Photography | Pauline Scotto di Cesare    Styling | Clotilde Franceschi

A French Algerian dancer and choreograph, a Queer feminist and activist. Habibitch uses dance, and her body as a medium. She always denounces through her practice of waacking, voguing and debates – A creative with one aim/goal: « to decolonise the dance floor. »


Hello, Habibitch! How are you?

I am great, thank you. I just came back from work and now I am here, ready to be interviewed. 😀


Thank you for the kind words, could you introduce yourself a bit to us?

Hi, I am Habibitch. I am French, and also Algerian. I am an immigrant, a queer, a feminist and a body-positive and LGBTQ+ activist. I am a dancer, a performer, a choreographer, the Godmother of House of Gorgeous Gucci in Paris, a Sociology teacher in Science Po Paris, and an author-to-be.


You have indeed an interesting name! How did you come up with the name “Habibitch”? Wouldn’t you worry about offending a certain group of people?


I know you like that name! Don’t you? Actually it was my friend who inspired me to name myself “Habibitch”. It perfectly links my heritage with my identity. Habibi is a common word in Arabic, meaning “my love”, “darling” or simply a greeting. We Arabic speakers use it in our everyday life. Combining Habibi with “bitch”, the stigmatizing slur that people normally use to verbally abuse women (or people with feminine characteristic) is definitely controversial and offensive to some people, especially to those conservative ones in the Arabic Community. However, I don’t care what they think, what matters is how those people who I care and love think. “Habibitch” is a combination of my origin, my career, my passion and my identity. It’s the perfect encapsulation of who I am.

When did you realize that it was the art form that best represents you?


Dance is definitely the art form that best represents me. I realized it when I started to perform waacking and vouging in ballroom. I feel completely liberated and emancipated while dancing, and I can fully express myself through the dance moves. Even though debate and verbal communication are a common way for me to battle against the “heteronormative and racist culture” that is rooted in the contemporary French society; dance is the artistic, non-verbal action that I adopt to “decolonize the dance floor”.


Aside from dancing, do you also practice other art form to voice your debate and spread your view?


Yes sure. As I mentioned before, I am also an activist and a Sociology teacher. I incorporate my dance background to my professional life. I teach my students in the Sociology class to express their point of view, their observation and their philosophy through their dance flow and body movements.


Body is the medium of your dance performance, what is the relationship between your body, your perception and the messages you wish to convey?


My relationship with my body is very close, and I love to use it as a medium to express my thoughts and moods. I love the feeling when my mind is connected with my body.

As an activist, body positivity is one of the messages that I wish to convey through my body. As you may see, I don’t have a body shape that fits to the concept of “perfect body” that the general publics conceived. It is even worse when fashion brands and media perpetuate this “beauty standard” through campaign, advertisement, print issue and social media. That’s why I barely work with fashion. But I am happy about my body, and I would love to challenge the idea of “traditional beauty standard”, to change people’s perspective of how a “perfect body” supposed to be, and to inspire those people who doesn’t have the “perfect body” that media and brands promoted.

total look vintage

Immigration, modernization and globalization have for sure galvanized the restructure of the contemporary Parisian vibe, which is different to the stereotypical Parisian that the world has perceived. For you, what is the new “Parisian Style or the “Parisian Style in the making”?


France has a very heteronormative and racist culture due to its colonial and religious background. The contemporary “Parisian style”, a more multicultural, multiracial and diversified modern Parisian imagery has already existed, but it was often disregarded and left unnoticed by the society – a very white, catholic, upper-class heteronormative mindset propagated by the government and the mainstream media.

However, I’ve noticed that the gaze from the public is gradually changing. There are more and more people of color, religion, sexual minorities and unconventional icons who come into the limelight, gradually changing the “Parisian” stereotype. But we still have a long way to go before finally changing the whole colonial, patriarchal and xenophobic social climate. And that’s part of the leitmotif of my motto “decolonize the dance floor”.


As a central member of the Paris ballroom scene (which most people around the world might not be familiar with), what is your observation to the Parisian ballroom culture?


Actually, Paris has a very rich ballroom culture. It is one of the most colorful and vivacious ballroom scenes in the world, second to those in the United States. The success of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” introduces this African and Latin-American LGBTQ+ underground subculture to the public, but in fact, there is much profound cultural context behind it. Many people conflate the idea of ballroom culture and drag ball culture, but they are actually two different scenes. In the Parisian ballroom scene, drag or cross-dressing performance is not necessary; competition for the trophy is not a must; and the members are not solely from the LGBTQ+ community. Ballroom welcomes everyone, and I am a proud member of the community, the godmother of House of Gorgeous Gucci. I used to go to balls to meet my friend, to enjoy my night with music and dance, and to leave alone in the early morning without saying goodbye to them. I really like this kind of feeling, because we will for sure meet again in the next ball. And I am happy that Paris is the city that embraces it.

So In a way, Paris is literally burning! As an LGBTQ + and body activist, you fight for the rights of the minority communities against all kind of discrimination. What are the difficulties you’ve encountered while voicing for them?


Of course there are. Even though we are in 2021, there are still a lot homophobic, misogynist, racist remarks and hate crimes happening everyday. Colonial and patriarchal white hegemony is still quite influential in France’s culture. I’ve encountered people who dislike my name, my appearance, my debate or the ideology that I represent. However, I don’t care about what they think. I am professional, so when I am working on something, I can dedicate myself fully into it without being effected by the slanders and slurs. I am also a caring person. I care about my friends, my community and my ballroom family; they are the person who I love. And for those haters, I really have no time for them.


Thank you for the brilliant elaboration, we really enjoy our talk with you. Before saying goodbye, we would love to know what are your plans in the upcoming future, and your own artistic career?


I have many projects going on right now, and some of them are still confidential. But I will for sure continue to dance, to attend ballroom (of course during the lockdown it is impossible), to teach and to advocate. One thing I can tell you is that, I will soon have a new identity – an author. I am going to publish my first book in the upcoming future, I cannot disclose too much to you right now, but I am very excited about it.


What an exciting news! Congratulations Habibitch. We are looking for your new book and we cannot wait to hear more from you in the near future. Thank you so much for the interview today. Have a lovely evening!

underwear ERES, necklace AIR OUANE

Talent: Habibitch (@_habibitch_)


Photographer: Pauline Scotto di Cesare (@paulinescottodicesare)

Stylist: Clotilde Franceschi (@clotildefranceschi)

MUA: Thierry Do Nascimento (@thierry.do.nascimento)

Hair: Andrea Idini (@andrea_i_hair)

Nail Artist: Pablo Esconails (@pabloesconails)

Producer: Miriam Haddad (@saint_lucyfer)

Assistant Producer: Camelia

Interview by Yves Tsou