Amina Muaddi, Huda Kattan, and Nadine Nassib Njeim in Conversation with Manuel Arnaut
Behind the scenes of our March 2022 cover was the usual bustle of a Vogue shoot combined with the thrill of our 5th anniversary, which only increased twofold as the three cover stars sat down for a conversation with Manuel Arnaut. The editor-in-chief spoke to accessories designer Amina Muaddi, beauty mogul Huda Kattan, and actor Nadine Nassib Njeim about growing up Arab, the struggles they overcame as women in their industries, what their incredible success feels like, and much more.
Keeping with the celebration of Middle Eastern women representing the region on a global stage in our latest issue, Arnaut began by asking Kattan what makes Arab women unique. “Having grown up outside the Middle East and moving here later on, I was so amazed by the strength and creativity in Arab women,” said the Iraqi-US entrepreneur. “I actually find them to be so passionate and so creative.” Nassib Njeim said, “Now, Arab women are more dedicated to their goals. They want to achieve their dreams. They don’t accept boundaries anymore even though they respect the culture, traditions, and religion. They are proving themselves in many, many fields.” Having lived outside of the Middle East for the majority of her life, Muaddi shared that people were often curious about her heritage. “Usually people are surprised and find it different that I am half-Jordanian-half -Romanian and work in fashion,” she said. “I am so connected to Italy and France but still very very rooted where I come from.”
The world has witnessed the three women achieve great heights in their careers, however, they reveal that a grounded mindset is key to prospering. “Maintaining a scrappy, self-starting type of attitude is very important to get things done,” advises Kattan, who feels only gratitude for her community upon seeing herself in beauty stores across the world. Muaddi adds that she still feels excited when stars including Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian, wear her shoes. She says, “It’s fundamental to keep that excitement, to keep feeling like you still haven’t achieved what you wanted to, and to be grateful for what you have.” Nassib Njeim, whose moving performances in TV and cinema have touched and inspired so many over the years, shares that she keeps on challenging herself. “When you work with passion, and you have big dreams, and still consider that you are learning, you will always give your best,” she says.
The conversation takes a deep dive into some of the more challenging times in their lives, such as when Nassib Njeim underwent seven hours of surgery due to the Beirut port blast.”Now I’m more attached to my life, to my kids, and to making my dreams come true,” she says when asked about how the tragic incident changed her. The cover stars also discuss living their public lives, how they deal with hate, the best part about being themselves, and their goals for the next five years.
Watch the video above for the full conversation.