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Editor’s Letter: What Makes Our May 2024 Issue Starring Salma Hayek Pinault So Meaningful

Manuel Arnaut

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic

After two years of back and forth, we are proud to finally bring you a meaningful issue of Vogue Arabia featuring Salma Hayek Pinault on the cover. I say meaningful, because we need global icons who stand for this part of the world, and who speak loud about what it means to be Arab today. Although she was born in Mexico, Hayek Pinault was raised in the heart of a Lebanese community, of which she seems more proud than ever. Wearing brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga, but also Levantine designers Rami Kadi and Nicolas Jebran, the actor shared intimate details of her Arab upbringing and how it made her the woman she is today. One of the quotes that touched me the most reads: “Arabs have an almost unmatchable passion for life that is constantly tested. It’s almost because you are confronted with death consistently, you value every little moment of life.” So powerful!

This is probably Hayek Pinault’s most intimate interview to date, only made possible because this conversation is conducted by none other than Oscar winner Penélope Cruz. The two stars have been best friends for more than 20 years, and I’m truly honored that both accepted my invitation to have this chat on our pages. In this interview you will also discover how the actors survived a near plane crash, and how they got ready for a Hollywood party with no electricity, only by candlelight. It’s worth the read.

This April, we said goodbye to a man of incredible talent, and one of the designers who made me dream the most during my teen years, when the world of fashion seemed like such a distant reality. Roberto Cavalli was the king of animal print, but also a devoted husband and father. I’ll always remember one of our encounters, when Cavalli told me how he met his wife, Eva. He was a judge on a beauty pageant, and during the closing dinner, he swapped the place cards on the table, to be able to sit next to the contestant who eventually became the mother of his children and business partner. To properly pay homage to this larger-than-life talent, we asked one of his muses, Afef Jnifen, to share some insights of their beautiful friendship. As the Tunisian model points out, “We spent a lot of true time together. He was a true person.”

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