Yael Shelbia Cohen
August 31, 2001
|Height||174 cm (5 ft in)|
|Agency||ITM Israel, Model Link (Sweden), Elite (Miami, US), The Squad London (UK), ModelWerk (Germany), AddictedToModels (Austria), Storm Model Management (Los Angeles, US)|
She has appeared in a number of international modeling campaigns. She was listed by TC CANDLER in 2018 as the 3rd most beautiful face in the world, ahead of her fellow countrywoman Gal Gadot, and again in 2019 as the 2nd most beautiful face in the world. In January 2020, Yael was named Model of the Year by At Magazine.
She became a leading model for Castro from 2017 and Renuar from 2018 . She has received additional media attention due to her Orthodox background, as she keeps Kosher and observes Shabbat, which had led to controversy in her Orthodox Jewish religious community. In 2019, Shelbia was chosen to lead Kylie Jenner's new skincare range.
Yael currently stars in the television series 'Palmach' on Teen Nick and Yes TV Kids.
In April 2020, Shelbia joined the Israeli Defense Force, the military forces of the State of Israel. She is currently serving in the Air Force.
Yael Shelbia Cohen was born in Nahariya, Israel, to a religious Orthodox Jewish family. Her mother, Ofra Cohen, is a realtor and a librarian with a master's degree in Urban planning and geography. Her father, Ofer Cohen, is a factory supervisor. She has two sisters and two brothers.
She uses her middle name "Shelbia" as her professional surname, which was inherited from her Djerban great-grandmother's Tunisian-Jewish family (of Sephardic Jewish descent), as it is believed to protect against the evil eye. She began by uploading selfies she took by herself on Instagram shortly before her 16th birthday. As a result of finding her photos on her Instagram account, she later received an offer to take photos from the professional photographer Marina Moskowitz.
She attended a religious Ulpana high school for girls. Her modeling soon led to controversy and opposition in her Ulpana, which threatened to send a letter to the Israeli Education Ministry to expel her. Her family however, had been supportive of her career, so long as it would not interfere with her religious studies. And after consultation with Israel's Religious Education Ministry, she was allowed to continue her studies on condition of following certain guidelines. However, combining a modeling career with a religious lifestyle, has led to difficulties, including in terms of modesty of clothing. During a modeling campaign in Milan, she had to live on crackers for four days, as she could not find kosher food. She says she had lost many modeling contracts, due to her keeping of the Sabbath and choices in clothing.
The speed of the success of her career both in Europe and Israel, has led to comparisons to Shlomit Malka, Dorit Revelis and Sofia Mechetner. She plans to serve as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, rather than serving in the Sherut Leumi as a civilian. The latter is what most religious Jewish girls in Israel opt to do.
In 2019, she was cast for her debut acting role in a television series about the Israeli Palmach. It is a drama adventure series set in 1946, two pivotal years before the State of Israel was founded. A seemingly innocent training farm secretly functions as a Strike Forces (Palmach) training base and recruitment center for exceptional teens, as well as a home-base for illegal immigration missions and special ops against the British mandate. The show debuted in 2020, Shelbia plays Ruth.