When it comes to celebrating in style, eniGma Magazine is known for its outstanding events. But even we outdid ourselves when we hosted our first ‘Celebration of Arab Glamour in Beverly Hills’! With our guests of honour HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian superstars Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki, we had royal flair and star power; and as the event unfolded, every detail fell into place beautifully and Beverly Hills came alive… Arab Style! Check out the pages ahead for all the details on our LA extravaganza…
Given that Beverly Hills is the glamour capital of the world and Hollywood is the global entertainment capital, when eniGma decided to organise its first event in the U.S., we knew Los Angeles, California would be the ideal choice!
For over 15 years eniGma, the region’s Arab International Lifestyle Magazine, has been highlighting Arab glamour, culture, and success stories around the world through our magazine, website and through our fabulous events in Cairo, London, Marrakesh, and Dubai. Yet this was the first time we showcased the beauty and sophistication of the Arab world in the U.S. And with world events threatening to increase the divide between East and West, we knew we wanted to do our part to bring people from both cultures together in a fun and festive way. So with this inspiration we went on to organise our first Celebration of Arab Glamour; and for one night, people from both cultures came together to celebrate a truly diverse and unforgettable evening.
Our co-host for the evening was John Bendheim (Founder & CEO of Bendheim Enterprises), former President and current Member of the Board of Directors of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. Bendheim is one of the most loved and respected businessmen in Los Angeles, so we couldn’t have asked for a better co-host!
When it was time to select our guests of honour, we chose inspirational Arab role models who achieved success at a young age and represented the best of the Arab world. Our first guest of honour and keynote speaker was HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, a dynamic female entrepreneur who is the CEO of Saudi Arabian luxury retailers Alfa international and Al Hama LLC and her own hand bag brand Bara Boux.
With Princess Reema on board, we also got the chance to shed light on her foundation 10KSA, which spreads awareness for breast cancer in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. In her inspirational speech at the event, Princess Reema spoke of the Foundation’s accomplishments and their vision for the future.
Yet no Celebration of Arab Glamour would be complete without Arab celebrities. And from the start we knew the Egyptian superstar couple Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki were the perfect celebrity guests of honour for this event. Helmy and Zaki are both incredibly popular actors in the Arab world and together they are Arab cinema’s most loved celebrity couple. With his charismatic personality, charm and comedic gift and her beauty, talent and style, we were certain they would make their mark on Beverly Hills. And that they did!
With our guests of honour in place, all that was left to do was organise the event, get the right sponsors and put together the perfect guest list. It was a huge challenge for our small team, but with hard work, great friends and a bit of luck, somehow we managed to pull everything together and put on a fantastic event…
Ahmed & Mona Arrive in Beverly Hills!
Two days before the event, Ahmed and Mona landed in Beverly Hills and eniGma’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata, eagerly waited to greet them at the stunning Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Four Seasons had graciously provided our celebrity couple with a sumptuous suite overlooking the breathtaking LA skyline. The General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Michael Newcombe, greeted Ahmed and Mona upon arrival, welcoming them to the beautiful city of Beverly Hills. And Before they knew it, they were whisked away to their luxurious suite, where they would relax and get ready for their Los Angeles adventure.
The Hotel’s central location also gave our stars a chance to make the most of the city and enjoy all the surrounding attractions and shopping destinations.
Getting Camera Ready: The Hair & Make-UP Begins
Mona Zaki is known for always looking super glamorous so we had to make sure to find the best hair and make-up artists in Beverly Hills for her. She had to look impeccable for her debut in the glamour capital of the world! José Eber on Camden Drive was our salon of choice. José Eber is one of the most recognised hair stylists in the world who has worked with some of the biggest names names in Hollywood including Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Farrah Fawcett and many more. The salon is known for their passion to give their clients a true beauty experience by providing exceptional high quality services in a relaxing and luxurious setting.
José Eber’s head make-up artist Stephanie and expert hair stylist Jose, both studied Zaki’s style before she came in, so they could make sure they could create a fresh and stunning look fitting her personal style for the occasion. Stephanie and Jose were also the team behind the beautiful look of our Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata, creating a neutral make up palette for the face with the main focus on the eyes and bold volume and big curls for the hair. And after this glam squad did its work, it was soon time to hit the red carpet…
Time To Set up!
Before we knew it, it was August 3rd, the day of our event. For the event location, we chose the beautiful outdoor terrace of the iconic Montage Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills. The terrace has an incomparable view of the city, and the Canon Gardens below, which was perfect for our VIP reception. And the Montage’s impeccable event staff, made sure all the set up was arranged to perfection.
Of course, no lavish setup can ever be complete without flowers. And we were very lucky to have the Empty Vase Florists in Santa Monica Boulevard provide us with breathtaking flower arrangements that brightened up the venue. To add to our delight Sprinkles Cupcakes of Los Angeles generously provided us with customised cupcakes for our guests to enjoy. Now it was time for our guests to arrive to enjoy the sunset.
Lights, Camera, ACTION!
The Red Carpet Arrivals
The event started at around 6.30 pm, allowing guests to enjoy LA’s late summer sunshine and the terrace’s beautiful view. The red carpet quickly filled up with celebrities and Arab and American VIPs who graciously showed their support for this special evening. Among the American celebrities who made an appearance were: Omar Benson, the star of HBO’s new TV show, Ballers; LeVar Burton the American actor, director, producer, and author; and Actress Doris Roberts, famous for playing Raymond’s mother in Everybody Loves Raymond. Many of LA’s prominent film producers were in attendance including the producer of all of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, Lawrence Bender, Elie Samaha, the Lebanese film producer and entrepreneur, critically acclaimed film producer Orian Williams and Egypt’s own Oscar nominated documentary producer Karim Amer. The event also attracted some of LA’s biggest business moguls including Alexander Cappello, Chairman & CEO Cappello Group, Inc., who also graciously acted as a co-host, Gary Winnick, financier, philanthropist, and founder of Winnick & Company, entrepreneur David McCourt and media mogul Sandy Climan. Egyptian media giant Hala Sarhan was also present and gracefully engaged with guests. The UAE Consul General in Los Angeles, HE Abdulla Alsaboosi also attended and mingled with our guest speaker HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud and our celebrity guests Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki. Naturally, Helmy and Zaki were the centre of attraction and guests had a great time chatting and posing for pictures with the power couple.
Special thanks to Steve Valentine, Valentine Group PR Los Angeles for his contribution to the success of the event.
We couldn’t have done it without you!
Special thanks to…
Headed by American entrepreneur David McCourt, ALTV, a new online channel in the Middle East, came in as our main sponsors. McCourt was also one of our speakers for the evening, expressing his respect and appreciation of Arab culture and his genuine desire to help highlight and create talent in the Middle East. He noted that the region’s immense untapped potential was what led to the creation of ALTV, to highlight the innovative potential of Arab youth.
HILTON & HYLAND
Leading real state company Hilton & Hyland also sponsored the event to show their support of the Middle East community. “So much of our culture is derived from our colleagues and counterparts in the Middle East, so bridging the divide physically by bringing together leading executives from both halves of the world is a rare opportunity. We are thrilled to connect our agents and our brokerage with eniGma’s exceptional team and the network it includes, and look forward to our ongoing synergy,” said Hilton & Hyland Executive Vice President, Marketing & Strategic Development, Charles Black.
Boulevard Nightlife Group (BNG)
The renowned Lebanese entrepreneur and founder of Boulevard Nightlife Group (BNG), Elie Samaha has always been a great friend and a huge supporter of eniGma magazine, so from the moment we decided to host our Arab Glamour event, Samaha supported the idea. BNG graciously sponsored the event, providing all the beverages for the evening and sent us the amazing DJ Nick Noble; who did a great job entertaining our guests with a selection of fantastic western and Arabic music.
Obagi Skin Health Institute
Renowned dermatologist and founder of the Obagi Skin Health Institute, the Syrian born Dr. Zein Obagi, also proudly supported our night of glamour as it was the first event of its kind in the city. In addition to his sponsorship, Dr. Obagi generously offered guests a selection of his top products from his latest ZO skin care line in our gift bags. Dr. Obagi also graciously presented Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata and our guest of honour Mona Zaki with a full selection of his best ZO skin care products.
Known for the most luxurious long haul travel from the Middle East, we knew Emirates Airlines was the best airline sponsor we could have for this glamorous event. Emirates Airlines flew our celebrity guests round-trip from Cairo to Los Angeles in total comfort and style, as well as our Deputy Editor Omnia Zaied. Representing Emirates at the event was their Regional Sales Director Akbar Hussain who invited some of the Emirati VIPs in Los Angeles.
Montage Hotel Beverly Hills
When we began to plan our event in Beverly Hills, the Montage Hotel was our first choice in view of its strategic location and its impeccable reputation for quality and service. The chairman of the Montage, Alan Furstman has also been a great friend of the magazine over the years, so it was an easy choice for us. The Montage’s terrace provided a unique outdoor setting that allowed guests to enjoy the beautiful Beverly hills sunset with one of the best views in town. Hassan Abdo, the hotel’s Director of Middle East and George Nickels, Director of Catering at the Montage also offered us a lot of support all along. Abdo’s understanding of the region and the standard of luxury that Arab VIP guests expect, helped us create a night that was truly luxurious and of the highest standard. Abdo also welcomed our VIP guests to a VIP waiting area at the hotel and made sure all their needs were met throughout the evening.
Dr. David S. Frey DDS
Leading Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Dr. David S. Frey also came in as a sponsor. With his array of clients from the Middle East and around the world, Dr. Frey was eager to show his appreciation for his clients from our region. Dr. Frey also offered all our guests a gift certificate for a free consultation and breath spray in our sumptuous gift bags.
Maria Elena Infantino
Actress and singer Maria Elena Infantino is an amazing entertainer and a friend of the magazine, so it was a real honour for us when she agreed to perform at our event. The multitalented artist is known for her ability to act and sing in several languages, even Arabic! For our event Infantino put on a special show singing in Arabic, English, and Italian and dazzled our guests in the process. Her performance kept our guests dancing on their feet and helped make our event truly unique.
WEST L.A. BOUTIQUE
Given that West L.A. Boutique focuses on the best LA brands on offer, and is the shopping destination for the Arab community, we knew they would be an ideal partner for our Celebration of Arab Glamour in Beverly Hills. The West L.A. team travels the world to provide the coolest, trendiest brands and our lucky guests were given exclusive gift vouchers so they would sample the amazing array of trendy merchandise on offer on West L. A.’s fantastic website: www.westlaboutique.com
TOSH PETERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Photographer Tosh Peters’ work ranges from shooting album covers on Malibu beaches to extraordinary weddings in Madrid castles. Peters established his own company in 2008, and specialises in wedding celebrations, private and public events, as well as personal and family portraits. Peters helped capture some of the best moments of our event, which can be seen throughout this layout.
Photographer Dina Douglass, of Andrena Photography, was named one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine. Her focus on artistry and her technical skill have earned her a global following among professional photographers and event planners. Douglass and her team captured the best moments of the evening and set up a unique portrait station at the event where guests could get professional portraits that were later hand delivered to their homes.
Our Guests of Honour Shine
The speeches began with a word from the event host and eniGma Magazine’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata, who welcomed our guests and thanked our keynote speaker HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud and our celebrity guests Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki for graciously taking part. Shihata also thanked Mr. John Bendheim for co-hosting the event and for his ongoing support, as well as Mr. Alexander Cappello. Shihata also thanked all the evening’s sponsors for their gracious support for our endeavor.
Her speech was followed by that of the founder of ALTV, entrepreneur David McCourt, who expressed his admiration for the region and his desire to see it transform into a hub of positive creativity. He spoke about ALTV and his reason for launching an online channel in the Middle East to support the blossoming online TV industry in the region.
It was then time to introduce our celebrity guests Ahmed Helmy and Mona Zaki, who both expressed how thrilled they were to take part in the event. Helmy’s speech was funny and touching, especially when he graciously expressed his admiration for the eniGma team and founder Yasmine Shihata. Zaki expressed her happiness to be part of an event that reflects the positive side in the Middle East, showing what it has to offer from art and culture.
The final speech was by our keynote speaker HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud who spoke eloquently on her 10KSA Foundation and their noble vision to promote breast cancer awareness in Saud Arabia and the entire region. Princess Reema urged guests to support Saudi women in their struggle against the disease and asked them to support the foundation by sharing the knowledge they have or by connecting them with people who would be of value to the women in Saudi Arabia. As she stated herself “please support 10,000 women in Saudi Arabia who are just like 10,000 women that you know.”
The Red Carpet Interviews
It was a great honour for us to be approached by the global E! Entertainment TV channel to cover our event for their international channels. The E! News team did a fantastic job on the red carpet talking to all our VIP guests. E! News were especially excited to interview Mona Zaki and Ahmed Helmy, who were both charismatic and charming as always.
Among the celebrities interviewed were LeVar Burton who said that he “wanted to show support for a wonderful culture”. Dr. Hala Sarhan also told E! News how proud she was of eniGma magazine and how she views it as “a very unique publication in the Middle East.”
E! News also talked to Yasmine Shihata who explained that her vision for the event was to provide “a positive image of true glamour and talent that exists in the Middle East” and to spread the eniGma glamour to new horizons.
Be sure to watch the E! News coverage on our website www.enigma-mag.com as well as our own exclusive videos of the event on www.ALTV.com.
Raising Breast Cancer Awareness
Founded by HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, 10KSA is an organisation that aims to raise awareness for breast cancer in Saudi Arabia, as it has become the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 20-59. Breast cancer is a difficult subject to discuss in Saudi Arabia due to local customs and tradition. The culture regarding self-examination and the woman’s body in general often leads to late-stage diagnoses. 10KSA wants to challenge these social norms by making women feel comfortable enough to take charge of their health. On December 12th, 2015 10KSA plans on breaking the world record for the largest human, pink ribbon, while fundraising for the Zahra Breast Cancer Association. The all-women event will take place in Riyadh and include free mammograms, educational speakers, comedians, spa and fitness activities, healthy foods, goods from local designers, and other entertainment. To raise awareness, 10KSA created a neon wing, which HRH takes with her all over the world. Guests and VIPs at our event showed their support for the cause by proudly posing with the wing for fantastic and fun photos.
The success of this event wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing team who went out of their way to make the exceptional night happen. We would like to thank eniGma’s dear friend Denise Terenzio, her daughter Kyra, her husband John and her son Joe for their unconditional support. Denise and Kyra were an invaluable support in LA and helped us coordinate the many details involved in planning the event. Our LA based Egyptian friends Nelly and Nancy Soliman, who have always been strong supporters of the magazine provided tremendous support before, during and after the event and helped us spread the word in the Arab community. Our Lebanese friend Spiro Azkoul helped us with the technical details of the event and helped bring key members of the Arab community to our special evening. And last but definitely not least, our team of interns who did a fantastic job on the day of the event, preparing all the lovely goodie bags and carefully greeting all our guests as they entered. We were truly blessed with the most amazing support from all these generous individuals who helped us create an unforgettable and truly enjoyable event.
The Party Pictures …
eniGma Celebrates Arab Glamour in Style in Beverly Hills!