As 2020 comes to a close, many will be reflecting on the year that has been. With all of us having to face some major challenges this year, we’ll have also learned some incredible life lessons from experiences and inspiring people throughout 2020.

This rings true, particularly for Emirates Woman. We’ve spoken to and championed some incredible women this year and we have learned many valuable philosophies and lessons from their wisdom and inspiration.

So, as the year draws to a close, EW is looking back on just some of the inspiring women we championed this year.

Amina Muaddi


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Gracing the cover of EW‘s ‘Go Your Own Way Issue’ in April, designer Amina Muaddi is someone who epitomises individuality and grit to go it your own way. In our exclusive interview with her, she explained that she always knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“After working with fashion magazines for a while I realised that I should not put my dreams on hold and I decided to start my first shoe company,” she said. “There is no right time, sometimes things work out sometimes they don’t. But you have to be brave and start, take the first step and then be ready for the adventure.”

Fatma Al Otaiba

ODEEM handbags

Designer Fatma Al Otaiba started this year (and new decade) with a bang, by launching her new luxury brand ODEEM. For the last 10 years, Al-Otaiba dreamt of starting her own handbag brand. The Dubai-based luxury label which aims to focus on timeless leather goods. Combining tradition with eclecticism, the designs draw on different textures and details that are sure to turn heads.

This year, Al Otaiba has taught us about many things to do with mindfulness and gratitude, what it takes to be an entrepreneur and her pride for being an Emirati woman.

Ola Farahat

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Our cover star for May’s – ‘The Mindfulness Issue’, Ola Farahat is a rare combination – educated, beautiful and incredibly down to earth. With 1.2 million followers on social media, Farahat is the perfect example on how to stay mindful and grateful. Despite having been in the social media space for many years, she explains it’s still a “dream”.

“I just pursued my hobby and believed in it,” she told EW. “I appreciated every person who admires me because they made my dreams come true.”

Rania Fawaz


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As the cover star for ‘The Summer Escape Issue’, Rania Fawaz showed us on a 12-hour shoot in 45-degree heat that she is focused, free-spirited and unfailingly hard-working. As she’s built her name in the social media space she told us how there is “no off switch”.

“I think the key to being sane is always to be yourself across all platforms, that way it was not draining and I didn’t feel like I had to have time for myself,” she said. “I feel like the entire day is time for myself because of the way I choose to be.”

Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum

This year Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum launched her eponymous brand Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery. However, her jewellery brand is so much more than just jewellery, Her Highness is encouraging women to find their inner strength through one treasured piece at a time. Her first collection for Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery entitled ‘My Treasure’ is an ode to her late grandmother, using butterflies as the symbol.

“Butterflies are symbols of transformation and beauty and she grew up at a time when options were limited for women, but she didn’t let that stop her,” Sheikha Sana she told EW in our exclusive interview with her. “She found a way to shine and to help others shine which is why I consider her a treasure.” Sheikha Sana also explained that each piece is “designed to be worn alone or layered together, each creation honours the memory of a remarkable woman and encourages the wearer to embark on a journey to find her own inner treasure”.

Faiza Bouguessa

Faiza Bouguessa is the brains behind the namesake label Bouguessa. The globally-championed has mastered exactly how the perfect cut inspires confidence. “Bouguessa is made to inspire confidence,” the designer told EW. “The ethos of the brand is all about minimal and sophisticated elegance for the modern woman. We recently announced our wish to move toward more sustainable practices, to allow women to feel good and do good when wearing our designs.”

Her Highness Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum


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Gracing the cover of September’s – ‘The Power Issue’, Her Highness Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum. As a truly powerful and inspirational figure, Her Highness knows exactly how to keep her mind in champion mode.

“I learned I can only control what I can do. I can only control my actions, not my surroundings or other people’s actions,” Her Highness said on overcoming challenges. “So why get frustrated by things you cannot control, it will not change anything? You have to make the best of every situation and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel even though sometimes you cannot see it.”

Her Excellency Dr Maryam Matar

Dr Maryam Matar

Having had the dream and desire to serve in the medical field since she was young, Her Excellency Dr Maryam Mohamed Fatima Matar MD, Ph.D has become a pioneer and a visionary in the healthcare space in the UAE.

Not only is Her Excellency a pioneer in the medical space, she is a role model for many women in the UAE seeking to succeed, whether that be in healthcare or other industries. Additionally, she’s able to facilitate change, paving the way for other women and girls in the region. “My role as the Chairperson of UAE GDA and being the most powerful women scientist, gives me huge opportunity to make change and influence decision-makers to bring more learning and career opportunities for girls and women,” she told EW.

Khulood Thani


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Khulood Thani, cover star for October’s – ‘The Bravery Issue’, combines her entrepreneurial spirit and extensive experience in culture and design and is focused on bringing innovative global fashion to an international platform. “I always trust my gut feeling, I have a special connection with the universe around me, and I like to follow the messages it reveals to me,” she told us.

Captain Salma

Captain Salma Al Baloushi is the first Emirati female to rise to First Officer’s rank at Etihad Airways. Earlier this year, Captain Salma spoke to us about what it takes to become a woman of firsts.

“We get our mental obstacles from people around us who try to downgrade and discourage us from going ahead with things they’re not familiar with,” she said of her journey to success. “People kept telling me aviation was not for me, or this field was only meant for men, but my batch mates believed the opposite. It’s exhausting, but with the right support of your family, your company and a good understanding of the work environment, it’s possible.”

Alison Loehnis

Alison Loehnis, President of Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter is an incredible woman and a true power player. Combining an innate sense of style with one of the sharpest minds in the industry, we previously spoke to her about what it takes to continually stay one step ahead and perpetually innovate in an industry as fast-paced as fashion.

Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia

Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majid Al Saud has made it her life’s mission to help others, particularly advocating for women. Through her incredible philanthropic work, Her Royal Highness is changing the world, one incredible story at a time. “If you are fortunate enough to have access to resources or a raised platform, it is your responsibility to support and empower those who are not as fortunate,” she told Emirates Woman.

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini is the managing director for the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) and has been vital in the development of women’s sport in the Kingdom. She was right at the forefront when the Saudi Greens Team, which became the first Saudi women’s team ever to join an international event. In 2019, the Greens competed in the Global Goals World Cup (GGWCup) – a tournament that was launched to champion the role of sport in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) No. 5.

Al-Husseini is incredibly proud of the change that’s happened in the Kingdom, and she only hopes this continues, she told EW earlier this year. “I hope to see more Saudi women become the faces of sport in Saudi,” she told EW recently. “Already we have a few very well-known professional athletes and some fitness professionals that are very well-known at the community level as well.”

Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum


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Our cover star of November’s – ‘The Fine Jewellery Issue’, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum is inspiring the new generation of incredible women having risen to great heights in the aviation industry. “I’m most proud of becoming the first Emirati woman to join the Dubai Police as a helicopter pilot,” she told us of her proudest moment. “Serving my country by doing what I love doing most is simply the best feeling, and I am deeply grateful for it.”

Ghizlan Guenez

Ghizlan Guenez has grit. Not only for launching The Modist, but for having the courage to let go. No successful entrepreneur starts a business without thinking it could fail, but Guenez does not see the closing of The Modist as a failure. In its short digital life, it has transformed the wardrobes of women around the world and enriched Guenez with newfound courage to take on the next challenge.

Alex Hirschi, Supercar Blondie

Giving up a successful career to follow her passion for supercars, Alex Hirschi, also known as @supercarblondie, gave us some insight about leaving your comfort zone for the dream earlier this year.

Salama Mohamed

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A journey to finding self-love can be a long and winding road, which is something UAE-based content creator Salama Mohamed knows all too well. Earlier this year, she opened up to us about why she is “blessed with vitiligo”. Vitiligo is a skin condition Salama was diagnosed with since she was five. It’s a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in patches, which can get bigger over time. While she has learned to love her condition, she opened up about the long struggle to find a place of self-love and acceptance.

Nisreen Shocair

Nisreen Shocair, CEO YNAP Middle East is responsible for driving and developing the next phase of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP’s ambitious strategy for the region. Back in September, EW spoke to Shocair about localisation, personalisation and connecting with the discerning, tech-savvy, luxury customer.

Areej Al Hammadi

Making history as a Guinness World Record Holder for the most football ‘hotstepping’ in one minute, Emirati footballer Areej Al Hamadi discussed with us her brave steps towards normalizing women playing football in the region.

Haya Jarrar


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Closing out an incredible year for 2020, designer Haya Jarrar graced the cover for December’s – ‘The Party Issue’. The founder and creative director of Romani discussed with us what brought her to launching her own brand. “There’s never really the ‘right time’,” she explained. “It’s always been my dream to start my own label, so I just went for it. Studying fashion design in university and working in the industry after graduating helped me gain experience and insight which I used to start my own brand with my own identity.”

To everyone we featured this year, thank you for an incredible 2020. We look forward to another amazing year in 2021.

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