Make-up artist Samira Olfat talks Oprah, social media and Harleys

The UAE-based Iranian makeup artist and MaxFactor ambassador talks Oprah, social media and Harleys. (Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2018
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Make-up artist Samira Olfat talks Oprah, social media and Harleys

Make-up artist Samira Olfat spoke to Arab News on the sidelines of Beautyworld Middle East and revealed that she loves motorbikes, champions social media and is a big believer in the power of women...

One of my biggest idols is Oprah. Sometimes people blame the family they were born into for their failure to achieve their dreams — but that’s not the case, and Oprah’s a great example of that. If you read about where she came from, and the things that happened to her, then look at where she is today — the most powerful woman in the world.

I believe you need to have a healthy body to be able to achieve what you want. So I love doing yoga and pilates; I love working out and meditating.

People think that I’m very girly, because I’m always in heels, always wearing dresses. But I have a tomboy side as well. I used to ride a Harley around. It was pretty fun, but pretty scary too. I ordered it customized — full matt-black. I had long braids coming out of my helmet, so it was obvious I was a girl. It was a bit intimidating for people, I think.

Social media is so important right now. It’s as important as the real job. There are (amazing) professionals I’ve known for the past 15 years who, because they don’t have a very strong platform on social media, don’t get credit. Before, people would get to know you through word of mouth, because your work was good. Now, you can be the most amazing makeup artist in the world, but if you don’t have a lot of Instagram followers, then no magazine’s going to come and interview you.

So many women still have to prove themselves to people who don’t believe in them. Honestly? Look around you. Look at these women who are CEOs and mothers, handling several jobs in one day. Looking after a home is a full-time job. Being a mother is a full-time job. Being a CEO — or an employee — is a full-time job. Women can handle several jobs at the same time, and usually they’re only being paid for one. What more do people want?

Women are so often labelled ‘emotional,’ like that’s a negative thing. But if you’re not emotionally smart, then you can’t handle a company as well. If you look at companies where a woman is the boss, the energy is so much better. It’s so much happier.


A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

Updated 21 November 2018
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A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

CAIRO: The stars of Arab cinema walked the red carpet at the opening of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival on Tuesday night and there were plenty of glittering gowns on show.

Orchestrated by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, who at just 43-years-old is said to be the youngest president the festival has seen, the Cairo Opera House-based event was attended by stars from across the Middle East and North Africa.

Set to run from Nov. 20-29, the festival opened with the regional premiere of Peter Farrelly-directed comedy drama “Green Book,” starring US actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.

The festival will include 16 world premieres and screenings of 160 films from 60 countries.

Meanwhile, on the red carpet, Egyptian actress Nelly Karim and Tunisian star Dorra Zarrouk looked glamorous as they posed for photographs on Tuesday night.

Karim wore a black leather dress by designer Mohanad Kojak, while Zarrouk wowed onlookers with an opulent design by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad. The black ballgown was embroidered with golden flowers and leaves and also featured a daring high split.

Egyptian actress Nelly Karim wore a leather dress on stage. (AFP)



Seven Egyptian films will be screened during the festival, including “Leil Khargi” (External Night) — a film that will compete for the coveted Golden Pyramid Award.

The other Egyptian films on the itinerary are “Garemet Al-Immobilia, “Ward Masmom” (Poisonous Roses), “Kilo 64” and “La Ahad Honak” (The Giraffe).

Other films set to be screened at the festival include “Heaven Without People,” a provocative film that is the debut feature-length work of director Lucien Bourjeily; “Laaziza,” in which Moroccan writer-director Mohcine Besri tells the moving story of Laaziza, a troubled mother who is faced with the difficulty of welcoming back a man who once rejected her and “Fatwa,” which explores radicalization and its horrors.

Egyptian actress Sherine Reda took to the stage. (AFP)



The festival’s jury committee is headed by prominent Danish film director Bille August, who has received the Cannes Film Festival’s Palm d’Or award twice.

The festival has also added a People’s Choice Award for the first time in its history, with the prize money amounting to $20,000 for the film that gets a majority vote from the audience. A new award entitled “Best Arab Film,” with prize money of $15,000, has been added to this year’s festival as well, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.
Signs of a revamp in the festival include the attendance of executives from such international powerhouses as HBO, Netflix, France’s Gaumont, Participant Media and Middle Eastern players OSN, Front Row Distribution, New Century Productions and Aroma Studios.