From the rebellious bourgeoise to the voluptuous Middle-Easterner, from Casablanca to Paris via Beirut, actress Marwa Khalil moves from the film set to the stage and television shows, driven by her first love: acting. Between two roles, she shares her beauty rituals.
Arabic beauty: celebrating sensuality
Raised between Lebanon, France, Saudi Arabia and the United States, actress Marwa Khalil is part of a new generation of Lebanese women redefining their femininity. After Sabah, the singer and actress diva immortalized by her blonde mane and plastic surgery, or Haifa Wehbe, the feisty sex symbol, today’s icons are Nadine Labaki, the talented filmmaker and actress and natural beauty, or Hiam Abbas, striking actress with a powerful presence. « Arabic beauty evokes a woman with thick hair, sensuality, femininity, » explains Khalil. « She is a woman who takes care of herself, for whom beauty is important and who suggests a rich intimate life. However, we are often overdoing it, as we’re too attached to looks. Women in Lebanon are defined by their youth, by their body, she’s a doll, a nymph, almost an innocent virgin – the cliché hasn’t evolved. Here, women are still suffering from society’s oppressive norms, but she’s emancipating, working, fighting for her freedom. She’s beautiful and thinks for herself. »
« I’m not particularly concerned with the way I look, » declares Khalil, who is young, curvy, with big hazel eyes and heart-shaped lips. Unlike many Lebanese women, who begin plastic surgery as teenagers, she favors a natural look while still maintaining her health and beauty regimen. « I don’t like things that look fake. It’s important to follow one’s age and time. If you try too hard, it doesn’t look good. »
The actress, who is on a film set in Casablanca right now, enjoys indulging in spa sessions at the Maison d’Asa, where she books a session in the hammam and comes out exfoliated, hydrated and purified before a shoot. For her thinning hair, she uses Kérastase’s Densité series, and avoids blow drying when not on shoots. Otherwise, for special events and filming, a visit to the salon is a must. In the summer, like many Lebanese women, she tans at the beach and lightens her hair to brighten her features. Regular peelings maintain her healthy glow; as for her nails, thy are always impeccable, lacquered a flame red shade. As she says, « a true Lebanese woman always has her mani-pedi done every week. »