DUBAI: Stephanie Saliba, the Lebanese actress known for “Moment of Silence,” opens up about her whirlwind few days at the Venice Film Festival, which is currently underway in Italy. From her favorite spots in the city to how she prepares for the red carpet, Saliba details her first Venice Film Festival experience with Arab News.
Tell us what about your Venice International Film Festival experience.
“I have attended many international festivals in my career as an actress but it’s the first time I attend the Venice International Film Festival and I am so excited to be here especially that it is the world’s oldest film festival.
With strict coronavirus protocols in place, did you feel that it took away from the experience of the festival in a sense?
“This festival is the first major international film event to take place since the lockdown imposed by the coronavirus so I definitely had my concerns but I acted responsibly throughout the long trip that took me from Beirut to Venice through Abu Dhabi then Rome.
“There were strict virus-prevention measures such as wearing masks and using hand sanitizer so it was reassuring.”
How long in advance do you start prepping for an event like this?
“For this festival, the preparation took almost a week, and among the things I worked on is my appearance because walking on the red carpet is part of any festival so I always like to choose a theme to deliver a specific message. It’s also time consuming to decide on the outfit, the designer, the hairstyle, make-up and accessories.”
What are some of your essentials you packed for the trip?
“I have a special protocol when packing for a trip. I like to always be in my comfort zone so I pack different outfits, shoes, accessories and as soon as I reach my destination, I unpack right away to feel that I belong to the space I will be in for the next coming days. Most of the time, I overpack and take stuff I do not necessarily use – I pack every single product that I use on daily basis.”
What’s in your travel beauty kit?
“In my handbag you’ll find a lip balm, a blush, a powder, a mascara and a small mirror.
In my luggage, you’ll find a professional makeup kit because I like to do my own make up sometimes, especially if I have photo shoots in different countries and do not have a makeup artist at hand.”
Who are your go-to red carpet designers?
“This time I chose to be dressed by the two designers. Georges Hobeika and Aden, whose designs are super appealing to me.”
Give us a step-by-step breakdown on how you get ready for a red carpet/photo call.
“I always start by taking great care of my skin. So I cleanse, followed by a mask and then I apply face creams. Those rituals take an hour before I move to the hair styling and to the make-up session. I always like to do a photo shoot before I go on the red carpet.”
What are your red carpet must-haves?
“My Samsung phone as I like to take record of my entrance even if there are professional photographers covering the event.”
Do you have a specific scent for the red carpet?
“I will be wearing an Oud scented fragrance. It reflects my identity as an Arab plus it’s a fragrance for strong women.”
You have makeup put on and taken off sometimes multiple times a day during an event like this. How do you take care of your skin to avoid breakouts and dehydration and what are your go-to products?
“I take good care of my skin. I make sure I drink enough water and use moisturizing products and whoever knows me knows I always sleep late in the mornings then I start my day with the necessary creams and from time to time during the day I refresh my face with balloons filled with water that I keep in the freezer.”
Between premieres, photo calls and events, the schedule is quite grueling. How do you keep your energy levels up?
“I follow the intermittent fasting diet, especially when I am under a lot of pressure or during events. It pumps up my energy.”
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not attending premieres and events?
“I like to explore the country I am in and in case it’s a country I visited before, I like to do photo shoots and keep records of the moments and share them with my followers on social media.”
Namecheck some of your favorite restaurants in Venice.
“I’ve been to Venice more than once, I mainly like the small local authentic restaurants that reflect the country’s cuisine and where I can eat traditional plates. I do that in every country I visit.”
Some of your favorite spots in Venice?
“St Mark’s square. I also enjoy cruising Venice canals with the gondolas.”