The February 2021 cover of Vogue Arabia boasts royals from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Coming together in this historic edition, women from the ruling families of the GCC member states convey a powerful message of unity, solidarity, friendship, and sisterhood. The issue stands as a celebration of hope in the Gulf, in light of the recent AlUla GCC Summit Declaration signed by GCC leaders on January 5, reestablishing ties between their countries.
The cover came together as a collaborative effort across six countries, with each of the women photographed in an iconic location by a local photographer. Manuel Arnaut, editor-in-chief, comments on this momentous shoot, “Besides its timing, this cover is also a landmark for Vogue Arabia as it features exceptionally accomplished women from all the ruling families of the GCC member states. These are women I admire, as they embody what an Arab woman is today: confident, independent, and an agent of change within her society.” Below, learn more about the cover stars and find out what this reunion means to them.
HE Sheikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, director general of the culture and arts
“Unity is key,” says HE Sheikha Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa. “It will most definitely open new ways to collaborate and strengthen growth in the region and for our economy.”
HH Sheikha Intisar AlSabah, founder of Intisar Foundation and the Alnowair non-profit
“Divided we can do very little. Together we can accomplish a lot,” says HH Sheikha Intisar AlSabah.
HH Sayyida Basma Al Said, mental health activist and psychotherapist
“Look at a tree. You can cut it down, but the roots are there,”says HH Sayyida Basma Al Said. “In the Gulf, we all have the same roots.”
HH Sheikha Reem Al Thani, director of exhibitions at Qatar Museums
“Unity to me is a celebration of shared culture and traditions that is preserved for future generations,” says HH Sheikha Reem Al Thani.
HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud AlSaud, secretary general of AlWaleed Philanthropies
“In the Gulf, we look the same, our culture is the same, we are identical,” says HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Saud AlSaud. “It [the blockade] was a period and I hope it is in the past. Now, we have a lot to do and a lot to build.”
HH Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, Equestrian champion and the first woman to represent the UAE in the Olympics
HH Sheikha Latifa says that personally, things are not that different for her. “I have friends from all over the world, especially in show jumping. It’s a small community and friends are from everywhere. We all come together and we compete. There can be more than 30 nationalities in one competition. I am used to this and especially in the UAE.”
Also in this issue, we commemorate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, by meeting five leading female Arab scientists from around the MENA region. Working for the advancement of humanity, they are pushing boundaries in their respective fields. Further afield, US vice president Kamala Harris opens up about making history as her country’s first female vice president. Other highlights include interviews with French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim and Egyptian TV presenter and actor Nardine Farag.
Among the usual fashion and beauty trends you can count us on to keep your style resolutions in check for the rest of 2021, is an exclusive interview with Virginie Viard. We peek behind the curtain at Chanel and hear from the creative director about the maison’s new chapter, as well as meet Mariam Yeya, founder of Dubai-based brand Mrs Keepa. In beauty news, the region’s It girls Chanel Ayan, Ameni Esseibi, Soha Taha, and Sheema share the top trends of the season and how to achieve them.