The March issue of Vogue Arabia celebrates two significant milestones – it’s the fifth anniversary of the world’s leading fashion title being published in the Middle East, and it is also the biggest one ever produced, at 500 pages.
To mark this important moment, the cover features three Arabian powerhouse women representing Arabia on the world stage: accessory designer Amina Muaddi, actor Nadine Nassib Njeim, and beauty mogul Huda Kattan. Together, they are a powerful symbol of the modern Arab woman, shattering stereotypes of the submissiveness of the past: they are strong, striking, entrepreneurial, and in charge.
The theme of Arabian women taking the region global runs throughout the magazine, as this special anniversary edition sets out to amplify their ever-increasing reach and influence around the world. At the head of the most in-demand makeup brand in the world, Huda Kattan shares her incredible story of launching faux lashes from her kitchen with a US $6,000 loan from her sister to today running a record-breaking beauty empire. Sharp, candid, and empowering, Kattan talks about the discrimination and alienation she felt growing up Arab in the US, moving to Dubai and promptly getting fired in her first job, and the complexities around running a global brand with your family. “As you get popular and people start to criticize you, you really go deep inside and start questioning yourself, going through peaks and valleys of extreme anxiety. Today, I’m not ashamed that I don’t have it all together. I am a hot mess some days… Actually, I’m a hot mess almost every day – and I don’t have it all figured out. It’s OK.”
Amina Muaddi also knows about feeling the pressure of success – and still excelling. As the most sought-after shoe designer in the world, she is busy building her own empire – or, as she says, “I see it more like a universe.” Her distinctive shoes are seen on every celebrity from the Kardashians to Rihanna, yet Muaddi propels herself forward with instinct. Sitting down in Paris, she opens up about personal losses in her life – including the loss of her friend Virgil Abloh – and surrounding herself with a close-knit group of confidants. “God tests you for a reason and that’s my outlook on life. I go from zero to a hundred very quickly, but I don’t hold grudges. I’m fiery and passionate. I’ve surrounded myself with people who genuinely love me and that’s happiness.”
For Lebanese actor Nadine Nassib Njeim, poise and confidence come naturally. A potent symbol of female force in the region, Njeim believes success is about setting goals, working hard, and challenging yourself – and always staying positive. In her interview, Njeim also revisits the painful Beirut explosion, and how the tragic event changed her, not holding on to small things anymore and valuing what is really important. “Positivity proves that life will remain beautiful and will go on, regardless of the difficulties a person is going through.” The superstar also reveals the price she has paid for fame: “The worst part of being Nadine Njeim is losing your private life, because being famous and successful – the price is too high.” She reveals that while she won’t be on screens this Ramadan season, she is preparing to launch her much-anticipated cosmetics brand.
As always, Vogue Arabia is at the forefront of championing female voices. The anniversary issue also 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. “Humanity is at the start of a long, very dark, and dangerous tunnel and right at the end there is a little star shining… that’s hope – but it’s fundamental that we realize that hope is about action, not just wishful thinking.” 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 by showcasing the season’s most striking looks. All three discuss life, love, and getting older, and why they feel more confident and powerful than ever. “When you have a similar soul, that’s how you connect. We come from different places, but she is my sister,” Khelfa says about Bruni.
The March 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. Reconnecting with her past and future, Sednaoui Dellal shares, “What makes me Egyptian is my love for life and human connection.” The edition also salutes Aquazzura on its 10th year in a special shoot with Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Denmark, and gets a fascinating look at the extraordinary works His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani is lending to the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris – The Al Thani Collection includes Islamic works highlighting the art of Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Iran, and Mughal India, showing the sophistication of painting, metal and woodwork, ceramic, and hardstone-carving from a rich and revered culture. This being the fifth anniversary issue, the pages also feature celebratory stories about fashion, entrepreneurs, rising stars, and the region’s biggest talents.