Winnie Harlow heads to Saudi Arabia for magazine photo shoot

Winnie Harlow is the first model with vitiligo to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 June 2019

Winnie Harlow heads to Saudi Arabia for magazine photo shoot

  • The models met on social media nearly a year ago
  • Salman said Harlow helped her feel more comfortable in her own skin

DUBAI: In a first of its kind, international model Winnie Harlow flew into Saudi Arabia for a photoshoot with her Saudi doppelganger for the June cover of Vogue Arabia.

The latest magazine issue features fashion star Winnie Harlow and her look-alike Shahad Salman, both models championing vitiligo awareness. Vitiligo is a skin condition caused by lack of melanin in some areas of the skin, creating patches of lighter skin on the body and face.

They met online, almost a year ago, when Salman posted her picture with Harlow’s side-by-side on Instagram.

“She wrote in the caption that it was ‘weird’ how similar we looked. I commented saying that it was not weird, but that she was so gorgeous,” Harlow told Vogue Arabia. Harlow was the first model with vitiligo to walk in the much-celebrated Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.



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It melted our hearts! Find out more about our cover stars Winnie Harlow (@winnieharlow) and Shahad Salman’s (@5sunshine1) emotional first encounter in Saudi Arabia, the day before our June issue cover shoot, now on Vogue.me. Living thousands of miles apart, the models first became acquainted via social media. “Almost a year ago, Shahad made a post on Instagram with our pictures next to each other. She wrote in the caption that it was ‘weird’ how similar we looked,” shares New York-based Harlow. “I commented saying that it was not weird, but that she was so gorgeous.” #voguearabia #womenstandingforwomen #saudiarabia #winnieharlow #shahadsalman لقد لقاءً مؤثراً! اعرفوا تفاصيل اللقاء الأول بين نجمتي غلافنا ويني هارلو وشهد سلمان في السعودية، اليوم الذي يسبق جلسة تصوير غلاف عددنا لشهر يونيو، على موقع ڤوغ العربية الآن. على الرغم من أنهما تعيشان على بعد آلاف الأميال، كان تعارفهما الأول عبر مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي تقول ويني هارلو التي تستقر في نيويورك "نشرت شهد صورتينا معاً منذ ما يقارب عام وكتبت أن الشبه بيننا كان غريباً فعلقت بأنه لم يكن غريباً وأنها تبدو رائعة".

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The models discussed their stories of success when they met during the photoshoot in Riyadh’s Sadus heritage village, and how vitiligo did not stand in the way of their dreams.

Salman, who is based in Makkah and did not have much experience in fashion before the photoshoot, was noticed on social media by Vogue Arabia staff.

The Saudi model had admitted she has not been previously comfortable with how she looked.

“Winnie was the person who gave me the confidence to fight. I never expected to meet her. Sharing time on the set of Vogue with her was a dream. I feel that now I, too, can inspire other girls from the Arab world,” Salman said.


‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging. (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

MUMBAI: Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven,” which was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival, is pure cinema. Like his earlier works, here too the Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, this time to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging.

He says people worldwide now live in fear amid global geopolitical tensions. Today, checkpoints are just about everywhere: In airports, shopping malls, cinemas, highways — the list is endless.

“It Must Be Heaven” was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. (Supplied) 

Suleiman’s earlier features, such as “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention,” showed us everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories. This time, it is Paris and New York. 

The first scene is hilarious, with a bishop trying to enter a church with his followers. The gatekeeper on the other side of the heavy wooden door is probably too intoxicated and refuses to let the priest in, leading to a comical situation. Suleiman’s life in Nazareth is filled with such incidents — snippets that have been strung together to tell us of tension in society. Neighbors turn out to be selfish, and only generous when they know they are being watched. 

The Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. (Supplied)

In Paris, the cafes along the grand boulevards, and the young women who pass by, are typical of France’s capital. But a cut to Bastille Day, with tanks rolling by in a show of strength, jolts us back to harsh reality. In New York, Suleiman’s cab driver is excited at driving a Palestinian. 

The film has an interesting way of storytelling. The scenes begin as observational shots, but the camera quickly changes positions to show Suleiman watching from the other side of the room or a street. The camera then returns to where it first stood, and this back-and-forth movement is delightfully engaging.

The framing is so perfect, and the colors so bright and beautiful, that each scene looks magical. And as the director looks on at all this with his usual deadpan expression, a sardonic twitch at the corner of his mouth, we know all this is but illusion. There is bitter truth ahead!