efe-epaMaria D. Valderrama Paris

Negzzia was persecuted by the Iranian government after posing nude and has since fled to Paris to pursue her dream of being a model.

Moving to Europe has been challenging though and has even forced her to sleep on the streets of Paris.

The 29-year-old has been in the capital of fashion for nine months, and last week she was granted refugee status.

Her case became well known and even caused French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to react on Twitter, saying she would be offered asylum.

But nothing has changed yet.

For Negzzia (a false name she uses to hide her identity), exposing her body has become a form of rebellion.

In Iran, where she has worked as a model since she was 22, the arrest of a photographer who had shot her nude was a warning she could not ignore.

"My friend called me and said he is on the list and I just remembered that he told me 'say goodbye to your body' and in that moment I understood that. I just took a small bag and moved to Istanbul," Negzzia said in an interview with Efe.

Her lawyer, a young man of Iranian origin, got in touch with her when her story hit the French headlines, but she took a month to accept his help out of fear that he would take advantage of her.

In Iran posing nude would have been punishable by 148 lashes.

In Istanbul, she worked as a model for a year, but conservatism, once again, reared its head.

She had just died her hair red and people would insult her on the street.

Women were the worst of all, one even bit her, she added.

These experiences and the fear of being spied upon or reported convinced her to embark on her journey to Europe and Paris was the city she dreamed of.

"My visa arrived and I was so happy but the guy (who was helping) called me and he said, 'You know what, the company... everything is ready, but first week I want to rent a beautiful hotel in front of the Eiffel Tower and me and you (will be) spending a beautiful week together'," she recalled.

"Me and him in one room in a hotel. It only has one meaning, you know. I never in my life wanted to sleep with someone for success and I said 'No, I will not do this'.

"You said you want to help me. If you want to help me, do it but I don't need to spend a romantic week with you for a job.

"And he told me, 'Okay, there is no job' and he blocked me," she said.

So she left for Paris with no job, no place to stay and with all the money she had managed to save during her Turkey stint.

But without her papers in order, finding work was impossible. Even more so in the world of fashion.

Money for lodging ran out after a month and the procedure for getting asylum was progressing very slowly.

Necessity prevailed.

She had no option but to trust those who claimed they wanted to help her, but one by one they abandoned their efforts when she refused to sleep with them.

She tried to commit suicide on three occasions.

During this period one man shut her in a room for a week, another tried to get her to work as a stripper and so she took the decision to sleep on the streets convinced her that it was better to not owe anybody anything.

She recalled the first night she slept rough as hard. She was hungry, it was cold and time stagnated.

But Negzzia did not give up.

She spends a fourth of the 400 euro allowance from the French government on a gym membership.

The sum is not enough to cover the cost of a room in Paris.

Her friends at the gym, upon learning of her plight, offered her bed. She slept 24 hours straight the first night.

She has a growing Instagram fanbase, currently at 120,000 followers, where she continues to share pictures of her body in an act of defiance.

"I am proud of myself because I did not sell myself to be safe, become successful.

"It was my dream since I was a little girl and now I have a chance to try for it.

"Everyday I tell myself that one day I will catch what I want," she concluded. EFE-EPA

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