In the first of our collaborations with Image Furniture - THE go-to store for elegant interiors and fabulous furnishings - we bring together two fierce females and let them do the talking.
The life of a working woman is hectic; striking a balance between a career, a family, and a general personal life is no easy feat for anyone. Despite that, there are women aplenty in the city who seamlessly set an example; dominating in their respective circles while still continuing to nourish a healthy home life. But how do these prominent powerwomen do it? Hell if we know. So we tapped two of the city’s leading ladies to come over to the town’s comfiest couches over in Image Furniture, kick back, and spill their secrets for the first in our series of #CouchConversations.
Fayrouz Youssef has been at the forefront of the frenzied health movement sweeping the nation for a few years now; a certified nutritionist, blogger, and Lipton Green Tea Ambassador the fresh-faced mum of two’s youthful glow gives her the appearance of a college kid. Clearly she’s doing something right. Soha El Khoury, who shows up sporting an electric pink bob and floral sundress, has made her mark in makeup circles in the city, working her magic on a myriad of shoots and transforming the face of many a model, bride and celebrity. The two take a seat on a cool grey Image couch, dotted with pastel pink and purple cushions, and instantly fall into conversation, gabbing like old galpals do…
Fayrouz: Do you know that before I wanted to become a nutritionist, I wanted to be a makeup artist?
Soha: No way!
Fayrouz: There was this period in my life after I graduated where I had no idea what I wanted to do. I started looking at the things that I like and I LOVE makeup, so I was like “Okay! I’ll be a makeup artist!” Then I got pregnant and after I gave birth I started reading about nutrition and how to lose all the weight and I realised how much more interesting it was for me! So I started to get into it.
Soha: I went through that as well. I always liked drawing and fashion – I tried fashion design for a while but I couldn’t be bothered to sit there and draw one picture for two days! And I would think to myself all the time, what should I do?
Fayrouz: So what happened for you to take the step to become a makeup artist?
Soha: I wanted to learn applying makeup, for myself, for events and so on, because in real life never used makeup, ironically! So I took a course and I decided to be a makeup artist – that was about 11 years ago – to change the standards of makeup in Egypt. The makeup was horrifying! We didn’t have modern, simple, nice makeup. I always felt like, you don’t need all that foundation, you can find a way to look more natural using minimal stuff.
Fayrouz: It’s also really important to have a good base as well. Did you know that what you eat reflects on how you look? It’s so related. Like, so many people will spend a fortune on skin care, which is important, but they don’t pay as much attention to what’s going on the inside.
Soha: I agree. I always recommend that my brides sleep early, wake up early, drink lots of water and to eat a lot of fruits, as a natural way to look better.
Fayrouz: Exactly. There are certain foods that are good for a specific thing like beets are really good for dark eye circles, bananas are very good for a good mood. You can eat for your skin and your hair. But it’s also about a lifetime of good habits. It’s not just when I turn 40 I start putting a cream, it’s more of what am I doing on the inside to show on the outside.
Soha: Look, I sleep early, I wake up early, and I love fruits and veggies. However, sometimes before the pregnancy I’d order McDonalds or KFC at like 1 AM. Don’t judge me…
Fayrouz: I’m not (Laugh) It’s normal. I have a pizza if I want. I’ll have a slice and I’ll enjoy it! I had this phase where I was too strict but right now moderation is my main goal. If I crave something, I’ll have it. But 80% of what you do, you should try to eat right, but the other 20%, enjoy!
Soha: I have a lot of brides asking me about nettoyage. I’m not a big fan of it, because of course it’s very important for you to apply cream and protect your skin and all of that but it doesn’t really do much of a difference with a bride in the short term, all of these treatments. So, I’d rather they do a natural mask at home - is there any mask that you can do at home that has a fast effect?
Fayrouz: Whatever’s good for your skin on the inside, you can use it on the outside. You can use oats and honey, that’s a really good scrub!
Soha: So you have two kids now right? I’m five months along, what’s it like when you have your first?
Fayrouz: Do you want the truth? Wala ibn 3amo? Look, at first it’s very tough! With your first baby, it’s hard to get used to the fact that you're a mother, not just a wife. It took me personally around six months to adjust and balance everything; this is my role as a mum, this is my role as a wife, this is my role as Fayrouz. I also work from home or a lot of my work is either meetings or shoots like this, maybe a TV interview. So that’s helpful.
Soha: That’s very good that you set your own times. I’m like that as well.
Fayrouz: Yeah, but honestly, no matter how hard it is and the sleepless nights and everything, there’s something about it that just would make you do it again and again a million times.
Soha: Look, I LOVE my job; I’m so addicted, that at one point I started working 12-18 hours a day. Then I decided that I don’t want kids because it’s going to ruin my career. I thought, I’ve been building my name for 10 years now and I worked so hard for it and in six months my name will disappear off the face of the earth and people will find a replacement for me. I was like that for about a year and then you know when you suddenly feel like, okay I still love my job but…
Fayrouz: There’s something missing.
Soha: Yes! There’s something missing. My husband and I felt like we needed something. So I started thinking, of course personal life is a lot more important than work. My husband has helped me a lot in succeeding in this career and never asked me to be a housewife, and I didn’t get bored with work. But I felt like maybe I could cut back. I was a little greedy; I wanted to be number one in bridal makeup, in cinema, in artistic photoshoots; I wanted everything!
Fayrouz: You want it all.
Soha: Yeah, I want it all. And then when I decided to get pregnant, I decided to cut back.
Fayrouz: Look, I feel like it’s never the right time to change something in your life. I’ve learned this through experience, that you can never say that by this month I’m gonna do this or that. It doesn’t happen. After I had Alay, I wasn’t planning at all to have another baby, we were very happy and I satisfied but Laila came out of nowhere, and now I think, how was my life before her? You can never plan your life.
Soha: That’s true, I learned that too.
Fayrouz: The best things just happen out of nowhere. Whatever happens in life, you face it and deal with it and that’s how you grow. I feel like I’ve grown so much through the things I’ve dealt with alone; there’s no one to help you, no matter how close you are to your mom; my husband supports me too, the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing is that because he gives me freedom, but there are things that you have to deal with on your own. Which allows you to grow.
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