Princess Nourah Al-Faisal has recently opened up about the discrimination she has faced by a French newspaper. The Saudi founder of Paris-based, fine jewelry brand Nuun Jewels took to Instagram this week to detail an encounter between her team and French newspaper Les Echos where they reportedly refused to feature a portrait of her because she was wearing a hijab.
In her Instagram post, the jewelry designer explained that she has faced many incidences of discrimination while working in Europe but made it clear that “in no way” does she believe the discriminative behavior represents French culture. The portraits, Al-Faisal refers to are featured in her Instagram post.
“As a Saudi female jewelry designer working in Europe, there have been times when I have come up against all kinds of discrimination. I have found that the best policy is to work hard and let my success speak for itself. For the most part, this has served me well, however, something happened today that I feel I cannot let pass. Let me start by saying that in no way do I believe that the behavior I described represents French culture. over the years I have come to consider my friends and the people I work with, in France, as a family.” she said.
She then went onto detail the exchange. “This morning we were sent a message through the coordinating PR agency explaining that the images shared did not conform to the images of the other designers and that unless we were prepared to share an image without a hijab, they would not be using Nuun Jewels in their article,” Al-Faisal explained. “I am not surprised that this sort of overt discrimination exists in the world, but from a supposedly liberal media outlet, it is shocking. As a Muslim woman I am proud of my religion and my culture, I have always tried to represent my culture to the best of my ability. Discrimination is insidious and ingrained in many institutions all over the world and we must expose it wherever we find it. Today I found it in Les Echos.”
Al-Faisal’s account of her experience has received multiple comments of support and heartfelt messages in response to her Instagram post. The designer spoke to Arab News, to further explain her disappointment of the incident. “I highlighted this incident because we can’t fight these behaviors by keeping quiet and silent. Racism and discrimination is everywhere around the world. It’s something we must address… as a society, we have to keep talking about it.”