Model, Founder of XYNE Casting & BIPOC Creative Directory
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Coming to New York to work for a non-profit whose goal was to end the injustice of poverty, Nouri Hassan eventually landed in the fashion and creative space. She was inspired to start her own casting agency, XYNE Casting, to help solve the problems she faced firsthand in the industry. “I was 19 when I first started producing and casting for some incredible publications. Simultaneously, I was starting my modeling career and experienced tokenism regularly, as many models of color do. I found myself being the only Brown girl or curvy girl on set. I felt compelled to use my strengths and knowledge in both of these areas to make a difference. So, I created XYNE — it is a reflection of the change I want to see throughout the industry and it is the future of casting.”
In recent months, Nouri has seen a big increase in the interest for diverse, inclusive casting. “Since the resurgence of the BLM movement, a lot of brands have reached out to me saying that they want to make changes in their companies and that they want to have a woman of color behind their casting. It’s exciting to see people wanting to make these changes and that they want it on both sides — they want to diversify their casting and their teams.”
"It’s about being open and accepting who comes your way. You can meet a lot of amazing people that way.”
Nouri, currently a one-woman show, takes a very hands-on, personal approach with her agency. “I have a lot of conversations with the clients and assist them throughout the process. After all, they’ve given me the trust and opportunity to cast their campaign and I want to show up for them. In terms of casting, it’s the individuality that I look for. For me, It’s about being open and accepting who comes your way. You can meet a lot of amazing people that way.”
"I figured, if they're not going to do it, then I will. Companies can no longer say they don't have access to or knowledge of BIPOC creatives to hire. They're on our website, and they're all very much vetted.”
Nouri also recently created the BIPOC.network, a casting directory for BIPOC creatives, which she hopes will keep growing and getting better. “I try to add to it every single day. In terms of my future goals for the network, I plan on the website becoming more interactive — I would like to reach out to all of the creatives and profile them. Eventually, I would love to create a social aspect to the website so that BIPOC creatives can connect with each other in a safe space. Mainly, I want it to be a widely used resource. Most of the leading resources in the industry are not putting in work for creatives of color. I figured, if they're not going to do it, then I will. Companies can no longer say they don't have access to or knowledge of BIPOC creatives to hire. They're on our website, and they're all very much vetted.”