Mayssam Nahas has come out of her divorce singing.
After a break of a few years, the Lebanese pop star launched her latest album, Mahdoum (Cute), a few weeks ago in Beirut and has already filmed the video for the title track, in which she appears with her six-year-old son Rudy.
In an exclusive interview with tabloid! Nahas talks about the difficulties of life as a young divorcee, her plastic surgery and “friends" in the music business.
You separated from your husband four years ago and your marriage was annulled a few weeks ago. Is it difficult raising your son by yourself?
Yes, even though I have stayed friends with my former husband and my parents live nearby. My parents are very supportive. It is already difficult to raise a child when you are in showbiz, because you travel a lot and it is more difficult when you are in this field and separated from your husband. But my son, Rudy, has gotten used to the system. When I travel, my son stays with my mum and he sees his father at the weekend.
Would you work with your ex-husband?
I have stayed friends with Roger [Abi Akl, a music producer]. We call each other all the time. We lived a real love story against the will of our parents. But sometimes circumstances are stronger than you are and some people do not succeed as a couple. What turned out good from the story is that we are still friends and we had a child together.
We are going to work together on my next album. Weren't you scared to divorce?
In Lebanon, society is not easy on young, good-looking divorced women.
Of course I was scared. I spent two years after the separation proving to people that I am a decent person. It was horrible. In our society, when a married couple splits up, people always blame the woman, saying that she is a bad person. I had to prove to everyone that I am a respectable woman, that I have values, a child and a family. Thank God, I succeeded. These two years were hell.
What did you do?
I couldn't concentrate on work. It is a shock when you get a divorce. People and media criticised me a lot, inventing rumours. I was a victim of injustice. But I had force in me. I was strong. It takes a lot of time to change what people think, because divorced women are victims of prejudice.
You come from a conservative family and you graduated from one of the best universities in Beirut. Why did you choose to go into showbiz?
I am not really deep into it. For example, I don't have friends in showbiz, just acquaintances. Maybe people in showbiz don't have the same background as mine. But I am happy to be special. It fits me. It gives me a different image.
Studies are like a weapon. Before going to university, I decided to become a singer. People look at you differently when you are in showbiz and you are educated. I never think of leaving showbiz, I only see myself as a singer. Even when I was in university, I couldn't picture myself doing something else. I cannot see myself working for an employer. Later, of course I want to have a second job and maybe open a business.
Who are your friends then?
I have a lot of acquaintances in showbiz. I don't believe in friendship in this business. I have two friends from my childhood. Before starting in showbiz I had a lot of friends, but these people, especially from university, didn't know how to deal with me once I started to work. They were as if afraid of me. They looked at me differently but I was still the same person. If they were real friends, they would have stayed as they were.
What has showbiz given you?
It gave me self-confidence. In this job, you learn not to be scared of people. This business gave me my current way of thinking, made me the person that I am now. I am more mature, more conscious and less temperamental. This is also because I have a child, a family and I got through a divorce. And these things change you.
Did you undergo any plastic surgery?
Yes, and I talked about it. I don't feel that I have to hide it. When you decide to undergo plastic surgery you don't go to the doctor ashamed of yourself. You do it to look better. I had a rhinoplasty, a breast augmentation and a small lip surgery consisting of sewing each lip with just one stitch in order to give it more volume. When I first talked about my plastic surgeries, it shocked some people. But I didn't care.
Everybody turns to plastic surgery if he is an artist or not.
How would you describe yourself?
I am an honest person. I am sociable. I like my work. I am a hard worker. I am a Libra, so a real perfectionist. I like to progress in life, whether socially, spiritually, or family wise. When I want something, I work hard to get it.
And did you get the things you wanted?
Yes, I have a child, I sing and I am proud of the person that I am. I found my emotional stability in life. It wasn't easy. The most important thing is to define your priorities. I worked a lot on myself. And once you know what you want, you can choose the person that you want to be with.
I am still waiting for love. I am not searching for love but waiting for it. I'm not scared of starting a new life. I am proud of myself and I never regretted anything I did. I believe in destiny. With time, you learn to deal with a bad situation and never give up. The more you deal with a bad experience, the stronger you become.
Mayssam on the go
Mayssam Nahas started singing in 1999. “I released my first song, Zein Zein Habibi (Good Good Darling) on my own," Nahas explains.
Her first album was Ahlifak bil lah (Swear to God). Six years ago, she signed a five-album contract with Rotana. Her new album Mahdoum (Cute) is the fourth.
“This CD is more real. I felt each word of the songs. It has everything in it; sadness, hope, dreams..."
Nahas calls the video for the title track Social. She co-stars with her son Rudy. “I put Rudy in the video because I felt that it would be more intimate, more sincere. I felt that I wasn't acting", she says.