‘Really humiliated’: Israeli model evicted from Egyptian hotel over nationality

“In the four years I’ve been [modeling], I’ve never felt antisemitism or a problem because I’m Jewish and Israeli. This time it was something different.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israeli model Shay Zanco was recently ordered to leave an Egyptian hotel immediately when management learned that she was Israeli and not officially part of the retinue that was there with rapper Travis Scott, who had invited her to attend his concert in the country, Walla Celebs reported.

Although the concert at the Giza pyramids was cancelled, Zanco had already arrived and decided to take advantage of the situation and play tourist for several days.

“I was very stressed and felt really humiliated,” she told the news site. “In the four years I’ve been [modeling], I’ve never felt antisemitism or a problem because I’m Jewish and Israeli. This time it was something different. I left the hotel straight to the airport and caught the only flight there was to Paris, even though I had a photo shoot in Barcelona.”

According to a report in Egyptian site Sada El-Balad English (See News), an official from the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry’s Chamber of Hotel Establishments said that legally, no one could be banned from a hotel due to nationality and that this establishment would be punished for its actions against Zanco.

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The hotel was also found to be “unlicensed for tourism,” the report said.

Zanco is “one of plus-size fashion’s fastest rising stars” who “hasn’t been afraid to put pressure on an industry that hasn’t always prioritized body inclusivity,” fashion bible Vogue magazine wrote.

The 21-year-old model has appeared for Victoria’s Secret, Asus and others, while having a strict rule that she would model only for companies that actually make garments in her size.

“I told one company, ‘I’ll work with you guys, but if I go to the store now, will something go over my leg?’ They [the representatives] just looked down,” she told Vogue in an interview last year. “And I was like, ‘Exactly. Do you want me to promote something that you don’t have, just because you want to tick a box? That’s not happening.’”

Zanco had an eating disorder when younger, trying to “fit into this tiny little square that everybody wanted me to be in,” she said. She is now comfortable in her own body, and more than making money, she said, her career goal was to enable her sister and friends like her to find a selection of nice clothes in larger sizes.

In line with this vision, the young model has already created a lingerie collection, including strapless bras and chic underwear for fashion-conscious, plus-size young women, working with British brand Oola and Israeli fashion site Terminal X.