A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, August 27, 2012

Some Things Never Change: Lebanese Diva Rivalry

A little Monday morning superficial celebrity news: Lebanon may be suffering spillover violence from the Syrian civil war; Egypt and Tunisia may be undergoing multiple debates about women's role in society, but some things never change: we still have the Arab entertainment pages filled with catty rivalries between Lebanese celebrity divas.

From Al-Bawaba:
Lebanese double-talent singer-actress Cyrine Abdel Nour has come out and said that she is not threatened by Lebanese queen of pop Haifa Wehbe. Cyrine, who does not consider the sultry beauty her competition insists that she is concerned with being a good actress and a success in her trade, while Haifa focuses more on her looks and putting on a good show. . .
In a further comparison of herself with her 'non-arch-rival', Cyrine firmly denies rumors of being on the plastic surgery bandwagon, adding that she is not against cosmetic improvements or touch-ups if a person feels that enhancement would make them a happier person. No doubt, the diplomatic celebrity would describe Haifa as a happy woman. Miaowww!
Cyrine Abdel Nour
Haifa Wehbe
While both ladies sing and act, and both are big in the Arabic equivalent of the tabloids, no one seems to confuse them with earlier generation singers like Umm Kulthum or Fairuz. Cyrine's catty remarks that Haifa "focuses on her looks" and her remark about plastic surgery (and I don't think she meant a nose job) is indeed a bit snarky given the fact that, as these two publicity photos suggest, neither diva is exactly shy about displaying her considerable, um, forward-deployed assets. While both may be welcome exceptions in an era of hijab and niqab, as these photos show, the "double talent[s]" the article refers to may not mean singing and acting.

This is your cheesecake, double-entendre and gossip quota for the week.

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