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Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief On The Importance of Representation

Our June issue puts a spotlight on the importance of representation. I’m proud of all the covers we’ve produced since we launched Vogue Arabia, but particularly the ones that, through the lens of fashion, ignited important discussions, whether it is referring to body positivity or people’s rights with regards to their religious views. Our issues featuring curvy models Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser, or our April cover starring hijabi models Halima Aden, Amina Adan, and Ikram Abdi Omar are good examples. This June, it is in Saudi Arabia that we continue this chapter, as we bring together Shahad Salman (a new model from Mecca who we spotted on social media) and Canadian star Winnie Harlow. Photographed in the Sadus heritage village, a gorgeous group of mud houses one hour outside Riyadh, both women share how their vitiligo hasn’t stopped them from achieving their goals, and why diversity should not just be a media trend.

Photographed by Dan Beleiu

On a personal note, I’m especially happy that Vogue Arabia is the first publication ever to fly a top model to Saudi Arabia to produce a cover shoot – something that would have been unthinkable mere months ago. I look forward to experiencing more of the Kingdom as it opens up to international tourism in the future. As I have discovered from my recent visits, the country features more than just the desert landscapes we usually associate with it; there are also majestic green mountains in Aseer, Unesco world heritage sites, and pristine Red Sea waters populated with dolphins.

Also in this issue, we proudly feature women who are creating a new narrative of what contemporary Arab women represent. You will meet business owners, scientists, athletes, humanitarians, pilots, diplomats, and designers with serious talent and leadership skills, photographed in Jeddah and Riyadh. Who said that summer is the silly season?

Originally published in the June 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia

Editor-In-Chief Manuel Arnaut 
Photographer Dan Beleiu 
Fashion Director Katie Trotter 
Production SNAP14 
Models Winnie Harlow at First Access Ent and Shahad Salman
Editorial & Fashion coordinator Mohammad Hazem Rezq 
Hair Stylist Nabil Harlow at Open Talent Paris using Leonor Greyl hair care 
Make-up Artist Kate Mur using Dior Makeup 
Photo assistant Giorgio Lattanzi 
Local photo assistant  Abdulaziz Salem 
Shot on location at Sadus Village, Saudi Arabia

Read Next: Why Vogue Arabia’s June Issue is an Ode to Female Empowerment in the Middle East

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