As she forges her way towards new digital offerings all the while mastering the development of herself and her brand, Middle Eastern style icon, Diala Makki, meets with our editor, Meredith Damouni, to discuss what it means to be a ‘real’ woman.

What is your burning desire for the rest of 2018?
On the professional side, to organically touch more the lives of persons who follow my work and career and know that I am making a real difference.
On the personal side, my burning desire would be to completely shut off for a week by the ocean!

How are you using your power as a creative influence on the Middle East to bring change?
The formula I am following as per my instinct, ethics, experience, and principles, is to be as honest as possible.
Sharing my real views, showing the real me with no fake situations is always a winning recipe. Change though is a big word. I would like to think I am contributing by sending out real content that has influential messages and I do that by being true to myself and committed to always presenting the best content and quality.

With women’s rights and empowerment being the top of the agenda, what discoveries have you recently made with your UN trip that opened your eyes to the state of the world?
My presence as the only Arab TV in the CSW62 in New York at the UN headquarters was a real eye opener for me. Media has a major role in implementing the right messages and is definitely responsible for the lack of having the useful content shows/articles out there. It is unacceptable that we are in 2018 and yet the world is still witnessing gender equality issues, rural women have to fight for their basic needs, women in some countries are still subject to male dominance and old tribal habits. This to me comes from ignorance that can only be fought through education and media has the power to be the attractive education tool.
First world entities, media and Governments must implement simple initiatives that can lead to a big change; for example in one initiative, women were simply offered mobile phones (which to us is a given) for them to be able to communicate and tell their stories — and you would be shocked at the amount of engaging videos that came out of this simple gesture!

How do you feel responsible to women considering your position in the media – your obligation to represent and empower?
I believe that each individual has a responsibility, no matter which industry they work in. Being in the media puts me more in the light and certainly gives my word more power and wider access. But this, at the same time, puts a bigger responsibility on my shoulders; the power of the image and of words is big and hence every single work of mine is a chance for a step further to a bigger change. My biggest challenge is persistence and consistency.

What are the exciting projects you’re working on at the moment with regards to fashion?
Having to constantly attend the Fashion Weeks for my TV show and digital platforms, recently I’ve attended the July couture week in Paris where I met many creative minds behind the latest trends and the constantly changing and evolving directions.
I also just got back from a special trip with MaxMara who held and for the first time in the native town of the founders the Maramotti family, Reggio Emilia, they held an international press event showcasing their Resort 2019 collection. My numerous journeys so far with MaxMara in different cities and cultures of the world (Italy, China, Dubai, etc..) are always inspiring. Two years ago I had the chance to visit their private archives and their artistic exhibition, the Collezione Maramotti, and last week I had the chance to rediscover it and have fulfilling conversations with Ian Griffiths, Laura Lusuardi, Giorgio Guidotti and Luigi Maramotti. I enjoy these projects the most as they remind me of the real value of my career being fulfilling both on the professional and personal sides.

Why is it so important for you to also show yourself without makeup on your social media?
The young generations currently are living through the digital and fake worlds through their phones. Both young and adult girls are vulnerable when it comes to self-confidence and looks. And what media in general is doing now, is giving more insecurities to the girls out there as no one looks as perfect in real life as through the color corrected images or the instagram filters. Posting natural images of me with zero make up is vital as it translates directly the message I like to convey and that is being at peace with your natural look. But I am also keen on posting my skin care routine that is the main reason why I am able to maintain a good skin and hence able to post make up free pictures.

What do you feel social media is useful for?
Social media, being a relatively new concept in our modern lives, is definitely under a lot of controversial discussions about its relevance. As a lot of things in life are inevitable, social media to me can be used as a source of information whether you are giving away this information or researching it. Everything boils down to education, if you learn (and teach your children) how to make use of this limitless medium; it can be a major source of inspiration and true content fast paced lives.

How do you explain the impact of social media on the Arab world and where is this taking us?
This is a big topic for me just to discuss in just a few lines. Social media is all about globalization hence I believe the impact is not only on the Arab world. If you look at suicide cases for example between teenagers around the world, this indicates the power and dangers of social media and its impact on an international level.
Responsible and positive messages should be a bigger part of media strategies, if we are to make a real change and direct the question of “where is it taking us” into positive places.
If current situation prevails and lame content remains the majority, I predict a new dumber generation full of misleading ideas and lives without goals.

Tell us about your new show – what is the hook?
My new show is in fact a beauty edit spin off of my existing fashion/luxury lifestyle Mashaheer show.
The beauty industry in our part of the world is registering one of the highest marketing and revenues figures and it is a major interest among the young girls and females alike. Hence it is a natural step for me to dedicate a special edition to discuss these topics. The show will definitely show the usual brands / leaders in the beauty industry, but my personal touch in it is the skin care and the revolutionized beauty concepts that I am keen on focusing on with the plan to affect and change the stereotypical “looks” dictated on us by old habits. I have the privilege of accessing back stages and getting exclusive interviews and I intend to use that to create and open discussions that would educate the average viewer and teach them to be more responsible consumers.

How can we learn more?
We always need to be reading, meeting the professionals and not be afraid to ask and ‘why not’ defying even the biggest international brands. A lot of them call me “their muse” (jokingly when we meet) and I am absolutely thrilled to be often seated with the brains behind global brands. Usually the feedback I get the next day is “how did you come up with that?”. Well, I always read and never stop questioning ‘why’ and asking ‘how can we change that’?

What is you wish for your future daughter?
I wish my daughter would listen to me and gain from my experience and acquired wisdom at an early age only to be able to save her years and time towards her ultimate goal, knowing I reached where I am by my own experiences, mistakes and achievements.

Follow Diala’s new beauty instagram @dialamakkibeauty
and @dialamakki

Dress and boots by Elisabetta Franchi, jacket by Etro, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, cardigan by Etro, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, cardigan by Etro, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, cardigan by Etro, hat by Brixton

Dress by Elisabetta Franchi, jacket by Etro, hat by Brixton

Shot on location at Desert Palm Polo Club
Team credits
Photographer – Ayaad Damouni
Creative / style – Meredith Damouni
Production – Capital D Studio
Post-Production – Capital D Studio


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