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Hend Sabri on Being Discovered as a Teenager and the Perception of Arab Cinema with Manuel Arnaut

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On May 18, Cairo-based Tunisian actor Hend Sabri joined the Editor-in-Chief for a live chat on Instagram. The episode of our weekly series ‘Manuel Arnaut in Conversation With…’ saw Sabri and Arnaut dive into an engaging discussion on the actor starting her career as a teenager, and the Arab film industry, as fans and cinephiles watched from around the world. “It’s always a pleasure to be in contact with Vogue Arabia, its followers, and readers,” began Sabri. “I think it’s a magazine that is beyond fashion — it’s human. I have been following your work during the Covid-19 crisis and it’s been very empowering and real.”

Hend Sabri, The Silences of the Palace

Hend Sabri in The Silences of the Palace

While there is no doubt that the multi-hyphenate is an integral part of Arab cinema, having taken it to newer heights with her every achievement, the ensuing conversation only made it that much clearer. Arnaut remarked that this year marks the 26th anniversary of The Silences of the Palace, which is the first movie Sabri participated in and which straight away took her to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. “This was quite a start for you at the tender age of 14,” said the editor, asking her what the experience was like. “It was a beautiful film that we made in Tunisia called The Silences of the Palace which was critically acclaimed and won the Camera d’Or in 1994 and it was my first film ever,” said Sabri as she went on to share just how she came to be cast in the film. “I was discovered in a wild casting. It wasn’t really meant to be. The director just saw me and she thought that I’d do good in front of a camera which I didn’t think so myself. So, I always say this industry or the movie industry chose me before I chose it.”

And now, two decades of iconic roles later, not only is Sabri invited as an esteemed guest to some of the world’s most prestigious events, but she has also made history as the first Arab actor to be part of the Venice Film Festival‘s jury. When asked how she feels to be on the flip side of the film festival, Sabri replied: “Extremely proud, extremely honored to be there. Venice [Film Festival] is not only the oldest festival, but it’s also, to me, the classiest film festival in the world.”

Hend Sabri

Hend Sabri photographed by Amr Ezzeldinn for Vogue Arabia

The editor and actor also discussed how the Arab film industry is perceived abroad. “There was a before and an after. I think that before what is called the Arab Spring, Arab cinema did not have an identity and we were not really good at marketing ourselves,” said Sabri.

She continued: “After 2011-2012, there was a new wave of young film directors in the Arab world who are really trying to be a generation of Arab filmmakers and to show the Arab world and its complexities. I think our presence is more and more appreciated internationally. Also, those big platforms [such as Netflix and Amazon] have no citizenship and don’t know borders — [for them] its not about the country you come from, its about the content. This is breaking the barriers between countries and cultures, and I think this is a great thing.”

A testament to this is the announcement of Sabri’s latest project in collaboration with the streaming giant Netflix in which she will not only star but also operate as the executive producer under her company Salam Productions. “It’s a first in the Arab world that Netlfix is actually signing with the leading star before having the content so, we’re developing it together which is, to me, a great, great opportunity,” shared the actor.

Watch the full conversation between Arnaut and Sabri above.

Read Next: Vogue Arabia September 2020: Regional Heroes Unite For A Global Message of Hope

Journey Through Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’, in Celebration of This Season’s Buzziest Color

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Hello, Jaipur! This summer, Vogue Arabia—and a team of Indian and Arab creatives—took over the streets of the ‘Pink City’ in celebration of the season’s most adored hue. Join Sawai Padmanabh Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur, rising models Nour Rizk from Lebanon, and Maumita from India on this journey, dripping with love for the color, the culture, and above all, the fashion.

Fashion director: Amine Jreissati
Videography: Gorkey Patwal, Pulkit Karla
Hair and makeup: Kritika Gill
Production: Ankita Chandra, Sam Allison
On-ground production: Film and Locations India, Mithika Gaekwad, Harshaeta Singh
Models: Nour Rizk, Maumita

Get Ready with Salma Abu Deif for Her First Cannes Film Festival Red Carpet

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Before making her first-ever red carpet appearance at Cannes Film Festival, Salma Abu Deif gave Vogue Arabia an exclusive sneak peek behind her look. The Egyptian actor opted for a bold black dress by Pinko, paired with glittering Chopard jewelry, while her beauty look featured sleek hair and a bright red pout.

Watch the video above as Abu Deif shows us how she got ready for the big day.

Production: Koral Communication

Amina Muaddi, Huda Kattan, and Nadine Nassib Njeim in Conversation with Manuel Arnaut

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Behind the scenes of our March 2022 cover was the usual bustle of a Vogue shoot combined with the thrill of our 5th anniversary, which only increased twofold as the three cover stars sat down for a conversation with Manuel Arnaut. The editor-in-chief spoke to accessories designer Amina Muaddi, beauty mogul Huda Kattan, and actor Nadine Nassib Njeim about growing up Arab, the struggles they overcame as women in their industries, what their incredible success feels like, and much more.

Keeping with the celebration of Middle Eastern women representing the region on a global stage in our latest issue, Arnaut began by asking Kattan what makes Arab women unique. “Having grown up outside the Middle East and moving here later on, I was so amazed by the strength and creativity in Arab women,” said the Iraqi-US entrepreneur. “I actually find them to be so passionate and so creative.” Nassib Njeim said, “Now, Arab women are more dedicated to their goals. They want to achieve their dreams. They don’t accept boundaries anymore even though they respect the culture, traditions, and religion. They are proving themselves in many, many fields.” Having lived outside of the Middle East for the majority of her life, Muaddi shared that people were often curious about her heritage. “Usually people are surprised and find it different that I am half-Jordanian-half -Romanian and work in fashion,” she said. “I am so connected to Italy and France but still very very rooted where I come from.”

The world has witnessed the three women achieve great heights in their careers, however, they reveal that a grounded mindset is key to prospering. “Maintaining a scrappy, self-starting type of attitude is very important to get things done,” advises Kattan, who feels only gratitude for her community upon seeing herself in beauty stores across the world. Muaddi adds that she still feels excited when stars including Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian, wear her shoes. She says, “It’s fundamental to keep that excitement, to keep feeling like you still haven’t achieved what you wanted to, and to be grateful for what you have.” Nassib Njeim, whose moving performances in TV and cinema have touched and inspired so many over the years, shares that she keeps on challenging herself. “When you work with passion, and you have big dreams, and still consider that you are learning, you will always give your best,” she says.

The conversation takes a deep dive into some of the more challenging times in their lives, such as when Nassib Njeim underwent seven hours of surgery due to the Beirut port blast.”Now I’m more attached to my life, to my kids, and to making my dreams come true,” she says when asked about how the tragic incident changed her. The cover stars also discuss living their public lives, how they deal with hate, the best part about being themselves, and their goals for the next five years.

Watch the video above for the full conversation.

Inside Vogue Arabia’s Biggest Issue Ever Celebrating Our 5th Anniversary

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What better way to celebrate our 5th anniversary than by producing our biggest issue ever with 500 pages, and packing them with inspiring and empowering content? Vogue Arabia’s March 2022 issue holds the deeply personal cover stories of three powerhouse Arab women: Amina Muaddi, Huda Kattan, and Nadine Nassib Njeim, and the theme of Arab women taking charge and representing the region on a world stage.

The anniversary issue features conservationist Dame Jane Goodall in conversation with sustainability editor-at-large Livia Firth, talking about why there are still reasons to hope in a world filled with uncertainty. In another inspiring feature, lifelong friends Farida Khelfa and Carla Bruni model the latest couture, while French actor Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu – the iconic Emily in Paris villain – further defies age conventions while showcasing the season’s most striking looks. The edition also salutes Aquazzura on its 10th year in a special shoot with Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark, and includes celebratory stories about fashion, entrepreneurs, rising stars, and the region’s biggest talents. Along with all that, the March 2022 issue also shines a spotlight on the new Saudi musicians to listen to now, while model and social entrepreneur Elisa Sednaoui Dellal finally finds her way home to Egypt after two years of a pandemic-enforced separation, in a moving feature where she visits, for the first time ever, one of her architect father’s most personal projects. 

Discover all this and much more in a special teaser video of the issue above, set to the catchy new track ‘Ala Bali’ by Palestinian singer Elyanna, who is also featured in the issue.

Enter the September 2022 Cover Shoot with Oscar-Nominee Sharon Stone

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Sharon Stone + stunning fashion + the eccentric home of late set designer Tony Duquette: Enter our September 2022 cover shoot with a brand new video that sees the Oscar-nominated actor dressed in maximalist couture by Arab and international designers in a celebration of post-pandemic creativity.

Editor-in-chief: Manuel Arnaut
Fashion director: Amine Jreissati
Style: Paris Libby
Hair: Sebastian Scolarici
Makeup: Amy Oresman
Producer: Sam Allison
Director & DOP: Olav Stubberud
Camera assistant: Hunter Moreno
Edit & color: Eskil Abrahamsen
Music: Sølv
Shot at Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge

August 20, 2020

Hend Sabri on Being Discovered as a Teenager and the Perception of Arab Cinema with Manuel Arnaut

00:00 / 00:00

On May 18, Cairo-based Tunisian actor Hend Sabri joined the Editor-in-Chief for a live chat on Instagram. The episode of our weekly series ‘Manuel Arnaut in Conversation With…’ saw Sabri and Arnaut dive into an engaging discussion on the actor starting her career as a teenager, and the Arab film industry, as fans and cinephiles watched from around the world. “It’s always a pleasure to be in contact with Vogue Arabia, its followers, and readers,” began Sabri. “I think it’s a magazine that is beyond fashion — it’s human. I have been following your work during the Covid-19 crisis and it’s been very empowering and real.”

Hend Sabri, The Silences of the Palace

Hend Sabri in The Silences of the Palace

While there is no doubt that the multi-hyphenate is an integral part of Arab cinema, having taken it to newer heights with her every achievement, the ensuing conversation only made it that much clearer. Arnaut remarked that this year marks the 26th anniversary of The Silences of the Palace, which is the first movie Sabri participated in and which straight away took her to the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. “This was quite a start for you at the tender age of 14,” said the editor, asking her what the experience was like. “It was a beautiful film that we made in Tunisia called The Silences of the Palace which was critically acclaimed and won the Camera d’Or in 1994 and it was my first film ever,” said Sabri as she went on to share just how she came to be cast in the film. “I was discovered in a wild casting. It wasn’t really meant to be. The director just saw me and she thought that I’d do good in front of a camera which I didn’t think so myself. So, I always say this industry or the movie industry chose me before I chose it.”

And now, two decades of iconic roles later, not only is Sabri invited as an esteemed guest to some of the world’s most prestigious events, but she has also made history as the first Arab actor to be part of the Venice Film Festival‘s jury. When asked how she feels to be on the flip side of the film festival, Sabri replied: “Extremely proud, extremely honored to be there. Venice [Film Festival] is not only the oldest festival, but it’s also, to me, the classiest film festival in the world.”

Hend Sabri

Hend Sabri photographed by Amr Ezzeldinn for Vogue Arabia

The editor and actor also discussed how the Arab film industry is perceived abroad. “There was a before and an after. I think that before what is called the Arab Spring, Arab cinema did not have an identity and we were not really good at marketing ourselves,” said Sabri.

She continued: “After 2011-2012, there was a new wave of young film directors in the Arab world who are really trying to be a generation of Arab filmmakers and to show the Arab world and its complexities. I think our presence is more and more appreciated internationally. Also, those big platforms [such as Netflix and Amazon] have no citizenship and don’t know borders — [for them] its not about the country you come from, its about the content. This is breaking the barriers between countries and cultures, and I think this is a great thing.”

A testament to this is the announcement of Sabri’s latest project in collaboration with the streaming giant Netflix in which she will not only star but also operate as the executive producer under her company Salam Productions. “It’s a first in the Arab world that Netlfix is actually signing with the leading star before having the content so, we’re developing it together which is, to me, a great, great opportunity,” shared the actor.

Watch the full conversation between Arnaut and Sabri above.

Read Next: Vogue Arabia September 2020: Regional Heroes Unite For A Global Message of Hope

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