Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women

Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
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The COVID-19 crisis turned out to be an opportunity for Saudi avant-garde makeup artist Salwa Koshak. (Supplied)
Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
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Marilyn Monroe. (Supplied)
Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
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Marilyn Monroe. (Supplied)
Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
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Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
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Updated 05 June 2021

Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women

Who’s that girl? Saudi makeup artist explores the changing face of women
  • Salwa Koshak uses creative cosmetics techniques to share her passion for the history and evolution of style

JEDDAH: The faces in the photographs are familiar and the poses instantly recognizable: The iconic fashions of Marilyn Monroe. The sophisticated style of Audrey Hepburn. The chessboard chic of Beth Harman, as portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy in the Netflix TV drama “The Queen’s Gambit.”

But look a little closer and there is a twist; these are not archive photos of celebrities but the work of Saudi avant-garde makeup artist Salwa Koshak.
Armed with her mastery of creative makeup techniques, along with a few accessories such as wigs, beads and stickers, there is no limit to the real or fictional figures she can transform herself into.
In makeup terms, avant-garde refers to an extreme and expressive form of cosmetic art that embraces fantasy and imagination.
For Koshak, this means drawing on her love of all things retro and vintage, including celebrity culture and style, but also more modern inspirations.
In addition to recreating the looks and styles of actors such as Monroe and Hepburn, pop stars such as David Bowie and Cher, and even Disney characters such as Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” the 33-year-old also creates unique makeup themes based on video games such as Pac-Man, movies such as “Star Wars,” and special occasions such as Valentine’s Day.
The Saudi creative now lives in Jeddah but spent most of her youth, from elementary school through to high school, in Orlando, Florida. She grew up there inspired by the entertainment offered by theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.
“There were so many different creative and imaginative places to go to,” Koshak told Arab News.
“I was always into makeup, styling, costumes, and I see fashion as a representation of something.
“Although we have so many media, such as radio and television, I think the biggest medium is a person — a person and who they are, their personality, their body and how their body is used to share stories and ideas. I think a person can do that more so than just an artwork or just a TV show and so on.”
During a 10-year career in public relations and marketing Koshak has worked with many photographers, fashion models and businesses that collaborate with makeup artists. She said she herself was offered the chance to work as a model in her early teenage years, while living in the US, but turned it down.
“Modeling alone wasn’t really my passion,” she said.
“I like to represent ideas and I want to have more control over the image I want to create.

You can make anything fun or beautiful, and make anything with the tools that we have: Editing tools, makeup, fabrics — all of these things do tell a story.

Salwa Koshak

“I like to draw and put things on my face: Beads, stickers, dolls — whatever I can do to get a theme out that I’m trying to share.”
Koshak said that while the fashion and beauty industries have always pressured women to look a certain way, she wants to teach women that they can have fun with makeup rather than worry about whether or not they are more or less attractive without it.
“Coming from a person who has worked in media and marketing for a long time, I think showing people (that) you can look like anything you want, that (makeup products are) just tools (so) don’t take it seriously, and (that) no one really does look like that, that’s the biggest thing I want to give out,” she said.
“I want to make sure it is positive and people see that this is just art, that makeup can be removed, it’s not something that you need, it’s not something you have to look like, and you yourself, with a little bit of dreaming and a (few) tools, can look like anyone you want to look like.”
The COVID-19 crisis turned out to be an opportunity for Koshak that motivated her to pursue her art.

HIGHLIGHTS

• In makeup terms, avant-garde refers to an extreme and expressive form of cosmetic art that embraces fantasy and imagination. • For Saudi makeup artist Salwa Koshak, this means drawing on her love of all things retro and vintage, including celebrity culture and style, but also more modern inspirations.

“It all started during the pandemic and being at home,” she said.
“The last job I held was at Dar Al-Hekma University, where I worked as the marketing director and also taught brand management strategy in the marketing department.
“That was the last full-time position I held, and after that I did take a break to really think about what I wanted. To be honest, after being in a corporate environment — which I’ve been in for a long time — I got tired of the routine, and the expression of ideas is mostly in writing and strategies rather than creativity and art.”
So during the lockdowns last year she began to create and develop her avant-garde makeup skills, publishing the results on social media.
Along the way she invested in equipment and learned new skills to ensure the best possible showcase for her work. For example, she developed her knowledge of Photoshop and other editing software so that she can have total control of her art.
She said she does not want to have to rely on anyone else to create content that breaks the rules and shows you do not have to be a “fashionista” to look great, or conform to traditional ideas of glamour and beauty all the time.
“You can make anything fun or beautiful, and make anything with the tools that we have: Editing tools, makeup, fabrics — all of these things do tell a story,” said Koshak.
She added that she thinks of her work as a kind of a social commentary about how beauty and makeup and social media are evolving, in some ways, to become more of a hobby showcase and a way for people to share their talents and the things they are passionate about, rather than just showing off for the sake of it.
“When you show off your talent and the things you love, I think it’s very different,” Koshak said. “You get a support team, a community, and you meet a lot of people that think like you and want to work in the same field.
“I’m not that young, that’s why I couldn’t switch careers at the last minute, but you can’t keep doing something you don’t love, and do it forever.”
Describing herself as a “big history buff,” Koshak, said she likes to study how looks and styles have evolved and changed through the decades and enjoys recreating old looks, from the 1920s through to the 1990s.
She added that many of these styles are iconic and helped define the societies of the times, and so anyone with an interest in fashion and art must also love history and do a lot of reading. The clothes that people wore in different eras, together with their hairstyles and makeup, is part of the “social commentary” of those times, she added.
Koshak said she plans to launch a YouTube channel, not necessarily to give makeup tutorials as such, but to offer insights into her art, how it is inspired by history and how she goes about creating her looks.
“My YouTube channel will be about explaining history, makeup, art and beauty,” she said. “It’s my dream to create video content that is entertaining, fun and informative. I love teaching — I want to share all the information that I can to teach others to create.”


Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to protecting rights of workers

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to protecting rights of workers
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to protecting rights of workers

Saudi Arabia reiterates its commitment to protecting rights of workers
  • Official highlights strong labor partnership between the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has developed three policies to increase the protection of workers’ rights, Sattam Alharbi, Deputy Minister of Human Resource and Social Development (HRSD) for Control and Development of Work Environment has said. Alharbi was speaking on the sidelines of the International Migration Review Forum at the UN between May 17 and 20, 2022, in New York.

Alharbi participated as keynote speaker in a session on labor mobility and human rights and how to improve labor migration governance for migrant workers in the Middle East.

The event highlighted the strong partnership between the Philippines, as the labor-sending country, and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as countries of destination. It also served to review the goal of enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration, facilitating fair recruitment and safeguard conditions to ensure decent work.

Alharbi emphasized the necessity of enhancing international collaboration to ensure safe, and orderly migration by harmonizing national policies and establishing bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

The three polices that he mentioned were the National Policy for Occupational Health and Safety; the National Policy to Ban Child Labor; and the National Policy to Abolish Forced Labor.

He discussed the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives connected to expatriate security, highlighting accomplishments such as their protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vision's proactive role in covering several of the Global Compact for Migration goals.

He said that Saudi Arabia has signed 23 agreements with labor-exporting countries, the contents of which are per international standards, to ensure a partnership based on the promotion of human rights between employees and employers.

He also spoke of several initiatives launched by the Kingdom, stemming from its strategic objectives to improve the working and living conditions of expatriates and to attract international competencies, such as the initiative to improve contractual relationships and the vocational examination program. It also sought to activate new types of visas to meet market needs and provide more flexible options to attract skilled workers.

He stressed the Kingdom's initiatives to protect expatriate rights, such as the wage protection system that monitors employer’s compliance, the labor contracts electronic authentication program that allows workers to approve the terms of their contracts through a unified platform, the “Weddy” program to settle labor disputes, and the labor initiative.


WEF president lauds Saudi reforms, ‘strong delegation’ attending Davos

WEF president lauds Saudi reforms, ‘strong delegation’ attending Davos
Updated 50 min 8 sec ago

WEF president lauds Saudi reforms, ‘strong delegation’ attending Davos

WEF president lauds Saudi reforms, ‘strong delegation’ attending Davos
  • Borge Brende says forum working with Kingdom on gender equality, skill acceleration and increasing competitiveness
  • KSA can improve on issues related to tax system and red tape, says the former Norwegian FM

DAVOS, SWITZERLAND: The president of the World Economic Forum has welcomed the “strong” Saudi delegation to its annual meeting in Davos and lauded the reforms taking place in the Kingdom. Borge Brende also disclosed that the Geneva-based organization is considering taking the Middle East and North Africa regional summit, if it returns, to Riyadh.

“We really appreciate the strong delegation we have from Saudi Arabia in Davos. We have seven key ministers, including the foreign minister and the finance minister, with us in Davos,” he told Katie Jensen, the host of Arab News’ “Frankly Speaking,” the video show which features interviews with leading policymakers and business leaders.

As a regular visitor to the Kingdom, Brende, a former foreign minister of Norway, outlined the major changes he has witnessed over the course of his visits.

“Compared to when I visited the Kingdom for the first time decades ago, the situation for women now in Saudi Arabia is very different,” he told Arab News.

“You see them driving. When you come to hotels or restaurants, you see women being a natural part of society. And we know that also at the universities, more than 60 percent of the students are women. This is very important, and I think this shows the new leadership.”

Among other momentous changes underway in Saudi Arabia, Brende described the “investments in diversifying the economy, the new technologies, and education and skills” as important.

“I do see willingness to be very serious in investing the additional resources and revenues coming from the energy sector in diversifying the economy, and also building a very solid sovereign wealth fund,” he said.

He sees parallels between what is happening in the Kingdom and the experience of his home country, Norway, which has used its sovereign wealth fund to invest in education and better conditions for industries.

“This will give a very solid foundation for the years to come when oil and gas revenues will peak. That money should be invested in diversification, education, skills, infrastructure and in the green transition that we will see happening in Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that “the huge investment now in renewables and solar is unparalleled.”

As for the role the Kingdom could play in the context of the economic changes underway in the region, Brende said: “Saudi Arabia needs to produce higher up in the value chain in the years to come, where also you inject more technology into the production.”

He added: “There are areas still where Saudi Arabia can improve … the tax system and red tape. I know that the finance minister is very serious on this, and that collaboration is something that we would like even to take further.”

Recalling his visit to the World Economic Center in Riyadh a year ago when the WEF opened its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Saudi Arabia, he said: “I am seeing so much progress when it comes to technologies.”

He added: “We have initiatives related to accelerating gender equality, which should be one of the next steps. We also have a skills accelerator where we have a playbook on how to also reskill and upskill people that are currently not in the educational system. We also have work on enhancing the competitiveness of a country.”

Brende appeared on “Frankly Speaking” on the eve of the first in-person WEF annual meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time that the event is being held in Davos in May.

Shortly before the pandemic hit, the WEF announced in January 2020 that its MENA regional summit would take place in the Kingdom that year. Asked if such an event was still on the table, Brende said that the WEF had not been able to take up any of its original meetings because of “unpredictability related to the pandemic.”

Going forward, he said: “It’s about time also that we go to the Kingdom. If we resume the regional meetings as we had them in the past, that’s to be seen. We are very much looking forward to coming back to Riyadh.”

Watch the full Frankly Speaking episode on the link here.

Rewilding Arabia
Return of the leopard is at the heart of plans to conserve and regenerate Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife
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Saudi deputy defense minister, Blinken affirm countries’ ‘common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies’

Saudi deputy defense minister, Blinken affirm countries’ ‘common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies’
Updated 22 May 2022

Saudi deputy defense minister, Blinken affirm countries’ ‘common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies’

Saudi deputy defense minister, Blinken affirm countries’ ‘common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies’
  • They also discussed the latest developments in Yemen

WASHINGTON: Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, has met here with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the two sides affirmed their countries’ common vision to confront Iran’s destabilizing policies in the region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

They also discussed the latest developments in Yemen, with Prince Khalid reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s aspirations for the Yemenis “to reach a comprehensive political solution that would move Yemen to peace and development.”

“During the meeting, they reviewed the strategic and historical relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America and ways to strengthen them,” SPA said.

The deputy defense minister and his delegation began a series of meetings with key US officials last Tuesday, under the US-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee, to review the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the two countries.

Prince Khalid had earlier met with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, among others.

He also met with US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking latest developments in Yemen.

“I affirmed to him the Saudi-led Coalition’s backing of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council and its supporting entities, and our aspirations for reaching a comprehensive political resolution to the crisis that will lead Yemen into peace and prosperity,” the deputy defense minister said in a tweet.

 

In his meeting with Blinken, Prince Khalid noted that while the announced truce between the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen and the Iran-backed Houthi militia remained positive to a “to a large extent”, there is an important role for the United Nations and the international community to play.

He said the UN and world organizations need “to put pressure on Houthi militias to open Taiz roads, deposit the revenues of Hodeida port and engage seriously in peace efforts to move Yemen to security, stability, construction and prosperity.”

Regarding Iran’s destabilizing activities, Prince Khalid and Blinken talked about security and diplomatic coordination “to confront Iranian threats, including dealing with Iran’s nuclear file and its program to develop ballistic missiles as well as its sponsorship of terrorism.”

The two sides also discussed various topics of common interest, mutual coordination and continuous cooperation on efforts in maintaining security, peace and stability in the region and the world.

SPA said the two sides further “reviewed developments the Kingdom is witnessing within the framework of its Vision 2030, commending the cooperation and dialogue between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs.”

Prince Khalid welcomed US affirmation of the Kingdom’s support in developing its military capabilities and meeting its defense needs.

The meeting was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to the US, Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al Jaber, and a number of senior Saudi and US officials.

Rewilding Arabia
Return of the leopard is at the heart of plans to conserve and regenerate Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife
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First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2022

First for Saudi as domestic flight takes off with all-female crew

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. (Supplied)
  • Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions

JEDDAH: Saudi low-cost airline flyadeal have announced the first domestic flight in the Kingdom with a fully female crew, most of them Saudis.

The announcement was made on the airline’s official Twitter account @flyadeal on Friday: “For the first time in Saudi aviation history! #flyadeal operated the first flight with an all-female crew, the majority of which are Saudis by the newest A320 aircraft. Flight 117, flew from #Riyadh to #Jeddah”

Saudi women have proved themselves in many careers that men dominated for a long time including aviation-related positions.

Flight 117, with a crew of seven, was co-piloted by Yara Jan, 23, who is also the youngest Saudi female pilot.

Jan told Arab News that she was extremely proud to be taking part in such a historic moment in aviation for Saudi women.

“As a Saudi woman trying to lead my country with a proud step it was a moment of pride and joy.”

Jan graduated from flight school in Florida, US, in 2019, and joined Flyadeal a year ago.

She said that being the co-pilot means assisting the pilot in many key role tasks such as navigation and completing many checklists.

Jan is aware of how important this is for young Saudi women.

“Although being a Saudi woman pilot is new, it is not impossible for our generation, especially with the backing that we are receiving from our beloved country and our respected leaders, who have supported me a lot to become the youngest female pilot in a Saudi airline. I will always be pleased to have the chance to make a positive change.”

The number of Saudi female pilots has grown recently. Three names stand out: Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi, the first female pilot to fly with a Saudi commercial pilot license; Rawia Al-Rifi the first to fly an Airbus A320 internationally as a civil aircraft from the UAE; and co-pilot Yasmin Al-Maimani, who was the first woman to co-pilot a commercial plane in the Kingdom.


City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2022

City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
  • The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together

JEDDAH: Jeddah Season visitors are excited for the City Walk zone, which is open with nine villages to suit all tastes and age groups: The Entry Village, Food Hall, Fashion Village, Splash, Horror Village, Jeddah Live, Adventure, Waterfall and the Anime Village.

The Entry Village and most of the City Walk are steampunk-themed.

The Food Hall offers international fare from Los Angeles-based Top Round and Italy-themed Prince of Venice Pasta and Pizza to Hong Kong cake shop Butter.

The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together. It also features a DJ station with famous DJs playing music on a top-quality sound system for an unforgettable experience.

World-renowned artist Sara Shakeel’s work “Majlistic,” exhibiting historical Saudi culture and traditions, will also be featured at the Fashion Village.

Saudi visitor Abdullah Al-Thumani, 22, said that the zone was a completely new experience for the people of Jeddah.

“It’s a very special experience. I attended Riyadh Season, and this is really matching up to what I experienced in Riyadh,” he told Arab News.

“I liked the Fashion Village the most because they feature items you can’t find in regular stores,” he added.

Russian performer Uliana Averina said: “I came with a group from Russia, and we perform here at this festival in Jeddah. We are happy to be here and to participate in such a great event because everything here is really well done and gorgeous

“I see how happy people are here, and we like to interact with them,” she added.

The performer said she enjoyed the Saudi audience’s warm interaction.

“People here are very open, and they approach you first to interact with you. Even the kids come up to us and want to give us a high five. It’s so nice,” she said.

Splash is an aquatic village that has everything from water guns and a water drum show to rides and river rafting.

The Horror Village is for lovers of all things spooky. Brave visitors can enjoy abandoned houses, escape rooms, interactive ghost-themed exhibitions and more.

Jeddah Live takes visitors into the world of performances, with international and Arab theater shows such as “Bikhosoos Ba’ad Al-Nas” (“About Some People”), starring some of the Kingdom’s biggest television names, such as Nasser Al-Qassabi.

It also features a karaoke cube, the car and motorcycle show “Hot Wheels,” and Slime Planet for kids to enjoy.

Adventure is for adrenaline junkies, featuring a 150-meter-high hot air balloon ride, bungee jumping, a Ferris wheel and more, while the Anime Village is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands.

The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Held under the slogan “Our Lovely Days,” the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season, which recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions and a host of other services for families.