Nicole Saba

On Having It All

Dress by Faith Connexion available at HIP

Last time eniGma interviewed Nicole Saba, it was for our May, 2010 issue. Back then, single and on top of her game, Saba gave us the show of our lives dressing up in the year’s latest wedding trends and getting in the ring (a boxing ring that is) with four boxers. Three years later, she has a ring on her finger and a baby on the way. eniGma’s Omnia Zaied caught up with her to see if she still has her spunk…

As I make my way across the halls of the five-star hotel where we agreed to meet, I am expecting to find a pregnant Nicole Saba chilling in her room or having coffee in some lounge. Little did I know, that after a 15 minute search for her all over the hotel I would find her lying on a chaise-longue by the pool, in her bikini. Now you don’t see a pregnant woman in a bikini every day, but it didn’t take me long to realise that Saba isn’t  your regular pregnant woman.

“Habibty, don’t ever worry about what people think. As long as you’re comfortable, you shouldn’t bother,” she tells me as I apologise for being overdressed for a drink by the pool. Her philosophy must have had a lot to do with her becoming one of the top artists in the region. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says once she sets her mind on something. Her songs have toppped the charts and her movies are guaranteed successes. With every appearance she makes, media attention follows. All you can do is just wait and see what kind of show she is going to pull off.

In 2011 Saba took everyone by surprise (and made them jealous) by announcing her marriage to Lebanese actor and heartthrob Youssef El Khal after a romantic and quite dramatic 10-year love story. “We met through some common friends, but had our eyes on each other,” she recalls. “He’d ask where he could find me and I’d ask who his close friends were, till we finally met and hit it off.” Back then, younger and less experienced, El Khal and Saba couldn’t make it to their happy ending. They broke up and Saba got her big break with El Tagroba Al Denemarkeya (The Danish Experiment), 2003 with superstar Adel Emam, and moved to Egypt. The years went by and eventuallly they realised they were really meant for each other. The rest is history, and now Saba is very happily pregnant and preparing for what is likely to be the summer’s biggest musical hit with famous producer Hassan El-Shafie.

Dress by Emilio Pucci available at Beymen
Dress by Emilio Pucci available at Beymen

So, how does being married to the love of your life feel like?
It feels good. I feel more grounded, that I have a home, that I have someone to lean on. People in our field especially need this because our life is just so full of noise and distractions; you need to have the opposite at home to create a balance. Before getting married to Youssef I used to think about what I do and what I am doing it for but now I am more proud of everything I have achieved and he gives me the energy to continue. I am no longer stressed all the time about my career because I have something else in my life.

Hasn’t it been difficult trying to balance your job with your marriage, especially since Youssef lives in Lebanon and you live in Egypt?
It’s like learning how to juggle a few balls. It’s not easy, but so far I have been making a good balance. Whenever I have time I go to Beirut and whenever he has time he comes to Cairo. I think it is also very healthy for our relationship that we both have this space. It gives us a chance to miss each other and keep the passion alive.

Since you are both very good looking, does this ever create any jealousy between you?
We are both mature enough to deal with it, we know who we are and we understand that each of us have fans so it’s fine. In fact it is one of the reasons I fell for him, that he is good looking, so it doesn’t upset me at all. Some couples wouldn’t have been able to handle it but we are fine.

Career-wise, did jealousy find its place between you especially since you are relatively more famous than he is in the region?
He is very famous in Beirut. Of course working in Egypt gives you much more exposure in the region. But when we got married, it wasn’t like two actors getting married, it was two people in love getting married. We have known each other for a very long time, and we know what each of us is made of. So we don’t have this between us at all. This could have created a problem for another couple but not for us.

How do you find pregnancy so far?
I love it. It is the best period in my personal life and in my career. It’s a new feeling and whoever hasn’t tried it is missing a lot because it feels miraculous to be giving life to someone. I feel it’s my mission in life now. I feel responsible for the baby, I am afraid and I am excited. It’s like I have a point of weakness I never knew existed. Career-wise I did a lot of concerts in the past couple of months and I can’t wait to have the baby. People everywhere in the world manage to work while pregnant so I did it and I am not intending to make an issue out of it. Just a couple of days ago I was performing in a concert at the Canadian University and I forgot that I was pregnant and I totally went for it.

Hair: Toni @ Pace e Luce Make-up: Michel Makdissy @ Pace e Luce
Hair: Toni @ Pace e Luce
Make-up: Michel Makdissy @ Pace e Luce

So is it a boy or a girl?
I would have told you if I knew. Youssef and I agreed to leave it as a surprise. It’s very difficult and we are betting on who is going to break first.

Did marriage and pregnancy change you?
Of course it did. I am not the same person I was three years ago. Life teaches you a lot and our field especially allows you to go through a lot of experiences and meet a lot of people and just learn a lot. Career-wise I am much more mature now. I am much wiser in my choices and appearances and I have better judgment. I know exactly who I am, where I stand and where I want to be and I am very proud of myself. I am in a very good phase in my career and I worked very hard to get here.

On a lighter note, and since this is our interiors issue, tell us how involved you were in decorating your own house?
Well I have a house in Beirut and one here in Egypt and I decorated both myself. I don’t believe in getting someone to do this for you because it has to reflect your personal taste and what makes you comfortable. And I don’t believe in having one theme all over the house. I believe every corner should have a different style to reflect all your personalities.

What’s your favourite style?
I hate the ultra modern and the very classical. I like to have something in between.

What about your favourite colours?
It depends on my mood. I usually choose strong colours like red or black for my bedrooms. As for the living rooms I prefer having them in lighter shades.

And what’s next for you?
Well after the success of Samir Aboul Nil, I am taking it a bit slow. I am working on a big surprise that will come out in June. A song in collaboration with Hassan El-Shafei and it’s going to be a huge surprise for everyone because it’s something I have never done before. Right now I am also shooting a campaign for a car company which I am also very excited about.

Maissa Azab

Khaled Fadda