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yasmine shihata editor in chief enigma magazine

Yasmine Shihata was born in Kuwait and raised in both Vienna and Washington D.C. She is the daughter of one of Egypt’s most respected individuals, Dr. Ibrahim F.I. Shihata, the former Senior Vice President and General Council of The World Bank in Washington D.C. After graduating with an international Baccalaureate from the Washington International School, Yasmine went on to graduate from the London School of Economics in London, with a BSC in International Relations.

Yasmine graduated with honours and a keen interest in international affairs. Yet Yasmine’s passion from an early age has been for fashion, art and magazines. Her years at the LSE help fine-tune her writing skills, yet Yasmine still yearned to get into the magazine business. Thus upon graduation she applied and was accepted into a work experience program at Vogue Magazine in London. Yasmine completed the program then did an internship at Marie Claire magazine in London, assisting in the fashion Department.

After these experiences, Yasmine moved to New York City, where she worked for Vogue magazine as senior assistant to the Editor in Chief, Anna Wintour. This demanding position exposed Yasmine to the corporate magazine world and the intricacies of magazine production and public relations. Yasmine went on to use her experiences at Vogue, when she returned to Egypt, in order to create her own magazine.

At the time the market for modern lifestyle magazines in Egypt was still virgin, and Yasmine capitalized on this by forming Allied Publications with a partner, and producing Cleo magazine. Cleo magazine was a runaway hit from its inception, as it clearly tapped into the desires and values of Egypt’s emerging sophisticated and modern culture. The magazine received considerable press coverage in its initial year, and is considered as a pioneer in Egypt’s English language lifestyle magazine market.

Although Yasmine sold her shares to her partner, the foundations she structured in Cleo continue to make it one of Egypt’s leading English language magazines. Immediately after selling her shares in Cleo, Yasmine formed a new partnership with three of Egypt’s most prominent businessmen to create an even more creative, dynamic, innovate, modern magazine for Egypt’s young generation. The magazine’s motto was “the magazine for the new millennium” and was first published in 2000. Its chosen name was Enigma, and it created even more hype and speculation than its predecessor Cleo did.

Enigma was created as a magazine for sophisticated Arab men and women with an international outlook. Today Enigma has proven to be an even bigger success than Cleo magazine, surpassing the sales and profit margins of all its competitors In its third year Enigma also expanded its distribution to Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman as well as making a significant impact with its London Distribution. The response Enigma had in London was so positive that Yasmine established the UK company Venus Publications to provide editorial, distribution and advertising sales for Enigma magazine.

Today both Supreme and Venus publications are flourishing due to Yasmine’s dedicated efforts and her genuine love and understanding for what she does. Her extensive experience in creating three start-up companies from scratch has provided her with invaluable experience of magazine and business development at a young age. She is one of the few young Arab women in the Middle East running her own businesses in London and Egypt, and has become a pioneer in the Middle East’s lifestyle magazine industry.

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