Who’s on Clubhouse? Arab stars join the latest social media craze

Iraqi style star Rania Fawaz is the latest influencer to join the new social media app. File/Instagram
Iraqi style star Rania Fawaz is the latest influencer to join the new social media app. File/Instagram
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Updated 11 February 2021

Who’s on Clubhouse? Arab stars join the latest social media craze

Iraqi style star Rania Fawaz is the latest influencer to join the new social media app. File/Instagram

DUBAI: Clubhouse is a new voice only social media app that’s currently making waves. If you’ve managed to secure an invite, read on for the Arab stars you should follow. 

Jessica Kahawaty

The Lebanese-Australian model and humanitarian is also the founder of Mama Rita, a food delivery concept which she launched alongside her mother Rita Kahawaty in 2020. 

 

Rania Fawaz

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by RANIA (@raniafawazz)

The Dubai-based Iraqi fashion influencer has gained an impressive following on social media for her head-turning fashion sense and down-to-earth personality.

 

Mona Kattan

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mona Kattan (@monakattan)

The younger sister of beauty mogul Huda Kattan, Mona is an entrepreneur in her own right and founded fragrance line Kayali as well as Dubai-based beauty salon, Dollhouse. 

Lana El-Sahely

Hailing from Lebanon, the fashion influencer is also an entrepreneur — she’s the founder of e-commerce platform larmoiredelana.com. The fashion star also dabbles in modeling from time to time, having walked for Dolce & Gabbana during Milan Fashion Week and fronting a Vogue Japan cover in 2017.

 

Arwa Al-Banawi

The Saudi contemporary womenswear designer is known for creating expertly-tailored pant suits that serve to empower the women that wear them. 

 

Razane Jammal

Born and raised in Beirut, the Lebanese actress is best known for her roles in Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” Tobe Hooper’s “Djinn” and Netflix original series “Paranormal.”

 


Culture Summit Abu Dhabi to explore new theme amid COVID-19 setbacks

The virtual event will take place from Marcg 8-10. Supplied
The virtual event will take place from Marcg 8-10. Supplied
Updated 24 February 2021

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi to explore new theme amid COVID-19 setbacks

The virtual event will take place from Marcg 8-10. Supplied

DUBAI: “The Cultural Economy and the Economy of Culture” is the theme of the upcoming digital-only Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, set to take place from March 8-10. 

The fourth edition of the virtual forum, which will be open to the public, will bring together cultural leaders, practitioners and experts from the fields of art, heritage, museums, media and technology to generate new strategies and thinking, and identify ways in which culture can transform societies and communities worldwide.

There will also be a curated selection of artist talks, film screenings and performances all taking place during the summit.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the culture and creative industries were one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy. But the sector was one of the hardest struck by COVID-19.

Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, in a statement” “The global challenges of the past year have truly demonstrated the vital power of culture to improve our personal and collective wellbeing. Yet, cultural institutions worldwide continue to struggle to achieve funding structures to continue operating. It is now more important than ever to shed light on the critical role that the culture sector plays as an essential driver of sustainable economic and social development.

“We are proud to collaborate with top global cultural partners to convene renowned professionals from a variety of fields, ensuring the level and breadth of expertise needed for fruitful discussions and effective, goal-oriented outcomes.”


TV wildlife star Robert Irwin on keeping dad’s legacy alive as show set to launch in Middle East

Robert Irwin pictured with a tiger cub at the Australia Zoo. Supplied
Robert Irwin pictured with a tiger cub at the Australia Zoo. Supplied
Updated 24 February 2021

TV wildlife star Robert Irwin on keeping dad’s legacy alive as show set to launch in Middle East

Robert Irwin pictured with a tiger cub at the Australia Zoo. Supplied

DUBAI: The family of the late Australian wildlife expert Steve Irwin, known as The Crocodile Hunter, has been keeping the television personality’s legacy alive.

His wife Terri and their children Robert and Bindi run the Australia Zoo and their work there is featured in the popular reality TV series, “Crikey! It’s the Irwins.”

Irwin died in 2006 after receiving a stingray injury in a freak accident, but his family has followed in his footsteps by taking care of animals from around the world.

And now season one of their hit TV show has launched on discovery+ via Starzplay in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Irwin family is passionate about nature and Terri, Robert, and Bindi have dedicated their lives to promoting wildlife conservation and inspiring the next generation of young people to take an active part in protecting and preserving the natural world.

“Dad’s passion and enthusiasm and love for wildlife was just absolutely contagious,” Robert, 17, told Arab News.

“That’s why I am so passionate about wildlife conservation. It’s hard not to be passionate about wildlife when you had a dad like mine. So, I definitely think it is a really big honor to get to continue that legacy.”

Robert Irwin photographed with his mother Terri Irwin and his sister Bindi Irwin. Supplied

Growing up at the Australia Zoo, Irwin’s son has been surrounded by animals for as long as he can remember. “When I was young, my parents nicknamed me The Moth Hunter. I was just super transfixed with chasing and catching moths,” he said.

Now in his late teens, the wildlife activist and award-winning photographer is responsible for a string of diverse and equally important tasks that include traveling around the globe to advocate for conservation, feed saltwater crocodiles, and check up on the zoo’s injured koalas at the family’s wildlife hospital.

“Life in the Australia Zoo is absolutely 100 miles an hour every single day,” he added.

When the Irwin family originally opened the Australia Zoo, it was a small reptile park, but it has since grown into a vast conservation area.

“We’ve really broadened our conservation reach, helping to support wildlife protection programs all over the world. We’ve secured over half-a-million acres of natural habitat and it’s become a really big, big program and a big hub for conservation,” Robert said.

When the family was forced to shut down the zoo for 78 days due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a change in focus was required.

Supplied.

“The pandemic had a really big effect on what we do here in Australia. We had to close our doors for the first time in 50 years. It was a really challenging and very stressful time for all of us, my whole family and for our whole routine.

“We had about an $80,000 a week food bill just to feed our animals alone. And, of course, no money coming in with no patrons. And so, it was really tough for a while there,” he added.

With the green light from the Australian government, the family was able to re-open the zoo’s gates with COVID-19 health and safety restrictions in place.

“We’ve now got social distancing signs everywhere and we have had to change our wildlife experiences to make sure everything is completely COVID-19 safe. But still, when people come into the Australia Zoo, they can still have a really fun and exciting day. You can still cuddle with koalas and rhinos – you just can’t cuddle with each other,” he said.

In addition to re-opening the wildlife sanctuary, the family is looking forward to welcoming the arrival of Bindi and her pro wakeboarder husband Chandler Powell’s first child, a baby girl.

Bindi, 22, announced her pregnancy to the world in January by recreating a maternity throwback photo her parents posed for while they were expecting Robert. Her family discovered she was expecting in an equally special way.

Supplied.

“After she called my mom and I and told us she was pregnant, Bindi wanted to share the news with the rest of the family and team. We were actually on our annual crocodile research expedition in remote bushland in northern Queensland, which is a three-day drive from the zoo and many kilometers away from any sort of civilization,” her brother said.

“We were sitting around a fire and Bindi just got up and told everyone about this exciting news. It felt very poignant because where we were is actually where dad used to catch crocodiles. It was his favorite place in the world, so it was very special.

“I just want this little girl to have the most fun, awesome, exciting life. Growing up in a zoo, it’s going to be pretty hectic. And I don’t know if she is ready for what’s about to come, but I want to get her in there, wrestling crocodiles and wrangling snakes and doing all the awesome things that we get to do. I might have to wait until she’s a little bit older, maybe until she can walk,” he added.


Egyptian film ‘One Night Stand’ to screen at the Louvre Museum in Paris

Egyptian film ‘One Night Stand’ to screen at the Louvre Museum in Paris
Updated 24 February 2021

Egyptian film ‘One Night Stand’ to screen at the Louvre Museum in Paris

Egyptian film ‘One Night Stand’ to screen at the Louvre Museum in Paris

DUBAI: Egyptian short film “One Night Stand” is set to screen at the Louvre Museum in Paris on Wednesday.

The screening will be part of the “Les Rencontres Internationales Paris” event, which started on Feb 23, that explores contemporary art and new movies.

“One Night Stand” is directed by Palestinian filmmaker Nour Abed and Egyptian director and producer Mark Lotfy.

The film is based on the directors’ real-life encounter in Beirut with a European man who was about to join the Kurdish militia to fight Daesh in Syria. 

The conversation was secretly recorded on a mobile phone and serves as the script for animated modeled situations and performative reconstructions of that night. 

“Les Rencontres Internationales Paris” will be streamed online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Visitors can watch the livestream, that will also feature films, hosts discussions and performances, here


Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa inspire Hugo Comte’s first photo book

Bella Hadid photographed by Hugo Comte. Supplied
Bella Hadid photographed by Hugo Comte. Supplied
Updated 24 February 2021

Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa inspire Hugo Comte’s first photo book

Bella Hadid photographed by Hugo Comte. Supplied

DUBAI: French fashion photographer Hugo Comte released his first career photography book this week. The new monograph shines the spotlight on all the women who have inspired him along the way, including part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid, British-Albanian popstar Dua Lipa and Russian supermodel Irina Shayk, among others.

Comte collaborated with art director David McKelvey on the 200-page-book and focused on featuring existing and never-before-seen portraiture of his muses in the new tome.

The book, which is self-published, celebrates the first five years of his photography career. 

In addition to previously published portraits, the book also features never-before-seen works — special pieces made in collaboration with airbrush artists to repaint his imagery, as well as unique computer-generated pieces.

Dua Lipa photographed by Hugo Comte. Supplied

“I really wanted to create an object that is the symbol of my first years of work. I started to really feel that people created a sort of identity around me from that time period,” he said to WWD.

“I feel (portraiture) is the most intimate part of my work and where I express myself the best. Group shots don’t allow such intimacy. When I shoot an image, I always try to give the feeling that the woman is not being photographed but that she is looking through the camera, which gives a direct contact between the viewer and the muse,” he added.

The prolific imagemaker’s newly-released tome is untitled, instead the photographer wants to let his work speak for itself.

After arriving on the scene not long ago, he has quickly ascended to being one of the most-followed photographers on the Internet.

A page from the new book. Supplied

He is known for working with some of the world’s most-photographed women, such as Kendall Jenner, Vittoria Ceretti and Adut Akech. 

Memorably, he lensed Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” album artwork.

The launch of the book is accompanied by an exhibition at Los Angeles’ Tase Gallery, where Comte will have a one-week show from Feb. 25 – March 3 of seven selected works in the brand new gallery space. 

The Book is also available for sale on HugoComte.com. It is limited to 2,500 copies, the first 50 of which have been signed by Comte.


Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny to publish political thriller

Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny to publish political thriller
Updated 24 February 2021

Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny to publish political thriller

Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny to publish political thriller

DUBAI: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to publish a suspense thriller with Canadian author Louise Penny in October, publishers Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press said Tuesday.

“State of Terror” will hit bookshelves on Oct. 12, the publishers said, and will tell the story of a novice secretary of state serving in the administration of her political rival as a “series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray.”

Although the book’s blurb makes no explicit mention of former US President Donald Trump, whose “America First” policy reined in the United States’ global leadership role, the book is set “after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage.”

Clinton has recently been digging deeper into the entertainment industry. Just last month, her new production company, HiddenLight Productions, acquired the adaptation rights of the Kurdish drama series “The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice.”