The Vogue Arabia cover story with Nadine Nassib Njeim, shot mere months after the announcement of her divorce from Hadi al-Asmar, is proof that nothing can keep a good woman down.
“It was a difficult year,” explained the actor as she walked into CR8 studios in East London for the February 2020 cover story, looking positively radiant – in-spite of her also shaking off a nasty flu. From the offset it was clear this is a woman who is a fighter at all odds.
When Njeim talks of a difficult year, she doesn’t just refer to her split from her husband of eight years with whom she has two children, she is also referring to the ongoing crisis in her homeland, Lebanon. “It was a difficult year,” she stresses. “Our region has witnessed many events, explosions, sudden problems, a popular revolution that has hit my country, and we are still suffering its repercussions today. It has been tough.”
The star’s position as the February cover star – which also marks her first ever Vogue cover – was not a lighthearted choice. With the issue celebrating the working woman – whether that’s someone who is the CEO of her own household or a leader in a high-powered corporation – Njeim is the ideal cover star.
“The issue is dedicated to the working female leaders of Arabia,” explains Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut. “I’m proud to have Nadine on the cover and to feature so many women I admire, from journalists to CEOs and humanitarians. In a moment when Arab women are redefining their roles in society, with an ascending and ever-growing presence in the workforce, this issue is so important.”
Photographed by Mariano Vivanco and styled by fashion director Katie Trotter, assisted by Peghah Maleknejad, the shoot explores the masculine and feminine sides to the star, dressed in sharp tailoring and elegant gowns. The message is clear for all women – be unafraid to showcase the full parameters of your personality.
For Njeim, romantic relationships don’t determine her personality.”My divorce will not prevent me from working, maintaining my beauty, enjoying my life, and taking care of my family,” explains the former Miss Lebanon, who recently starred in the successful 2019 Ramadan series Khamsa w Nos (Half Past Five). “I did not consider my divorce as a destructive step, but rather a new beginning for a new life.”
Welcoming the new year “with optimism and hope,” Njeim, who, out of all her roles, cherishes being a mother the most, insists the breakup won’t affect her kids. “I have not changed my way, I still follow the same rules of education that existed before divorce. My children feel absolutely comfortable because I have a good relationship with their father, and we work together for their own good.”
With her career on a high – she is working on a Ramadan 2020 project – the actor offers empowering advice to all women: “Every woman has a role to play in life. She is either an employee, an actress, or just a mother. Whatever her role is, she is of added value to man’s life, she stands by and helps him. Whatever her circumstances are, I advise her to go out to work, because it gives her satisfaction, confidence, and comfort. Today’s society is in desperate need of working women.”
Vogue Arabia’s February issue also showcases the fashion and beauty industry’s biggest players, with exclusive interviews, shoots, and features. Highlights include: an exclusive interview with Hollywood star Penélope Cruz about her next role behind the lens; four UAE power players, Khadija Al Bastaki, Sally Hajjar, Butheina Kazim, and Sally Mousa prove to be forces of change; Mohammed Al Turki and Haifaa al-Mansour discuss the growing influence of Arab cinema; smart tailoring is hot on the radar; and retro beauty makes a major comeback. Be sure to pick up a copy from February 1.