A heart to heart with Dubai’s ‘It girl’ revealed that there is always a lot more to a person than what meets the eye. The Lebanese beauty Lara Tabet who was a former TV presenter has now spread her eggs in many baskets. She is the head Spokesperson of Arab Fashion Council in ME and the official brand ambassador of Margy’s Skin Care and Michael Bruggler watches. Like every woman of substance, Lara is also one with a story.
She was born and bought up in Dubai and had earned her degree in Hotel Management at a University in Switzerland pretty early on. That gave her enough time to rule her dad’s world-wide hotel empire alongside him. Meanwhile she got married and gave birth to two handsome young men.
Word in town was that she’s a people’s person, and not being seen out there seemed odd for an ubiquitous woman like her. She received a phone call one day out of the blue when she was at home looking after her sons- a phone call that marked the turning point in her life.
What drove you to join the media and fashion world?
On Media: ” A Pakistani gentleman who owned In-TV approached me for a casting to present on TV. He was involved in many different business activities here in the region and decided one day, that he wanted to open a strictly English language TV station which would be one of it’s kind in Dubai. So when he called, I started laughing – A casting for TV presenting!? I have a Hotel Management degree and my father is a well-known business man and so the cultural norms don’t permit that profession for me! When I approached my dad, he said no. I insisted – ‘but dad, my husband said its fine.’ He stuck to his word – ‘No, this is not acceptable by family standards.’ Yet, I took the risk and gave it a shot!”
Obviously, Lara wasn’t one to turn down opportunities. 8 years later, she had 7 shows of her own that she was producing, presenting and editing. But that wasn’t it; she co-hosted a show called City-women with two TV presenters in which they touched base on family related issues and helping expatriates to fit in.
As her kids entered the next level in their lives- the high school, so did her responsibilities toward them, at which point she took a break from her profession to help them complete their IB Diplomas- the hardest curriculum in the world, whilst handling her family businesses.
On Fashion: “After my sons graduated and moved out to their Universities, I started getting approached by so many people that I had no idea even knew that I existed! Whether it came to charity work like Rashid pediatric center or Red crescent, for which we raised a lot of funds through gala dinners, picnic ranches, ladies lunches and sent them over to underprivileged countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Lebanon and Syria.
I also became the official spokesperson and representative for Arab Fashion Council the brand ambassador of Margy’s Spa located in Monte Carlo, which is the most luxurious skin care in the world as members of royal families across Europe go there to rejuvenate for the weekend from head to toe coming out like new-born babies. I am also the brand ambassador of Michael Bruggler watches, based in Switzerland, which are custom-made diamond watches available to order online ranging between 23k-29k AED. I am the business development manager of G Hospitality, which is the host of many award winning restaurants in Dubai.”
At this point I couldn’t help but ask- ‘Is there something you do not do Lara!?’. Her zest for life is what drives her each day. She was only 12 when she started designing her own clothes. The fire within her pushed her to stay at the top of her game through all her diverse variety of careers. Today she has a solid 30K Instagram followers – including thousands of women who look up to her.
Women look up to you and follow you from UAE and around the world. What is your take on women of Dubai?
“The women of Dubai are very strong and very smart. They have a vision and a beautiful culture full of values and morals. A lot of them are so highly educated, I cannot even begin to explain! Wonderful and reserved, and at the same time very focused. Since most women in Dubai are working, they know how to balance between their families and careers beautifully. I have all the respect in the world for them!”
This leads me to my next question – You are a proud mother and a wife. How do you balance your work-life and family-life?
“I’ll be very honest with you. It’s all about time management at the end of the day and waking up early. I wake up at 5 every morning and sleep at 8-9 pm unless there are events to attend in which case the maximum I stay up is until midnight. Why?, because I could achieve more rather than sleeping in and then spending the rest of the day taking it easy. You cannot afford to take it easy in today’s world. It is the survival of the fittest – i.e. you having a plan each day and being able to achieve it is only possible if you wake up before the rest. I manage 8 things without getting stressed just because I manage my time well. In my old fashioned way, I write my to-do list every night and become the go-getter in the morning making sure I could tear my list once I’m back by the end of the day.”
What have you learnt about yourself since you have become a celebrity?
“I think patience would be that virtue. I realized, I have a very high tolerance to a lot of things that I didn’t think I had before. For example, the days of City-7 TV when I had shows to host, I was the only presenter in the channel that did seven shows compared to my colleagues who did only one show. To balance them, to help guests get used to the camera, to translate to celebrities in Arabic when English wasn’t their first language, to help them memorize scripts- doing all of it on my own made me realize that I had a huge amount of patience.”
You’ve come a long way in such a short span of time. What’s next in your journey?
“There’s something that I have been working on for two years- I haven’t told many people about it. But now I think the time is getting closer and I don’t need to keep it a secret anymore. I went to the south of France, to an area called Grasse, to check out the different flower fields that they have because I wanted to create a fragrance- my own perfume. I tried all the different flowers – thyme, amber, sandalwood and combined them to create this beautiful fragrance. Hopefully in 6-8 months I will be able to launch it, Inshallah. I’m looking forward to that!”
Have you thought of the label? “No, but whatever it will be called, it will have by Lara at the end of it. Maybe ‘Passion, By Lara’- because passion for me is everything I’m about. I don’t do something in life unless I’m passionate about it. Passion creates drive and they go hand in hand.”
Last but not least, what are the top 5 qualities that a person should possess in order to shine in the media world here in Dubai?
“The first one would definitely be Ambition; definitely Passion, Hard work- when it comes to hard work, I think sky should be the limit because you have to invest in order to get back; then Determination, Patience and being a People’s person because you have to be a proper communicator to survive in Dubai.”
She hit the jackpot with her success qualities. Even better, she is a living example of them! But what about the Spicy details of her life?
I got that for you with a quick RAPID FIRE ROUND with Lara:
Describe yourself in one word: Simple
Your favorite place in Dubai: Ritz-Carlton DIFC
Your favorite celebrity: J-Lo
If you weren’t in media today what would you be doing: Oil trading or my own brand with different divisions like Fashion, Media etc
Favorite fashion quote: “A girl should be two things – classy and fabulous.” –Coco Chanel
Favorite cuisine: Japanese
Coffee or tea: definitely coffee
What time do you wake up each day: 5 am
Your favorite emoji: hearts and kisses, I absolutely love them!
Last word to your followers?
“I’d just like to say Thank you to all my followers out there; I really appreciate all their likes and comments and I’ll always try my best to maintain the standard that they expect of me!”
An hour with Lara was a true delight for she filled me in with her own exuberant energy. She is a perfect combination of beauty with brains!