New Arabic reality TV show on MBC1 means it's time to face the facts

The reality TV roller coaster shows no signs of slowing down with another new series having just taken to the airwaves. Here's your guide to MCB1's Arabic make-up show Wojooh Jamalek.
The Iraqi contestant Lina Hussein, competing on Wojooh Jamalek. Sarah Dea / The National
The Iraqi contestant Lina Hussein, competing on Wojooh Jamalek. Sarah Dea / The National

The latest Arabic reality TV show on MBC1 tests contestants’ skills in applying make-up, through a series of weekly challenges.

Brave faces

Wojooh Jamalek means “Faces of Beauty” in English and the show shines a spotlight on budding make-up artists from the region. The Middle Eastern beauty retailer Faces has teamed up with the broadcaster MBC for the first season, which began on May 12. Over the course of eight weeks, eight contestants will be pitting their skills against each other to become the region’s next top cosmetic artist. With one hopeful being eliminated each week, the sole survivor will be revealed during the final episode on July 7. The most creative lady stands to receive prize money of Dh5,000 as well as a professional make-up contract with Faces.

Brushing up

The finalists taking part in the series made it to the taped episodes having seen off hundreds of applicants online. In recent weeks, they submitted still images and short videos of them applying make-up to a model’s face to make it onto the shortlist. Those selected include Raffle Salem, Risellene Ikene, Lina Hussein, Namariq El Mansoury, Rasha Hamzeh, Hajira Mehalia, Ange Maalouf and Lina Zoghaib.

The Lebanese-Canadian Zoghaib is a 31-year-old business development manager at Brownbook magazine and has been a freelance make-up artist for one year.

“I took some courses at Esmod [UAE] and Atelier Paris in Beirut,” she says. “I really want to win and I’m trying to stay positive about my chances but the competition is quite tough as some of the girls have been working in the industry for three or four years. It’s a challenge, but I’m still in the show so I guess that’s good.”

Skin deep

Each week, candidates are given a surprise theme and colour palette to work with to produce specific looks. Previous tasks have included creating “dreamy bride” and “Arabic style” make-up on a real person.

“They are not just Arabic models, they come from all different countries,” says Zoghaib. “The most important thing is to stick to the colour guidelines we’re given – and an even skin tone is vital to get right.

“With lighter skins this can be a challenge.”

While the panel of three judges is likely to demand more imaginative and futuristic looks in the coming weeks, Zoghaib says her personal preference is far more conservative.

“I’m a super-duper natural and my routine is basically sunblock, a bit of concealer and blusher. And the most important thing is my black eyeliner,” she says.

The close-up

Scrutinising the work of the up-and-coming artists is an esteemed panel of judges based in the UAE. Nadine El Chaer, the editor-in-chief of Ahlan! Arabic, sits alongside Zahra Kadom, a make-up artist and the owner of Blo Out beauty salon, and the acclaimed fashion designer Aiisha Ramadan.

“I want to see the contestants really pushing their creative boundaries,” says Ramadan. “I would advise them all to practise before the show because they all receive the theme a few days ahead of time. I don’t want to see them simply copying the picture we’ve supplied. They must push themselves, take some risks, ask others for their opinion and deliver a clean, defined, professional end result.”

As the weekly challenges become harder, the candidates become fewer. Ramadan is crystal clear about the criteria she expects the overall winner to meet and says that the weaknesses of some contestants are becoming apparent.

“This week I’m eliminating someone whose work shows a lot of creativity but she needs a bigger canvas – a face is not enough for her. She also needs to better understand the concept and execute the themes.

“Some [of the make-up artists] are amazing, and overall it’s a group of really talented people. I think it will come down to a strong competition between two names and they are both very different. While they are equally strong technically, one has the particular strength of making anybody look beautiful.”

Wojooh Jamalek is broadcast on Sundays on MBC1 at 12pm

Pick up some top tips from the professionals by visiting There you'll find as series of tutorials in Arabic on everything from creating a flawless base and mastering smoky eyes to painting the perfect pout

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Published: May 26, 2013 04:00 AM


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