RESERVE by JBWJanuary 24, 2022
Meet Boundary-Breaking Model Cady Elredy
As the first Hijabi model to be signed in Texas, Cady is pushing for progress and pursuing her dreams
Cady Elredy is the first hijabi model to be signed in Texas, but the 24-year-old Dallas native is much more than her striking bone structure and 5-foot-10 stature. While pushing for progress in fashion, she is also pursuing her second master’s degree, working as a nursing assistant, and raising her 3-year-old daughter, who already speaks both Arabic and English, as a single mother.
After tapping Elredy for a photoshoot for the RESERVE Amethyst timepiece, we had to learn more about the multi-talented model who’s reshaping the fashion industry in Texas one shoot at a time.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Katie already. I am 24 years old, and I work as a certified nursing assistant for the time being, and I am in school finishing up my prerequisites to go to PA school. I've already graduated and have both a master's and bachelor's, so this would be my second master's.
How did you get into modeling?
I got into it, actually, through my ex-husband. He's the one who told me I should give modeling a try. We were living in Chicago, and I applied to agencies out there in Chicago.
When I came back to Texas in 2020, I applied to a bunch of agencies, interviewed all around Dallas, and Kim Dawson was the one I really had my heart set on. They offered me a contract, so I've only been signed since about September of 2020, but due to COVID I wasn't announced until December of 2020.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the job?
My favorite part of the job is, I love being able to work in a collaborative environment. It's kind of similar to what I love about healthcare – I love being able to go to work and work with other models and makeup artists, and just watch everybody in their element, and then have a final product. That's probably my favorite thing. I really, really enjoy it, honestly, more than I ever expected to. My least favorite part, I would say, I hate when they ask you to bring like your own clothing items to set. I never know what to bring and then I'm, like, hauling everything!
You’re the first hijabi model to be signed to an agency in Texas. What does that mean for you?
Well, I mean, being the first for anything is kind of difficult, especially in the Texas market where people don't really have much of a knowledge of my religion, or what the rules are, or what’s expected, or how I can dress. So, I think it's been a learning curve for everyone involved. I also feel really blessed and grateful, because I get to go and kind of educate people on what my religion requires. You know, it's not as hard as people think it is to dress a Muslim model. It's just really about being careful to respect the religion as much as possible.
What has your experience been like so far?
I think, at first everybody was really, really excited that there's a hijabi model, and then there was a bit of a lull where people were like, ‘Well, she can't wear this, we don't know how to dress her.’ At first, it was pretty difficult to get booked, simply because people weren't really aware. Thankfully, my agency is amazing and they've even created big cards that get sent to stylists that say, this is what her preferences are in terms of dressing.
I won't sit here and say that it's been easy. How is it? I mean, I think I still struggle with getting booked as much as I would like to be. But I also think that things are changing now, the market is becoming a lot more diverse, clients and companies are wanting to show more diversity in their work.
What do you hope to see change in the industry?
I just hope that people can be more open to different and unique looks. I think that, though things have gotten better in the sense that modeling isn’t just like a blonde, blue-eyed girl the way it was when I was a kid. I don't think I would have gotten signed if I tried at a younger age. I definitely think this is a sign of the times that things are changing, the fact that I was able to even get signed here. I really hope that throughout the next few years, and in the future of fashion and modeling, that we can be more accepting of different looks and people from different backgrounds. I think it's getting there. It's not where it needs to be, but things are getting better.
So, you already have two degrees, and you're working towards another one. What are your dreams for the future?
I really, really would like to be able to model full time. I love this so much, and again, I did not think I would love it as much as I have. I've been in healthcare, basically, since I was 16 years old, and that's been the path that I've been on my entire life.
I started modeling in the COVID pandemic, where I was working night shifts inside the COVID ICU, seeing and dealing, with all of that – and then, let's say I got booked for a modeling job, I'd go there and it feels like it's just a completely different world. It allowed me to take a breather from everything that was going on in healthcare.
I'd love to be able to get signed in New York. I'd love to be able to grow as a model, and work as a model full time. Don't get me wrong, I love my career, but like I said, I already have a bachelor's and master's. If I did go to PA school, that would be in the future. I think right now I really want to give modeling my all.
"I used to hate being different. I hope that through watching me being able to model, and be high achieving, and get degrees, and do well in school, that [my daughter] sees you don't have to be afraid to be who you are."
You have a young daughter – what do you hope to show her with your modeling and your career?
One thing with Serene, especially because I had her so young, it's really, really hard being a single mom. People don’t warn you how difficult it is. I want her to see that she doesn't have to be afraid to be who she is. She doesn't have to be afraid to dress however she wants.
I used to hate being different. I used to hate walking into a hospital and being the only person that's wearing a scarf. I used to feel very self conscious, but I hope that through watching me being able to model, and be high achieving, and get degrees, and do well in school, that she sees you don't have to be afraid to be who you are. I want her to have that kind of strength and confidence in herself, and to really love herself and who she is. I want her to be proud of her religion, and the fact that she's Egyptian. I want her to just be so proud of her heritage and culture, despite growing up in America.