We’re very excited to have recently launched our brand new collection: Moroccan Nights. A collection that was inspired by, and made in Africa.
The experience of bringing the collection to life was incredibly exciting, and we’d love to share the story behind the shoot and introduce you to our wonderful model, Laurence Sessou, to hear more about her story and the intricate scars on her body…
Hello Laurence, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. We’d love to know more about you! Who is Laurence Sessou and where are you from?
Hi, and thank you for having me on board! I was born in France (Normandy) my roots are from the West African Republic of Benin, I have been living in London for over 16 years. I have been a Neuromuscular and Bodywork therapist for over 10 years and I am an artist, model and actor.
How long have you been modelling? And what were you doing before you start modelling?
The artistry in front of the camera is fairly recent, only 5 years ago. Before then, I was (and still am) working as a therapist and travelling the world.
What are your hobbies? And what do you like to do for fun?
I love to read. I love books! It can be spiritual, plays, fiction, as long as my brain and imagination is engaged and stimulated. I do Kundalini Yoga and meditation every day, my day starts at 5:30am, I don’t think I could function without this discipline. I am obsessed with Sci-fi movies and series (Sense 8 is my favourite) and I often go to the theatre. My fun times will be cooking for friends and family, I love a full table of good food, red wine and laughter.
What is your favourite song at the moment?
I don’t think I have any at the moment, all I hear is noise not music. I am stuck in the past and listen old school stuff.
You’ve had some beautiful and powerful bodywork done! For our readers that are unaware, can you give us a brief history behind what scarification means?
The reasons why I chose to modify my body are profound. First of all, it is a map of my spiritual journey, a form of self- expression. The deeper I was exploring my being, the more I felt inspired to decorate my temple… I see it as a celebration of life, body and spirit. Scarification is one of the most ancient way of marking our skin, it is a strong statement; growing up I asked my mother why she had scars on her temples and why they did it when she was so young? Her response was simple: ‘Because you can never be lost, with your markings, there is always a way back home’. I wanted to walk on this modern world honouring my ancestry.
What is the story behind your scars in particular and what inspired to you to begin the process of scarification?
Traditions and rituals of ancient people and tribes are the source of my inspiration, I love the mystical, I love the magic. My grandfather was a Chief and healer, my grand mothers were shamanic dancers. Animism is the path my ancestors followed; they believed in life and energy in everything, they have a great respect for the Earth. I grew up seeing my mum and dad kneeling on the floor and praying to their Altar. I wouldn't be the person I am today without my ancestry, I am very proud of it… It is in my blood and one of my purpose is to make sure their memory is never forgotten.
The scars on your body are very personal to you and your story, can you tell us what inspired the design and what it represents?
The symbol on my chest has been inspired by the female reproductive system, the middle represent our beautiful clitoris. The back scar is a map of my spiritual journey, my Vision Quest, my dream… The sacred cross in the middle is the ‘Chakana’ this is the place where we keep the fire of life. The four arrows represents the four nations and corners of the Earth. The flowers represent the medicine plant teachers. The spirals represent the infinity of possibilities. So I feel like I am carrying a dream in my back: seeing the four nations of this world enjoying the fire of life in harmony with nature under the care of Mother Earth.
Overall, in what ways has this journey influenced the person you are today?
I am not sure I’d know how to respond to this question, I feel everything is still unfolding somehow. My ancestral history is influencing everything I am doing today: my healing work, my acting, my modelling, my body art, my art, my life… Everything, and I am truly grateful.
Do you have a mantra that you live by and if so, can you share at least one with us?
I have so many! But one of my favourite quote is: ‘Knowledge is a treasure, but practice is the key to it’ by IBN Khaldoun Al Muqaddima (1332-1406) Scholar and Statesman.
We were very happy at Nubian Skin when we discovered you would be the model for our new Moroccan Nights collection! What do you think of the new collection?
One word: EPIC!
Is there anything else you would like to cover?
Working with Nubian Skin was like a dream come true, when I first came across Ade’s work, I made the assumption she was from the States! When I realise she was based in London I sent a message on Instagram but never got an answer; so when I found myself being interviewed and sitting next to Ade at ‘Afronoire’ panel discussion 2 years later, I was over the moon! The team onset was on point, professional, focused and we still managed to have fun at the same time. I really appreciated the story and it has been a real honour to be part of it.
Thank you Laurence!