Expect great things from these actresses, writers, sportswomen, singers and politicians.
With 2018 in its infancy, our thoughts this week have been turning to the year in front of us, and all the excitement and opportunities it offers.
While we’ve already reminisced about the powerhouse women of the region who smashed it in 2017 (and, quite frankly, will still smash it in the coming year), now we’re turning our sights to those we’re predicting will make headlines throughout 2018.
So, with no further ado, here’s a selection of the talented women we’ll be keeping a keen eye on over the next 12 months.
She only graduated from Lebanon’s Notre Dame University in 2013, but this writer-director is already making waves in the regional film industry. Nammour released her second short film On The Ropes in 2016, and was selected as one of five Arab Stars of Tomorrow at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival. She’s got a third short film, Barakat, in the works, which is described as trip of self-discovery and memories across Beirut. We’re already prepping the popcorn.
This adventurous mountaineer has been on our radar for years, after becoming the first Saudi woman to scale Everest back in 2013 (she was even our Emirates Woman Woman of the Year in 2016). However Moharrak shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, adding Alaska’s Denali to her list of summits conquered earlier this year. Along with model Bella Hadid, the 31-year-old also became the first female brand ambassador for Swiss watch company Tag Heuer in 2017, as well as speaking on many female empowerment panels over the last 12 months. We reckon her star will continue to soar even higher in 2018 too…
With several singles under her belt and an album on the way, we think you’ll be hearing a lot more from this Australian-raised and Dubai-based singer over the next year. Kardan, who took out the Artist category in this year’s Emirates Woman Woman of the Year Awards, jetted out to New Zealand in 2017 to work with a music producer for her debut album, and we’re looking forward to the results. “I want to be the first Middle Eastern female crossover artist in the electronic soul/pop genre on the global stage,” she told us earlier this year—and we’re backing her goals.
She wowed in acclaimed 2012 film Wadjda, and this Saudi Arabian actress will be getting plenty more screen time in 2018 thanks to her role in an upcoming Netflix drama. Kamel will star in Collateral, a thriller co-produced by the BBC, alongside Oscar winner Carey Mulligan, John Simm and Billie Piper. The Jeddah-raised actress will play Muslim woman Fatma in the mini series, which charts the repercussions following the fatal shooting of a pizza delivery man in London.
Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi
The daughter of the ruler of Fujairah has really been putting the UAE on the fashion map since her eponymous label launched in 2012—and we reckon the label will go stratospheric in 2018. The Dubai-based designer, who studied at prestigious French fashion college Esmod, is famed for her uber-feminine silhouettes and juxtaposition of textures, with the brand picked up by fashion magazines around the world. The label has also been worn by celebrities including Alessandra Ambrosio and Sofia Vergara, with the list of star clientele only set to expand.
Sheikha Intisar AlSabah
Also setting the design world on fire is this princess from Kuwait’s royal family, who launched her fine jewellery label Intisars in 2017. AlSabah, who also works as a philanthropist, author and columnist, was inspired to start her brand after struggling to find jewellery she loved. With five must-have collections under its belt so far, we’re excited to see what Intisars has up its sleeve for the new season.
While she’s from the MENA region rather than the Middle East, we pegged this British-Moroccan model as one of 2017’s rising clotheshorses—and she looks set to become an even more famous face in 2018. The 18-year-old has walked for Chanel, Dior and Loewe in fashion weeks this year, and we predict she’ll score a heck of a lot more campaigns over the next 12 months.
Princess Iman bint Abdullah
While the Jordanian royal is not often in the public eye (she’s not even on social media), we’re expecting to see more of King Abdullah II and Queen Rania’s eldest daughter this year. The 21-year-old is reportedly due to graduate from Washington’s Georgetown University in 2018, following in the footsteps of her brother, Crown Prince Hussein. Since his graduation, the 23-year-old heir attended prestigious military academy Sandhurst, and has delivered impassioned speeches at several forums, so Princess Iman could take on more royal duties once her studies come to an end. Much like her philanthropic mother, we imagine the royal will offer fantastic support to many worthy causes around the world.
HE Shamma Al Mazrui
A Minister for Youth who is actually young – makes sense, right? At just 22 years old, Al Mazrui made it into the record books this year as the world’s youngest cabinet minister. “Youth represents some half our Arab societies, so it is only logical to give them a voice and role in governing the nation,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, when the appointment was announced in 2016. Al Mazrui, who was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from New York University Abu Dhabi, was the UAE’s first Rhodes Scholar, and graduated with a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Oxford in 2015. With a CV like that, she’ll be one to watch for the next 20+ years rather than just 2018.
Maysa Jbarah is a forward who plays for the Jordan national women’s team, and at 24 she is one of the rising stars of women’s football in the Middle East. She has already scored 22 goals in only 14 international matches, and with Jordan hosting the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in April, Jbarah could be about to hit the big time.
Images: Dubai International Film Festival, Raha Moharrak/Instagram, Layla Kardan/Facebook, Ahd Kamel/Instagram, Myintisars/Instagram, Nora Attal/Instagram, Queen Rania/Instagram, Getty