Looking back: The most iconic celebrity snaps of 2017

From Beyoncé to ‘Salt Bae,’ the Internet went wild for babies and eccentric chefs this year. (Photo courtesy: Instagram)
Updated 25 December 2017

Looking back: The most iconic celebrity snaps of 2017

DUBAI: It is no secret that 2017 was the year of Beyoncé and her twins, with the superstar racking up a record-breaking 11 million likes on the photo she posted on Instagram announcing her pregnancy. However, the year was busy for celebrities across the board, many of whom took to social media to share weird and wonderful snaps of exactly what they got up to.
From births to surgeries, read on for 2017’s most iconic celebrity snaps and see if your favorite photo made the cut.
The Salt Bae sensation
In January, Turkish chef Nusret Gokce — also known as “Salt Bae” — became internationally famous thanks to his theatrical seasoning of food.
The restaurateur was hardly a nobody before: He runs the popular Nusr-Et Steakhouse chain in his native Turkey, along with two restaurants in the UAE, at the Four Seasons Resort on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai and a new branch at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi.
But it was a brief Instagram video that really saw Salt Bae become flavor of the month, and the year.
It shows the chef, with his trademark slick-back hair and dark glasses, purposefully cutting up a slab of meat, before bending his rather muscular arm and sprinkling salt down it to season the food. It became his trademark move.
The Internet went crazy — and a meme was born.


A post shared by Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et) on

Selena Gomez undergoes surgery
The US singer was also included in Instagram’s yearly list due to a snap she posted of her post-surgery recovery this year.

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Huda Kattan meets Kim Kardashian
Tongues in the world of beauty were set wagging in August, when Dubai-based mogul Huda Kattan shared a snap of a lunch meeting with none other than Kim Kardashian.
It was a glorious meeting of the minds and left fashion and beauty lovers calling for a collaboration.

#BeautyBoss Brunch @jenatkinhair @kimkardashian @monakattan

A post shared by Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty) on

A model greeting
It is not commonplace for American celebrities to wish their followers Eid Mubarak, so when Gigi Hadid and British star Zayn Malik did so in November, it made headlines. Palestinian-American model Hadid and Malik revealed that they spent the Eid Al-Adha holiday with none other than their mothers, in a snap shared on Instagram.
Yolanda Hadid, Gigi’s mother, shared the photo on her Instagram account and captioned it: “Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating.”
Malik, who hails from a British Pakistani family, has been open about his Islamic background.

Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating.......

A post shared by YOLANDA (@yolanda.hadid) on

Miss Israel and Miss Iraq pose for a selfie
The selfie caption may have read “Peace and Love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel,” but the reaction to them posing together prompted something closer to “push and shove” in November.
Beauty queens Sarah Idan and Adar Gandelsman represented their respective countries at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, but Iraq’s Idan probably was not betting on the backlash to her Instagram post.
“This picture doesn’t mean I support the Israeli government or its polices toward Arab countries. I apologize to everyone who saw it as an insult to the Palestinian cause — this was not its purpose,” Idan said in a response in Arabic.
More than 3,600 “likes” greeted their picture, but it also triggered an avalanche of comments, some positive and others negative in a country that does not recognize Israel, with which it is still technically at war.

Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

Updated 21 March 2019

Soviet-era motorcycle sidecars add to Cuba’s retro appeal

  • Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana

HAVANA: Cuba’s love affair with 1950s-era American cars is still intact, but the communist-run island also has a lingering attachment to a stalwart of Soviet-era leftovers, the motorcycle sidecar.
Ranging from rusting relics to the pampered and the pristine, hundreds of old motorcycle sidecars rattle through the streets of Havana.
The retro appeal gets a lot of attention from tourists “but here it’s common, normal,” says Enrique Oropesa Valdez.
Valdez should know. The 59-year old makes a living as an instructor teaching people how to handle the sidecar in Havana’s traffic, where riders seem able to squeeze the machines through the narrowest of gaps.
And they’ve built up an intense loyalty among the mend-and-make do Cubans.
“They’re very practical,” according to Alejandro Prohenza Hernandez, a restaurateur who says his pampered red 30-year-old Jawa 350 is like a second child.
Cheaper and more practical than the gas-guzzling, shark-finned US behemoths, the bikes are used for anything from the family runabout to trucking goods and workers’ materials.
“A lot of foreigners really like to take photos of it,” says Hernandez. “I don’t know, I think they see it as something from another time.”
Cuba lags several decades behind the rest of the world due to a crippling US embargo, so the makers’ badges on the ubiquitous sidecars speak of a bygone world.
Names like Jawa from the former Czechoslovakia and MZ from the former East Germany, as well as antiquated Russian Urals, Dniepers and Jupiters.
Havana’s military acquired them from big brother Moscow at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 70s, for use by state factories and farms. Over the years, they gradually filtered down to the general public.
That’s how Jose Antonio Ceoane Nunez, 46, found his bright red Jupiter 3.
“When the Cuban government bought sidecars from the Russians in 1981, it was for state-owned companies,” he said.
Later, the companies “sold them on to the most deserving employees,” he said. His father, who worked for a state body, passed the bike on to him.
“Even if the sidecar gets old. I’ll never sell it because it’s what I use to move around. It’s my means of transport in Cuba, and there aren’t many other options,” said Nunez.
Valdez himself has a cherished green 1977 Ural.
“I like it a lot, firstly because it’s the means of transport for my family, and secondly because it’s a source of income.”
And it costs less than a car, still out of reach of many Cubans.
Settled on the island with his Cuban wife, 38-year-old Frenchman Philippe Ruiz didn’t realize at first how ubiquitous the motorcycle sidecar was.
“When I began to be interested, I suddenly realized that I was seeing 50 to 100 a day!”
Renovating a house at the time, he saw that many sidecars were being used to transport building equipment.
Through an advert on the Internet, he bought a blue 1979 Ural a few months ago for 6,500 euros.
“It’s a year older than me and in worse shape,” he said. “Soon he had to strip the bike down and “start repairing everything.”
With few spare parts available in Cuba, “people have to bring them in from abroad,” which slows down repairs.
But he has no regrets. An experienced motorcyclist, he’s discovered a whole new side to his passion by riding the Russian machine.
“It’s very funny, it’s a big change from the bike because we cannot turn the same way, we can’t lean, so you have to relearn everything but it’s nice.”
“It’s especially nice with the family because you can put a child in the sidecar, my wife behind, and suitcases,” he said.
In future he hopes to take advantage of the interest in the old bikes to rent it out.
“I think it will be a bit of a change from all the convertibles here.”