A society darling with a heart of gold, Rawya Mansour is upholding the family legacy with her extensive philanthropic work and her successful interior design business. Enigma’s Yashreeka Huq sat down with the loveable star of Cairo’s social set to talk about her life, family and hopes for the future of Egypt.
High above Cairo, sprawled across the 6th floor of the Four Seasons Nile Plaza Residence, lays one of the city’s most stunning apartments; a heavenly home brimming with awe-inspiring works of art and priceless pieces. It’s a space covered in rich resplendent fabrics and filled with dazzling displays of furniture. And amidst these trinkets of La Dolce Vita sits Rawya Mansour. She is the only daughter of business tycoon Lotfy Mansour; the man who single-handedly brought General Motors to Cairo. Despite the fabulousness of the surroundings, this society darling, interior designer and philanthropist is a woman who has her feet firmly planted on the ground. From her extensive environmental work to supporting Egypt’s Special Olympics team, Mansour has made a difference to the Arab World by bringing a fresh perspective to problems that have plagued the region for decades.
Mansour, a business graduate from the University of Alexandria, was born and raised on the coastal city, amongst five boisterous boys. “I used to beat up on my youngest brother Yassin, it was a favourite past time of mine,” she says laughing. “I had to prove myself because I was the only girl and my mother, Nazly, was very tough on me. Sometimes I felt like I was the boy and my brothers were treated with a much kinder hand. But when my mother spent her final years living with me I realised the saying holds true ‘You are hardest on the ones you love the most’.” Aside from her brother Ismail, who sadly passed away, her brothers have all entered the famed family business and established themselves amongst the region’s biggest power players. “Ismail, who was the oldest, was the fun one; he taught me to not worry about death and instead enjoy my life. Youssef, who heads the family business, is godfather to my son Mostafa, and helped him land his job as General Manager of Philip Morris, Egypt. Mohamed meanwhile is like another father to me; he is my initiator and he was the first person to discover my talent as a designer by asking me to decorate his house. He just thought I would have a knack for it. Yassin, the youngest one is like a baby to me; I’m very protective over him.”