A profile of Emirati make-up and special effects artist, Nouf Al Jahdhami.
My UAE: Nouf Al Jahdami, a special make-up artist
Nouf Al Jahdhami is just 19, but she already has an impressive CV. The Dubai-based Emirati is one of the country's most respected prosthetic make-up artists, working on films and television in the UAE and outside. The pool of artists may be small, but her talent is undeniably huge.
"Most of my work is horrific," she says, giggling. "I can be a temperamental person and I put all of that anger into my work. It helps me create the things I do."
Based in Dubai, Al Jahdhami has worked on a number of locally made films, focusing on the bloodied and bruised looks. "I started with regular make-up when I was younger but I wanted so much more. I wanted to create characters with dimensionality and make them real.
"When I used to do it for myself there would be a change, and that's what I seek when I create characters on people," she says.
"I have travelled a bit for work but mostly I have done films here."
Despite her young age, much of her commissioned work - which can be seen on her website - would fit right in on a Hollywood film set. But, for now, Al Jahdhami's staying put in the UAE, about to begin a media course at the Higher Colleges of Technology. After that, she hopes to establish herself as the best in the business.
Her specialities are latex and liquid silicon, which she sometimes has to procure from Jebel Ali businesses because of the strict laws for chemical import.
Her most recent assignment was bloodying people up on the set of the UAE-based film 51, which stars Navid Negahban, better known as Abu Nazir in the US drama Homeland.
"I'm an ambitious person and I plan on doing a lot of stuff," says Al Jahdhami. "I want to establish my name. I'd love to have a make-up artist union in the UAE; it's all very separated at the moment. After my studies I can concentrate on all this."
Favourite item in your make-up bag?
My eyebrow make-up palette! I can't go anywhere unless I have my eyebrows on, it's just my thing.
Favourite make-up in film/TV?
The only film I was really impressed with, because at that time it was completely advanced, was Aliens. It's robotics and make-up combined. It blew my mind.
The Woman In White. I’ve read it three times. When I first read it, it was mandatory in school but I really liked it. It’s a thriller but not too obvious; you can sense it in the words.
Favourite travel spot?
Everyone here goes to London, Germany and Australia, and they always go to the same places. But if I could choose to go anywhere, I’d go to a house on stilts in the water in the Maldives. It looks very relaxing.
Definitely Melancholia. The cinematography was amazing. I loved how the director [Lars von Trier] put his vision down, and the ending was phenomenal.
One item that you can’t live without?
My blanket. I love to sleep and I can’t sleep without it, it’s so soft.
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