This month, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is putting women in the driving seat – and so are we. HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud is the cover star of Vogue Arabia’s history-making June 2018 issue, which celebrates the women of the Kingdom and their wide-reaching achievements.
The landmark issue, which is the first-ever Vogue edition dedicated to Saudi Arabia, places Her Royal Highness in the driving seat for the cover. The artist and princess was shot by photographer Boo George in the desert outside Jeddah, marking the debut magazine cover for the daughter of the late King Abdullah.
“Her Royal Highness is a generous woman with a truly elegant and noble presence, and the daughter of the late King Abdullah, a beloved ruler of Saudi Arabia,” says Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief, Manuel Arnaut. “A mother of three, the princess dedicates her life to her family and her art. I was deeply honored when she accepted our invitation to grace our June cover. As people from the region are aware, the ruling families of Arabia are extremely private, which makes me deeply humbled for such an act of trust.”
In the accompanying interview, HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud opens up about the reforms taking place under the government’s Saudi Vision 2030. “In our country, there are some conservatives who fear change. For many, it’s all they have known. Personally, I support these changes with great enthusiasm,” remarked HRH. “It is easy to comment on other people’s societies and think that your own society is superior, but the Western world must remember that each country is specific and unique. We have strengths and weaknesses but, invariably, it’s our culture, and it’s better to try to understand it than to judge it.”
HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud follows other trailblazing women to appear on the cover of Vogue Arabia, including Gigi Hadid, Halima Aden, Bella Hadid, Nancy Ajram, and the special March anniversary issue featuring Imaan Hammam and Iman.
The groundbreaking issue also features many other pioneering Saudi women paving inspirational paths in the Kingdom, such as Manal al-Sharif, who has been vital in the women’s rights movement in the region, and Saja Kamal, a footballer who is working towards establishing the Kingdom’s first-ever women’s football team to take to the FIFA World Cup. Prominent actor Ahd Kamel, the first Saudi star to appear in a Netflix series; Fatimah Baeshen, the first spokeswoman appointed at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC; and Shanina Shaik, the part-Saudi supermodel who has walked for Tom Ford and Stella McCartney, also appear in the milestone issue.
Features on Saudi designers – including Daneh Buahmad, Aljawharah “Sadeem” Abdulaziz Alshehail, Arwa Al Banawi, Nora Al Shaikh, Shahd Alshehail, and Layla Moussa – making their mark on the fashion industry, an interview with award-winning photographer Tasneem Al Sultan, and an interview with leading human rights lawyer Amal Clooney round out the June edition. The Saudi issue will hit shelves across the region from June 1, ahead of the ban on women driving in the Kingdom being lifted on June 24.
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HRH Princess Haifa bin Abdullah Al Saud cover shoot credits:
photography: Boo George
Fashion director: Katie Trotter
Hair: Talal Tabbara
Makeup: Petros Petrohilos at Streeters using MAC Cosmetics
Photography assistant: Mark Lincoln
Fashion coordinator: Aram Kabbani
Fashion assistants: Mohammad Hazem Rezq, Danica Zivkovic
Production coordinator Jumana Zahid
Digital tech: Bror Ivefeldt
Retouching: Studio RM
Shot on location at Deeratna