Showbiz Arabia: Jane of all trades
It's hard to believe that it has been a decade since Ruwaida Al Mahrouqi released her debut album after signing with Rotana in 2002. Since then, the Emirati singer has enjoyed huge success with a variety of projects, including several albums (Wareni, Akher Hob, Mohri Ghali and 2011), acting stints in television and films, as well as promotional campaigns.
Born in Abu Dhabi, the Khaleeji pop phenomenon had always been into the arts. As a child, Ruwaida had a passion for drawing and painting, and was an advanced piano player. However, it was only after her appearance on Lebanon's Studio Al Fann that she started to make a name for herself in the region.
The Dubai headquarters of the UN had repeatedly passed on Elissa's requests to IIMSAM, but they never got back.
Egyptian superstar Ahmad Ezz
Now, the Parachute brand ambassador is preparing for a few projects, including the relaunch of her website ruwaida.net in June.
Excerpts from the interview.
Since last year, you had taken some time out. What have you been up to?
I was taking a break for about four months. Whenever I release an album, I take some time out, because I am usually so exhausted after completing a record. I am very involved in the process, and I am always in the studio checking everything and working with everyone. But I also never pressure anyone or give any of the team deadlines, because everyone has a right to their own creative space as well. So the whole process just gets tiring.
So what is coming up for you?
I am preparing to shoot a video clip for Watheq Men Nafsaq, which is from my album 2011. The idea behind the video is my own, which is a first for me, so I am very excited about it. I hope my fans will enjoy it. Although there's no exact date for release, I am aiming for the summer. I also plan on releasing a single before Ramadan, but I still haven't decided which one it will be.
You've guest starred in a television drama and also appeared in the film Pepsi Sea of Stars alongside Haifa Wehbe and Carole Samaha. Do you plan on acting again?
Yes, it's something I'd like to do again. When I guest starred in the show Hawameer Al Sahraa, it was a very good experience. I thought I wouldn't be capable of acting. However, I was happy afterwards. To me, the most important thing is the role and the idea behind it. That will make me determine whether or not act in the near future. However, I don't see myself guest starring any more, but I don't see myself in a full starring role either.
And you're now a brand ambassador for Parachute as well. When choosing to get involved with a promotional campaign, what is important to you?
I am very happy to be part of this huge campaign it's very glamorous. For me personally, it is important for a company to portray me in a good light in the way my fans are used to seeing. As much as it is my responsibility to deliver the product, it is also the company's duty to ensure that they portray their stars in the right manner. There's no point spending years building your career and image to have it ruined by an unsuitable product or collaboration.
You have been involved with so many projects. Is there anything else you'd like to achieve in the coming years?
There are so many things I would like to achieve. I would love to have a large live concert that features upbeat music and is very entertaining. I would also like to release a collection of patriotic songs, as well as represent the UAE in cultural shows that are out of the country.
I'd also like to get involved with charity work that was away from the entertainment world. Just something I could do personally.
Yousra backs Adel Emam
Last week we reported that Yousra will be back on the small screen this Ramadan we may have spoken too soon.
The Egyptian actress has revealed that she will go on strike if fellow Egyptian and close friend Adel Emam is sent to jail after he was found guilty for blasphemy against Islam in his films.
Yousra has branded the sentence "absurd", and that the sentencing of Emam unjust.
"Adel is an icon of the acting world and many in the industry see him as role model and a mentor," she told Elaph newspaper. "If he is sent to jail, we will go on strike until a law is passed that protects the rights and freedom of stars.
"There is a need to create a law to protect all Egyptian artists from attacks made by Islamists they are taking advantage of Islam by creating their own rules and what they are doing is not based on the teachings of Islam or legal under Egyptian law."
Goodwill gives up on Elissa
Elissa has given up her title as goodwill ambassador for the UN one year after she was appointed by IIMSAM, a UN programme that fights global malnutrition.
According to reports, the Lebanese singer had repeatedly asked the organisation to arrange for her to visit the countries that needed her support, but she never received a response.
A source close to the star told tabloid!: "She decided it was better for her to stand down, because she wasn't performing any of the duties that she had committed to.