March 24, 2013 12:00 AM | by The Fustany Team
Getting to Know Rania Omeish
The moment we met her we felt how inspiring she is as a personality, and let's just say we weren't wrong about that at all! Who? Rania Omeish, the Editor-in-Chief of VIVMAG, Layali Amman and Trendesign, a great arab mother and an influential person in the publishing industry in the Middle East. Meet Rania Omeish aka superwoman!
What is it like to be working in the world of magazine publishing?
It's always exciting – and you are always on the go, literally 24/7. You get to meet so many interesting people, often in far-flung places, and work with artists and designers which, for me as a creative person, is extremely satisfying. Editing magazines is a responsibility too. It’s nice to wake up every morning and know that you can make a difference for your readers; you can be the voice of local women, artists, fashion designers and talents.
Take us through a typical day in your life, juggling work and family.
Every day is different. It's always different from one day to the next and that’s what I love. I never get bored; I always have interesting things to do and that's why I love waking up to a new day. It was harder to juggle things when my kids were younger, but now that they are young adults, we are more like friends and it’s more interesting. Recently, I have been involved in helping my daughter with her exhibition as one of the photographers at this year’s Image Festival in Amman, and the way her world spills over into mine is something that I really cherish. Sometimes my days are seriously crazy and sometimes I wake up in the morning and think ‘how am I going to go through the day?’, but it always works out in the end – even if I am left a little frazzled!
Being a successful woman in the Middle East, did you face any challenges within your society?
Yes of course I did, but that drove me to prove myself as a woman and as an editor-in-chief responsible for three of the most recognizable magazines in Jordan. It helps that my family are so supportive of my choices in life. My mother still cooks for me every day if I don’t have the time, and my father, who is a dermatologist, even contributes a column to VIVMAG and Layali Amman about skincare. They have been a wonderful foundation for me to launch myself professionally.
What is the number one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring Editor-in-Chief?
You have to be truly passionate about the magazine you produce. You have to live it, love it, breathe and sleep it before you can even consider being able to present it well enough to everyone else.
What do you think of the art and fashion scene in the Middle East?
Art is my absolute passion. I live for art, and I truly believe there is a lot of undiscovered talent in Jordan. I have made it my mission to seek it out and promote it where I find really talented people. I have many works of art in my home – I usually buy at least one piece from every artist I admire in Jordan. As for fashion, well, I’m a typical Ammani woman really, and I love to look good. As far as the magazines I edit are concerned, I'm always on the lookout for new designers to bring to my readers. In the Kingdom, we already have designers that we can be extremely proud of, and I want to make sure that these people get decent coverage, in order to widen the appeal of local design in the region.
If you could own any piece of art in the world, what would it be?
Definitely a painting by Van Gogh. His use of light and shade is utterly unparalleled, and the sight of one of his works never fails to make my heart skip a beat. I think I will have to continue trotting off to the Louvre when I am in Paris to experience that for some time to come, however…
What is your most treasured art piece?
If I had to pick just one piece, it would be a painting by Mohammad Saleh Khalil; it has a great story behind it. I took my daughter Haya with me to a collector's house and spotted it there. Initially, he wasn't planning on selling this beautiful painting, so my daughter drew a sketch of it and kept it. A few years later, the collector decided to sell it, and we finally got the chance to buy it. So now we have both, my daughter's sketch, and the real thing.
Who are the top three fashion designers that you can't live without?
Roberto Cavalli, Gucci and YSL heels and Bottega Veneta...
What is the most recent purchase in your wardrobe?
My Jimmy Choo Candy clutch bag which is a very fresh accessory for any summer look.
Tell us about your daughters and son and what have they got from you.
Sami, my eldest son, is such a people's person, he loves meeting new people just like me; he is now working for a construction company in Canada. Zein, is a professional photographer who published her first book when she was almost 18. She also teaches yoga and she is a free spirit artist who is climbing Mount Everest to raise money for cancer patients. She most recently had an art exhibition to raise funds for the King Hussein Cancer centre in Jordan. Haya, my youngest daughter, is also an artist. She had her first exhibition at 16, and my office and home are full of her paintings. On a beautiful afternoon we will sit in the garden and paint blank canvases. I’m glad they inherited my love for art.
A perfect weekend for you would be...
I love traveling, always have, always will. I go to Europe a lot in search of inspiration. My most recent “work” trip was to Milan for the iSalone furniture design exhibition. I find that my travels always result in good feature ideas for my interior design magazine, Trendesign.