dior, Fendi and Hermes, to name just a few.
Mizrahi shot to fame when she was scouted after being photographed for one of her lecturer’s collections while a fashion student, and has been globetrotting ever since.
She’s proof that life is all about perseverance – noting that at 17, she was turned down by all the modeling agencies she applied to.
Sofia Mechetner, now 22, stormed the modeling world at the tender age of 14, after having bumped into creative director Raf Simons at the Dior store in Paris. She went on to star in his show and made headlines in Israel and abroad for her young age. Since that episode, by the way, most runway shows only accept models over the age of 16.
Mechetner has been dubbed as somewhat of a Cinderella story here in Israel, having been brought up by her single mother and helping out with the family’s financing after making it big. She’s since modeled for Dior, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and many other top brands, and is definitely one of the hottest names in Israeli modeling.
Barak Shamir, 24, is one of the busiest models in Israel. As well as achieving a slew of international campaigns –Versace, Armani, Levi’s and more – he’s routinely the face of Israeli fashion brands, across the country.
Shamir is also making his first steps into the acting world, meaning we’ll likely be seeing him on screen even more. Recently, he bravely shared that he underwent sexual harassment at the hands of a top agent in Paris, shedding light on an important topic and helping empower others in similar situations.
Sivan Klein is one of the more veteran names on this list, but probably one of the coolest. The former Miss Israel is not only a model and TV personality, but combines these with shifts as a hospital nurse, sharing that her dream is to be a midwife. And oh, did we mention that she’s also a lawyer by training? There really is nothing she can’t do.
Tomer Hacohen, 23, is a rising fashion star, but his start was not an easy one – just as he made his first footsteps in the modeling world, his father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Hacohen stopped everything to take care of his dad, who has since passed, before proceeding to get back into the industry.
He’s since snagged a number of campaigns and began studying computer science and entrepreneurship at university. We have a feeling that this is just the beginning for him.