TV star Joelle and the growing business of beauty in the Middle East

TV star Joelle and the growing business of beauty in the Middle East
By Euronews
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This week Inspire Middle East goes beneath the surface of the region’s cosmetics industry.


This week Inspire Middle East goes beneath the surface of the region’s cosmetics industry. This edition reveals breaking news from one the region’s most famous beauty moguls Joelle and visits Beauty World Middle East, the world's third largest event of its kind. The show also travels to Tunisia, where one millennial is making good use of the country’s abundant harvest of olives to launch a skincare range.


In an exclusive interview to Inspire Middle East, Joelle confirms the rumours of a ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s’-style reality show.

“I’ve actually been filming this – not secretly – but I haven’t mentioned it to anyone,” she says, “It’s an exclusive, not a soul knows about this.”

The businesswoman says that she has been followed by cameras on a daily basis for the production of the show with promises an authentic view of her daily life:

“You’ll see me with my extensions poking out, in my pyjamas, with zero makeup – and some of the times I look awful, really awful, but that’s reality! You know, we don’t all look amazing 24/7.”

With more than 7 million followers on Instagram – Joelle is known for being outspoken on topics considered by some to be taboo, such as plastic surgery.

“I've never been afraid of my reality. I want to create awareness to being careful with which doctor you go to, the products you are injecting in your face, the implants you're using. I even talked about my tummy tuck! I want to show women it's not about vanity it's about being comfortable with yourself.”

Named as one of the Arab world’s 100 most influential business people, she shot to fame when her eponymous radical makeover TV show began airing in the region more than a decade ago.

Since then, the Lebanese-born, London-raised entrepreneur has launched a range of beauty salons from the UAE and Saudi to Kurdistan and Tunisia – in addition to cosmetics clinics and hair and skincare ranges.

However, the mother-of-two admits that such success was not ever part of her plan or a lifelong dream.

“Everything happened organically.” she says, “All I wanted at the beginning was to become a very famous makeup artist. My intention was never to be rich. My intention was to make a name.”

Joelle reveals that for years she didn’t examine her company’s finances, until she realised that her accountants were embezzling money. “[It was] my biggest mistake,” she recounts.

Despite her success on social media, the entrepreneur sends a clear message to rising stars and so-called influencers’ looking to capitalize on fame.

“I don't call them influencers because they can't influence anyone, they haven't achieved anything in their life. I was influenced by Richard Branson, Manny Pacquiao… I’m influenced by people who have come a long way, who have shown that the dedication and passion and the will to succeed can get you anywhere you want,” she affirms.

Despite being a strong advocate for cosmetics and clinical treatments, Joelle stresses that true beauty doesn’t come from make-up, but from deep within: “It’s the sparkle in the eye. It’s that purity from the heart that shines out, it’s that honest smile.”


The 23rd edition of Beauty World, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East and third largest in the world, was held in this week in Dubai to reveal the latest trends in the region’s growing multi-billion-dollar beauty market.

Organic products dominated the exhibition floors this year – in line with global consumer trends which show an increased demand for chemical free, ethical and non-processed products.

Fragrance is also a key contributor to the industry’s growth in a region that is estimated to have spent more than US$ 5.5 billion on scents last year.


While mass-produced branded perfumes have long enjoyed the commercial limelight, the latest trend on display at the event allows consumers to match their scent to their mood and wear a fragrance that’s truly their own.

One of the unique factors of the Middle East’s beauty industry is the high average spend by men on cosmetic products and regular grooming sessions in salons.

“I think men's grooming here is a lot more advanced than most places in the world. It's in this culture [for men] to really look after themselves. Not just hair, but like […] having regular pedicures, which is something the West is only really just starting to feel comfortable [with],” explained Trevor Studd, Managing Director of The British Barbers' Association.


Tourism was once a key economic driver of the Tunisian coastal city of Sousse. However, since a terror attack in 2015, the industry’s decline has prompted a new wave of entrepreneurs. Aspiring businessman Hassen Kaabachi decided to tap his nation’s fruitful resource of olives to launch his fledgling company.

“The idea came spontaneously, we didn't do any research market,” he said, “It just came as a feeling that something needed to be done in the natural cosmetics,” he tells.


For centuries, olives have been used as a remedy. Both hair and skin benefit from its vitamins which help protect against aging free and damaging sun exposure.

Tunisia is one of the top four exporters of olive oil worldwide, having sold about 70,000 metric tons from 2016 to 2017.

Which is why Hassen seized the opportunity to capitalize on the situation - taking out a loan to create Ecovillage – a business selling natural olive-based beauty products.

#stand#newproduct #promos #kram

A post shared by Ecovillage (@ecovillage_naturalbeauty) on

The process starts with the extraction of the olive’s oil, before it is mixed with other ingredients including the essence of crushed almonds, sesame seeds, argan oil and dried plants. These are infused together and molded to make organic soaps, face masks, and body butters.

Hassen hopes to, one day, be able to expand his business across the Middle East and North African region soon.


“We aim to open shops all around the country and we are looking forward to African markets,” he says, “We’re doing 300 % growth per year and recruiting at least 50% more people every year.”


Moroccan make-up artist Sonia uploaded this video of the final makeup preparations of her blushing bride-to-be client.

Barcelona-based Vanessa tamed the tresses of a client in a throw-back shot from Beauty World Middle East.

Make-up artist Nina posted a video from Oman as she highlighted the features of her client.

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