Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez talks Arab culture, women

The Sri Lankan-born model and actress, who was also just announced as the brand ambassador for high street retailer Spalsh, was in Dubai over the weekend. (File:AFP)
Updated 12 October 2019

Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez talks Arab culture, women

DUBAI: Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, who was recently unveiled as the star of a new advertising campaign for Hala KSA, spoke to Arab News about her childhood in Bahrain and her love for the people of the Middle East.

The Sri Lankan-born model and actress, who was also just announced as the brand ambassador for high street retailer Splash, was in Dubai to attend the brand’s autumn-winter 2019 fashion show on Friday.



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Former Miss Universe Sri Lanka, Fernandez debuted in Bollywood in 2009 with the movie “Aladin” and since then has established a career in the industry. She has been associated with Bollywood blockbusters, including “Housefull 2,” the action thriller “Race 3” and “Race 2,” which garnered her an International Indian Film Academy Award for best supporting actress. 

The Bahrain-raised actress has also worked with US-Iraqi beauty blogger, Huda Kattan, on a range of lashes — Kattan’s first celebrity-collaboration in 2019.

Fernandez believes growing up in the Middle East has shaped her personality.

“Growing up in the Arab culture, understanding their traditions (and) their culture is extremely, extremely beautiful and intricate,” she told Arab News.

“There is just the sense of giving I feel in the Middle East, and there is a sense of extreme respect to everyone around you. Also, their fashion sense is amazing. I love the way Arab women dress, the way the carry themselves, it is very, very elegant,” she added.

In an interview with Arab News, the CEO of Splash Raza Beig said Fernandez’s cheerful personality led the retail giant to choose her as brand ambassador. “Jacqueline fit the bill because of her energy levels, youthfulness, happiness. (She is) a woman who feels and expresses love. So, all these adjectives work with the brand Splash,” Beig said.

Fernandez, who is now based in Mumbai, said comfort is what she looks for in an outfit. “One of the things that helped me connect with Splash is that they are all about you being yourself… According to what you want, being the person that you want and expressing that through fashion is a very powerful thing,” she said.  

And what advice does she have for budding stars who want a shot in the film industry?

According to Fernandez, “it is most important to be yourself and to carry that with confidence.”


‘Arabs Are Not Funny’ comedy show just the opposite

Taking the stage at London’s lavish Royal Albert Hall were mixed Arab-Western comedians. (Supplied)
Updated 22 February 2020

‘Arabs Are Not Funny’ comedy show just the opposite

LONDON: Don’t let the name fool you, Friday night’s “Arabs Are Not Funny” comedy show was filled with nothing but quick-witted, snarky and overly-relatable quips. 

Taking the stage at London’s lavish Royal Albert Hall were mixed Arab-Western comedians Wary Nichen, Leila Ladhari, Mamoun Elagab and Esther Manito, with Iraqi-Scottish Sezar Alkassab hosting. 

The sold-out show started off with the host forcing the zaghrouta (a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound of joy) out of the audience, after encouraging them to “laugh at our culture and enjoy yourself.”

Sudanese-Irishman Elagab, who was recently nominated for BBC New Comedian of the Year, kicked off the night with a comedic look back at his upbringing in the UK, dealing with extremists in class, and the struggle of explaining stand-up comedy to his Sudanese uncle.

The sold-out show started off with the host forcing the zaghrouta. (Supplied)

Lebanese-Brit Manito humored the audience with stories of the struggle of taking her British husband to Beirut to meet her relatives, raising two children as an Arab mom, and having her Lebanese father living with her family yelling and cursing at the TV and on the phone. 

Tunisian-Swiss-Austrian Ladhari joked about her boyfriend’s father trying to bond with her by trying to sympathize with Daesh and letting her know that he “too doesn’t like eating pork.”

The highlight of the night was Algerian-Frenchman Nichen, who spoke of his job as a fulltime immigrant and the racism he endures in daily life in Paris. 

The show was organized by Arts Canteen, an organization that curates and produces events, exhibitions and festivals that support emerging, mid-career and established artists from the Arab world and surrounding regions, bringing their work to new audiences in the UK and beyond.