Story Makers – VIDEO
From model and UNICEF ambassador Halima Aden to Saudi comedian, actor and creative director Warchieff, meet these trailblazing creatives making waves in the Middle East as directed by Faraz Shariat in ‘Story Makers’ for Selfridges.
Halima Aden – Now a familiar face, after landing the covers of Vogue Arabia, Sports Illustrated and CR Fashion Book, as well as joining UNICEF as an ambassador, Halima represents a legion of young women and girls who have long been underrepresented in the public eye. “Every little girl should have somebody that she can relate to,” she explains. “She should be able to look through a magazine and see somebody who has a similar style or upbringing. I take great pride in being that person for so many little girls.”
Fatima Al Qadiri – For Kuwait musician Fatima, her style is another medium which allows her to side-step stereotypes. “It gives me great joy because it’s my way of rebelling,” she explains. “Fashion is like a puzzle. It’s a person putting pieces together and it making sense.” For Fatima, fulfillment lies in really enjoying what you do. “The main thing is to follow your dream,” she laughs. “The thing that gives you the most happiness, the thing that comes easily to you, is what you should be doing. Because then, your job is play.”
Aws Al-Jezairy – Aws’ upbringing had a big influence on the work she throws herself into today. “I grew up in London with both cultures: my parents brought me up speaking only Arabic. I’ve always had these two identities that combine in different ways. I’ve learned a lot from both sides, and that’s what makes me me. Being both an Arab and a journalist is definitely an advantage,” says journalist and video producer Aws Al-Jezairy. “It’s nice to be able to represent my people on a global platform; to allow people to see the stories as they are and not through a western narrative.”
Warchieff – real name Mohammed Alhamdan – is one of the Middle East’s leading comedy actors, with a huge 3.9m following on Instagram alone. Inspiration strikes when he can take time for himself and relax with friends – the light-hearted relief that this brings translates into his work. “I like to laugh at stupid things,” he explains. “Humour, to me, is a natural situation.” Having previously shot for a Louis Vuitton campaign, Warchieff has a keen interest in fashion, and how personal style sends a direct message about who you are; apt for somebody whose ethos is centered around self-expression.
Faraz Shariat – Faraz was born in Cologne and raised in the hybrid cultures of post-migrant Germany. His films indulge in aggressive pop imagery that lets us pause for a moment of observation, only to accelerate again, and that refers to a world that we all feel connected to.
Ali Cha’aban – A Lebanese artist born and raised in Kuwait, and an observer of culture and traditions which are often reflected in his work. With a background in anthropology, some seem to recognize Ali as a pop-culture analyst. As an artist, Ali likes to create ‘space’ that provides an opportunity to create a model of dialogue interest; exchanging ideas and notions, creating discussions that transcend intersectoral and interdisciplinary boundaries. See more of Cha’aban’s other-worldly set designs for the project here