Supermodels jet to Riyadh for inagural MDL Beast Festival

Riyadh was jam-packed with international supermodels over the weekend. Instagram
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Updated 21 December 2019

Supermodels jet to Riyadh for inagural MDL Beast Festival

  • Supermodels, bloggers and It girls gathered in Riyadh for the inaugural MDL Beast festival
  • The jet-setting fashion set made sure to document their trip to the Middle Eastern nation

DUBAI: Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s capital attracted international supermodels, influencers and It girls who gathered in Riyadh for the inaugural MDL Beast Festival.

Instagram feeds were flooded with images and videos of supermodels Imaan Hammam, Irina Shayk, Stella Maxwell, Joan Smalls and Cindy Bruna living it up in the supermodel-packed Kingdom over the weekend.

Naturally, the jet-setting fashion set made sure to document their trip to the Middle Eastern nation on their social media platforms.

Hammam, who is of Moroccan and Egyptian descent, uploaded a snap of herself in Riyadh wearing a black cap by Jeddah-born womenswear designer Arwa Al-Banawi, which was inscribed with the text: “We are a Kingdom” in Arabic and English, over her hip-grazing braids.

“Jet lag is hitting but we’re not going to let that take over!!!” she captioned the image. “Excited to be here for @mdlbeast can’t wait to see my girls @simihaze and my favs!! @richforever @therealswizzz @realblackcoffee (sic),” she added, referring to Rick Ross, Swizz Beats and DJ Black Coffee.

In another clip, which she shared with her 811K followers via Instagram Stories, Hammam revealed that she was “so happy” to be in Saudi Arabia.

Russian model Irina Shayk also took to her Instagram page to upload a photograph of herself and fellow model Stella Maxwell backstage at the three-day festival.

In addition to jamming out to electrifying sets from the likes of Palestinian DJ duo SimiHaze and J Balvin, the A-list festival goers — which also included Egyptian actress Salma Abu Deif, Lebanese fashion bloggers Karen Wazen and Nathalie Fanj as well as American influencer Olivia Culpo — also headed to the desert.

From getting their hands decorated with intricate henna designs to enjoying leisurely camel rides — Victoria’s Secret model Elsa Hosk revealed it was her first time on a camel — the fashion set appeared to be having a blast in the Saudi desert.

Also in attendance were models Alessandra Ambrosio and Sofia Richie, as well as Victoria’s Secret Angels Romee Strijd and Nadine Leopold.



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Made it to Saudi! Can’t wait for tonight @mdlbeast

A post shared by Sofia Richie (@sofiarichie) on

They were joined by “Gossip Girl” actor Ed Westwick, rising star Luka Sabbat, blogger Negin Mirsalehi and Somali-American beauty Halima Aden who also jetted to the Saudi capital for the region’s biggest music event.  


Dubai gets a taste of kosher

Updated 29 min 6 sec ago

Dubai gets a taste of kosher

  • The Habtoor Group has partnered with Elli’s Kosher Kitchen to become the first UAE hotel operator to offer kosher meals

When Elli Kriel moved to Dubai from South Africa eight years ago, she was determined to maintain her family’s kosher Jewish diet and quickly sought out shops serving kosher products in the city.

“At the time we thought we were the only family that kept a kosher diet, but when word got out that we were a kosher family living in Dubai, many Jews who were traveling to the UAE would contact me for food,” Kriel told Arab News.

“I started sending food out from my home to help Jewish travelers and as the community started growing so, too, did the need for more kosher food.”

In 2018, a group of rabbis arrived in Dubai for an interfaith conference and the organizer called Kriel in a panic not knowing how to feed them. Once again, she cooked and prepared kosher meals for the numerous attendees.

“At the time the idea of kosher food outside the Jewish community was strange — something unknown,” said Kriel.

After the conference, word of her services spread quickly, and she received requests from hotel managers, concierges and others who needed to serve food to Jewish guests. In 2019, Elli’s Kosher Kitchen was born.

With the UAE normalizing ties with Israel, a number of hotels and restaurants across the emirate have begun preparations to introduce kosher food and beverages. The first is the Habtoor Group, which will offer kosher meals at several of its hotels, including the Hilton Dubai.

Habtoor Hospitality has partnered with Elli’s Kosher Kitchen.

“There has been great demand since the normalization process with Israel started, and we have had several requests for groups that require kosher food, as well as from tourists from Israel and other parts of the world who would like to visit the UAE now,” Fredrik Reinisch, general manager at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, told Arab News.

Hotels offering kosher catering will include Hilton Dubai, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotel and Resorts, Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection LLC, Metropolitan Hotel and Habtoor Polo Resort.

“Kosher food is prepared in accordance with religious laws, the laws of the Jewish religion,” said Kriel. “It has to have kosher ingredients, follow specific methods of cooking and be served in a particular way. But it also applies to the way in which you eat the food. The basic principle is not to mix any dairy or meat products.”

Kriel ensures that all meals are prepared in accordance with OU kosher certification (Orthodox Union), believed to be the most trusted form of certification globally.

Guests with specific kosher preferences will also be able to choose from tailored menus. Meals will be packaged and sealed with an OU certified stamp.

Kosher food is similar to the concept of halal food, which adheres to Islamic law and follows religious rules in production, service and consumption.