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

The 23-year-old model, whose father is Palestinian and mother is Dutch, made the fiery statement during a promotional appearance for Reebok. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 18 November 2018
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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.”


Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

Coco Sabon. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

  • Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world”

RIYADH: The healing and relaxing powers of nature are at the heart of Coco Sabon’s philosophy.
Launched by Dr. Cynthia Mosher — an American living in Riyadh — the skincare firm is committed to sourcing high-quality, natural oriental ingredients that provide the skin with gentle care and nourishment.
“I launched Coco Sabon in November 2015 at Alfaisal University’s first bazaar,” she said.
Mosher, who completed a bachelor of science in natural health sciences, said she hoped to do something more than simply diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. She also wanted to have time for other important things and people, so now she is working as an educator, training a new generation of medical students.
She encourages people to make healthy choices when it comes to ingredients they use on their bodies.
“I fell in love with formulating and creating beautiful, natural skincare products. I continued my creative journey while pursuing my medical degree, which deepened my commitment to develop ‘do no harm’ skincare based on natural ingredients,” she said.
“Layered with my admiration of Arabian culture, the rich regional ingredients, and my passion for integrative medicine, I developed a deep sense of holistic self-care that guides my formulations. My love for the fragrances, natural remedies and skincare routines of the Middle East are the heart and soul of Coco Sabon.”
There is a growing demand for Coco Sabon products. “After years of requests from family and friends to make and sell my products, I tested the waters, so to speak. We sold out of everything that day.”
She added: “About six weeks later we were invited to participate at the Gathering in Al-Bujairi in January 2016. We had a crowd of customers nonstop for three days and again sold out of everything. It was a decisive weekend. Coco Sabon was born and we have not looked back since.”
Mosher’s family and friends offered encouragement, but one of her strongest supporters was her best friend, Audrey Wilkinson. She said: “Audrey was my supporter, helper and adviser. She now works with me, formulating and producing our candles, cremes and face care line.”
Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world.”
The brand offers a wide range of products, including soap, bath bombs, scrubs, cremes, face and body oils, perfumes and candles.
“Everything is produced by hand in small batches here in Riyadh using natural, safe and organic ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible,” Mosher said.
Coco Sabon believes in supporting local businesses and in sourcing the best ingredients possible. The store also designs its packaging and hand packages, labels and wraps each item, selling through an online store (cocosabon.com), Instagram, WhatsApp, and local popup shop events.
Mosher has also started offering workshops on making her products.
“Some might think that to be unwise because I could very well teach a future competitor,” she said. “Well, that’s true for the medical students I teach now. Should I withhold my knowledge for fear of them becoming better doctors and doing better? Of course not. The more knowledge we put out there, the better our society will be. The workshops also help build community.
“I connect with people who are curious, who want to learn how to create and how to make good choices for their health. I welcome workshop students young and older (my youngest so far was just 6 years old), and I encourage them to take what they learn and use it to improve their lives and that of others around them. If they make a business out of doing so, then good for them. We all have something to offer the world,” she said.
Mosher is happy that she created a job she loves. “Sometimes I miss practicing clinical medicine, but I remind myself that I am helping people make healthier choices for their bodies, their minds, their souls and the planet,” she said.
“That’s a special kind of medicine that I believe can help heal the world.”