I first met Asmaa Benkirane on the rooftop of the Betsy Hotel on South Beach. I remember it well: it was a ruthlessly hot day. I was there to shoot a Miami spa month story for Deco Drive and I was trying not to sweat bullets through my new, bright green Moroccan style sundress. Wishful thinking…
Within 30 seconds of stepping onto the ocean front, open-air spa veranda, sweat started beading onto my upper lip and traces of moisture trickled down my back. I’m not gonna lie; I was pretty miserable, but I adored the spirit of the people pitching and presenting the story, so I was in it; sweaty neck, back, dress and all.
By the way, sometimes not even that uber-thick, pancake-like television make-up can withstand the South Florida heat. So, you just melt and try to make the best of it. Just as I started dabbing the dampness from my face with the back of my hand, Asmaa walked out of the hotel and into the blistering heat like a cool summer breeze.
She was light, airy and incredibly good-natured. She complimented me on my dress immediately, which would win any woman over, but when she told me she owned a store that specialized in couture kaftans, it caught my attention. Coincidentally, I had just purchased the pretty aforementioned green dress a few weeks prior at Anthropology. I loved its delicate detailing, flowing fit and the way it reminded me of something a woman in Morocco would wear.