Since its launch in 2000, eniGma, the Arab world’s top international lifestyle magazine, has been highlighting Arab glamour, culture, and success in its features and through the star-studded events it organises around the world. With the international media focusing on all that is negative in the Middle East, eniGma decided last year that it was time to spotlight the beauty of Arab glamour and culture in no other than the entertainment capital of the world: Beverly Hills. Hence, we held our first, ‘Celebration of Arab Glamour in Beverly Hills’ at the end of July, 2016. Our glamorous event was a great success and brought Arab royalty, celebrities and VIPs together with American celebrities and VIPs in a truly diverse and unforgettable celebration in the heart of Los Angeles.
After the success of our first Celebration of Arab Glamour in Beverly Hills, we naturally decided to make it an annual event. But for our second ‘Celebration of Arab Glamour’, we raised the bar not only to highlight Arab success stories, but to also honour them for their achievements. We added an awards’ ceremony to the event and gave out the first eniGma Achievement Awards. As a result, our second Celebration was even more successful, with an even bigger star-studded guest list. Our Award winners truly wowed the crowd. Award recipients included legendary Egyptian movie icon Yousra, the region’s fast-rising star and heartthrob, Amr Youssef, and famous media personality Hala Sarhan. And to add an element of Beverly Hills flair to our celebration, our honourees also included two amazing Los Angeles-based, Arab-American success stories: the world renowned dermatologist, Dr. Zein Obagi and Hollywood’s famous movie producer and entrepreneur, Elie Samaha. Our five special honourees received our first ever eniGma Excellence Awards for Achievement in their respective fields. We were also delighted to have John Bendheim, CEO of Bendheim Enterprises and former President and current member of the Board of Directors of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, as our distinguished co-host for the event once again. So get ready to turn the page! You’ll find all the details and photos from our star-studded Second Celebration of Arab Glamour & Success in Beverly Hills!
Hello Hollywood: Yousra & Amr Arrive in Beverly Hills!
When it was time to select our Arab celebrity guests of honour for the big event, we knew we had to choose celebrities who would be just as popular as last year’s guests of honour, the superstar power couple, Mona Zaki and Ahmed Helmy. Superstars Yousra, Amr Youssef, and Hala Sarhan were all easy choices, in view of their outstanding track records and their massive popularity in the Arab region. Yousra and Amr were also hands down the biggest stars in the Ramadan 2016 TV season. Put simply, with their collective talent, charm, and personality, we were certain they would wow Beverly Hills… and they did!
Two days before our event, superstars Yousra and Amr Youssef arrived from Cairo at the luxurious five-star Montage Beverly Hills Hotel, which offered our stars luxurious accommodation and provided the most elegant open-air venue for our celebration. The stars were welcomed by eniGma’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata, the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills’ General Manager Todd Orlich, and the hotel’s Director for Middle East Sales, Hassaan Abdo. After a warm welcome, Yousra and Amr were whisked away to their luxurious suites where they were eager to rest after their long journey and to prepare for their Los Angeles adventure.
Ideally located in the heart of Los Angeles, the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel afforded our stars with the perfect chance to make the most out of their time in the city and to enjoy the surrounding attractions and shopping destinations. A visit to Dr. Obagi’s Zo Skin Health Institute’s headquarters right next to the hotel was duly organised. The stars were welcomed there by none other than Dr. Zein Obagi himself, and were pampered by his team to get them picture perfect for our upcoming celebration.
Our stars also got to visit many of LA’s VIP destinations with the help of our outstanding event sponsor, Lionheart Lifestyle. The company’s glorious collection of luxury vehicles ensured that their every step would be made in luxurious comfort and with no time wasted. To top it off, the Lionheart Lifestyle staff hit it off with our celebrity stars, and they had so much fun moving from one destination to another. In no time, Egyptian jokes were happily exchanged and much laughter was in the air!
Prior to the celebration, the stars were invited to two typically glamorous pre-celebration dinners attended by prominent figures from LA’s Arab community. The first was a lavish dinner party held in the stars’ honour by Beverly Hills socialite Mrs. Ghada Irani in her beautiful Bel Air mansion. The second was hosted by the Consul General of Egypt in Los Angeles, Ambassador Lamia Mekhemar, at her elegant Beverly Hills residence. A wonderful time was had at both dinners. Everyone enjoyed the hostesses’ amazing hospitality and guests enjoyed meeting the stars in person and forging new friendships with them.
Where the magic happened… The Dazzling Montage Beverly Hills Hotel:
With its immediately noticeable elegance, luxury, and outstanding services, The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills managed to exceed our expectations in every way. It’s no wonder the prestigious establishment is one of LA’s most renowned and favoured destinations for celebrities and prominent personalities alike. What strikes you the most as soon as you set foot inside the five-star establishment is the immaculate attention to detail in every aspect. Every room or venue at the hotel is designed with elegance, charm and style, and of course, with the utmost comfort of its guests in mind.
In addition to its unbeatable location, the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills provides its guests with stunning and spacious rooms and amazing facilities. With over 200 guest rooms and 50 luxury suites available at its highly impressive 20,000 sq. feet area, the hotel simply provided us with what we were after for our prestigious stars, the best of the best. The Montage also has one of the best and biggest spas in LA and is home to the world-renowned spa practitioner, L. Raphael Genéve. Furthermore, Montage’s new restaurant, Georgie, offers remarkably mouthwatering cuisine with famous chef Geoffrey Zakarian at its helm. The hotel also boasts a new ‘Golden Bar’, serving unique cocktails in a modern and stylish ambiance.
And when it’s time for some fun in the sun, the Montage’s stunning rooftop pool, with its great outdoor restaurant and luxurious cabanas, makes you feel like a Hollywood star. Also of note is the stunning Lobby Lounge at the heart of the hotel. The lobby’s comfortable indoors and outdoors seating truly allows any of its visitors to enjoy and soak in the California beach experience from whichever angle they prefer.
Thus, it’s not hard to see why the Montage is the hotel of choice for discerning celebrities such as Oprah, Mathew Mcconaughey, Usher, Justin Bieber and many more; Yousra and Amr were visibly pleased with the hotel’s luxurious arrangements too! Their every need and want was catered to, with the help of the hotel’s amazing Director of Middle East Sales, Hassaan Abdo, who made sure they got first class service throughout their stay. All in all, the Montage Hotel Beverly Hills allowed our stars to make the most of their hectic and fun-filled adventure in Los Angeles.
TIME TO GET GLAMOUROUS! Our Host & Guests of Honour Get Ready to Dazzle:
As our celebrity guests are well known for their glamorous looks, we made sure we found the perfect hair and makeup artists in Beverly Hills for our big night. It didn’t take much time to find out that Beverly Hill’s hot new Glam Salon would be our ideal beauty destination. Not only is the salon stylishly decorated, its hair and makeup artists are simply amazing. On the day of our big event, Glam Salon set up a camp at the Montage, and although we were rushed, their team was extremely professional, courteous and attentive.
Their task was to get our celebrities and our Editor-in-Chief camera ready and they didn’t disappoint. They studied each person’s outfit for the night, creating individual looks and giving everyone some truly Hollywood results. The Glam squad pampered Yousra, Hala and Yasmine until they were picture perfect.
In the meantime, Yousra’s evening gown arrived all the way from Elie Saab’s headquarters in Beirut. The striking black sequined gown was especially chosen by Elie Saab for Yousra to wear on this special night and she looked like the true super star that she is the minute she put it on.
Of course, no glamourous outfit is complete without amazing jewels, so we had America’s most prominent jeweler, the ultra-talented Martin Katz, personally help our celebs choose the best of his jewelry to complete their looks. Katz is known for being the first jeweler to loan jewelry to celebrities to wear on the red carpet, starting a trend that is now the norm all over the world. And to this day, Katz dresses stars like Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron and Eva Longoria in his fabulous jewels for their most important red carpet appearances.
For our celebration, Katz offered us his most unique pieces. Yousra opted for his stunning diamond and ruby earrings as well as Katz’s unique large tennis bracelets along with the most dazzling diamond ring. Amr selected Katz’s cutting edge black diamond cufflinks to add sparkle to his elegant suit. And although Hala had her own fabulous jewels with her, she couldn’t resist wearing a pair of Katz’s dazzling large diamond stud earrings.
Yasmine also found the perfect jewels to complement her dress; a gorgeous multi-colored bracelet made out of some of the world’s most phenomenal stones, a pair of stunning white and yellow diamond earrings, as well as a white and yellow diamond cocktail ring and a stunning three-sided diamond band.
Clearly, getting ready was almost as fun as the big night itself. After all, there was so much pre-party glamour and gossip to be had! Finally, after everyone was all dolled up and ready to go, it was time to hit the red carpet…
COUNTDOWN TO PERFECTION: The set up begins…
While the ladies were getting ready, the already beautiful Montage Hotel Terrace was being decked out to receive our guests for the celebration. As we had hosted our first celebration at the same location, we wanted to make sure the terrace was even more spectacular for our event this time around. Making the Montage’s terrace a truy special open air space for a glamorous summer party is its incomparable view of Beverly Hill’s famous Canon Gardens next door, along with great views of the Hollywood Hills. And with our amazing event producer Denise Terenzio in charge of the set up schedule, everything was running like clockwork! We also knew we could rely on the hotel’s impeccable catering team to make sure that the setup and food was arranged to perfection. This year also brought in great LED lighting and some great green hedges at the entrance, where the letters ENIGMA were delicately placed to great effect. We also had a new addition of a silent auction with great items that included exclusive VIP concert tickets, Nile Cruises, and many other valuable items.
The set up this year also included stunning displays of Martin Katz’s jewellery as well as a most adorable and sophisticated dessert corner, generously provided by Beverly Hills’ most precious Parisian patisserie, Le Mervetty. Our Founder & Editor-in-Chief Yasmine Shihata, discovered Le Mervetty on one of her past trips to LA and she knew they would add just the right touch of delicious elegance to the event, especially since Le Mervetty’s elegant owner, Etty Benhamou, is of Egyptian origin herself! And sure enough, the sumptuous dessert corner full of Le Mervetty’s signature desserts made of meringue and whipped cream, as well as their succulent macaroons was a huge success. Guests delighted in the succulent desserts on offer throughout the evening. Many even bought some of their adorable gift boxes to take home.
Flower Power! Grand Eclair’s Dazzing Floral Arrangements:
you’re organising a glamorous summer party, choosing the right florist is key. Luckily for us, we had amazing flower arrangements in bold, bright colours, courtesy of Beverly Hills floral company Grand Eclair. Over the years, the company’s founder Natalia Jung has done a remarkable job at leveraging her impressive design reputation in Asia, London, and New York into the company’s work. Her creative designs and commitment to perfection are taking Los Angeles by storm. Grand Eclair has continuously stood out against its competition through a meticulous commitment to creating trendsetting designs that are both modern and timeless. Put simply, there’s no one quite like them. Everything that Grand Eclair does is unique and of unbridled creativity.
Grand Eclair provided our event with some breathtakingly fresh flowers that they expertly placed on each table. The remarkable floral arrangements added a glorious feel to the proceedings through their balance of simplicity and magnificence, a combination that Jung has expertly embedded into all of Grand Eclair’s setups. To sum up, their floral arrangements in our event were truly jaw-dropping and wonderfully exceeded all of our high expectations. Their outstanding displays truly set the tone for the rest of the evening. Grand Eclair’s flowers obviously don’t need the sun to shine; the spotlight is more than enough for them.
LIGHTS, CAMERA , ACTION! The Red Carpet Arrivals:
The celebration started at six pm, giving the guests time to savour the city’s beautiful sunset from the stunning terrace. The venue soon flowed with celebrities and numerous Arab and American VIP’s who came to support and enjoy our special celebration.
After the terrace was full of our guests, our superstars, Yousra, Amr Youssef and Hala Sarhan made their grand entrance onto the red carpet. They were loudly cheered and welcomed by all, then quickly surrounded for photo opportunities and a unique chance to meet them personally. Yousra easily impressed the crowd with her striking beauty and charisma, while the handsome and charming Amr dazzled the ladies. Hala Sarhan, who is an LA resident, hardly had a free minute between greeting her friends and many fans.
Among the prominent Americans attending the celebration were Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr; best known for 1982’s An Officer and a Gentleman, Former Congressman David Dreier and Film director Tony Kaye (most known for directing the movie American History X). The American VIPs enjoyed mingling with their Arab counterparts and learning more about Arab culture and beauty. Colombian/American actress Zulay Henao stole the spotlight with her stunning Temraza dress, while LA entrepreneur Bill Mundell and his lovely daughter Sienna, were among our night’s biggest hits on the red carpet. The Chairman of Montage Hotels, Alan Furstman, as well as the Montage Beverly Hill’s General Manager, Todd Orlich, also attended. Also mingling with the stars on the red carpet were the legendary jewelry designer, Martin Katz, floral designer Natalia Jung, and our gracious co-host for the evening, John Bendheim.
From the Middle East, popular Egyptian host and actor Bassel Al Zaro joined our stars on the red carpet. We were also graced with the presence of Princess Nora from Saudi Arabia and Consul General of Egypt in Los Angeles, Lamia Mekhemar. Iraqi Director Iyad Hajjaj also attended as well as Kuwaiti diplomat, Abdul-Aziz Al Zaid. We were also delighted to have Los Angeles’ amazing Egyptian sisters Nellie Nizam and Nancy Adham join us, along with their glamourous friends, who no doubt added flair and fun to the night.
eniGma TV interviewed the stars during the memorable evening, with the help of our multi-tasking producer, Denise Terenzio and Egyptian broadcaster Maha Awad.
First to be interviewed was Elie Samaha, who expressed his gratitude to Yasmine Shihata and eniGma Magazine for his award and recounted how hard he had worked on his journey to get to this point in his career. Dr. Zein Obagi opened up in his interview about his mission to make all women understand the nature of their skin to be able to take better care of themselves. He also expressed his gratitude to be one of the first Arabs to be awarded an eniGma Achievement Award. Yousra expressed her happiness to be in LA, considering it a great opportunity to build bridges between the East and the West. She also discussed how she loved how eniGma was introducing the ‘Hollywood of the Middle East’ in the original Hollywood itself!
Amr Youssef expressed his happiness to be a part of our celebration, especially taking time to praise Yasmine Shihata for organising the event. He expressed his pride in her achievement, and promised to attend the event again in the future, since it provided a cultural bridge and the opportunity for a great exchange of ideas between East and West. Hala Sarhan similarly expressed her happiness to be part of the event for the second year in a row. She expressed her pleasure “to be here to see our stars, doctors, scientists mingle with successful Hollywood VIPs.”
eniGma’s Yasmine Shihata also gave a fascinating interview, reflecting on what it was like to organise an event of this magnitude for the second year in a row, affirming that the event “showcased the best of the Middle East in the heart of the international centre for glamour and entertainment. ”
OUR FABULOUS ENTERTAINERS: Maria Elena Infantino, Leila Milki & DJ Dark Heart
To make sure the celebration was up to eniGma’s standards, we knew we would need to have a great DJ and some fabulous entertainment. Thus, one of our main tasks was researching LA’s best DJ’s and singers, who could also play and sing Arabic music. Luckily, through the recommendations of our most connected friends in LA, we came up with a great combination.
To set the tone for the night and create a great mood throughout the evening, Lebanese American DJ David Thomas (aka DJ Dark Heart) turned out to be the perfect choice. As the night progressed, his cool mix of Western and Arabic music gained energy and kept everyone on their feet.
Since Italian singer/songwriter Maria Elena Infantino, who sings in Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian, had been a huge hit at our first celebration, we knew we had to ask her to perform once again. As expected, she dazzled the crowd with songs by Dalida, Édith Piaf and many more! Her impressive vocals and upbeat personality and energy were infectious and really got the party going.
To add some purely Arabic entertainment, we asked the ultra-talented young Lebanese singer Leila Milki and tabla player Marc El Khoury to also perform. Marc and Leila took over the stage and serenaded the crowd with an astounding display of talent that mesmerised our hearts and minds. Their intoxicating combination of vocals, drum and piano playing skills allowed the two Middle Eastern artists to exhibit instant on-stage chemistry and blow everyone’s mind.
Our choice of these four rising entertaining stars truly wowed the crowd with their talent and visible enthusiasm. What’s more, their mixed heritages and their varied performances continued on our East meets West theme and provided the perfect illustration of what we wanted to validate in our celebration.
OPENING SPEECHES & THE eniGma Achievement Awards:
The night’s speeches began with a word from the event host, eniGma’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Yasmine Shihata. Yasmine graciously welcomed the guests and thanked our sponsors for making the unique and unforgettable evening possible. She also thanked LA entrepreneur Mr.John Bendheim for his ongoing support and for co-hosting our event for a second year in a row.
Her speech was followed by that of beloved former California Congressman David Dreier, who expressed his admiration for Yasmine and eniGma Magazine, and stressed the importance and meaning of the celebration. Dreier also touched on the Middle East’s progress since the Arab Spring, and wowed the crowd when he said he feels “Egyptian at heart.”
Yasmine went on to announce the first presentation of the eniGma Achievement Awards to honour the success stories of prominent Arabs who have had an international impact. She then went on to present the awards to our five very distinguished honourees.
First on stage was the Syrian born Dr. Zein Obagi, recognised for his outstanding career with an ‘Excellence Award for Achievement in Dermatology’. Dr. Obagi gave an electrifying speech where he thanked the eniGma team for their continuous dedication and explained that he always strove for skincare advancements. The next award winner was the popular and larger than life Lebanese entrepreneur and film producer Elie Samaha. Samaha was honoured with the eniGma Excellence Award for Achievement in Entrepreneurship and gave a touching speech about how the US had allowed him to live the American dream.
Following Samaha was the award to Egyptian actor Amr Youssef who was presented with the eniGma Excellence Award for Achievement in Cinema and Television. Youssef delivered a charming and spontaneous speech where he thanked the eniGma team. He went on to talk about the beauty of Egypt and its culture and urged the crowd to visit our unique country.
The evening’s next honouree was Egyptian media personality Hala Sarhan who received the eniGma Excellence Award for Achievement in Media. In her speech, she affirmed the importance of recognising the progress made in the Arab world.
For the grand and final award that everyone was waiting for, Egyptian icon Yousra received the eniGma Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema and Television. Like the true superstar that she is, Yousra graciously thanked eniGma and all the guests and reflected on her outstanding career. She expressed great pride while accepting her award, stating that “it is important that we build bridges between the Middle East and the West. It is important to introduce ourselves. We know you as Americans, but you don’t know us. We want to show you the true essence of our world.”
All in all, the presentation of the eniGma Achievement Awards was a huge success and added a whole new level of excitement and meaning to our special celebration.
Yousra’s Enigma Lifetime Achievement Award For Excellence in Cinema & Television:
The highlight of our first Ever Enigma Achievement Award ceremony was awarding Egypt’s iconic film and TV star Yousra with Enigma’s Excellence Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cinema and Television. Yousra is one of a few unique celebrities who have combined a stellar career with an ardent desire to serve her community. One of the biggest and most beloved television and film stars inthe Middle East, Yousra has starred in numerous hit movies and TV shows and has left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of Arab viewers all over the region.
Yousra had her first major role in the 1980s film Azkiya’ Laken Aghbiya (Smart yet Stupid). From there, Yousra starred in 80 movies to date, playing many different roles and altering her look for each one. She is known for experimenting with a plethora of diverse film genres, from comedy and drama to action and entertainment. One of the most influential times in Yousra’s career was when she was working with famous Egyptian director Youssef Chahine in many of his films such as Hadduta Masreya (Egyptian Story) in 1982, Iskanderiya Kaman we Kaman (Alexandria Again and Again) in 1990, and Al Mohager (The Emigrant) in 1994.
In 2006, she starred in the critically acclaimed film, The Yacoubian Building, a star-laden adaptation of the hit novel of the same name. Yousra has starred in countless popular serial television dramas during Ramadan: including 2005’s Ahlam ‘Adiya (Ordinary Dreams), 2012’s , Sharbat Loz, and most recently, Fawk Mostawa Al Shobhat (Above All Levels of Suspicion).
Yousra has also continuously striven to use her influential voice for greater good. She was recently named a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, in addition to her role as a Goodwill Ambassador in the UNDP.
For Yousra, being a public figure involves more than attending events; it involves giving back to the community and striving to make the world a better place.
The superstar has graced eniGma’s covers on multiple occasions,with her timeless beauty, elegance and charisma. We consider ourselves among her biggest fans, and it was a true honor and privilege to have Yousra with us at our second Second Celebration of Arab Glamour and Success. She added immense star power to the event and was gracious and kind to every guest. Yousra is the perfect embodiment of Arab glamour, grace and talent.
Yosra also displayed great pride while accepting her award, stating that” It is important that we build bridges between the Middle East and the West. It is important to introduce ourselves. We know you as Americans, but you don’t know us. And we want to show you the true essence of our world.”
Amr Youssef’s Enigma Achievement Award For Excellence In Cinema & Television:
Being the first recipient of the Enigma Achievement Award for Excellence in Cinema and Television was a perfect testament to Amr Youssef’s rapid success. As one of Egypt’s most admired and respected actors, Youssef is known for his versatile acting skills and his widespread appeal. In just over 10 years, Youssef has cemented his leading man status by starring in 12 blockbuster films and 19 popular TV series. Fans and critics have declared his latest TV Series, Grand Hotel, as one the best TV Series of 2016, with record breaking viewership numbers. Youssef’s popularity is also apparent through his loyal and ever-increasing followers on social media.
Throughout his career, Youssef has stood out due to his dashing good looks, natural acting ability and relentless work ethic . His entertainment career began with a slew of music video and TV commercial appearances. His noticeable charisma soon led him to become a TV presenter at Rotana Cinema for two years. In 2007, Youssef’s talents were brought to a mass audience with his memorable role alongside the late Nour El Sherif in Al Daly. The entire region quickly fell in love with him, as he showcased his acting talent and levelheadedness on the beloved show. Soon after, Youssef’s career truly took off. The hits kept on coming, with numerous headlining performances in major projects such as Niran Sadeeka (Friendly Fire), Hepta, and of course, last Ramadan’s huge hit series Grand Hotel.
Almost everything that he touches these days turns into gold. He methodically chooses his projects and aims to elevate the standard of all of his work. From the first minute that we met him, up until we were boarding our plane out of LA, Youssef was always charming and helpful. In many ways, he was the life of our event. He took pictures, signed autographs and energized our team with his limitless supply of positive energy. He even took it upon himself to make sure that every aspect of the event got the attention and recognition that it deserved.
And Amr did not hold back while accepting his award, entertaining the audience with his unique charm. He expressed his gratitude to Enigma Magazine, stating: “I am very proud of what Yasmine and Enigma are doing here. Hopefully, I will be able to be here next year and the year after.”
Elie Samaha’s Enigma Achievement Award For Excellence In Entrepreneurship:
Enigma was honoured to present its first ever Enigma Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship to a true self-made entrepreneur who has become one of the biggest Arab names in Hollywood: Elie Samaha. Samaha’s impressive track record in film and business has created a bridge between East and West, making him a true Arab-American success story.
The famous Lebanese/American producer and entrepreneur has produced movies for over 20 years, with over 40 movie-production credits to his name. Collaborating with A-list stars such as John Travolta, Kevin Spacey, Jack Nicholson, and his close friend Sylvester Stallone, Samaha specializes in rescuing stars’ pet projects. Samaha works with big stars whose projects were stalled at major studios, and brings them aboard at reduced salaries. His approach made waves in Hollywood, earning him a reputation for producing star vehicles cheaper than any of the larger studios. To date, Samaha has produced films, such as The Pledge, Columbus Day, Spartan, The Whole Nine Yards, The Whole Ten Yards and Rescue Dawn. Over the years, the biggest key to his success has been his firm ‘can do’ attitude. He understands that in the film industry, the biggest failure is to not try. He therefore views any less than successful project as a learning opportunity that will facilitate future success. With such positivity, it comes as no surprise that Samaha has become one of the most respected producers in Hollywood.
In addition, Samaha is a prolific real estate developer who owns several iconic properties in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, including The Roxbury, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard, and the famous Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa in Palm Springs. He also owns countless restaurants and night clubs throughout the US and is quickly expanding his many brands into the Middle East.
Samaha seemed truly touched when he accepted his award and stated that “this is one of the greatest countries in the world. We should appreciate being here and being given the opportunity to do what we do. When you are an underdog like me, you have to work much harder. I’ve always set my goals much bigger than I could have imagined I could accomplish, and that’s how I got to where I am today.”
Dr. Zein Obagi’s Enigma Achievement Award For Excellence In Dermatology:
Honoring Dr. Obagi with Enigma’s Excellence Award for Achievement in Dermatology was our way of paying tribute to a man who has given so much to the skin care and beauty industry over the years. The award-winning skincare expert, inventor, educator, and author has impressively built one of the world’s largest dermatology empires. Through it all, he has remained as diligent and hardworking as the day he started, allocating countless hours and resources to continued innovation in his field and travelling the world over to educate people about how to protect and improve their skin.
A pioneer in the field of dermatology, Dr. Obagi was born in Syria and earned his medical degree from the University of Damascus Medical School. He then traveled to the United States, enlisted in the US Navy, and served as a Naval Medical Officer. Dr. Obagi eventually went on to found the world-renowned Obagi Skin Health Institute, pioneering cosmetic dermatology and skincare products, many of which were breakthroughs for patients of varying ethnicities and skin color. He began his practice in 1981 with the goal of continually advancing the protocols and treatments for skin health in cosmetic dermatology. His practice utilizes today’s most innovative and effective clinical solutions to create and maintain healthy skin for everyone.
Dr. Obagi also conducts hundreds of educational skin health seminars and clinics for doctors in more than 35 countries. He has addressed scores of prestigious societies and institutions, including the American Academy of Dermatology, the European Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and the International Congress of Aesthetics.
Dr. Obagi is a board certified dermatologist, Diplomat of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the International Society of Dermatology, the Society of Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Aesthetic and Restorative Surgery
Upon receiving his award, Dr. Obagi proudly stated, “I have made a promise in my life. I don’t want to see people aging. I don’t want to see skin cancer. I don’t want to see pigmentation. I don’t want to see makeup. I ’m going to keep everyone looking so young, so that when we die, we can meet God looking good!”
Hala Sarhan’s Enigma Achievement Award For Excellence In Media:
Awarding one of the Middle East’s most popular and controversial stars, Hala Sarhan, with our first ‘Enigma Excellence Award for Achievement in Media’ was an easy decision. No topic has ever been too taboo for Sarhan to discuss. Her refresing honesty and willingness to speak her mind has made her one of the Middle East’s most established and formidable media personalitues. To her, presenting is not just a job; it’s a responsibility. Many people talk about the importance of freedom of speech, but Sarhan is one of the few who actually mean it.
As one of the most successful female broadcasters in the Arab world, Sarhan’s solid education and knowledge helped her position herself as an authoritative voice in the media industry, allowing her to tackle sensitive topics, causing heated debates among intellectuals and religious figures. She is most known for hosting the Hala Show, a program inspired by western shows like The Late Night Show, on which she would invite celebrity guests as well as political and religious figures. She became famous for her strong personality as well as the provocative and controversial topics she dealt with, such as sex, homosexuality, secret marriages, black magic, drugs, religion, and crime.
Often dubbed the Arab Oprah Winfrey, Sarhan started her career in the United States on the Arabic-American TV network and then moved to the ART network. She later moved to Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s Rotana group, where she became head of production and distribution, establishing Rotana Cinema, Rotana Zaman, and Rotana Masriya in the process. Sarhan’s newest show is called Nas-book (People Book) on Rotana Masriya.
Sarhan has also had a successful career in publishing, as the Editor in Chief of Saidaty Sadaty magazine and as the Deputy Editor of Kol El Nas magazine and Sayidaty magazine. She has also authored books like Al Haramlek and Al Madam Marfoa Moakatan men Al Khedma.
At this year’s celebration, she once again supported us immensely and provided a dose of true glamour and flair to the festivities. Her characteristically meaningful acceptance speech did not disappoint. “We are conveying to the world that we are from a very strong and beautiful culture with kind and peaceful people. Islamic terrorism does not represent our culture, our civilization, our religion, or our history. It is a handful of criminals who don’t belong to humanity. Thats why it’s great to come to this event and see what our culture has to offer. It is nice that our doctors, stars and successful Hollywood producers are being honoured. Here, we are showing our real side to the world.”
For the full event highlights, click here.