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“I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure” — Assala Nasri on Overcoming Personal Challenges

Syrian singing sensation Assala Nasri is articulate, spontaneous, bold, and outspoken. After overcoming personal challenges, now, more than ever, she is touching her fans with her voice and art

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala Nasri wears dress, Nicolas Jebran; glasses, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux X Poppy Lissiman. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

It has been 10 years since my last interview with the Syrian singer Assala Nasri for the occasion of a new record release. In that first meeting, she seemed so spontaneous and frank; unbreakable, strong, assertive, and sensitive. While a decade has passed, it seems like yesterday. Nothing has changed – Nasri is the same as always.

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The singer reveals that it was Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran who convinced her to embark on this journey with Vogue Arabia and star on the third anniversary cover. It is no secret that Nasri and Jebran have a special relationship. He refers to her as, “A shining star. A happy, rebellious, capricious, and positive spirit who never surrenders and who removes obstacles with her music.” Commenting on the cover shoot, Nasri says, “When I saw the first photo, I forgot how tired I was during my travels to Marrakech. Hassan Hajjaj creates genuine art. I have never posed for a photographer like him. He is a real artist and cares so much about every detail to create his unique photos.”

Also Read: 24 Times Assala Proved Arab Designers Rule Her Wardrobe and the Stage

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala Nasri wears dress, Nicholas Jebran; hat, gloves, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

The singer continues the conversation with her musings on fame and reveals that she often considers that it could leave her at any time. “My fame is tied to my voice. I don’t know when God will deprive me of it,” she shares. And so, she tries to keep her life as a woman separate from her life as a star, though she admits to seldom succeeding. Nasri doesn’t deny that she enjoys fans’ love while on stage, but with the people close to her, she lives like anyone else. “Although fame gives everything, I hate it and hate to be governed by its details,” she asserts. “When something bad happens in my life, I will exert more effort and become more resilient. I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure.”

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When Nasri announced her divorce from Palestinian-American director and producer Tarek El Eryan on Instagram, she expressed her grief without mentioning the reasons for the split. She believes that divorce is a personal issue, one that no one has the right to comment on, especially as it is not related to her alone. Her divorce was an ordeal, and perhaps her crying on stage in Saudi Arabia is unmistakable evidence of that. She doesn’t know if her tears were due to her frustration or because she felt safe in the Kingdom, where she feels a deep connection. “Saudi people made my intellectual being. I feel I truly belong to this country that supported me from the beginning.”

“I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure.”

Whatever the reason for her crying, her tears were the truest expression of her grief. After 14 years of marriage, she lost her partner, the father of her two children, and the love of her life. Today, she tries to look at things with a new light. “We were 90% positive during our marriage, and I will never forget this phase. Our separation does not mean that we deny the achievement we made together. Tarek and I formed a successful and fun couple, and we both decided on divorce.” She refuses to talk about the possibility of reconciliation, offering, “I am still exhausted. I cannot be honest in this matter.” She has not yet recovered from the divorce. “I would say one thing to Tarek: ‘I have always confessed to you that I need a father in my life and you had promised me that I will be your child for the rest of my life even if it is impossible that we live together. You didn’t fulfill your promise when we separated.’” She asks, “Why couldn’t I play the role of a real child in Tarek’s life?”

Assala Nasri wears coat, Miu Miu; shirt, Gucci; skirt, Christopher Kane; hat, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux; shoes, photographer’s own. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

Recovering quickly, Nasri explains, “Despite all the loss, I gained myself.” She reveals that she now takes more care of her appearance, health, femininity, and fashion. In the past, she devoted much time and effort looking after every minor detail of her husband’s life. The A-list singer starts to talk about women in general, affirming that she supports all, including the oppressed, battered, successful, and persistent women, and above all, mothers. However, she expresses concern for the workload of career women, explaining, “In performing this social duty, the working woman is subject to a bigger dose of oppression, as going out to work requires double the effort; she has to work inside and outside the home. Thus, her attention for herself is weakened; she even loses so much of her human rights along the way.” She emphasizes once again women’s right to take care of themselves, their health, and to live their lives and femininity to the fullest. “If I had to do it all over again, I would look after myself more. I have paid no attention to myself for too long.”

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala wears coat, Dries Van Noten; shirt, Gucci; pants, photographer’s own; shoes, Tom Ford; tights, Swedish Stockings. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

Now, following the divorce, Nasri lives in Egypt. She considers it her homeland, as her children were born there, and she wants her twins to be close to their father. Her four children remain her top priority and she is keen on the time she spends with them. “I’m a celebrity and that puts me under heavy social pressures. I love to spend time with my kids without interruption. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible.” She makes sure to follow up with their school, as she wants them to receive a higher education. “I gave my daughter Sham absolute freedom because she is now a mature, educated, and trusted person,” she explains. “I let her find her own way into a personal and professional life. And that is what I will do with all my kids. I’m not going to impose my own rules on them; never ever.”

“If I had to do it all over again, I would look after myself more. I have paid no attention to myself for too long.”

Having talked extensively about her character, ethos, failures, and successes, the star is excited to talk about art. “I hate kitsch; music should refine the soul and promote ethics. I feel proud having real artists like Nawal Al-Kuwaitia, Mona Zaki, and Angham among us. I respect these names and appreciate their ethics both personally and artistically.”

Of her personal song choices, she shares, “I like sad tunes. However happy I feel, I opt for sad songs.” Nasri has in the past invited others to share in selecting songs with her, including her brother Anas, her business manager, and finally El Eryan, who jointly selected many songs, including her greatest hits “Ya Majnoun,” “Alli Jara,” “Samehtak,” and “Mabaash Ana.” However, she wasn’t always pleased with their choices, admitting, “I presented so many songs that I’m not convinced of. They neither resemble me nor express my principles, like “Kabartak Ala Sedak,” among others. They make me feel ashamed, so I close my eyes when performing them.”

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala wears shirt, Versace; skirt, scarf, Ferragamo; glasses, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux X Poppy Lissiman. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

As for her many fans, Nasri communicates with them through social media, particularly Twitter as it allows her to become closer to them. “These platforms grant me the feeling of rapture. I like being flattered and pampered. This is who I am since I was seven years old. I used to be surrounded with care and love since I was in my home country, Syria. Since childhood, I’ve been so fond of hearing words of praise, especially concerning my voice and talent.” Nasri was born to Syrian artist Mustafa Nasri, and loved art from an early age. She started singing at four and presented programs and songs for children. Her breakthrough came with the release of her first album, Law Taaarafou, in 1993.

Today, if some people look to use circumstances in her life to build unfounded assumptions, she retorts, “I hate analyzing between the lines. In expressing any situation or a point of view, I opt to do so directly.” Despite being bold and spontaneous, Nasri upholds forgiveness. “Apology is an often-seen feature of honesty and spontaneity. I make a lot of mistakes, so I have to apologize.” She continues, “All my human relations are built on emotions. My life is like karma, and investing in others is the most important investment in my life. One day, we reap what we sow, be it good or bad.”

Originally published in the March 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia

Photography Hassan Hajjaj 
Style Katie Trotter & Lisa Jarvis
Creative producer Laura Prior  
Art accomplice Ebon Heath 
Second assistant Tariq Hajjaj
Local producer Marie Courtin 
Hair Sadek Lardjane 
Makeup Jo Frost
Photography assistants Hasnae El Quarga and Meriem Yin
Style assistant Alexandria Lefevre 
Runner Yazid Bezaz, Abdelali Boukrimi, Mohammed Ajib
Studio Riad Yima, Marrakech
With special thanks to Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

Read Next: Vogue Arabia Celebrates Third Anniversary With Three Middle Eastern Legends

This Poignant Conversation of Dr. Sara Al Madani and Her Mother Will Make You Call Your Mom Right Now

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Perfumes are so deeply personal, and have the power to trigger emotions and evoke memories of cherished moments and relationships in your life. And what’s more significant than the special bond between a daughter and her mother? Do you recall your earliest memory with the most important woman in your life? Is it her smile, her touch, or her smell? Rasasi, the family-owned, Middle Eastern perfume house, with 40 years of mastery in perfumery, certainly understands the importance of the extraordinary bond a daughter shares with her mother, celebrating the unique relationship through their iconic line-up of fragrances.

In the sweet video above, ahead of Mother’s Day (March 21), Emirati entrepreneur Dr. Sara Al Madani and her mother open up about the significant role fragrance plays in Arab culture, passing down timeless scents through generations, and their favorite perfume from Rasasi’s inimitable range of fragrances.

Now Read: These Celebrities Can Prove That Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Here’s How To Add Some Color To Your Smokey Eye Makeup

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Toni Malt, the Middle East‘s leading international editorial makeup artist, author of makeup book Transform and owner of the prestigious Toni Malt Makeup Academy, shares her expertise in the first part of a series of educational and inspiring ‘how to’ make up tutorials designed specifically for Vogue Arabia’s readers.

Curated as a clever step by step guide to achieving the most sought after looks from the season at home, Toni guides us through a bold, feline, metallic smokey eye with insider tips and knowledge taken from her exclusive masterclasses.

Now Read: 7 Easy Practices To Help You Keep Track of Your Health This Year

Model: Tatyana B at Wilhelmina Dubai
Video: Jules Bek
Makeup assistant: Miriam Cavallin at Toni Malt Academy

Behind-the-Scenes of Ciara’s First Ever Vogue Cover

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Did you know that prior to Vogue Arabia’s Spring 2019 cover shoot, Ciara was afraid of horses? “It’s funny because growing up I loved horses, and I always admired their beauty,” the star says recalling the nightmarish incident when she lost control of her ride during a horseback-riding excursion on the beach. “When my ride decided to take off and gallop in another direction, I saw my entire life flashing in front of my eyes,” she states. The star certainly got the chance to overcome that phobia in the February 2019 issue. Wearing a bohemian Saint Laurent dress, with her long, black hair flowing in the wind, Ciara takes control of two magnificent stallions belonging to UAE royal HH Sheikha Fatima Rashed Al Maktoum.

It’s the Grammy award-winning singer’s first Vogue cover, one that she is undoubtedly proud of. “This shoot was a dream. I overcame my fears of working with horses again too! So proud. God is good,” she wrote on Twitter when the English and Arabic covers were unveiled this week.

Indeed, the 33-year-old has plenty to be proud of. But the certified hitmaker — her debut single Goodies went triple platinum — counts motherhood as her biggest accomplishment of all. “I am an only child, so I always had a strong desire to have siblings, and that triggered my will to have more kids. They are an extension of my legacy and they keep me young. Motherhood definitely gives you a new conscience. My kids help me to feel motivated and keep things in perspective,” said the mother of Future, four and Sienna, one. “Seeing my kids dancing to my music or hearing my husband saying he is proud of me makes me feel accomplished,” she admits.

In the breathtaking 50-second clip above, the singer runs up a dune in a frothy Molly Goddard gown and Alexandre Vauthier hat, tames horses, and poses, barefoot in the Arabian desert. Don’t forget to pick up your issue of the magazine when it hits shelves on February 1 to read the full interview.

Now Read: Riding High on Style, Ciara Lands Her First Vogue Cover

Videographer: Hyku Desesto
Fashion Director: Katie Trotter
Production: Snap14
Hair: Cesar Ramirez
Makeup: Niki M’nray

These Celebrities Can Prove That Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

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Last month, Vogue Arabia hosted the inaugural Ball of Arabia, a high profile charity gala hosted in partnership with Tiffany & Co. at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. The glamorous event, which helped to raise funds for UNICEF’s Girls Education and Empowerment Program in the MENA region, was attended by the likes of Middle Eastern royalty, regional and international celebrities, as well as fashion insiders including Mohamed Hadid, Maya Diab, Lara Stone, and Yasmine Sabri. Meanwhile, entertainment was provided by superstar singer Ciara. In the video above, Maritta Hallani, Lara Scandar, Aram Kabbani, and Salma Abu Deif showcase some of the luxury jeweler’s most dazzling designs in celebration of the Ball of Arabia. After all, diamonds are a girls best friend.

Video: Photo Boutique
Production: Snap Fourteen
Hair: Diego Miranda
Makeup: Soha Khoury
Choreography: Shaymaa Shoukry
Styling: Bosaina

 

This Egyptian-Lebanese Photographer’s New Fashion Film is An Ode to Dubai and New York

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Finding MĀ is finding oneself between here and there. The journey between space and time. It is the cross roads of two cities I lived,” explains award-winning fashion photographer Toufic Araman of his latest video project produced in collaboration with Vogue Arabia. “MĀ refers to rooms, as well as spaces between structures,” he states. The Egyptian-Lebanese photographer, who splits his time between New York and Dubai, rounded up a crew of ultra-talented creatives that included stylists, poets, sound composers, editors, among others to realize this vision of wanderlust, which translated into a beautiful fashion film that flawlessly captures the similarities (and differences) of the two cities he calls home. Watch the striking clip above.

Production
Director: Toufic Araman
Director of Photography: Erik Swain
Stylist: Newheart Ohanian
Model: Dalianah Arekion, New York Model Management
Poetry: Christina Andreassen
Editor: Lucas Fossati
Producer: Gabriel Montagnani
Hair: Shintaro Teraoka
Makeup: Ana Sequira
Sound Composer and Design: Kevin Pollard
Voice: Mylène Gomera
Casting Director: Barbara Pfister

Wardrobe
Look 1
DsQuared Ruffled dress; Christian Siriano dress; DsQuared neck tie; DsQuared leggings; Alexander Wang corset belt; Erickson Beamon jewelry; DsQuared shoes.

Look 2
Fendi jumpsuit; Keren Wolf headband; Giorgio Armani purse; Miu Miu shoes.

Look 3
Miu Miu coat; Miu Miu shoes; Giorgio Armani purse.

Look 4
Marc Jacobs dress; Marc Jacobs belt; Giorgio Armani boots; GBGH choker.

Look 5
Dolce and Gabbana gown; GBGH rings.

Look 6
YSL dress; Dolce & Gabbana bag; Keren Wolf bracelet; Keren Wolf earrings.

Look 7
Giorgio Armani dress; Keren Wolf earring.

Charlotte Tilbury Reveals Her Top Tips For a Flawless Complexion

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Celebrity makeup artist to the stars Charlotte Tilbury returns to share her tips and tricks for achieving a flawless complexion. “I always say if you want a beautiful painting, you have to have a beautiful canvas,” she begins. Showcasing her award-winning products she shares the iconic story behind Charlotte’s Magic Cream, to the science behind her Instant Magic Dry Sheet Mask which is the first of its kind to penetrate down to the third layer of the epidermis.

Now Watch: Charlotte Tilbury Shares her Secrets for Glowing Skin

Egyptian Icon Laila Eloui Like You Have Never Seen Her Before

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She’s acted in over 70 movies, won multiple awards, and has been honored in film festivals around the world, and at 54- Laila Eloui is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The Egyptian star, who made her acting debut at the age of seven, now finds herself in front of the camera again after her last on-screen appearance on Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces two-years-ago. But this time, she’s not taking on a character or reciting lines. Above, Ämr Ezzeldinn and Mohamed Gamal capture the Egyptian icon in an alluring fashion film for the December 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia.

Credits:
Director: Amr Ezzeldinn
Videographer: Mohamed Gamal

Production
: Snap14
Stylist: Bosaina
Hair: Mike at Hair n Flair
Make up: Diana Harby
Fashion assistants: Omneya Mourshed and Lana Kovalchuk
Shot on location at Cairo Camera Studios

In the video Eloui wears crown, Dina Mourad; Dress, Love Label; Earrings, Maison 69; Rings, Ammanii; Turtleneck, Marie Louis; Jewelry, Swarovski; Jacket, Gianfranco Ferre; Fur, Gorski; Gloves Dries Van Noten, Jacket, Marie Louis; Turtleneck, Ralph Lauren; Belt, Retromania London; Earrings, Stylist’s own; Top, Maison 69.

Now Watch: How Afef Jnifen Does Milan During Fashion Week

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She’s one of fashion’s most iconic runway stars, so is well-versed in keeping pace with Fashion Week. However, this season, Afef Jnifen let Vogue.me in on just what a day during the seasonal sartorial showcase holds for the Tunisian model and actor. Inviting us to join her during Milan Fashion Week, the former Vogue Arabia cover star gave us an insight into her city highlights during a typical day. From visiting ornate boutiques to covet their many treasures to catching up with friends over a coffee, here’s what Jnifen got up to between the shows of fashion week.

Now Read: Just In: The Street Style You Can’t Miss from Milan Fashion Week

Coffee With Nardine: Shereen Reda Reveals Her Key Advice for Men

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Last week, Egypt’s El Gouna was swamped with Arab actors, directors, models, and filmmakers, who all flocked to the resort town to celebrate the second edition of the annual El Gouna Film Festival, which wrapped up on Friday night. The week-long cinematic event, which kicked off on September 20, brought with it a host of stars, who came out in full force to support Arab theater and acknowledge their fellow peers who have helped to shape it.

Hosting the closing ceremony of this year’s festival was Nardine Farag, actor and host of MBC’s The Voice. Despite the festival’s jam-packed schedule, the Egyptian star, who has worked alongside Youssra in two TV series, took a little time out to catch up with her friends on the sidelines. In collaboration with Vogue.me, Farag is quizzing some of the Arab world’s brightest stars over a cup of coffee in a four-part series.

Previous episodes have featured Tunisian star Dorra Zarrouk, Egyptian actor Amina Khalil, and Alexandria-born actress, model, and ballerina Nelly Karim, and now Shereen Reda is starring in our final installment. The Egyptian actor joined Farag over a hot beverage to reveal her top beauty tips, how she manages a hectic schedule, her dream role, and who she’d most like to meet for a cup of coffee. Watch the full video above to see exactly what Reda had to say.

Now Read: Coffee With Nardine: Nelly Karim Shares Her Post-Filming Ritual

Production: Maison Pyramide
Director: Malak El Sawi
Stylist and art director: Alia El Dessouki

March 9, 2020

“I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure” — Assala Nasri on Overcoming Personal Challenges

Syrian singing sensation Assala Nasri is articulate, spontaneous, bold, and outspoken. After overcoming personal challenges, now, more than ever, she is touching her fans with her voice and art

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala Nasri wears dress, Nicolas Jebran; glasses, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux X Poppy Lissiman. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

It has been 10 years since my last interview with the Syrian singer Assala Nasri for the occasion of a new record release. In that first meeting, she seemed so spontaneous and frank; unbreakable, strong, assertive, and sensitive. While a decade has passed, it seems like yesterday. Nothing has changed – Nasri is the same as always.

00:00 / 00:00

The singer reveals that it was Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran who convinced her to embark on this journey with Vogue Arabia and star on the third anniversary cover. It is no secret that Nasri and Jebran have a special relationship. He refers to her as, “A shining star. A happy, rebellious, capricious, and positive spirit who never surrenders and who removes obstacles with her music.” Commenting on the cover shoot, Nasri says, “When I saw the first photo, I forgot how tired I was during my travels to Marrakech. Hassan Hajjaj creates genuine art. I have never posed for a photographer like him. He is a real artist and cares so much about every detail to create his unique photos.”

Also Read: 24 Times Assala Proved Arab Designers Rule Her Wardrobe and the Stage

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala Nasri wears dress, Nicholas Jebran; hat, gloves, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

The singer continues the conversation with her musings on fame and reveals that she often considers that it could leave her at any time. “My fame is tied to my voice. I don’t know when God will deprive me of it,” she shares. And so, she tries to keep her life as a woman separate from her life as a star, though she admits to seldom succeeding. Nasri doesn’t deny that she enjoys fans’ love while on stage, but with the people close to her, she lives like anyone else. “Although fame gives everything, I hate it and hate to be governed by its details,” she asserts. “When something bad happens in my life, I will exert more effort and become more resilient. I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure.”

00:00 / 00:00

When Nasri announced her divorce from Palestinian-American director and producer Tarek El Eryan on Instagram, she expressed her grief without mentioning the reasons for the split. She believes that divorce is a personal issue, one that no one has the right to comment on, especially as it is not related to her alone. Her divorce was an ordeal, and perhaps her crying on stage in Saudi Arabia is unmistakable evidence of that. She doesn’t know if her tears were due to her frustration or because she felt safe in the Kingdom, where she feels a deep connection. “Saudi people made my intellectual being. I feel I truly belong to this country that supported me from the beginning.”

“I am a rebellious and genuine woman who hates failure.”

Whatever the reason for her crying, her tears were the truest expression of her grief. After 14 years of marriage, she lost her partner, the father of her two children, and the love of her life. Today, she tries to look at things with a new light. “We were 90% positive during our marriage, and I will never forget this phase. Our separation does not mean that we deny the achievement we made together. Tarek and I formed a successful and fun couple, and we both decided on divorce.” She refuses to talk about the possibility of reconciliation, offering, “I am still exhausted. I cannot be honest in this matter.” She has not yet recovered from the divorce. “I would say one thing to Tarek: ‘I have always confessed to you that I need a father in my life and you had promised me that I will be your child for the rest of my life even if it is impossible that we live together. You didn’t fulfill your promise when we separated.’” She asks, “Why couldn’t I play the role of a real child in Tarek’s life?”

Assala Nasri wears coat, Miu Miu; shirt, Gucci; skirt, Christopher Kane; hat, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux; shoes, photographer’s own. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

Recovering quickly, Nasri explains, “Despite all the loss, I gained myself.” She reveals that she now takes more care of her appearance, health, femininity, and fashion. In the past, she devoted much time and effort looking after every minor detail of her husband’s life. The A-list singer starts to talk about women in general, affirming that she supports all, including the oppressed, battered, successful, and persistent women, and above all, mothers. However, she expresses concern for the workload of career women, explaining, “In performing this social duty, the working woman is subject to a bigger dose of oppression, as going out to work requires double the effort; she has to work inside and outside the home. Thus, her attention for herself is weakened; she even loses so much of her human rights along the way.” She emphasizes once again women’s right to take care of themselves, their health, and to live their lives and femininity to the fullest. “If I had to do it all over again, I would look after myself more. I have paid no attention to myself for too long.”

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala wears coat, Dries Van Noten; shirt, Gucci; pants, photographer’s own; shoes, Tom Ford; tights, Swedish Stockings. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

Now, following the divorce, Nasri lives in Egypt. She considers it her homeland, as her children were born there, and she wants her twins to be close to their father. Her four children remain her top priority and she is keen on the time she spends with them. “I’m a celebrity and that puts me under heavy social pressures. I love to spend time with my kids without interruption. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible.” She makes sure to follow up with their school, as she wants them to receive a higher education. “I gave my daughter Sham absolute freedom because she is now a mature, educated, and trusted person,” she explains. “I let her find her own way into a personal and professional life. And that is what I will do with all my kids. I’m not going to impose my own rules on them; never ever.”

“If I had to do it all over again, I would look after myself more. I have paid no attention to myself for too long.”

Having talked extensively about her character, ethos, failures, and successes, the star is excited to talk about art. “I hate kitsch; music should refine the soul and promote ethics. I feel proud having real artists like Nawal Al-Kuwaitia, Mona Zaki, and Angham among us. I respect these names and appreciate their ethics both personally and artistically.”

Of her personal song choices, she shares, “I like sad tunes. However happy I feel, I opt for sad songs.” Nasri has in the past invited others to share in selecting songs with her, including her brother Anas, her business manager, and finally El Eryan, who jointly selected many songs, including her greatest hits “Ya Majnoun,” “Alli Jara,” “Samehtak,” and “Mabaash Ana.” However, she wasn’t always pleased with their choices, admitting, “I presented so many songs that I’m not convinced of. They neither resemble me nor express my principles, like “Kabartak Ala Sedak,” among others. They make me feel ashamed, so I close my eyes when performing them.”

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Assala Nasri. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Assala wears shirt, Versace; skirt, scarf, Ferragamo; glasses, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux X Poppy Lissiman. Photographed by Hassan Hajjaj for Vogue Arabia March 2020

As for her many fans, Nasri communicates with them through social media, particularly Twitter as it allows her to become closer to them. “These platforms grant me the feeling of rapture. I like being flattered and pampered. This is who I am since I was seven years old. I used to be surrounded with care and love since I was in my home country, Syria. Since childhood, I’ve been so fond of hearing words of praise, especially concerning my voice and talent.” Nasri was born to Syrian artist Mustafa Nasri, and loved art from an early age. She started singing at four and presented programs and songs for children. Her breakthrough came with the release of her first album, Law Taaarafou, in 1993.

Today, if some people look to use circumstances in her life to build unfounded assumptions, she retorts, “I hate analyzing between the lines. In expressing any situation or a point of view, I opt to do so directly.” Despite being bold and spontaneous, Nasri upholds forgiveness. “Apology is an often-seen feature of honesty and spontaneity. I make a lot of mistakes, so I have to apologize.” She continues, “All my human relations are built on emotions. My life is like karma, and investing in others is the most important investment in my life. One day, we reap what we sow, be it good or bad.”

Originally published in the March 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia

Photography Hassan Hajjaj 
Style Katie Trotter & Lisa Jarvis
Creative producer Laura Prior  
Art accomplice Ebon Heath 
Second assistant Tariq Hajjaj
Local producer Marie Courtin 
Hair Sadek Lardjane 
Makeup Jo Frost
Photography assistants Hasnae El Quarga and Meriem Yin
Style assistant Alexandria Lefevre 
Runner Yazid Bezaz, Abdelali Boukrimi, Mohammed Ajib
Studio Riad Yima, Marrakech
With special thanks to Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

Read Next: Vogue Arabia Celebrates Third Anniversary With Three Middle Eastern Legends

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