Celebrated performer, recording artist and humanitarian Mohammed Assaf is the latest Arab celebrity to have a wax statue at Madame Tussauds Dubai.
Assaf, a former Palestinian refugee, who famously won the second season of ‘Arab Idol’ in 2013, became a household name overnight and now returns to the spotlight as he takes his place amongst the stars at the Dubai branch of London’s famous wax museum.
According to a media release, Assaf was introduced to his wax figure during a ‘side by side’ unveiling held in partnership between Madame Tussauds and Ain Dubai. The singing sensation was the first celebrity to step foot inside one of Ain Dubai’s 48 cabins to meet his doppelganger. Ain Dubai is the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel standing at over 250 metres and is located next door to Madame Tussauds Dubai.
“Today marks a very special occasion as I got to uncover my wax figure. I am very happy to be featured among some of the biggest names in the world at Madame Tussauds when it opens later this year in the beautiful city of Dubai. I am very impressed with the resemblance the figure holds to me and I cannot wait for everyone to visit the attraction and see it,” Assaf said in statement.
The striking resemblance between Assaf and his figure is the result of painstaking work by an expert team of Madame Tussauds’ sculptors who travelled to Dubai to observe him, documenting over 500 of his detailed movements. Armed with this information and insights, they then set to work in London, spending three months intricately crafting the figure by hand, even inserting real hair, strand by strand.
Decked out in one of his very own suits, which Assaf donated to Madame Tussauds, his figure will have a permanent spot in one of the A-list party rooms at the museum.
Styled as a glamorous desert oasis, visitors will have the chance to first rub shoulders (and take selfies) with wax figures of an array of internationally adored movie stars and musicians — including of course Assaf — before strutting their stuff on the dance floor, as the DJ plays all the latest hits.
“It’s an honour to reveal our second side-by-side figure and offer a glimpse into the magic that is Madame Tussauds. Mohammed is a true star of the Arab world, and we can’t wait to welcome his fans to the attraction when it opens,” Sanaz Kollsrud, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai said in a statement.
Last month, the wax statue of Balqees Fathi was unveiled at the museum. The Emirati-Yemeni singer became the first Arab artist to feature at the venue.
“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 in a statement at the time. “I am overwhelmed with the incredible likeness that this wax figure holds to my physical appearance and to the impeccable attention to details 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.”
Set to open in Dubai later this year, the celebrity-led wax museum will open on Bluewaters Island, with operator Merlin Entertainment Ltd yet to reveal all the statues that will take pride of place at the venue.
While some the details are still under wraps, the operators have revealed that Madame Tussauds Dubai will feature 60 ‘global stars’, which will also include 16 brand new wax figures from the Middle East region, including Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab.
Other prominent global icons to be featured there will include Hollywood’s leading celebs such as Tom Cruise, Vin Diesel, Jennifer Lawrence, Jackie Chan, along with Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor Khan.
Sports will be represented by the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sachin Tendulkar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, globally acclaimed musical icons such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Will Smith and Pharrell Williams, and the world’s top leaders such as former US President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will also be featured.
The attraction will be located next to Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel, making it the first-ever Madame Tussauds experience in the GCC.
Visitors will be able to explore seven themed rooms — Leaders, Fashion, Film & Media, Bollywood, Sports and Music Party — with guests given an opportunity to step into an Indian film production to take a picture with Khan’s statue, or make the impossible possible by taking a selfie with reality TV stars Kylie and Kendall Jenner.
Visitors can also make their fashion dreams come true by posing with supermodel Cara Delevingne or show off their football skills next to Ronaldo.
Madame Tussauds first opened its doors in 1835 in London, and has nearly 200 years of heritage to its name. Each figure is created using the expertise of sculptors who use the same techniques immortalised by the famous Marie Tussaud.
To create a single life like figure it takes an artist 12 weeks in total, and during that time they document 500 precise body measurements, insert real hair strand by strand, apply countless layers of paints to build up the skin tones, and more. This entire process helps to achieve the incredible likeness that has made Madame Tussauds world renowned for over two centuries.