Freida Pinto stuns in Elie Saab at Melbourne festival

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Indian actress Freida Pinto poses for a photo with the Melbourne skyline in the background after a press conference on the opening day of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne on Aug. 10. (AFP)
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Indian film director Tabrez Noorani, left, answers question with Bollywood and Hollywood actress Freida Pinto during a press conference on the opening day of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne on Aug. 10. (AFP)
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Indian actress Freida Pinto poses for a photo with the Melbourne skyline in the background after a press conference on the opening day of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne on Aug. 10. (AFP)
Updated 12 August 2018
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Freida Pinto stuns in Elie Saab at Melbourne festival

  • In Melbourne, the actress hoped to raise awareness about the topic of sex trafficking through her latest film Love Sonia, which was screened at the opening of the Melbourne film festival
  • Global human trafficking is estimated to be worth around $150 billion, and every year, millions of vulnerable children and women are forced into sexual slavery

 

JEDDAH: Indian actress Freida Pinto turned heads at the opening of Australia’s Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in an Elie Saab gown. The cobalt blue number was from the Elie Saab resort 2018 collection and featured net detailing on the front. 

Pinto posted a photo of herself in the outfit standing against the backdrop of the Melbourne skyline, captioning it: “Always a pleasure to be back.”

She chose another outfit, a black gown featuring embroidery, created by the Lebanese designer, for the evening’s red carpet event.

The label, which has been a popular choice among Hollywood’s A-list stars for the red carpet, also posted Pinto’s image on its Instagram account, with the caption:  "Shades of blue | A radiant @freidapinto in Elie Saab resort 2018 while in Melbourne.”

Saab has long been a favorite of the Indian actress. Her forest-green gown from Elie Saab’s fall 2017 haute couture collection worn to a Cartier event in Paris in July this year or the shimmery blue gown she wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2017 were both showstoppers.

In Melbourne, the Slumdog Millionaire actress hoped to raise awareness about the topic of sex trafficking through her latest film Love Sonia, which was screened at the opening of the film festival.

The film, directed by Tabrez Noorani, received rave reviews and a standing ovation in Melbourne, following its successful premiere in the UK recently. It is nominated in three categories at the Melbourne festival — for best Indie film, best director and best supporting actress for Pinto and Richa Chadha.

Love Sonia is a hard-hitting story about a 17-year-old girl who risks her life to rescue her sister from the sex trade and then gets caught up in it herself. It was shot in India, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and stars Chadha, Mrunal Thakur, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Anupam Kher and Demi Moore. The latter agreed to be part of the movie due to her NGO that works to abolish sexual slavery and human trafficking. 

Global human trafficking is estimated to be worth around $150 billion, and every year, millions of vulnerable children and women are forced into sexual slavery. For over a decade, Noorani worked alongside NGOs to rescue girls forced into sex work. The plot of Love Sonia is based on real women’s experiences.

The theme of this year’s Melbourne film festival is “inclusion,” and many of the films tell the stories of marginalized communities. The event will conclude on Aug. 22.


‘I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch,’ Gigi Hadid says

Updated 29 min 35 sec ago
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‘I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch,’ Gigi Hadid says

DUBAI: Model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid took to the stage at an event in Sydney last week to defend her heritage and express her “respect” for her Arab roots.
The 23-year-old model, whose father is Palestinian and mother is Dutch, made the fiery statement during a promotional appearance for Reebok’s “Be More Human” campaign.
“When I shot the cover of Vogue Arabia, I wasn’t ‘Arab enough’ to be representing those girls, even though I’m half-Palestinian,” Hadid told the crowd of her March 2017 cover for the magazine, according to Yahoo. “I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch. Just because I have blonde hair, I still carry the value of my ancestors and I appreciate and respect that.”

The model also touched on her much-reported-on relationship with British singer Zayn Malik, saying the pair had discussed her background in the past.
“I was taking about this to my boyfriend too, he is half-Pakistani and half-English,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “And there’s always this thing where you’re mixed race or you come from two different worlds. You see how both sides treat each other. And you become a bridge between both sides.”
Gigi isn’t the only Hadid sibling to talk publicly about the family’s roots.
In April 2017, her sister Bella opened up about their Palestinian father’s immigration experience and her embrace of Islam in an interview with Porter magazine.
The siblings’ father, Mohamed Hadid, lived in Syria and Lebanon before he moved to the US in his teens.
“My dad was a refugee when he first came to America,” Bella said in the interview.
“He was always religious and he always prayed with us. I am proud to be a Muslim,” she added.
In her latest appearance in Sydney, older sister Gigi also touched on the pressures of the competitive fashion industry.
“Regardless of who you are, or what you do, you always are allowed to give yourself room to screw up and learn and grow,” she said. “I’m a human and someone that can make mistakes,” she said. “But I can still learn and grow and be better.”