We’re just days away from the second edition of the Ball of Arabia, and the excitement in the city is palpable. In case you missed the memo, this year, the ball is going to be going grander than it ever has before in celebration of the UAE completing 50 successful years. With the nation and its rich history at the forefront of conversations this year, the extravagant gala—taking place on December 12 at Raffles the Palm Dubai—will display a collection of cultural experiences curated by the General Women’s Union, and will also follow an all-gold dress code spotlighting the best of Arab fashion. What’s more, the ball will also feature a very special musical performance by Iraqi icon Kadim Al Sahir.
Co-chaired by creative director and businesswoman Ingie Chalhoub, beauty moguls Huda and Mona Kattan, actress Mona Zaki and couturier Zuhair Murad, the 2021 edition of the Ball of Arabia promises to be an unforgettable affair. One more reason to be excited about the evening? Vogue Arabia’s host for the night, Jessica Kahawaty. After hosting the inaugural edition of the ball, the light-eyed Lebanese-Australian stunner, who currently holds 1 million followers on Instagram, will be returning to the Ball of Arabia stage once again this Sunday. “It’s truly a pleasure to have hosted the first ever ball and to be invited again to do so this year,” she reveals to Vogue Arabia. Below, we ask the multi-hyphenate—who, along with being a model is also a humanitarian and the founder of popular food delivery service Mama Rita—what she’s most excited about for the gala, what’s hiding inside her party clutch, and what her look for the ball is going to be. Take a deep dive now!
You’re going to be hosting the 2021 edition of the Ball of Arabia. What are you most looking forward to?
The Ball of Arabia is iconic to both Vogue and Dubai. It’s wonderful to be gathered again in a room full of talented industry creatives after the long two years we’ve all had. It’s a grand evening in celebration of the UAE Golden Jubilee, but also an intimate and personal one for a good cause.
This isn’t your first time at the ball—you were also the MC for the inaugural edition of our gala. Can you share your favorite memory from the first time around?
My favorite memory would have been watching Ciara performing on stage and seeing the strong support that came through for the Girls Education and Empowerment Program.
What are your expectations from the coming ball, and what are you most excited to see?
I found out something so incredibly exciting today: Kadim Al Saher will be performing, and he is my all-time favorite Arabic singer1 I listen to him all the time, and he reminds me of childhood memories since I grew up listening to him.
This year, the dress code is all-gold, with a focus on Arab labels. Can you give us a hint at what you may be wearing for the ball?
I’ll definitely be wearing a gold dress from an Arabic designer to stay true to the theme. My dream outfit is what I’m wearing—beautiful, feminine, glamorous and grand!
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No evening look is complete without an elegant little bag. What are the three things you always carry in your party clutch?
I always carry my lipstick, credit card and hair clip.
Attending a gala can be quite tiring! What’s your all-time favorite trick to staying upbeat while MCing?
I naturally become upbeat and have an adrenaline rush before going on stage so there are no tricks there! It’s important just to have fun, engage and respond to the audience’s energy.
Lastly, are you nervous at all?
Never, not nervous!