As Madame Tussauds prepares to open its first Middle East outpost in Dubai, it has revealed the first star visitors will be able to see in wax: Emirati-Yemeni pop star Balqees Fathi.
Fathi rose to fame in 2013, and has since released three albums and toured the world as a member of the UAE's NSO Symphony Orchestra. She was selected because of her “unique combination of talent, beauty, glamour, strong work ethic and dedication to championing women’s rights", the team behind Madame Tussauds Dubai said.
Earlier this week, Fathi came face-to-face with her waxwork at the attraction, which is due to open at Caesars Palace Dubai on Bluewaters Island later this year.
“I feel privileged to be the first Arab artist to stand side by side my wax figure at the iconic Madame Tussauds Dubai,” Fathi said.
“I am overwhelmed with the incredible likeness that this wax figure holds to my physical appearance and to the impeccable attention to detail that captures my personality. I cannot wait for people to visit Madame Tussauds and to finally be able to enjoy this unique experience in the Arab world.”
Dressed in a black evening gown embroidered with gold flowers, Fathi’s wax figure also bears her signature high ponytail and beaming smile.
A team of expert Madame Tussauds sculptors travelled to Dubai to meet Fathi and document more than 500 of her measurements, before setting to work back in London, spending three months crafting the figure by hand and inserting real hair, strand by strand.
Fathi’s figure will be among the most famous film stars and musicians from around the world in the attraction’s A-list party room, which is styled as a desert oasis.
Guests will be able to pose with the figures before hitting the room’s interactive dance floor, where a DJ will play the latest hits.
“We are thrilled to reveal our first side-by-side and offer a glimpse into the magic that is Madame Tussauds,” said Sanaz Kollsrud, general manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai.
“Balqees is a music icon from the region, and we can’t wait for our guests to meet her and feel the fame when they step into the attraction when it opens this year.”
The attraction will be home to waxworks of 60 global stars, including Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Kylie Jenner, Cara Delevingne, Will Smith and Cristiano Ronaldo.
There will also be 16 new figures from the Middle East, including Arab singers Fathi, Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab, with more names to be announced.