Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Dolly Shahine (Arabic: دوللي شاهين ), born on the 7th of February, 1980 in Sebney, Lebanon is a Lebanese singer, actress, fashion designer, dancer and makeup artist. She rose to fame in 2005 with her role in the Egyptian movie Wija as the femme fatale. In 2008 speculated by rumours she drew controversy and criticism that she had converted to Islam in order to obtain a divorce from her Catholic husband, Lebanese businessman Sami Qalib. In late 2008 an Egyptian court ruled in her favor for divorce. The daughter of Joseph Chahine and a Brazilian mother, Shahine's surname can be spelled Shaheen, Chahine, or Shahin. She currently lives in Egypt and Lebanon. Despite unconfirmed speculations of Shahine's conversion to Islam, in late 2009 Shahine got married again to a Lebanese director named Bacchus Alwani in a Christian Melkite church ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon.
Shahine and Alwani went on to spend their honeymoon on a Greek Island. In 2010 she publicly denied she had converted to Islam to get a divorce and added that she respects all religions, but has no intention of becoming Muslim. She was born to a Catholic family in a small Lebanese town called Sebney - her father is from Lebanon and her mother is from Brazil. She has four siblings in total with two brothers and two sisters. Shahine grew up in Al-Hadath Beirut, where she was named after the famous American country singer Dolly Parton. Shahine revealed in an interview that her favourite singers Um Kalthoum, Fayrouz, Warda and Sabah.
A music concert hosted by the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood with a performance by Dolly Shahine? You maight ask what were they thinking about? After pictures surfaced of Shahine in a very skimpy black dress worn during her performance for the Hurghada Tourism Festival, held by The Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political party had a lot to answer for to its more conservative members. Now the Islamic politicians are under fire for hiring the Lebanese singer to sing and dance at their function.
Shahine, much to the incredulity of most of the audience who had expected something quite different from the traditionally stuffy Islamic party, appeared in a see-through black dress, lined with a risque nude slip. The skimpy dress revealed more bare thigh and cleavage than the paragons of religious virtue could handle, and sparked censure by those quick to suggest that this Lebanese woman was not one of the Islamic party's finest choices.
Her performance, highlighted by the Party's signboard slogans, made for a diabolical spectacle that further brought scorn and mockery to the stage and was later shown to a widespread audience on the internet where large numbers of amused viewers took to the social networks to register their mostly incredulous remarks towards the Freedom and Justice Party. Some Muslim Brotherhood comrades tried to lighten the load by challenging the credibility of the photos - alleging that they were photoshopped.
"My astronomy sign is Cancer and I am a very romantic person. After five years of music theory studies in London, I am still living my dream
undergoing piano lessons. Aside from singing, I love life and try to enjoy every second of it. I enjoy traveling, dancing, reading and of course, sleeping! I love Dior. Valentino and Gucci are also great and I adore the Lebanese designers. But generally I don't pay much attention to who’s hot and who’s not. I like to create my own unique style so I choose what suits me rather than what’s fashionable. Actually my sister is designing a lot of incredible clothes for me right now, so I get to wear what I feel really comfortable in. Being half Brazilian and half Lebanese I guess my body is a combination of good genes. Everyone in my family is skinny; even my mum who's in her mid 40's. So really it’s a gift from God. However I try not to obsess over my figure. I eat whatever I want but I do exercise whenever I get the chance."
Shahine always loved singing and as a child she would sing all the time and was absolutely determined to become a star. So the moment she was old enough and no longer answerable to her father, she just went for it. Her family was totally against it, and her father used to try and convince her that she had a terrible voice. But, she ignored them and went to London to study music theory and stayed there for five years and actually still takes piano lessons to this day. Naturally, now her family is really supportive of her career. First thing she had to do in London was to find herself a producer - which wasn’t easy. It was also difficult for her to find songs that would suit her voice, which is much deeper than most Arab singers. I really wanted to give audiences something new and very different.
"I eventually settled on a single with Moroccan and French influences that really grabbed the market's attention."
In 2010 Shahine decided to release a new album during the Eid El Fitr holiday, which is after the holy month of Ramadan. The album was titled Wala Kul El Banat (English: Not Like Any Other Girl) and featured a collection of songs sung in the Lebanese and Egyptian dialects to distinguish her from the sounds of Elissa and Nancy Ajram. With so many singers and so many 24 hour music channels on the market right now its becoming very hard to compete. But they each have their own unique characteristics, voices, looks and style. But in the long run that is up to the audience to decide.
Like many fellow Lebanese performers, their music videos have been accused of being overtly sexual and Shahine responds:
"Look I don't mind criticism as long as it's constructive, but what really angers me is criticism for negativity's sake. People should be commenting on the way I sing and act, not the way I dress! But still I think it’s perfectly normal for a performer to show off her figure and make the most of her beauty. After all music videos are designed to be promotional tools so if it was just about the voice, there wouldn’t be any point in producing videos in the first place!"
She is aware that the way she looks has not only impacted her singing, but her acting as well. In regard to her work her looks have certainly helped, especially in terms of her acting career:
"I may be talented but I never took any acting courses or anything like that. So I know full well if I wasn't pretty I would never have achieved as much success as an actress. I don’t have many secrets, but the one thing that no one knows is that I’m just a big kid! I love amusement parks and candy. Even though on the surface I look like a sexy woman, on the inside I’m just a baby!"
To Shahine acting was a new adventure and a great chance to explore a new field and she was really excited about it. She was terrified at the film’s private screening and was really anxious to see how people would react to her as an actress. But the reviews were fantastic and a lot of people praised Khaled Youssef for uncovering the actress in her. Shahine is also a makeup artist. She also gives her mother and sister, who are both fashion designers, some of her great ideas. She even designs her own dresses at times and has many other talents that she’d prefer to remain a secret for now.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats...
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