The Appeal of Joelle By Marriam Mossalli -
Ted Baker KSA

The Appeal of Joelle By Marriam Mossalli

Joelle. We know the name in the Middle East, the same way every queer guy in the world knows the name, Madonna. It’s a name that has become synonymous with Arab Beauty; but it’s also a name so enigmatic, one begins to wonder, “what is the big deal about Joelle?” How did this young make-up artist from a middle class family in London grow up to become an Arab household name?
I wanted to know. I needed to know. Perhaps it was out of my innate curiosity as a journalist? Or maybe it was the marketing consultant in me? Or perhaps it was out of pure envy? But I was about to spend the next 48 hours with one of the Middle East’s biggest celebrities and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go to waste: I was adamant to understand her mass appeal.
I had met Joelle before. Multiple times in fact, our industries are the same; but this was the first time that I would see her without the make-up; and without the dozens of ushers and security guards. This was my time to discover the woman behind the name. I wasn’t meeting “Joelle, MBC.” I was meeting Joelle Mardinian. The entrepreneur. The mother. The wife—without any Instagram or Snapchat filter.
As we prepared for the MAX FACTOR product launch, the first thing I did was record every cosmetic product she used to complete her TV personality look. It started with Lasting Performance Foundation from Max Factor and Creme Puff Pressed Powder also from Max Factor; even her eyelashes were real, just enhanced with Max Factor’s Voluptuous False Lash Effect mascara.
And it was in that instant that I realized what the “Joelle” phenomenon was: She wasn’t endorsing some brand who paid her to say it was the best. She wasn’t selling you a product. She was real. She was living, breathing, contouring proof of what she preached. She wasn’t one of those “paid for posts” type of influencers. She was genuine. Authentic. And that resonated with people; especially in a world where your Instagram feed feels like a scroll down menu of made-at-home advertisements.
At the event, Joelle got up on stage as if she was born to be in the spotlight. A pure natural. Someone you automatically trust because you have no other choice. And someone who you naturally think is cool—much like that older cousin who lives in Switzerland and comes back every summer to tell you what’s hip and what’s not. Her words resonated with the audience.
It was at the Q&A that I saw the real effect of Joelle. People were asking her specific, personal questions and carefully listening to her thoughtful answers. She was revered. Her advice was sought and absorbed. She answered them from experience, not from some scripted emailed from a brand. She wasn’t some paid influencer endorsing products. She was accepted as an expert; rather than an influencer whose only expertise is hashtagging.
I could go on about Joelle and how she got to where she is. And how she fought so hard to be there. But you’ll find that in the numerous interviews done on the beauty icon. I’m here to tell you that I met Joelle; the woman. And I can honestly say, without any outside prejudice from any brands or bureaucracy: I am a fan.