Meet Fai Khadra, the US-Palestinian multi-hyphenate doing it all

Who is Fai Khadra? Meet the US-Palestinian social media star who is doing it all. Supplied
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Updated 11 December 2019

Meet Fai Khadra, the US-Palestinian multi-hyphenate doing it all

  • Fai Khadra wears many hats. In addition to being a musician, he also dabbles in modeling, sculptures, DJ’ing and most recently set design
  • Next, he plans to roll out his own label focusing on everyday basics that are organic and reasonably priced

DUBAI: "I’m a textbook Virgo," is one of the first admissions from Fai Khadra when we meet at the Farfetch pop-up at the Sole DXB festival.

For the astrology uninitiated, those born between late August and mid-September are defined as meticulous, conscientious and perfectionist, which Khadra, who jetted to Dubai to DJ at the two-day streetwear event, most certainly is.

But one need not know his star sign to come to that conclusion. Just one glimpse at him — he was wearing cropped jeans and classic white Jordans offset by a bright orange, collared jumper and bleached locks — reveals someone who is obviously down to earth but straight-to-business.




Fai Khadra wears many hats. In addition to being a musician, he also dabbles in modeling, sculptures, DJ’ing and most recently set design. Supplied

While a quick Google search of the 28-year-old, affectionately known as @yourboyfai to his 742,000 Instagram followers, will show hundreds of headlines revolving around his close friendship with international supermodel Kendall Jenner, there is a lot more to the US-Palestinian talent than simply the people he surrounds himself with.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

we don’t date he’s just my date

A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on

Khadra wears many hats. In addition to being a musician — he is currently working on a debut musical project — he also dabbles in modeling, sculptures, DJ’ing and most recently set design.

He dreamed up the sleek, eye-catching sets for Summer Walker’s “First and Last” tour as well as The Internet’s 2019 Camp Flog Gnaw performance.

For Khadra, set design was a natural transition since it combined both his passions for music and architectonics.

And in addition to his fastidious attention to detail, he holds a degree in architecture, which he obtained shortly after completing his last two years of high school at the American School of Dubai.

One would think that dreaming up spectacular sets, working on new music and installations, and jetting off to far-flung locations for DJ’ing and modeling gigs would be enough to keep someone occupied.

However, the older brother of DJ twins Simi and Haze reveals that he is just getting started, as he has plans to roll out his very own concept soon.

“I find that it’s really hard to find good basics, whether that’s in apparel, beauty or homeware,” Khadra said.

He plans to launch his own label focusing on everyday basics that are super comfortable, expertly tailored and reasonably priced.

At the core of his concept is a commitment to crafting each product from sustainable, organically sourced materials.

Indeed, sustainability holds a very special meaning to the environmentally conscious Khadra, who reveals that for every trip he makes, including his most recent visit to Dubai, he takes steps to offset his carbon footprint by donating to initiatives that plant trees, a gesture also practiced by model Bella Hadid.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thank you @farfetch for having me @soledxb !!! Was a quick but fun one #withFarfetch

A post shared by @ yourboyfai on

A release date has yet to be announced for the new concept, likely because Khadra is also occupied with exploring various creative avenues. But how does he balance it all? 

“For me, it’s really just all the same creative process,” he noted.

Khadra shares that in addition to exhibitions, music and traveling, his Palestinian roots also inspire his art, despite the fact that he has never had the chance to visit.

“I’m super inspired by the strength and resilience of the Palestinian people,” he muses. “I think they (Palestinians) show so much love and humanity, and I’d love to go. It’s probably one of my top destinations to visit,” he revealed.

As for what is next for the multifaceted creative? “I’m just super blessed that I get to wake up every day and do what I love,” he said. “I hope that I can continue to find interesting ways to be more creative and enlighten the world in some way if I can.” 


From Syria to stardom: Zain Al-Rafeea sheds light on his Hollywood highlights

Zain Al-Rafeea spoke to Arab News about his role in ‘The Eternals.’ (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2020

From Syria to stardom: Zain Al-Rafeea sheds light on his Hollywood highlights

LOS ANGELES: A child is forced to leave home to escape a terrible fate. Growing up in a strange land, he develops a special talent and achieves greatness.

It is a familiar story that could describe the lives of a host of superheroes. But it also applies to refugee and actor Zain Al-Rafeea, and his courageous journey from Syria to stardom.

Al-Rafeea was born in 2004. His family fled the Syrian conflict when he was eight, moving to Lebanon, where they were forced to find shelter in the slums of Beirut.

“Unfortunately, refugees face harsh conditions in Lebanon because the country has so many of them,” Al-Rafeea told Arab News. “I never thought I would be an actor or a famous person. I just dreamt of being safe with my family and that nothing bad would happen to them. I was focusing on making money to support my parents.”

In late 2017, Al-Rafeea’s life was changed by a chance encounter with Jennifer Haddad, casting director and collaborator of acclaimed Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki.

“I was in the street with a group of friends. I saw Jennifer, and she asked me if I would like to act. My first reaction was like ‘OK, I have no problem with that.’ She took a video of me, sent it to Nadine and things went on from there.”

Labaki cast Al-Rafeea as the lead in her 2018 drama “Capernaum.” The film was a hit, and the young actor’s performance was lauded by both audiences and critics.

“I did not imagine in my wildest dreams that I have such an international success,” Al-Rafeea said. “I just thought of it as an acting experience, but things went in a much better direction.”

In November, it was announced that Al-Rafeea will join the cast of Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals.” The film tells the story of a race of immortal aliens who lived on Earth in secret, and features A-list stars such as Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.

“The introduction happened through Nadine. Directors and producers from Hollywood talked to her and she put us in touch,” Al-Rafeea said.

The actor met his fellow cast members on the Canary Islands during the early stages of filming. “They were nice and their welcome to me was very sweet,” he said. “They invited me for lunch and we chatted for hours, I felt so happy.

“When we finished the first day’s shooting, Salma Hayek came up and hugged me. That night she gave me an iPad and iPhone, and we chatted and listened to music together.”

The teenage star couldn’t reveal much about his role in “The Eternals,” only that he joins the alien heroes as a human who can speak a mysterious 7,000-year-old language.

Life in the Beirut slums is a thing of the past for the Al-Rafeea family. With their son’s success, they were able to relocate to Norway.

“It is a perfect country, the people are so calm, and there are no fights or even traffic. Having water and electricity all the time is a great thing.” While he is excited about his new home, Al-Rafeea has not forgotten his friends, family and the home he left behind in Syria.

“Work hard for nothing is impossible — look what happened to me,” Al-Rafeea said in a message to children facing situations like the one he endured. “Simply dream big.”

“The Eternals” is due to be released in the US on Nov. 6, 2020. A Middle Eastern premiere date is yet to be announced.