She is a household face in the UAE after hosting so many TV programs and events. We met today Lara Tabet. The TV presenter, MC, Business Woman and Brand Ambassador to talk about fashion, Dubai, Women empowerment and what she is working on next.
THE INTERVIEW: LARA TABET
How are you?
You have done a whole lot of things, how did it all started? What was the progression?
I am doing very well thank you. It has been a very interesting journey moving from industry to industry and finally doing the things that I am so passionate about and seeing myself fit in beautifully.
It all started twenty-five years ago, when I received my hotel management degree in Switzerland. I first joined my father’s business who is a Hotelier. I did that for ten years and I enjoyed it tremendously. As the Hospitality industry is a very dynamic industry and a people oriented business, no two days are the same. It was extremely exciting.
I put my career on hold for a while to raise two sons and one day, out of the blue, I received a phone call to do a casting for a new English speaking TV channel in Dubai. In the next seven years, I hosted a variety of TV programs. This is where I was exposed to the world of media and I had the opportunity to interview four thousand celebrities from all over the world including Hollywood, Bollywood, Arab cinema, Ministers, Heads of state and many other very interesting people. I recall interviewing George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Sharon Stone, Amitabh Bachchan, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed … It was a very exciting time in my life!.
Once my kids left to College, various brands approached me to become their brand Ambassador. That is how I set up my brand called LuxurywithLara which represents twelve products. I still do freelance television. For example, I recently covered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai World Cup, Arab Fashion week etc. For the Arab Fashion Council, I take care of the VIP Relationships. They hosts two Arab Fashion Weeks every year in Dubai. I am also on the Friends of Emirates Red Crescent. It is a charitable organisation based in Dubai where we host events such as ladies business lunches, family picnics and other activities to raise funds for children around the world. And of course, I am involved in G-Hospitality, that owns some of the leading restaurants in Dubai.
Were you born in Dubai? Tell us your story.
I was born in Lebanon however moved to Dubai immediately because my parents were living here. Dubai is my home. I went to one of the most prominent international schools at the time in the neighbouring city of Sharjah called Choueifat School. Dubai has been very kind and generous to myself and many other people in the region. I t has over one hundred and fifty nationalities living in harmony and peace. I don’t think you get that in many other places in the world.
So, you have seen all the changes that Dubai has gone through. How was it then compared to now?
The changes that Dubai has undergone in the last forty years are of course astounding and unprecedented. Today the city features some of the most iconic architecture such as the tallest tower, the largest mall, the most prominent horse race, one of the largest airports. Nowadays, Dubai is compared to some of the largest and oldest cities in the world such as London, Paris and New York. This shows how far the city has come. This is all due to the vision of the leadership in Dubai and in line with the vision of his Highness Sheikh Mohamed Al Makhtoum.
ABOUT THE FASHION SCENE
Has the fashion scene changed a lot too? How was it before?
In the past, I used to travel to Europe and the US to shop for clothing and accessories. Nowadays, every single brand is represented in Dubai in at least one of the shopping malls that are here. In addition, the local designers are starting to make their mark here.
Today you are the ambassador of the Arab Fashion Council. Tell us what is the essence of Arab design in your opinion.
Arab Fashion Designers are extremely talented and have unique designs. Look at Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad who are international designers. Their clothes are worn by top celebrities. The Arab Fashion Council was created to promote more of these designers from the region. The Arab Fashion Week takes place twice a year in Dubai, usually during the months of March and October. We have people flying in from all over the world to attend these spectacular events. Arab Fashion week is now at the same level as the Paris, Milan or New York Fashion weeks. We have local as well as international designers displaying their products.
What do we need to do for our Arab designers to thrive around the world?
Arab Designers need more avenues for exposure internationally and they need the financial support to be able to grow their reach and scale. In addition Arab designers need to tune their designs to global tastes. Those that have done that, have been extremely successful.
ON WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
You studied in Switzerland and are a successful business woman in the hospitality sector, owning 3 restaurants in top locations within Dubai. As restauratrice, MC and business woman meeting lots of people, how do you feel the role of women is evolving in the different Arab countries?
The role of women in public and private roles is moving very quickly in most of the Arab world. Women are taking on leadership positions, even in Government. In UAE, we have Women Ministers for example and plenty of women CEO’s running hugely successful businesses. Of course, every country has a different pace but we are definitely moving ahead. I believe that if you believe in yourself, there is no restriction on what we as women can do.
What is LuxurywithLara.com?
Luxurywithlara.com is one of my companies. We represent luxury brands related to fashion, watches, jewellery, skin care, real estate and other luxury related products and services.
And what is the ultimate luxury for Lara Tabet?
My ultimate luxury is travelling around the world to beautiful destinations with the people I love. Spending quality time with friends and family.
You are in some many things, what are your plans for 2017?
My plan for 2017 is to be able to continue doing what I am doing and to do it the best that I can. I am open to new opportunities and ventures because it keeps life exciting. I enjoy working and believe that every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
Lara Tabet is a warm person, very nice to talk to and definitely a strong woman with very clear ideas and determination. DFN loves power women like this! If you want to know more about her, check her website here or follow her on instagram here.