Grece Ghanem is a woman who has lived many lives. Born and raised in Lebanon, she was forced to flee in the early 80’s due to the war. Grece went from working in microbiology to teaching aerobics and, eventually, transitioning completely to a career as a personal trainer. In recent years, Grece has become an Instagram sensation with her signature silver bob, striking features and effortless way of styling bold tones, earning her a third career in modeling. Her style is vivid and energetic. An incredible woman, constantly on the move, we caught up with her at the Atwater Market in Montreal the day of her shoot.
What inspired you to move your career from microbiology to personal training?
It was a chain of events and circumstances, it was a coincidence that I replaced my aerobics instructor while she was away on vacation. I loved it. Then came the war and I had to leave my country and move to Canada. It was much easier and practical for me to practice as a personal trainer rather than get my diploma certified again as a microbiologist yet both careers have helped sculpt my life to what it is today. They both have a common denominator which is health.
What do you love most about living in Montreal?
I love to live here as Montreal is a city with a rich history and a distinctive mix of North American and European cultures. It is exceptional, artistic and culture which is manifested by all forms and types of art galleries, museums, theatres and festivals all year round.
What was it like growing up in Lebanon
It was bittersweet. There is nothing more fulfilling than living every day surrounded by your family and childhood friends. Lebanon has a beautiful landscape from the beach to the mountains with warm Mediterranean weather. Not to mention kind and welcoming people, delicious food. It is unfortunate, however, that it is affected by such political conflict and dysfunctional economy which makes it difficult to raise a family.
I have read that travel is very important for you, where has been the most inspirational place you have travelled? Where do you still hope to travel to?
Paris and New York are the two cities that inspire me the most in terms of fashion. I cannot deny that the French Riviera is one of my favoured destinations for a relaxed trip. I still hope to discover Asia with a trip to Japan, Singapore and Shanghai.
Favourite era and why
I love the 20s for their feminine, loose-fitting styles, mixtures of geometric Art Deco patterns and colours.
Where do you look for a source of inspiration?
I get inspired by art, photography and people in the streets. Nature gives me energy, every day is a new adventure to enjoy, learn and treasure. This makes me feel alive, visible and happy.
Top three best fashion pieces you own?
A trenchcoat, a denim jumpsuit and a slip dress.
What do you believe is a woman's greatest asset?
A woman's greatest asset is self-confidence. Beauty that starts on the inside, it starts by taking care of her health, nutrition and exercise. There is beauty in every stage of a woman’s life. Beauty does not disappear it changes and as a confident woman, we should embrace these changes and not fear them.
When did your Instagram career evolve into a modelling career?
About two years ago when I did my first modelling job for a local brand called Les Enfants Sauvages.
Was there a moment or the post that really made an impact on your Instagram page and turn you into the “influencer” you are today?
It happened simultaneously with my interview with Vice and my meeting with Ari Cohen from Advanced Style that kick started by Instagram career. I will always be thankful to them both!
What are your thoughts about how dominant social media has become in the fashion world?
Considering how much time we spend on Instagram, whether we are mindlessly scrolling or clicking those shopping pools, it is little wonder that we have seen legitimate fashion trends emerge from social media which I believe is still impacting customer habits in such a major way.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Enjoy every moment to the maximum, be more patient, take pride in every step you take towards achieving your goal.
Besides collecting beautiful clothes, travelling, and fitness...what are your other hobbies or great interests?
I love to swim, paint and draw!
What SL piece stood out to you on the day of the shoot?
The green slip dress!! Cannot get enough!
How do you style your silk
It is a very delicate and feminine piece yet I am not afraid to pair it with chunky sandals, slides and layer with a knit or a shirt.
What is your current favourite SL piece?
The button front shirt dress in Red Leopard, worn in some of my fave shots at the market!
Photos by Garrett Naccarato