Supermodel Cindy Crawford lights up the cover of Vogue Arabia with her megawatt smile and infectious energy that has kept her in the spotlight for her 40-year career. Speaking candidly with Syrian-American journalist Hala Gorani, Crawford reflects on the decisions she made during the length of her career along with the advice she shared with her children Kaia and Presley Gerber when they started modeling. Now, she is more active than ever. “What I don’t want to do is be part of that message that’s telling women of a certain age, ‘You got to hang it up now.’ Like, why? I don’t believe in a season of invisibility.”
The 57-year-old model also announces a new documentary alongside her fellow Eighties-era supers, due out later this year, “Two weeks ago, we were all on set, shooting together. It’s been a long time since the four of us were together in front of the camera and it was amazing. In a weird way, it was like no time had passed and, in another way, we also were fully our adult selves,” she says. Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut comments, “Cindy Crawford is one of Arabia’s favorite supermodels, and welcoming her in our issue – in a moment when she has so much going on – is exciting, and a testimony of Vogue Arabia’s global reach.”
Bahraini royal and artist Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa opened his art-filled space to Vogue Arabia, collaborating on an editorial around this season’s flower trend, in perfect dialogue with his colorful series of blooms. In his interview, the shaikh recalls a transformative year abroad in the UK, “I studied art and design and of course, seeing all the museums, art galleries, and other artists, it opened up my horizon and mind.” Upon returning to Bahrain, he continued painting along with performing his official duties. After a time, he and a few other artist friends formed an arts club, the Bahrain Arts Society. With the encouragement and support of family, friends, and the Ministry of Culture, they held exhibitions and invited artists from outside Bahrain to show as well.
The edition, filled with pioneering personalities, continues with an exclusive conversation with France’s new minister of culture, Rima Abdul Malak. The Beirut-born minister speaks openly on topics like identity, colonialism, gender equality, and restitution of ancient artifacts. She also gives insight into her first ten years in Lebanon and starting life anew in Lyon, France, “When we arrived, we had nothing but our five suitcases. But we had some friends there who were very welcoming. They helped us with clothes, equipment for the house, furniture—everything was given to us.”
As Syria and Turkey experience the deadliest devastation of the century, three sisters who survived the earthquake bring a message of hope to readers. In their poignant testimony, they recount their extraordinary experience of being under the rubble and their family’s rescue, 18 hours later. “We hope that after this hardship, people will love each other more and have more empathy,” they underscore. “We want our voices to reach the world.”
Syrian actor Bassel Khaiat, star of the hit TV series Al Thaman, brings an air of escapism to the anniversary edition. He talks to Vogue Arabia about his surprising acting process, revealing, “I store information and improvise in most of my works. Headnotes are enough for me.” And while he comments that he “likes acting” it does not identify him as a man, affirming that his family is at the center of his world. “I am ready to give up [acting] at any moment. I refuse to let it control my life.”
The world of entertainment is explored further in a feature that debates the regional validity of Western reality TV series. Shows like Dubai Bling, The Real Housewives of Dubai, Star Academy, and Arab Idol are accused by some of not accurately representing Arab women and culture. Meanwhile others posit that they are reflective of the new generation. “It’s a different world we’re living in, and we can’t continue to live in the past the way our parents did,” comments Emirati entrepreneur Sara Al-Madani.