Celebrating Women in the Middle East

Our favourite faces in the Middle East reveal the risks they have taken in the past decade and share a few of their favourite things...
ByAhlan! Live ReporterWednesday , 17 September 2014
Celebrating Women in the Middle East
© ITP Images
Gabriela Miloda

Gabriela Miloda
TV Presenter

What do you love most about how your life has developed over the past 10 years? Today I make a conscious effort to be more mindful and present in life. To me, mindfulness is about waking up, connecting with myself, and appreciating the fullness of each moment in life. This mindset has influenced my own well-being in terms of how I exercise and what I eat as well as my relationships with others. My favourite thing would be getting glammed up for a night out with my husband! 

Sophie Toh
Owner of TOH PR

‘One of my favourite things is my dog, Steven McQueen, who entered my life three years ago as a tiny, mangy ginger puppy with a cough.  He’s grown into a beautiful little lion and he brightens up my day, every day.  What will I be doing in 10 years time? I see myself settled in a new country, with fresh challenges and loving being forty-something and fabulous!’

Natasha Hatherall
Owner of Tish Tash PR

‘A decade ago?  I would tell myself, Tash, your value really is not determined by your dress size or the way you look. Ok, let’s be real: we do live in a superficial world where appearances do matter and especially in the world you’re working in, but truly, just be comfortable in your own skin and confident in you, your abilities and all the wonderful talents you have, and that will carry you much further than whether you can squeeze into a size 10 pair of jeans. Oh, and that pursuit for perfection you’re always so hungrily pursuing? Also a big waste of time. Your best is great.  Be confident.’

Sara Hamdan
Deputy Editor VIVA magazine

Ten years ago, I graduated from college in California a year early and was getting ready to start a life as a banker at Merrill Lynch in Dubai.  Why the rush?  While I’m glad to have had the experience, I’m so happy I eventually left a job that didn’t suit me for a career I love in journalism.  It’s best to take life as it comes instead of always wanting to know the next step.  In fact,  the best things in my life came my way unexpectedly - a regular writing gig with The New York Times, the love of my life who became my husband, and, of course, VIVA! Patience is rewarding.  It’s how I learned how to speak Italian while living in Florence so I could watch my fave movie, Malena, as Monica Bellucci is my beauty icon.

Zeina El-Dana
Founder and Managing Director Z7 Communications

In the past decade, Z7 Communications has grown year to year! It’s been rewarding to see our portfolio evolve organically, via referrals from brand to brand in the luxury realm. In 10 years, I would love to have increased our scope regionally by creating satellite offices in key cities around the region and fuelling growth – of course, it would be a dream to expand out of the Middle East one day! My favourite style icons include the contemporary Olivia Palermo, the elegant Cate Blanchett and the timeless Audrey Hepburn.

Ahirah Variawa 
Owner Think Liquorice

Looking back a decade ago I realize I knew little about a lot of things. If given the opportunity to whisper to my then self, I’d say waste nothing – not time, not money, not opportunity and most of all not dreams. The greatest risk I’ve taken in the past 10 years is packing my bags and boarding a flight to Dubai, determined to make the desert my new home, with nothing but a three week hotel booking on the other side. I’m inspired, fascinated and lured by travelling the world and discovering every corner, taste and adventure.

Natasha Stephenson
Founder RAWR yoga

During the past 10 years I have learnt a lot about health. My advice would be get great sleep, laugh and actively sweat – this combined with juicing, using chia seeds and coconut oil will help you stay young, healthy, happy and full of energy. The best thing for me to unwind and relax would be, ironically, a 90-Minute Bikram session. I completely switch off during the class and it is my mental vacation. I’d say to people that it’s never too late to create the healthy fit body we want instead of assuming we are stuck for life. I like Chanel perfume but for me the best fashion statement is a fit and healthy body.

Hermoine Macura
TV Presenter, author, business director

“I’m really proud of how far along I have come in my life.  So if I was to give advice to myself 10 years ago, it would be to eat clean, lift weights, love without limits, smile more and be brave – the world belongs to the brave and is worth fighting for.”

Rosemin Manji
Owner RR&Co. Bespoke Luxury Management

“I’d tell my 10 year younger self to be patient, because when I look back, I was always rushing for some reason – I never took the time to enjoy the moment. I’ve discovered over the past decade my guilty pleasure is shoes. If I find a pair I love I will hunt them down on every website possible until I find them. The Level Shoe District is my version of heaven!  

Britt Singleton
Fashion & Beauty Editor, VIVA

‘A decade ago, I was starting out at fashion school, just breaking into the industry and wondering if I could ever turn my passion into a career. If I could give my younger self a piece of advice it would be ‘relax’. Not everything goes as planned - sometimes the best things in life happen by chance or suprise, my move to Dubai being one of them. I’d say seize every opportunity, trust your instincts and take chances. Working in fashion, it’s hard not to indulge in a treat every now and again. My favourite recent purchase has to be this classic Chloé satchel. Luxury leathergoods are my weakness.’

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