To begin with I come from a simple background and family. I am originally and proudly Lebanese. I was born in California and spent a few years of my childhood there before my family moved back to Lebanon. I love my country so much and I always feel like there’s something so strong about it that always brings me back there no matter where I am in the world. My early years of schooling began in The States then continued in Beirut.
I have always been a dreamer and I believe in positive energy. From being mentally determined to physically active and keeping myself busy. This has stayed with me since my childhood and has grown, helping me to know exactly what I want. I have great interest in fashion, photography, sports, traveling, music and planning events. Now it’s about creating a beautiful childhood for my two daughters and teaching them the right habits at a very young age.
Working in media
At the age of 14 I did my first magazine advertisement shoot. It was a beauty ad whilst I was still in school. It was a big thing for me then and I could still remember how all my friends, classmates and family were talking about it and got their own copy. That made me so happy and it further grew my interest in photography.
After graduation, I took a few courses in fashion design and that made me learn so much about the world of creating, designing and developing. Fashion design takes a lot of imagination, consistency and perseverance.
In the meantime I was getting a lot of modeling offers for beauty and fashion ads but not for runways, as I was not tall enough. At the age of 21 I got my first TV presenting offer to host a program about music on MTV Lebanon. The name of the program was Energy Spin Magazine, which talked about music. It was a turning point and the start of building my own career. I was then asked to host another TV reality program, which was live everyday with a group of other young presenters. Of course I had to study it and learn the proper way of presenting and hosting behind the lens. However I couldn’t stay too long in both roles as then I got married and decided to shelve my career and build a family with my late husband. However that short period in television gave me great exposure in the Middle East and was a fantastic experience. One of my biggest dreams in my childhood was to be either a TV producer or an actress, and if it were in music I now feel so motivated in learning how to DJ professionally.
‘What we learn with pleasure we never forget’, ALFRED MERCIER.
I tend not to think about the future so much but just live each day as it comes. The best way I guess is to create it, stay positive, work hard and then make it happen. Social media now has become as important as television.
I definitely miss having my own career and if I ever consider returning to TV it would have to be something that I am truly passionate about and share.
I believe there is a time for everything in our life. At this stage I’m a fully dedicated mother for my two lovely daughters and that is what is most important for me now. Most of my time is spent on family duties, responsibilities and simply being a mom!
I guess as so many other parents their children’s well-being and family priorities come first. I learnt the hard way through my personal life experience that the best way to handle your priorities is not by relying on anyone but yourself and not to expect anything too much or you might end up with disappointments. When you set your priorities straight you will live a happy life and only good things will happen.
Bringing up my two young daughters, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, investing in their education and being an inspiring mother for them is my day to day work in progress and my top priority. I try not to plan ahead a lot with certainty so I go with the flow and simply make the most out of everyday by doing what’s best for me and my family.
Coping with loss
The only cure for grief is to grieve. Everyone has their own way of grieving. It is not a sign of weakness, it is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love….
The loss of Walid, my late husband and father of my two young daughters, was so hard and challenging for me.
One never knows how strong they are until being strong is their only choice.
It was the biggest loss for me especially after living a beautiful marriage full of love and sharing unforgettable moments together. Yes I was very young…. at the age of 27 after giving birth to our second daughter, two months later he passed away.
With our married life mapped out ahead of us and after being blessed with our first daughter Talia then Lana one doesn’t imagine that life can really change so dramatically overnight, but it did. He was suddenly diagnosed with cancer during my mid term days of pregnancy. Cancer is one of the most indiscriminate diseases and it was never expected to happen and enter into our early years of marriage. Leave alone the person I loved most in the world. For the past two and a half years I learnt so much the hard way, after the heartbreak I experienced. Walid protected me and shielded me from so much in so many ways, yet he also had so much faith and believed in me.
Up till today we talk about him, we miss and we pray for him. Walid was an inspiring man with a wide heart and had great love for life. One of his favorite sayings was, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain”.
I guess it’s very important to keep the memory and the legacy of our loved ones alive. When I first used to think of him after his passing I used to cry but now I think of him and I smile. Me and my daughters’ loss left a hole in our hearts and I know it will never go away, we never truly get over a loss but we move forward and evolve from it.
Walid empowered me and imparted me with love, sharing my life with him taught me so much and that gave me more hunger to learn. I appreciate all our memories he has left behind and our beautiful daughters remind me of him every single day.
Now with the year coming to an end I begin a new chapter in my life after so many changes with much optimism and hope. I feel grateful for all the support and love from my friends and family who have stood by me. Thanks to them and many of our mutual friends who were there for me. They empowered me during my most challenging times.
“Philanthropy is not about money… it’s about feeling the pain of others and caring enough about their needs to help.”
During my years of marriage I became involved in the world of philanthropy and now after my sad loss I’m more intrigued to understand the depth and importance of philanthropy in the world. I believe that kindness is always beautiful if it’s coming from within and it brings so much self-happiness in return.
Walid was passionate about improving people’s welfare especially when it came to children. One of his special interests was in the field of actively promoting brain and neurological related research into a disease that affects fifty million people worldwide, yet receives very limited exposure – Epilepsy.
Now that I feel my life is regaining order I am keen and passionate about throwing my skills and energy into keeping Walid’s vision alive carrying on research and raising the profile of this very sad condition. Walid had a passion to improve life for the many and I had started working with him on this specific area before his illness. He established, funded and promoted his own company in Switzerland, working with doctors, scientists and neurologists at the Epi Centre Clinic in Zurich, in order to take this idea and technological innovation from concept to a promise of reality – and I share that vision.
For myself, Walid and our young daughters, I hope one day I could be able to continue to grow his philanthropic legacy and rekindle that passion.
For now I am involved in a few charitable events that evolve around the disabled and different diseases including cancer.
For me home was never a place, it’s where you feel love and security. It is where the heart belongs. Less than a year ago we moved from London to Lebanon and we split our time between Europe and the Middle East now. I want my children to have the best of both worlds and to learn the Arabic language. To understand more about me and my late husband’s culture and to be close to their family in their early years. I love my country but I also enjoy traveling a lot. After living in London for almost 6 years it also became my second home. My daughters’ education and stability is extremely important for me. They have both been accepted into one of the best schools in London so maybe one day I will decide to go back and I could also explore a new venue of study and work for myself too. If I do it would hopefully be related to law and the empowerment of women.
I have lived in various international locations and visited many other stunning destinations. I don’t have a favourite place but I always enjoy traveling somewhere where there is sea and sun in a warm climate. Many places I still travel to are my part of my travel routine, especially during fashion week. On holidays I tend to take my daughters somewhere that’s more family oriented and child friendly.
I spent so many happy moments in Gstaad and Zurich with Walid. We got married in Venice and we then moved to London. We traveled for holidays to the South of France, sailed around the Mediterranean for our honeymoon and then again with our first daughter, joined by family and friends.
One of my most enjoyable trips was flying to Asia, visiting and walking up the Great Wall of China. The cherry blossom season in Japan (Tokyo) is a must see, during the springtime. We toured the Caribbean islands and spent an amazing time in Mexico. One of my favorite relaxing and detoxing destinations was the Maldives, it’s a perfect place to disconnect. We’ve also been to Hawaii so whoever would like to renew their vows, I suggest that’s the place to go. Vegas was fun and I would do it again. In Germany and Switzerland we had some of our best days too. Walid and I wanted to continue traveling the world, he wanted to show me so many more places. Now I hope I will explore more places with my family and friends. I believe that’s the beauty of traveling, you build memories that become stories in your life.
Hopes and dreams
Everything starts with a dream, they are echoes of hope that we turn into reality.
One never knows what the future holds for us but for now I hope that me and my family will be able to live our lives to the fullest, to enjoy every moment with them and watch them grow healthy and well educated.
My ambition is to keep the legacy of Walid alive and his vision turned into reality, where the lives of many sufferers can be improved by medical technology.
For me to continue doing what I feel most passionate about, make a difference and maybe some day find true love again…