Aimée Sayah Gets Real On Surgery, Success And Self-Acceptance

Our April cover star is all about embracing imperfections - which means No fillers, Botox, veneers, extensions or lashes
Aimée Sayah Gets Real On Surgery, Success And Self-Acceptance
ITP Images

I didn't believe Aimée. I would have none of it.

“I’ve never even coloured my hair,” she laughs, as I scrutinised the bunch of chestnut brown locks in my hand.

“Call me a coward… I’m scared. I’d like to keep away from it as much as possible. And fillers, Botox etc, are out of the question… I’m an actress. I can’t mess with my face. Having been in the Middle East for a decade now and a former New Yorker at heart, I like keeping things real, but a few years after living in good ol’ Dubai, getting lash extensions with a regular blow dry had become as routine as a mani-pedi."

For those of you who are laughing at my blatant disbelief, take this – Lebanese banks actually lend you money for plastic surgery. That’s how common it is. So when Aimée, an incredibly successful actress who has starred in the popular TV series Wa Achrakat Al Chams and Thawret Al Falaheen, alongside acclaimed movie Zafafian and hosting The Voice, is all for self-acceptance, her fabulousness calls for a slow clap. This does not happen, people.

Aimee Sayah

Get The Look ...WITH CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAKE-UP
BASE: Moisturiser, Charlotte’s Magic Cream 
Primer, Wonder Glow
Foundation, Light Wonder #7
Concealer, Magic Away 7&5
Finishing powder, Airbrush Flawless 2
Complexion booster, Hollywood Flawless Filter
Contour palette, Filmstar Bronze & Glow
(med/dark)
EYES: Eyeshadow, Diva Eye Look NEW Icon Palette 
Eyeliner, Barbarella Brown Rock ‘n’ Kohl
Mascara, Full Fat Lashes
LIPS: Lipliner, Hot Gossip Lip Cheat
Lip Colour, Super Sexy Matte Revolution
CHEEK: Blusher,
Ecstasy Cheek to Chic
T-shirt, Dhs445, Sandro
Animal pleated skirt, Dhs119, Stock
Sandals, Dhs129, Truffle collection, all at @Sivvi.com

Pin it down to her upbringing, but looks were never the centre of Aimée’s universe. Instead, with a famous journalist for a father (Ibrahim Sayah has written for several prestigious publications such as Annahar, Al Watan Al Arabi, Radio Monte Carlo, Al Sayyad, Italian News Organisation, Al Bayrak and Al Anwar amongst others, and is a revered media consultant); a grandfather who opened Byblos’ (her town) first library; and mum, Jacqueline who is both a lawyer and a teacher, her education at home was just as intensive as it was at school.

Books were a topic of conversation at every meal, dissected, explored and hashed out with heated gusto, alongside tales of her father’s world travels meeting quirky, awesome personalities whosestories he penned to great acclaim.

“It was an amazing childhood. My brother, sister and I were immersed in our father’s world… his stories were a milkshake for my soul and for my mind. To this day, we ask him to repeat everything, even though I’ve heard every detail endlessly; it takes me back to a time I love. Voicing my opinion and feeling heard was also a big part of growing up… nothing was off the table and my family was and is extremely open.”

Aimee

Get The Look ...WITH CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAKE-UP
BASE: Same as Look 1
EYES: Eyeshadow, Diva Eye Look, NEW Icon Palette 
Eyeliner, Barbarella Brown Liner, Rock ‘n’ Kohl
Mascara, Full Fat Lashes
CHEEK: Blusher, Ecstasy Cheek to Chic
LIPS: Lip liner, Savage Rose Lip Cheat,
Lip colour, Screen Siren Hollywood Lips
Bustier, Dhs1,033, Acler
Earrings, Dhs2,095, Monica Sordo, all at @TheEdit
Trousers, Dhs119, Trendyol @Sivvi.com

I prod her for her fave Ibrahim Sayah story.

“There are so many. We could sit here for weeks (laughs). He met every leading Arab politician and legend in his day. The ones that I was completely star struck and in awe of were Dalida and Charles Aznavour… I loved them.”


It’s not surprising that Aimée wanted to follow her dad into his dynamic world of words and people. After studying Media & Communications at Uni, she set her sights on a broadcast journalism career from the get-go – but the universe had other plans. A friend convinced her to act in a play, which is all it took for the acting bug to bite her hard. She’d always been creative, with 13 years of ballet and piano under her belt, but her stint on stage opened her to a whole new avenue of expression.

“I was always shy but have loved the camera and the spotlight for as long as I can remember. That said, I wanted to be famous for something I was convinced about and was proud of.”

She didn’t have to wait long. Her first job out of uni was hosting a live TV show on MTV when she was 21-years-old, quickly followed by the hotly loved historical series set during the era of the Ottoman mandate, Wa Achrakat Al Chams, in which she played the fiery and vulnerable Jelnar Wehbi. With her power packed debut, Aimée skyrocketed into the A-list, becoming the darling of both the critics and
the audience.

Fame may have come relatively easily but what she values most in her life, aside from her family, is meeting and falling in love with her husband, Farid Najjar, a computer engineer whose profession couldn’t be more different from hers. It’s always fun hearing about a love story gone right and I wanted all the deets.

“He spotted me when I was 19-years-old at Uni when I was acting in my first play. The director was a common friend of ours and the moment he saw me he apparently told her he had to meet me. Despite the fact that he was doing his last year of engineering he convinced my friend to include him in the cast. We bonded during the rehearsals and I liked him right away. He was and is so charming, takes such good care of everyone around him and has the kindest heart.”

Five years of dating later, when she was just 24, he popped the big question in front of her family.

“We’re both super romantic but I was so young when he proposed, it was a huge surprise. He told me we were going out for dinner and while we were walking to the table, I heard music and my entire family – cousins included – were holding a banner that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ I started crying like a baby. I actually bawled.” The wedding took place two years later on the beach during sunset – their favourite time of day. “It wasn’t a wedding. We thought of it as a celebration of love… he even danced for me and put on a performance as a surprise. We had emotional speeches, a video… it was just perfect.”

Aimee Sayah

Get The Look ...WITH CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAKE-UP
EYES: Eyeshadow, Date Eye Look
NEW Icon Palette
Mascara, Full Fat Lashes
LIPS: Lipliner, Pink Venus Lip Cheat
Lip colour, Penelope Pink K.I.S.S.I.N.G
CHEEK: Blusher, Ecstasy Cheek to Chic
Crop top, Dhs89,
Trousers, Dhs119, both Trendyol,
Trainers, Dhs475, Adidas Originals, all at @Sivvi.com

How has she managed to have it all?

“I just have my priorities straight. I love my job, yes, but nothing is more important than my husband, parents and siblings. I don’t attend events or parties unless they’re absolutely mandatory and am all about spending quiet time at the end of a long day with those I love. I don’t care about the whole see-and-be-seen thing. Sometimes, I sacrifice jobs and projects so I can spend time with my family and Farid, even taking as much as a couple of months off to reconnect.”

I had to talk about the elephant in the room. Aimée is the ONLY famous Lebanese star I’ve met who hasn’t gotten any work done.

“Lebanon is a beautiful country that likes beautiful people,” she laughs.

“I’m not against plastic surgery. Women should do anything that makes them feel beautiful. Personally, however, I’m all for embracing my imperfections… they’re an extension of my personality and frankly, I’m happy in my not-so-perfect body. I like the way I look. Also, I’m a little scared to mess with me. I don’t like faking it.”

She points to a particularly adorable picture of her make-up and filter-free hugging her husband.

“Even on social media I try to not use filters often, and to just show me as me though I am careful not to document my day-to-day… I like to keep my private life largely mine.”

We decide to call it a day as Aimée has to be up at an unearthly hour to film Al Zaman Al Jamil, a live talent show in Abu Dhabi. As we hugged goodbye, I silently vowed to not refresh my lashes that week and remove lipo from my wish-list, inspired to be wholly myself by the unlikely and fabulous Aimée Sayah. 

In Her Words

Book I’m reading right now:

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

My Fave movie:

Sweet November.

My celeb crush:

It changes constantly. Right now, it’s Bradley Cooper.

The first thing I did this morning:

Brush my teeth.

I can’t sleep without:

Taking off all my make-up and putting on my night cream.

In my bag always:

Money, a mirror, lipstick, a book and my sunglasses.

My 4am friend:

My husband.

The thing I love about myself most:

My ability to prioritise family.

On my travel bucketlist:

The Amalfi Coast.

Social media is…

…not real life. You control social media, don’t let it control you.

By Kavita Srinivasan
Photography: Tanya Rex
Styling: Chloe Bosher
Make-up: Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury using Charlotte Tilbury makeup
Hair: Denny Clements

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