Category: Interview

Interview: Nathalie Trad

Nathalie Trad doesn’t need much of an introduction. She designs absolutely stunning clutches and is a well known name in every fashionable household in the Middle East region and abroad. Her clutches are a definite must have for every fashionista’s wardrobe.


Charney Magri - Nathalie Trad  -1212


Tell us a bit about yourself, Nathalie.

I was born in Lebanon and grew up in Dubai. I developed a strong penchant for asymmetric designs, which today forms the basis my line of clutches, whilst earning a BA from Paris’ ESMOD International. It was then, in 2007, that I discovered my personal design ethos: to take classic shapes – ubiquitous in our natural environment – and radically transform them, deconstructing and always trying to redefine the boundaries of fashion aesthetics.

In 2008, I relocated to New York to further pursue this vision. There, I studied Design and Management at Parsons The New School for Design and worked under the mentorship of an industry-leading accessories designer at Proenza Schouler. There, I gained experience of working in a growing fashion business and focused on gaining hands on experience designing accessories.

My time spent in two fashion capitals – Paris and New York – coupled with the expertise gained through my degrees and my quest to re-examine the foundations of traditional accessory design, helped me forge a unique signature style laying the foundation for my brand.


When was the brand founded and what is the inspiration behind the brand?

I was browsing through various books at my favorite bookstore in New York (“Strand”) I came across Albertus Seba’s book of illustrations, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.
Considered one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements, the book features images of a variety of insects drawn by illustrators. Believe it or not, seeing the kaleidoscope of colors on these insects’ carcasses immediately triggered in me a creative outpouring. I vividly remember being completely mesmerized by the complex forms, shapes and patterns captured in the book. Then while on an impromptu trip around South East Asia, my fascination with nature only grew stronger, I was completely taken aback by their natural wealth.
I started to go by the motto “smell with your eyes, hear with your nose, see with your ears and taste with your hands.” In doing so, I saw it all from a different perspective, which allowed me to reinterpret what I saw and led to the creation of my 2013 inaugural collection.


NT-Ferris-Mother of Pearl x Black Resin

What was the source of inspiration for your latest collection?

Drawing inspiration from cubism and futurism, I took a moment to look at the world from different viewpoints, as a series of fractured perspectives and lines. A universe assembled from smaller shapes, overlapping geometric planes that crystallize into a gestalt, a unified whole.

The leitmotif of my Fall 2014 collection is filtering the world through a prism, deconstructing two dimensional shapes and morphing them into three dimensional bold, exotic sculptures. Marked by elegant decadence, opulent colors and eclectic patterns.


NT-Stella-Cinnamon Natural Wood x Black Resin


What were some of the challenges you faced when you started your brand?

Until now, the most challenging part is being the creative driver of the business while at the same time running it on a day to day basis. The best part for me is being able to decide on the creative direction of the season and shaping the business in line with my vision. Nevertheless being a small business owner also means that I need to play several roles sometimes all in the span of a day. I can go from being a graphic designer, logistics, marketing, retail, finance manager, and now that I am finally starting to hire a proper team, an HR manager. Being a small business owner requires being hands on every possible front which is not an easy task.


NT-Tilden-Paua Blue x Black Resin


What do you love most about Dubai?

Dubai is a vibrant, thriving city and a gateway between the East and West. This perfectly mirrors the essence of my line of handbags and accessories: each and every one of my pieces draws on both Eastern and Western aesthetics, from my design background and creative process, to my contemporary influences, cultural heritage, and the different natural materials that I have used. Dubai represents a city that will never cease to evolve, recreate and outdo itself  and thus serves as the perfect example for me. It pushes me to expand the realm of possibilities with my designs and create truly innovative pieces.


Any exciting news about the brand you would like to share with us?

We have some very exciting collaborations in the pipeline!


- Neha Prasad

Introducing Our Latest Fitness Obsession: Twerkout!

Today we interview twerkout instructor Johana O from Miami, who’s discussing why  twerking is all the rage and the next best workout in Dubai!




What is Twerkout and why should everyone try it?

Twerkout is the new – women only – funnest workout dance party in Dubai designed to get you more fit, toned, and sexy. Twerkout is a unique cardio dance class that disguises the feeling of working out because you are dancing to popular hip hop and electronic songs that you love such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Kate Perry, etc all in a fun club-like atmosphere. You gain so much more than just losing weight! It’s an experience like no other, and that’s why every women (of all ages 18 and older) become part of the Twerkout community in Dubai.


Can you tell us how Twerkout become a fitness work out?

My passion for dancing and performing inspired the Twerkout class. Working out can be extremely boring and monotonous so I wanted to create a fun and dynamic workout specifically designed to shape the female physique, something that women would actually enjoy. Twerkout connects dancing and working out in a fun club atmosphere with a classy and sassy twist along with clever routines that will keep you dancing for hours. The Twerkout regular attendees say they prefer this workout over any other because it’s easy, fun, and productive (in many ways other than getting an awesome workout).


How does it get someone in shape?

You can expect to burn anywhere from 400 – 1,000 calories each Twerkout class (FYI: running one mile burns around 100 calories). Keeping in mind that results differ from person to person depending on activity level and eating habits. If you are a regular Twerkout member you can expect to see results particularly in the right areas that women typically target, such as waistline, legs, arms, and buttocks.


Do you have to be a good dancer to do twerkout?

You don’t have be a dancer at all to Twerkout. The class has easy combination routines that are quick to pick up. The class is designed to not only lose weight but also to improve your dancing skills one step at a time with one-on-one tips from instructors on how to move your body to get a better workout, and look and feel sexier at the same time. Yes, it’s possible to do both with Twerkout!


How is it different to Zumba?

The difference between Twerkout and Zumba is that Zumba uses more traditional dance moves you’ve seen over and over in infomercials mainly using Latin American music which in general carry a low to moderate tempo. Twerkout uses moves that challenge your body and exploits your inner diva mainly using hip hop and electronic music which carry a much more intense and faster tempo, and include disco lights and dimmed lights to infuse a dance party feeling. In a Zumba class you will feel like you are “working out”, but Twerkout disguises the “workout” mindset to “Twerkout” to bass pumping, heart throbbing, best jamming music you’ve ever experienced. Once you have tried one Twerkout class you will instantly notice the difference.


Since twerking is a type of dance, have you changed it to make it a intense workout?

Yes, but don’t let the Twerk in Twerkout scare you off into thinking it’s anything related to a Miley Cyrus type of dance. In general terms, Twerking is a dance movement typically thrusting or shaking your buttocks, but there’s very little of that in the Twerkout class. Yes, you shake your bum but the dance moves are eloquently designed to keep it classy and fun targeting the most wanted areas for women. The word Twerk to me signifies new age boldness, confidence, and freedom of expression and this is something I want to give to all the Twerkout community of women in Dubai.

Best twerkers in your opinion?

Beyonce would probably take the cake for best twerking moves in my opinion.


Why is it exclusive to only women?

I wanted to create a judgement free class where women can let loose, release their inner inhibitions and feel comfortable in their own skin. Women love to dance but hate working out, so the birth of Twerkout materialized; uniquely combining the two with a fun & friendly party atmosphere. This class will have you doing Twerkout moves in dance clubs and even at work during your lunch hour with your girlfriends. It’s a community of fierce and confident women who encourage one another and aim at being happy and comfortable with themselves while pushing the envelope to become the best they can become.


What should you wear to a Twerkout class?

You should wear clothes that you are comfortable dancing in. Tank top, leggings, and sneakers are perfectly ok. Lipstick and loose hair are encouraged to help you feel more Twerkalicious.


What should you expect from a Twerkout class?

Expect to break out of your shell and get a great workout while improving flexibility, dancing skills, and a ego boost. The old mindset of traditional gyms are dying down because of their lack of innovation and motivation. Your body deserves a new type of workout and your soul demands it.


Join the Twerkout community of women who are fearless and sassy and experience the funnest dance workout party in Dubai! For more info, Contact Leila at

Meet The Wilhelmina Team – Fabiola Jassan

Fabiola joined the Wilhelmina team earlier this year to manage the new hostess division. Originally from Mexico City, she began working as a model at 10 and appeared in over 70 commercials. From an early age she spent most of her free time at castings rather than with her friends, quickly learning the importance of professionalism and discipline in order to go far with her career and aspirations.

At 18, she moved to Playa del Carmen a beautiful resort town in the Caribbean coast of Mexico, working in hospitality. Five years ago, Fabiola moved to Dubai seeking new challenges and began booking models, hostesses and organizing fashion events.  When asked what she loves most about Wilhelmina Dubai, she says it’s her colleagues who make her smile and laugh every day.




How does a typical work morning start for you?

I usually snooze 7 times before I actually get out of bed. Once I make it to the office I check my emails and write a list of what I need to do. I either email or call our hostesses to make sure they receive their briefings+ booking information, so being organized is definitely necessary. I spend a lot of time on building and maintaining strong relationships with our clients and I make sure to understand their needs  in order to create a tailored approach for our business. No day is ever the same, which I love. Every day our clients, models, hostesses, stylists, celebrities and creatives come in for meetings and you never know what to expect.


Three things you wouldn’t leave home without?

My phone, my heels and a positive attitude.


What do you love most about Dubai?

There are so many opportunities in Dubai which makes it an exciting place to be. I’m always meeting people from all parts of the world making it a vibrant city.


cynthia wilhelmina dubai


Favourite restaurant in Dubai?

Loca – in Dubai Marina.


The best way to spend the weekend?

Well life is all about balance so a combination of going out, eating and exploring new restaurants with friends, and time at the beach chilling ( or jet skiing)!


Favorite fashion designer?

The fashion genius that is Karl Lagerfeld


Your signature style?

Im pretty moody when it comes to fashion but one thing I never compromise are my heels and pin straight hair.



Model Interview: Aisha Howard

We welcome international model Aisha from New York to the Wilhemina Dubai family. Aisha travels  all over the world not just for her exciting modelling career but takes care of herself on the inside learning and teaching yoga and meditation . She shares with us some of her insight, beauty tips and overall advice on how to stay beautiful inside and out.




How did you get into yoga, and where are some of the best places you have practiced yoga in the world?

I began practicing yoga per chance after sustaining a career ending knee injury while playing basketball.  All my life, I had been an ardent basketball player with dreams of playing in the professional league.  However, due to a freak injury, I had to undergo three knee surgeries and became devastated as my basketball dreams came to an end. 

I went from being extremely active to basically having to learn to walk all over again and as an athlete, this was extremely difficult for me.    A doctor suggested that I incorporate yoga into my rehabilitation and workout regime.   To my surprise, I found that not only was I getting an intense workout physically but mentally things were beginning to shift as well.

After practicing yoga for about 5 years, my teacher encouraged me to become a certified instructor myself.  In doing this I have been able to train and teach in some of the most exotic locations around the world.  Last year, I traveled to Thailand, Vietnam and  Cambodia.  Earlier this year, I practiced yoga at base camps along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu and prior to arriving in Dubai, I spent some time in India where I practiced with some of the most amazing teachers.


What is your weekly exercise routine like?

As we are all unique, I found that when it comes to an exercise routine, the most important thing is that you have to listen to your body.  Everything is not for everyone and therefore, what works for me, may not work for you.   Nonetheless, I definitely think a good cardio routine or exercise is paramount, as it strengthens both the heart and lungs.  

Therefore, I always start my workout with some form of cardio which I always tend to alternate.  It can be 20 minutes of jump rope, or 30minutes on the bike a 45minute jog.  Being a former athlete I also have become quite a fan of the bootcamp workouts.  These short yet very intense workouts of 30 minutes to an hour gives you a full body workout, incorporating cardio-conditioning, strength, agility and a great core (abdominal) workout all in one.




What are some of your favorite beauty tips?

Our physically attractiveness is only one aspect of what makes a person “beautiful”  

When it comes to my beauty regime, I am a stern believer that beauty emanates from the inside out. It is our duty to ourselves to love and take care of ourselves.  Mentally, physically and spiritually.

I am quite fond Ayurvedic treatments and remedies.  Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help a person maintain health by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.   

My mother used to always tell me, you are what you eat.  Thus I try my best to avoid processed foods, eating most of my foods as natural as possible.  I have also recently incorporated juicing in my diet and normally start my day with a green juice.. and of course water is a must, It helps to keep the body hydrated and it also helps to flush toxins from the body. 

And lastly, I try to stick to the rule, if I can not eat it, I will not put it on my hair or skin.  I am not always able to abide by this but I am very mindful of the fact that whatever I put on my skin is ultimately absorbed into my body and blood stream.  


How often do you practice meditation?

Meditation for me, is on of the most powerful tool for balancing the mind and body. I find that when I dedicate an hour a day to doing some sort of mediative exercise, I am much more productive and no matter what is going on around me, I am at peace and better equipped to deal with whatever lies ahead.

I also make a point to do at least on mediative lock in a year.  During a meditative lock in I normally go into silence for 10 days.  Last year, I did a 10 day mediative lock in in Cambodia and next month I will be traveling to a monastery in Nepal where will do another meditative lock in while there.




How much has yoga impacted your life?

When the majority of people think of yoga, images of extremely flexible people in even more extreme positions come to mind.  This however is only one aspect of yoga. or the asanas,the  physical practice.  Nonetheless, yoga entails so much more than this.  In actuality, Yoga is a way of life.   Yoga is all about harmonizing the body with the mind and breathe/or spirit. I am definitely more grounded and I have found a sense of peace and security in being myself.  I have learned to love and accept myself just the way that I am. Yoga has allowed me to release negative attitudes I once harbored and I am learning to enjoy and appreciate every moment of my physical existence on earth.


Highlights of your modeling career so far?

I have been extremely blessed in my career. I have always dreamed of traversing  the physical planet and my career has afforded me that.  But there are two events thus far that I would have to say have been true highlights for me.

My first career highlight was the opportunity of working with the Lebanese designer Ellie Saab. It was one of my first jobs as a model and I  will never forget the day.  I arrived at the casting and was actually rudely turned away by the casting director.  As I was leaving the building, I bumped into Ellie Saab himself, he stopped me in my tracks, asked me who was I and how come he had never seen me before.  He then insisted that I turn around and go with him.  I walked back into the casting, he handed me two dresses to try on, turned to the same casting director who initially turned me away, and said “Do you see this girl,” she is amazing,  I want her to close my show. 

Another highlight for me was being invited to Ethiopia as a guest judge, host and model coach  for modeling competition for young girls.   I have been blessed abundantly, and one thing I promised myself is that I would do whatever it was in my power to do to help others to attain their dreams and to provide the same opportunities to others that were bestowed upon me.  Being a guest judge and model coach for those young girls allowed me to do just that.  And of all the places I have been and all of the things I have done as a model.  Nothing has been more rewarding than spending that time in Ethiopia with those girls. 

Meet The Wilhelmina Dubai Team: Cynthia Gutierrez

cynthia guttierez wilhelmina dubai

Originally from Madrid, Spain, Cynthia Gutierrez studied advertising and pr before moving to the Emirates five years ago. She is the head booker at Wilhelmina Models Dubai where she works with agencies in New York, Miami and across the globe in order to bring the freshest faces and most professional models to Dubai. Although she is passionate about her job and dedicates herself full time and beyond to the agency handling all the model drama and crazy schedules, Cynthia loves to travel and explore the world.   If she’s not working on raising the standards for the industry in the region, meeting with clients or supervising her Internationals she can be found dancing or singing close to the stage at most live rock concerts.


Cynthia and Farah at Mary Katrantzou Presentation

Cynthia and Farah at Mary Katrantzou Presentation

 How does a typical work morning start for you?

A typical day is everything but normal at an agency, so I wake up 6:30 am and go straight to the gym. It gives me the focus and energy I need for the long and always interesting day ahead.

Three things you wouldn’t leave home without?

I always need lipstick, my mobile and my notebook, (so I can write down ideas or check my models schedules)!

What do you love most about Dubai?

The mix of cultures this city has to offer. Dubai is very cosmopolitan and young.  I love making friends from all over the world. Sometimes you just need to scratch the surface because there is so much to explore. Galleries, events and all these new concept stores/spaces and areas like Al Quoz. I love  The Mine   for example. Creativity is rapidly developing here so its a great time to be here to be a part of the change and make a difference. 


 Art Installation at THE MINE

Who is your style crush?

I love Siena Miller’s style. It’s never complicated and always “in”.


Favorite Restaurant in Dubai?

I love Japanese so definitely Zuma.


Cynthia meeting photographer Luc Bassompierre at Capital D

Cynthia meeting photographer Luc Bassompierre at Capital D


The best way to spend the weekend?

I love working out and yoga, so I always make sure to get some time for that on the weekends. But the best is to spend a day on the beach or on a boat with friends, and ALWAYS with the phone switched off. Did I mention I love concerts?


Favorite fashion designer?

I don’t have a favorite, I love many designers but right now I really dig Mara Hoffman and Isabel Marant.


Mara Hoffman


Your signature style?

I love to wear dresses, sandals and I always accessorize with a scarf, even when it’s hot.

cynthia wilhelmina dubai

Cynthia with Wilhelmina’s Hostess Booker Fabiola who will be profiled on the blog next!

Model Interview: Dominique

Wilhelmina Models Dubai has loved having international model Dominique from South Africa on board the past few weeks. Her professionalism and love of healthy living has rubbed off on our team and we  only hope to see her back in Dubai very soon. We asked her to share some of her healthy habits with you our lovely audience.



1.     How often do you work out and for how long?

I’m a fitness freak, so I work out every day, although some days I can’t due to a grueling work and travel schedule… But majority of the time I work out every day, for an hour at least. I also prefer to work out in the morning. It gives me the  focus I need to prepare for the day ahead and honestly if you leave it until the end of the day, you’ll never end up doing it.


2.     Is your work out the same each time?

No, I mix it up. I’ll always start with cardio and then I’ll either focus on arms, legs or butt. I also make sure I do a form of abs with every work out. I also sometimes do Power Yoga which is in a heated room, but that depends on which city I am in.




3.     How do you determine the best work out for you?

Everybody is different. We all need to see what works for our own specific body. Same goes with eating. So do a workout for a week and see if it gives you the results you want. If not, stop and try something else out.


4.     Some of your favourite tricks or tips for our audience to keep in mind when they go to the gym?

Always make sure you have good music… and mix it up! Working out doesn’t have to be repetitive or boring.


5.     Do you have a personal motto that inspires you?

Abs are made in the kitchen – it’s 70 % eating and 30 % working out. Also, the only bad workout is the one that you didn’t do! Get your butt to the gym and just do it.


6.     How would you describe your eating habits?

I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80 % healthy, 20 % unhealthy. It’s all about balance. We have to enjoy life and eat a cupcake every once in a while!  I eat a lot of nuts, and proteins. I don’t eat meat but I eat fish.


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7.     Any advice to motivate someone to make healthy lifestyle changes?

One step at a time. Start with something small. Make a new goal every week! Fad diets and silly detoxes might change your weight temporarily but a healthy lifestyle changes your mind AND your body permanently.


8.     Favourite beauty products?

I love Clarin’s Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil. It’s great for rehydrating skin. I use it every evening… Also, Chia seeds! I know they’re not a beauty product, but every morning I put two teaspoons of chia seeds in to my water bottle which I take to the gym. They are filled with omega 3 and antioxidants. Try it.


9.     Fashion icons in your opinion?

Miranda Kerr & Rosie Huntington Whitely.


10.  What you like most about Dubai?

The energy.  It’s full of opportunity and there is always something happening. I love Dubai!


Check out our Wilhelmina facebook page and Dominique’s Instagram to follow this lovely model on all her travel and modelling adventures.


Interview: Natasha Zaki

Today we had the pleasure of meeting Natasha Zaki who recently moved to Dubai and has a wealth of experience in fashion and beauty having worked with the Godmother of all make up artists, Pat McGrath, the legend in the international fashion arena. We welcome Natasha and look forward to collaborating with her on future projects and workshops and of course beauty posts! (Of course if you have any questions for Natasha, send us an email and we’ll get you the beauty advice you request).


SO: Natasha, Tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get started?

NZ: My passion for makeup started when I saw 10.  My mother was obsessed with lipsticks and had a draw full of them – she used to buy one every time we went shopping!  I knew I wanted to become a make up artist and went against the normal university path to do a high fashion photographic and media makeup course at The London School of Beauty and Makeup.  I gained a lot of experience by working for Mac cosmetics and was also chosen as a backstage artist for their events and shows. My first EVER fashion show was with Pat McGrath for Aquascutumn. Assisting Pat on all of her shows gained me the most respect in my field.


SO: Career highlights so far?

NZ: Being escorted on a motorbike through the bustling streets of Paris to arrive Backstage at the Galliano fashion show.  


SO: How would you describe the look you feel you do the best?

NZ: The look I do best is the perfect natural dewy skin and contour.


SO: Favourite summer make up tips?

NZ: Summer makeup tips – always use factor 50 no matter what!  Use benefit primer if you suffer from oily skin in the heat and switch to an oil free foundation.


SO: Favourite products you can’t live without?

NZ: I can’t live without Tom Ford Bronzer, Tom Ford eyeshadow palettes and Illamasqua foundation.


SO: Favourite models?

NZ: My Favourite models are the ones with the best personality to match their looks so far Cara  Delevingne has both for me!


SO: Fashion icons in your opinion?

NZ: My fashion Icon is Queen Rania of Jordan she is effortlessly beautiful and elegantly glam. 


SO: What do you like about living and working in Dubai?

NZ: Since moving to Dubai i feel it is so glamorous compared to that edgy London look so I have really enjoyed the kind of shoots that I have done here. I do a real mixture of work both high fashion and personal make overs – I love both.  My family moved here with me and we all love it and enjoy exploring all the new restaurants and hot spots!


Looking for a makeover for the summer? Look no further, SO offers a range of services including customised consultations and tutorials in fashion and personal styling, hair and makeup, and refining posture and image. For more information or bookings, email us at

KEORO Resort Wear

Evelyn Virag Keoro

Today we interview Evelyn and Oana two young and talented UAE based Italian designers who created KEORO, a luxury resort-wear collection born in Dubai.

The collection is a direct reflection of Dubai’s lifestyle with year-round summer-like climate and mix of sea and desert that is shown through the collection by the usage of aqua green, blue, bronze and white. The prints are inspired by the culture and the sight of the region: paisleys as an ancient Persian and Indian motif, dégradé as the shades of the magical sunsets and hues of blue that denote the sea. It embodies the modern and sophisticated woman who desires to be elegant and sensual, yet looks for multi-functionality and comfort. The collection is multi-faceted and can be worn on a casual day at the beach or to a glamorous yacht party and further into the evening as the kaftan transforms into an evening dress

Evelyn, Oana what inspired you to start a resort wear collection?

Our collection is inspired by our travels, our love for the sea and our free spirits. We also realized it was difficult here in Dubai to find something different other than heavily ornate and embroidered beach kaftans, so we decided to create a clean and sophisticated design that would appeal to women like us.

What are your greatest influences or fashion icons?

Other resort wear designers like Melissa Odabash, and Heidi Klein but mainly our inspiration comes from observing people on the beach all over the world.

How would you describe the KEORO woman?

She is modern, sophisticated and sensual. Who appreciates multi-functionality and comfort.

Challenges of starting your own fashion collection?

The biggest challenge is reaching out to the target audience. Creating a collection from start to finish requires a lot of effort, dedication, and patience. Also because we decided to produce the collection here in the UAE finding the right factory that could provide the highest standards of quality.

Favorite boutiques?

Candela, Boutique 1, Sauce, Salinas

Thank you girls for the interview anything else you would like to share with our audience?

All we want to say is that we must all follow our dreams. It is our dreams that define us, our spirit that guides us and eventually our hard work that helps us grow. We all have it in us to think beyond the traditional boundaries.



Exclusive Interview: Aysha Majid of Cherry Pick

Best Dressed 2013

S.O. is excited to interview Aysha Majid of Cherry Pick  the coolest insiders guide of the best of Dubai. Their aim? To promote the city’s best bits and save you time by providing easily accessible info on hidden gems this city has to offer as well as offering access to a cherry picked world of handpicked venues, via their Members Club.

Aysha how and why did you start Cherry Pick Dubai?

I have family in Dubai and first visited around nine years ago. It’s fascinating to see how much it has changed. As a journalist I’ve predominantly worked in features and lifestyle. I launched CP to help people discover the city, as Dubai’s a pretty hard shell to crack. I wanted to develop something I would use and something organic that wasn’t swayed by advertising. Everyone likes to feel special and our Members Club allows you to access special ‘under the counter’ privileges from our venues. Our phone app also has a Members Perk Tracker, which is great if you’re out and about and want to make the most of your privileges.

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Greatest inspirations or influences?

I’ve always been fascinated with baroque architecture and writers like Keats and Byron. I would say I’m a practical romanticist (if there is such a thing). There’s a real art to communicating words simplistically and I love writers that are expressive but not pompous. There’s a writer called Kate Grenville who does this beautifully.

Fashion icons in your opinion?

A fashion icon (to me) is someone who doesn’t let the latest trends dictate their style and is confident in their own skin and not afraid to push boundaries.

What do you love most about living in Dubai?

When I first moved to Dubai I found it pretty hard having lived in London for 12 years. I love walking and old architecture. Imperfections are what give us character and this is very much the opposite of Dubai’s ethos, but this is slowly changing and if you look hard enough you can sniff out the character and charm.

I love waking up to the sun everyday and having the beach nearby and I’ve now developed an appreciation for modern architecture. There are not many cities that have achieved what Dubai has in such a short space of time. It’s a really exciting time be here and I feel privileged to be part of that.

Favorite beauty tip or secret?

I try and use organic products where I can and I love Lucas Pawpaw Ointment. My older sister got me onto this and it’s great for eyes, lips, everything! I’m also an obsessive water drinker.

What is your exercise regime like?

I’m not a gym bunny that’s for sure, but I find swimming really relaxing. I have ridden from the age of six, so riding is something I enjoy and has always been a part of my life but unfortunately the equestrian centre I ride at is a bit of a drive (so time is an issue). I also love kickboxing but I damaged my ankle some time ago now, so I’ve recently began boxing instead.

What are some of your favorite local artists, designers, brands, boutiques?

I love S*uce. Everything they do is fresh, inventive and fun. I often shop at Bambah as I miss the vintage markets of London and this is one of just a tiny handful of vintage stores in Dubai. I also love rummaging through Garderobe’s rails, in Jumeirah. I love Safa Park. I am a bit sad that they are building over a part of it. I miss the green and I enjoy just chilling out, having a BBQ and wondering the markets there on a weekend. I love Dumyé. Their dolls are ethical, thoughtful and I would buy their whole collection for myself if I could! There are some really talented emerging Emirati artists; I think Maitha Demithan’s scanography work is really interesting. I also like Khalid Mezaina’s contemporary, culturally fused designs and I recently came across Nawal Khoory’s Bastakiya collection and love the way she uses contrasts of defined calligraphy and delicate watercolour.