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Youssra and Top Arab Actors Highlight the Power of Regional Cinema and TV in Our April 2024 Issue

The April 2024 issue of Vogue Arabia features Youssra and top Arab actors to highlight the power of regional cinema and TV.

vogue arabia youssra

Photo: Amer Mohamad

Queen of the silver and small screens, Youssra shines on the cover of the April 2024 issue of Vogue Arabia. As she celebrates 47 years on top of the industry, the trailblazing Egyptian’s star shows no signs of dimming. Her legacy affirms the boundless capacity of the human spirit. Interviewed by author and celebrated news anchor and journalist Hala Gorani, Youssra opens up about her quasi-royal status in popular culture, sharing that celebrity is about more than acting. “I worked very hard for it. And not only as an actress,” she says. “It’s a behavior. It’s a way of life. It’s a lot of work on yourself.”

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut shares portraying Youssra as never seen before was a collaborative effort and an incredible and fun creative challenge. “How do you showcase in a different light one of the most loved and well-known Arab icons, who already gave life to so many characters on film, but also in other magazine covers?” he posits. “Considering that Youssra is one of the most loved actresses of all time, this time we decided to ask her to be… a dangerous villain! And Youssra loved the idea”.

Also starring on Vogue Arabia’s cover are leading Arab talents Tara Emad, Menna Shalaby, Razane Jammal, and Marwan Hamed. This mix of established and new actors, also includes professionals that are behind the cameras, and people essential to the success of a movie or TV series such as iconic director Marwan Hamed and award-winning costume designer Reem El Adl. “We decided to include them as we don’t usually celebrate or value who is on the backstage, but without writers, directors, assistants, wardrobe and set designers we would not have an industry,” comments Arnaut.

Aline Asmar D’Amman, Farida Khelfa, and Leïla Slimani. Photo: Bastien Lattanzio

Along with cinema and TV, Vogue Arabia takes a deep dive into the world of literature. In Paris, the recently renovated Bibliothèque nationale de France welcomed award-winning author Leïla Slimani, film director Farida Khelfa, and architect Aline Asmar D’Amman for a conversation about books. Slimani, who won France’s highest literary award, the Prix Goncourt, divulges, “Since I was a child, I’ve been obsessed with other people. What are they thinking? Feeling? As a reader, I could sense what it was like for another human being. As a writer, I try to put myself in the shoes of someone else. In this time now, it is important to be able to look at life with another point of view. This is the gift that literature gave to me.” Charlotte Casiraghi, granddaughter of Grace Kelly and niece of Prince Albert II of Monaco, also weighs in on her favorite authors, sharing in an exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia, “My spirit is infused with cultural personas. Colette deeply impacted me; I’ve read much of her work,” she says of the French author. “Her ease, her freedom, her style—a marvelous woman, and someone who inspires me a lot.”

Photo: Gökay Çatak

Meanwhile, in Istanbul, at the historical Çırağa palace, Tunisian singer Emel talks about her new, all-female produced album, dropping this month. The singer behind the protest anthem “Kelmti Horra” (“My Word is Free”) shares, “Every woman who is doing something to showcase other women is important for all of us,” she says. “We’re not rivals. We have to trust each other and we have to create spaces for each other.”

Anissa Helou

Arab chefs Anissa Helou and Nawal Alkhalawi come together in a feature discussing the region’s favorite Ramadan dishes and the evolving way families are preparing for them. “Essentially some Ramadan dishes are changing in the way they are made, but the soul remains the same. It is exciting to anticipate these dishes from one year to the next,” says Helou. On the other hand, Alkhalawi is acutely aware of the growing importance of efficiency. “People are getting busier, and they also have smaller households, not like grandmothers’ family houses. They are not making things that require a lot of labor such as warag einnab and shish barak. People are starting to order things that take a lot of effort. Also, they are preparing well before Ramadan to make all the sambosa and freeze it, thinking of new ways to make it more efficient.”

Photo: Fouad Tadros

The Arab influence on fashion has never been stronger—and prouder. Over centuries through to the present-day Paris Spring shows, its allure inspires a legacy of artistry and glamour. Today. Tunisian model, Myriem Boukadida has made regular appearances at Maison Georges Hobeika, opening the Spring 2024 couture show to the music of Umm Kulthum. Saudi model Amira Al Zuhair made waves walking for Alaïa’s Spring 2024 couture show, while Moroccan model Nora Attal captivated audiences at the Fendi Spring 2024 couture show. While brands like Georges Hobeika, Elie Saab, and Stephane Rolland all look to the Arab world for inspiration, new faces will continue to push Arabia’s beguiling narrative for many a collection to come.

Julia Roberts

In the dazzling world of jewels, Academy Award-winning actor Julia Roberts speaks about her first high jewelry collection co-designed with Caroline Scheufele and Chopard. Speaking candidly to Vogue Arabia, the actor reveals that her work with Chopard has been “amazingly fun,” from the very beginning. “Being part of this collaboration was like taking a masterclass in high jewelry design,” remarks Roberts. “Seeing a bit of the process and the time and care that goes into the designs at Chopard was fantastic. I am really attracted to colorful designs. They evoke such a strong sense of joy for me. So that was an element I was enthusiastic about,” she says. “Our conversations, the campaigns—all of it has been joyful. I think this is what we are trying to relay.”

The Ambanis

From high jewelry crafted in Switzerland, Vogue Arabia takes readers to India, for a behind-the-scenes look inside the spectacular pre-wedding festivities of Radhika Merchant and Anant Ambani. The man behind the magic? Master craftsman and couturier to the stars Manish Malhotra. Commenting on his first reaction upon hearing of his appointment as creative director of the wedding from Nita Ambani last year, Malhotra says, “Naturally, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy for the family and anticipation for the celebrations ahead. Collaborating with Mrs. Ambani has always been exhilarating, given her visionary approach that transcends conventional boundaries, and I always look forward to aligning my creative vision once again with hers.” The brief was clear: “She wanted the guests to immerse themselves in the essence of India,” recalls Malhotra.

Enjoy all this and more in the April 2024 issue of Vogue Arabia, on stands now.

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