Assala

The Syrian superstar singer with over 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Assala, has tons of fans all over the Arab region. Her popular TV show, Soula, is still going strong, and she recently had one of her most special concerts ever, where she performed with her close friend and equally popular Egyptian superstar singer, Angham, to a rapt audience that included many of their celebrity friends.  On the occasion of our special Mother’s issue, eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb got the chance for a one-on-one chat with Assala, the mother of two adorable twin boys, a teenage boy, and a married young girl, where they discussed motherhood, marriage, career, and her unusually strong bond with her celebrity colleagues.

We were in luck! In the midst of her busy scheduler, Assala agreed to be interviewed for our Mother’s issue…and we’d also get to meet her husband, the famous producer/director, Tarek El Erian.   

No matter how much I had heard about Assala, I had to meet her myself to realise what a genuine and loving person she truly is.   The interview gave me the chance to witness a day in her life and to see what a down to earth person she was.  Amidst the busy preparations for our cover shoot with her adorable twins,  Assala never stopped being a regular mother, showing affection to her kids, chatting with her husband, constantly tidying around the house, and continuously making sure we all felt welcome and at home.

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We were excited to learn all about Assala’s latest concert with Angham, where, we had heard, everyone enjoyed a night of dazzling tunes to the angelic voices of the two superstars.  According to Assala, attendees had the time of their lives, not only because of the incredible entertainment, but also because they felt the strong bond between the two performing friends.  Assala, is known to enjoy the respect and love of her fellow colleagues, who appreciate her openness to friendship, even with her competitors. “When there is love between competitors, and competition is transformed into a friendly relationship, people really feel it and enjoy it,” Assala said.

Our conversation with Assala quickly moved from her unique relationship with her colleagues, to what her fans have been buzzing about lately, namely the tenth anniversary of her marriage and her romantic relationship with her husband. It is said that the eyes are windows to your emotions, and indeed, as soon as Assala started speaking about the love of her life, her eyes sparkled and her face glowed with her beautiful smile. “I love Tarek to the nth degree of love, more than you can ever imagine.  He is not just my husband, he’s my father, my teacher, my love, and the father of my children,” Assala said. You would think that after ten years of marriage, the passion between them would have started to fade, but it’s clearly the complete opposite. Assala continued, “After ten years, I’m attached to Tarek far more than I was before. I am the kind of person who gets attached to things, so you can imagine how it is with the love of my life. I believe that after all these years our love has become deeper and more beautiful.”

Assala stressed that she is very romantic by nature.  Reminiscing, she noted, “At the beginning of our marriage,  I used to accompany Tarek all the time.”  “Today,” she adds, “it’s different, because I feel that my being has melted inside of him.  We’re much more united than before and separation between us is not an option. I try my best to make him feel comfortable in all ways, because I know he is working for both of us.”

From the day they met, Assala knew that Tarek was the man of her dreams; the man she had been searching for all her life. Yet she didn’t rush to express her feelings to him, but rather she admired his every move and word in silence. “I admired the smallest details about him. To this day, I feel proud just by listening to him speak,” she said.  “A woman should feel proud of her man. This is more important than love and intimacy. I’m always fascinated by his personality. He is always careful about his name, work, and reputation,” she added.

But there must be more. What is the real secret behind this happy marriage? Especially since, according to both of them, Assala and Tarek are very different from one another. For example, she is extremely active, while he is very calm. She is impulsive, while he is not. However, these differences don’t negatively affect their relationship.  “In a marriage there might be differences but they complete each other.  Our marriage works because our goals are united,” Tarek explained.

Tarek went on to stress that marriage was not only about love; that mutual giving is what strengthens love. He was quick to add that this giving involves things that could be as simple as listening to one  another. According to him, the pillar of any relationship is understanding and compromise between both sides. Assala noted that an example of compromise, is how, after their marriage, Tarek  began concentrating his work in a few days of the week, in order to spend more time with her and the kids.

Trust is another factor that can either make a relationship grow or kill it for good, according to Assala and Tarek. “After I married Tarek, I have become myself. He believes in me and trusts me,” says Assala. To which Tarek added, “In the end, marriage is a complete partnership of family, work and goals.”

I also got to meet Assala’s brother Anas, who is engaged, to be married soon.  Anas hopes he could have a successful marriage like his sister’s.   He admires Assala and Tarek’s relationship, where “they complete each other in everything.” He finds that their life interests are the same, and that’s why their relationship is successful, adding, “The understanding between them is very high; they can solve any problem through discussion.”

Of course, Assala is not only a great wife, but also a great mother. She makes sure to spend time with all four of her children, Sham and Khaled, from a previous marriage, and Adam and Ali, her twins with Tarek.  She likes to take care of them herself, listen to them, and have discussions with them.  She is the emotional parent, whereas Tarek is the strict one. “My work gives me time to take care of my children and I believe that anything you aim for, you can do with ease and happiness,” Assala said.  All of Assala’s children are extremely well behaved and she told us that this is important to her and her husband. “People get to know us from our children’s manners.  Communication is very important with your children. I make them feel responsible for my reputation and for their own,” she said.

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Assala’s first marriage lasted for twelve years, and was not an ideal marriage. However, after its break up, Assala moved on with her life and wasn’t afraid to start a new happier and healthier relationship. “Starting a new relationship for me was easy, because I’m not cautious.  Caution doesn’t allow you to enjoy life’s beauty; it kills a lot of things inside of you that I don’t want to kill. I want to enjoy my life, my kids, and my singing,” she explained.

Assala had also overcome many troubles throughout her life, including a huge health problem with her legs, which she has overcome successfully.  She never gave up on herself and kept going no matter what. “I deal with any struggles with respect. My struggles didn’t leave a mark in me at all,” she said.

As I said goodbye to Assala and her beautiful family, I felt grateful to have had the chance to meet this amazing human being who also happens to be an amazing and successful artist. I’m sure that I’m not the only fan who can’t wait for her upcoming Khaliji and Egyptian albums next summer.

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