Part-Arab celebrities like Gigi and Bella Hadid regularly share their pride for their heritage. Here at EW, this got us thinking about some other well-known figures who are also part-Arab.

After some research, it turns out there is a whole host of celebrities whose roots derive from the Middle East– many of whom you may not know.



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Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. – known worldwide as Mika – is an English singer but it turns out his heritage spans from the Middle East. Mika was born in Beirut to an American-born Lebanese mother and an Israeli-born American father. The famed singer is known to still speak a little Arabic to this day.

Salma Hayek

A-list American-Mexican actor Salma Hayek’s ancestry spans further afield than you think. While her mother is of Mexican-Spanish origin, Hayek’s father is a Mexican of Lebanese descent, which hails from the city of Baabdat. In 2015, Hayek and her father took a trip back to their roots, they travelled to Baabdat, Lebanon to promote her movie Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.

Ariana Grande


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Back in 2014, Ariana Grande’s origins made headlines as they came as a surprise to the public, and the singer herself. The world-recognised singer took to Twitter in 2014 saying, “Just found out my grandparents are heavily greek and part North African… I thought I was Italian… Who am I?”. The singer then took a genetic test, revealing that she has Moroccan, Tunisian, or Algerian roots from one side of her family.

Jenna Dewan


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A post shared by Jenna Dewan (@jennadewan)

Actor and dancer Jenna Dewan is of mixed heritage. Her father is part-Polish and part-Lebanese while her mother is English-German.

Jaime Camil


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The Jane the Virgin actor is known for his theatrical portrayal of Rogelio de la Vega from Mexico. However, separate from his acting, Camil is part Arab, which descends from his Egyptian-Mexican father, while his mother is a Brazilian singer.



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Deriving from Lebanon, due to her grandparents, Shakira’s Lebanese roots come from her father’s side. Before Shakira was born, her father moved to Colombia, where Shakira was born and spent her childhood. In comparison, her mother’s side is part-Spanish and part-Italian. Arabic speakers will be aware that Shakira’s name is the feminine version of the name ‘Shakir,’ which translates in English to someone who is grateful.

Zoe Saldaña


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Possibly explaining her tattoo in Arabic, Zoe Saldaña reportedly said she has Lebanese roots during an interview with MBC, she went on to explain how proud she is of her heritage. The Avatar actor was born in New Jersey to a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother.

Rami Malek

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Recognised for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek will soon star as bad-guy Lyutsifer Safin in the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die. The famous Egyptian-American actor was born in LA to an Egyptian family.

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