Najwa Karam Image Credit: AFP

Najwa Karam’s career is going from strength to strength. Already an ultra famous singer, the Lebanese songstress has also established herself as a television superstar, winning thousands of new fans through her appearance as a judge on MBC 4’s mega hit Arabs Got Talent, currently in its second season.

Now she can add global brand ambassador to her resume; Najwa has just been appointed L’Oreal Paris’s first Arab spokesperson, a role that will see her promote a range of hair- and skincare products in the region.

While it is never easy to determine whether a celebrity has had a little nip or tuck here and there (after all, plastic surgery is the norm for many), Najwa is one of the Arab world’s most photographed female artists, and it is not difficult to see why.

The singer, who was recently at the Cannes Film Festival as part of her L’Oreal role, is constantly voted one of the region’s most beautiful stars. However, unlike most female celebrities (who, annoyingly, tend to say they eat what they want, yet remain slim), Najwa is refreshingly honest about her looks, saying that she works hard to maintain her appearance.

tabloid! caught up with her in Cannes.

Congratulations on your appointment as L’Oreal Paris’s first Arab ambassador. How did the collaboration come about?

Thank you. L’Oreal Paris is an internationally renowned leader in the beauty industry, and having my name associated with it as the first Arab ambassadress in the Middle East is a great honour. When L’Oreal contacted me, I took my time thinking about this proposition to make sure that it will benefit my name and image. It is normal for big companies such as L’Oreal to approach celebrities for marketing associations in this time and age when marketing and communication has become the key to the success of any business entity.

I will surely benefit from the international appeal of L’Oreal Paris, and the brand also aims at gaining proximity to Arab women through tying up with an Arab celeb with a big fan base. My fans and all Arab women are worth getting the best the beauty world can offer and I am keen on presenting them with just that. 

What will you be promoting?

I will debut as the Arab face of L’Oreal Paris in the Middle East in a campaign for the haircare range Elvive Total Repair 5 for damaged hair. Further marketing collaborations will be announced later. 

You went to Cannes with L’Oreal Paris in celebration of the new partnership. What did you do at the festival?

Cannes is truly a magical place and it was my first time to attend the festival. We were surprised with the rainy weather, which had us walking with umbrellas on the red carpet. I was there for two days only, which did not allow me to do much sight-seeing. However, I was impressed with the level of organisation and the true spirit of cinema and the film industry that took over the entire city — it is a magical time for Cannes!

I was invited by L’Oreal Paris to Cannes to represent Arab women on the red carpet as the brand’s spokesperson in the Middle East. L’Oreal Paris invites its celebrity ambassadors from all over the world every year to the festival to show its ever-growing support to the glamorous cinema industry where the most talented, beautiful and sophisticated people get together. But this year was even more special as L’Oreal Paris also celebrated 15 years of being the official beauty partner of the festival. A number of celebrations were organised to mark the occasion. 

Did you watch any films?

There are many films I would like to see, not only in Cannes, but my schedule is very busy [so] I will have to delay these plans. I watched the screening of a French film by director Alain Renee called You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, which I liked. 

Which celebrities did you meet?

I missed Ragheb Alameh, who left the day I arrived, so we didn’t get the chance to catch up. My time in Cannes was very tight, so I didn’t do any socialising. But the one celebrity whom I’ve always admired and would love to meet one day is Sophia Loren. Her beauty, charisma and grace are beyond any other’s. 

Have you ever thought about acting?

No, I don’t see myself as an actress at all. I’m a singer and I would love to see that my career as a singer has enabled me to achieve the goals that I have always worked towards, especially when it comes to spreading Lebanese music all over the world. 

How have you been finding Season Two of Arab’s Got Talent so far?

I love the experience. I feel much more confident in dealing with the contestants and in identifying the talents that have higher potential. Dealing with the other judges is also fun and interesting as each one of us has his own view and it is interesting [we] disagree most of the time.

I think AGT has shed light on Najwa Karam the person more than the celebrity — which is something I love. The style of songs I choose are from the Lebanese folkloric genre which require a strong personality and voice; this might result in perceiving the artist who chooses this genre of music as tough and probably even conceited. AGT has brought out Najwa the person with her compassion and naturalness, and I am very happy with that.

Regarding the contestants, I personally believe that everyone who works hard to refine his or her talent and improve his or her work deserves a chance, but unfortunately this is a competition where only one can win in the end. 

What is it like with the three judges this year — is it different from last year after Amr Adeeb left?

Amr Adeeb is a veteran media personality and his vast experience in dealing with the camera, with various guests and with people on his own show added value to the judges’ panel on many levels last season. This year the presence of a great comedian like Nasser Al Qassabi has added a whole new dimension and flavour to the show — his talent and fun personality gives a light-hearted appeal to the show week after week. 

In terms of music, what projects do you have coming up?

I am releasing a new single this summer. It follows the new style of songs I have released recently which was received very enthusiastically by the listeners and the industry. Aside from that, I have just finished shooting the L’Oréal Paris TV commercial and getting ready for several music festivals in various Lebanese cities and Arab countries – depending on the political stability of the region. There will also be a tour in Latin America and probably Australia. 

You have recently joined Twitter. Do you tweet personally?

Yes, I tweet and reply to my followers’ tweets and messages. I use the Franco-Arab method of typing most of the time, which everyone understands. I love connecting to people directly and believe that social media is a great tool for celebrities to connect with their fans and get closer to them.

My Twitter followers exceed 101,000 today and I am thrilled! I believe that Twitter and Facebook have eliminated the element of uncertainty, and have played a big role in cutting down on rumours that used to spread like wildfire. You are there, available for your fans. They ask you, connect with you, give you feedback and share their opinion and thoughts on what you do and present them with. To me, this is invaluable.