Interview with Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah

  • Publish date: Tuesday، 22 February 2022 Last update: Wednesday، 23 February 2022
Written by: Noura Al-Swaiti
jewelery: Chaumet
Photography: Patrick Sawaya
Makeup: Hessah Alsanea
Hair: L’oisaeu Salon
Clothes: ALOthman Boutique

A distinguished and exceptional Kuwaiti personality on social media platforms, whose platforms reflect the extent of her spontaneity and frankness that she shares in public, raising important issues for Kuwaiti women. She founded her beauty company ASAP, a Kuwait-based beauty brand, built on a simple philosophy of embracing natural beauty. In the year 2020, her humanitarian and social participation became prominent with the spread of the Corona virus, carrying a key message aimed at breaking the barrier of dealing with mental illness as a stigma in the Middle East.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview, Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah talks about her “ASAP” initiative, empowering women, and how social media can instigate important conversations.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah

•Bee My Love necklace in white gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds
•Torsade de Chaumet ring in white gold, set with one cushion-cut diamonds.
 
  1. You established the “ASAP” initiative to raise awareness on mental health, tell us about this experience and what made you decide to engage in this field?

I didn't understand anything about mental health until I had a severe depression after my father had a stroke. At that time, I discovered that it is a severe disease that makes you feel humiliated and helpless. I tried, as usual, to seek information from everyone around me, only to be surprised that they are not only unaware of any information about any mental illness related to mental illness, but that they all completely refuse to talk about it because of the stigma imposed on us by our societies. Hence, I took upon myself this awareness role in order to protect people from facing these psychological challenges without the weapon of awareness and knowledge.

  1. In your opinion, what are the most important achievements of the initiative to date?

Spreading the culture of talking about our psychological problems in a natural way without hiding feelings to remove the stigma related to mental health.

  1. What do you think are the main reasons that prevent people with mental disorders from seeking help from specialists in our societies?

There are several reasons, such as fear of the judgment of others, which in turn leads to the loss of many opportunities in various fields, in addition to the small number of therapists compared to people with mental disorders, the high prices of treatment sessions in private clinics, and the fear of having records in the files of government hospitals.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah 01

•Bee My Love necklace in white gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds
•Torsade de Chaumet ring in white gold, set with one cushion-cut diamonds.
 
  1. What would you like people to know about mental and emotional health?

From my point of view, psychological stability guarantees a comfortable and safe life, and that a person’s ability to adapt in the family, occupational and societal spheres is based on an important pillar, which is balanced mental health. Also, do not forget the necessity of linking mental health with physical, as the two complement each other.

  1. You have mentioned in one of your TV interviews that absolute positivity is an illusion, why do you think so, and how can it be refuted?

In my journey with depression, I wanted to learn about the behavioral treatment methods that the individual follows himself to coexist with psychological disorder, and through the method of trial and error, I was able to reach solutions and behaviors that guarantee my psychological stability. The notion of absolute positivity is unrealistic.

  1. In 2007, you established a beauty company that specializes in providing beauty services at home. Tell us about this era.

It was and still is a wonderful era for me, during which I proved myself. I started from scratch and without prior experience. I was able to penetrate the world of entrepreneurship and learned a lot from it, such as putting strategies, finding ways to expand, and how to create a healthy work environment for the employees.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah 02

•Joséphine Aigrette Impériale earrings and bracelets in white gold set with brilliant-cut diamonds
•Joséphine Aigrette watch in white gold bezel set with brilliant-cut diamond and white satin strap
  1. After that, you created the ASAP cosmetics brand, which is made using the famous Moroccan oil. How and when did you get the idea to produce and manufacture these products for skin and hair care?

My partner and I, my sister Alia, sought the needs of women and men in our societies for products that are compatible with the skin and the atmosphere of the region. In addition, bringing up the topics of skin and hair care products in social media required a lot of research from my side, through which I was able to identify the active ingredients to make an excellent product.

  1. ASAP believes in the importance of promoting general well-being and encouraging self-love and self-care. Tell us more about this principle.

In a world of artificial beauty obsession, Alia and I believe in natural beauty. Therefore, we wanted to promote the principle of taking care of outer beauty because it is related to the inner beauty. We made sure to use effective natural ingredients in our products because we wanted ASAP to be a brand listed in the Clean Beauty Products category.

  1. Are you still involved in the manufacturing and sales process of ASAP cosmetics or do you entirely rely on your business team?

Currently, I supervise the work in general, in contrast to my beginnings, in which I devoted all my energy to the products and manufacturing them in the right way, but now I have an excellent team headed by my niece, Alia, who handles this task to the fullest.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah 04

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•Joséphine Aigrette necklace in white gold, set with a pear-shaped diamond and brilliant-cut diamonds.
•Joséphine Aigrette Impériale ring in white gold, set with a pear-shaped diamond and brilliant-cut diamonds.
 
  1. What is your best-selling product? And why?

In the skin care category, my best-seller would be the plant stem cell serum, due to its fast and clear effect on the purity of the skin. As for hair products, I would say the tea tree group, for its efficient result on the purity and strengthening of the scalp.

  1. What lesson have you learned during your career?

I learned several lessons, the most important ones are being courageous in decision-making and self-challenge, investing in people as it’s the optimal return for business in all its fields. I also believe in surrounding myself with a team that supports me and my projects, and is inline with my values, ​​it’s the core success of any project.

  1. What are the key success factors for you to rise as a woman in the field of entrepreneurship?

Following the “feminine leadership” method, which is based on empathy and communication with others, in addition to mastering the skills of building fruitful relationships, to make the work environment more flexible, and to strengthen the bonds between team members.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah

Épi de Blé de Chaumet necklace in yellow gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds.

  1. In the world of fame and business, a person is subjected to a lot of criticism and at the same time to compliments, mention to us the most criticisms that affected you throughout your career, whether positive or negative?

I am keen to know the criticism directed at me in all its forms. Without it, I would not have reached where I am now. I was not aware of the extent of people’s love to get to know my family and my daily life, so I shared that with them, and I did not know that there are those who are alienated when I speak English and prefer to accept information from me in our mother tongue. My practice of speaking and writing in Arabic improved my style and developed it a lot.

  1. Your mother, Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was known for her endless humanitarian and environmental work. Tell us about your relationship with your mother and the extent of its impact on refining your personality?

I have a very strong relationship with my mother, characterized by openness and exchange of opinions, and I was automatically influenced by her strong personality without my knowledge of that. I learned from her perseverance and being committed to my projects, regardless of the challenges, to believe in the importance of my goals, even if they were not recognized at the time. Certainly, her involvement in volunteer work made me follow the path of awareness of mental health, believing in its principle based primarily on helping members of society and serving humanity.

  1. When you were eighteen, you had your first child. Now, you have four daughters and you’re a grandmother. Tell us about the challenges you faced as a mother, especially the fact that you took on great responsibilities at a young age. What does motherhood mean to you?

I grew up with my daughters because I started the journey of motherhood at an early age, and this helped me a lot in working on our intellectual development together at the same time and overcome life and its challenges.

  1. Who are your favorite fashion designers globally and in the Middle East?

Internationals: Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Jacquemus, Maison Margiela, and Tom Ford. Middle East: Honestly, it is difficult to choose one name, as there are many creative Arab designers such as: Dina Shaker, Ashi Studio, and Elie Saab.
 

  1. How would you describe your personal style in fashion?

My personal style in fashion is not dictated by the occasion, as much as it is dictated by how I feel on that day and my personal comfort. My personal style is not limited to a certain fashion style, but I enjoy experimenting with various fashion styles.

  1. Your brother, Sheikh Majid Al-Sabah, or as he was known as the "Sheikh of Fashion", founded the "Villa Moda" fashion house, which was the focus of attention of those looking for the latest trends of in fashion. Did it influence your taste and clothing choices?

My brother Majed’s influence is not limited to my tastes and choices only, but also extends to my lifestyle and my reading of things. My brother Majed is like a mentor for me, his unique thinking gives me new and out-of-the-box solutions, he sees the whole picture, and his advice is invaluable to me.

Sheikha Magda Jaber Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah 09

•Joséphine Aigrette Impériale long necklace in white gold set with Akoya cultured pearls and brilliant-cut diamonds
•Joséphine Aigrette ring in white gold, set with Akoya cultured pearls and brilliant-cut diamonds
  1. What do you wish for our country Kuwait on the occasion of National Day?

Solidarity, unity of word, and putting the interest of Kuwait and its people before personal interest.

  1. How are you celebrating Kuwait’s National Day?

We usually meet at the mother’s house, where we eat dinner with brothers, grandchildren and friends. We are keen to tell stories about the love of Kuwait and raise topics of giving to the homeland in the style of competitions and gifts for children. The love of the homeland is not limited to raising flags and marches, but it is deeper and higher than that. It is sincerity and giving without expecting anything in return.

  1. On the occasion of Kuwait Liberation Day, share with us a story that you have experience during that period, which you would never forget.

I left my house in the early hours of the morning and headed to Dasman Palace to check on my grandmother, I did not know that the occupation soldiers had occupied the palace, I was not aware that she had moved to another safe place, there were no smart phones at that time, a Kuwaiti officer stopped me before the main gate, and after a heated argument he has managed to convince me to go back home. "Amer Khalifa Al-Shammari" is that officer who saved me from entering the palace, which was teeming with the occupation soldiers. He is still a friend to me and my family, and I am still grateful to him to this day.

  1. What are your short and long-term ambitions, and what are the plans you are working on at the moment?

I believe that we constantly experience changes in moods, interests, fears, or mental health problems. It is my belief that all people deserve to have access to adequate information, support and resources to overcome difficulties, reach full potential and create a healthy, holistic life. I created the “Here” platform, which includes information and services related to mental health, to be “Here” an oasis of knowledge, support, guidance and participation, for everyone who faces challenges in the field of mental health.