Brains, beauty and business acumen: MOJEH meets the co-founder of Ego & East
Lebanese sisters Reem and Natalya Kanj co-founded Ego & East – a premier talent agency representing some of the most exciting names on YouTube and Instagram in the MENA region, Europe and the US – in 2016.
Natalya and Reem’s experience as international in uencers, combined with Natalya’s hands-on PR experience working with luxury global brands, made the venture a natural progression for the siblings.
“We wanted to create an agency in line with the brand new requirements of a buzzing industry,” explained 32-year- old Reem. “Our ethos has always been to create a family feel and strong support system for all our names.”
When it comes to dressing for success, Reem Kanj has had plenty of experience. Working as a blogger for eight years has given her ample insight into fashion, and the outside world’s perception of and responses to it. One look at the moodboard that is her Instagram feed reveals an enviable luxurious but relaxed aesthetic.
“Comfort is my priority, and my style is completely mood-dependent,” she says.While she admits to favouring jeans and T-shirts most of the time, with a vintage pair of Levi 501s being her signature look, she also knows how to ramp it up.
“I love the Materiel Tbilisi suit I’m wearing, I love the designer in general, and this is a great, modern take on a power suit,” she says. “I feel good in a power suit, but I also know empowerment comes from within.”
As well as stocking her undoubtedly burgeoning wardrobe, Reem also likes to nourish her mind. “I love The Power of Now,” she tells us of the best-selling self-help book by Eckhart Tolle,which encourages readers to live in the now, and make the most out if it.
Setting up a business isn’t without its challenges, but a pragmatic approach keeps both Reem and Natalya balanced.“Every day you are faced with challenges, but that’s part of being an entrepreneur. I like going for what I want, and believe that failure isn’t a negative, just another learning curve.”
For boardroom inspiration, Reem Kanj looks to the likes of Emily Weiss – founder of cosmetics company Glossier – and Natalie Massenet, while her sartorially-focused eye is on Hailey Bieber’s very ‘street’ sense of style.
As far as designers go, Reem’s approach is considered rather than frivolous. “I love Magda Butrym, Orseund Iris, by FAR, and what Rihanna is doing. Magda is so luxe, Orseund is simple and classic and by FAR is understated and minimal. I love well-made pieces that aren’t too ashy. Alexander Wang is also a go-to for me.”
Testament to her style, at the top of her wish list for this season is a pair of Marni boots, but while fashion can sometimes project a prickly exterior, Reem’s ethos is to “Work hard, be nice to people.” Something we can all relate to.
- Photography by Ausra Osipaviciute
- Words by Elaine Lloyd-Jones