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Editor’s Letter: On Highlighting the Export of Arab Talent in Our Latest Issue

Manuel Arnaut

Vogue Man Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Mann

Two of the things that I appreciate the most about Dhafer L’Abidine are his politeness and great humor. While he is one of the Arab world’s leading actors, L’Abidine is that fantastic guy you just want to be around. We’ve met professionally for more than a decade, and whether on set or just having a coffee, he is always kind, relaxed, and affable.

However, I’m well aware that we can’t judge an actor by his likeability. In fact, some of the most successful people in the industry are, unfortunately, some of the hardest to handle. But L’Abidine is this incredible unicorn whose great personality finds its reflection in an unbeatable career of hundreds of regional series and movies, but also international blockbusters. While this cover might feel long overdue, I believe it came at the right moment, with the actor having just concluded his second project as film director. In this context, we had the opportunity to photograph him during the latest edition of the Venice Film Festival, a major event sponsored by Cartier, the French maison that L’Abidine has been an ambassador of since 2021.

The export of Arab talent is thankfully starting to be a reality in cinema – Nadine Labaki just announced a movie where she co-stars with legendary actor Fanny Ardant – and the same is also happening in music. This summer I went on vacation to Ibiza, and I could not have been prouder when I heard an Amr Diab remix in one of the major clubs, where the audience was not Arab and where the most prestigious DJs perform, from Solomun to David Guetta. Also on the island, if you drive around, you can’t miss the big billboards promoting a DJ duo called Bedouin, who play every week at the iconic Pacha nightclub. Once I decided to further explore what Bedouin stood for, I discovered that the musicians are actually of Egyptian and Jordanian origins, and are considered among the top DJs in the world. This was the real music to my ears, and made me want to profile these talented artists straight away in this edition.

Lastly, I would like to invite you to learn more about Ziyad “Zizo” Almaayouf, Saudi Arabia’s boxing champion making waves globally. I discovered Almaayouf on Instagram, and was impressed by his commitment to his sport, but also his star power. When we asked him to wear this season’s coolest fashion trends, we were thrilled with the end result: the boxer completely knocked us out with his style and ease in front of the camera.

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2023 issue of Vogue Man Arabia

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