Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Nov 12 2015 / 15:47 PM

Born in Beirut and now a leading light among the Lebanese diaspora, actress Razane Jammal has found critical acclaim and creative fulfillment in the heart of the UK capital. Bazaar enjoys a day in her British life

Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
“Momo’s on Heddon Street is one of my favourite places to hang out in London,” says Razane. Jacket, Dhs33,380, Chanel. Earrings, Dhs20,705, Noor Fares. Shoes, Dhs2,525, Gianvito Rossi at Net-a-Porter. Jeans, Razane’s own
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Inside Al Saqi, Razane wears: Jacket, Dhs17,780; shirt, Dhs5,290; trousers, Dhs7,380, all Chanel. Ring, Dhs39,500, Chanel Fine Jewellery. Chanel bag and Saint Laurent trainers, Razane’s own
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Razane Jammal, at Prince Albert Bridge in Chelsea, London, wears: Jacket, Dhs15,740; sunglasses, Dhs2,780; and boots, all Chanel. Jeans, Razane’s own. Earrings, Dhs36,870, Noor Fares
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Razane in front of the Peace Pagoda at Battersea Park wearing: Jacket, Dhs12,200; trousers, Dhs7,980; and espadrilles, Dhs2,310, all Chanel. Earrings, Dhs36,870; and ring, Dhs16,735, Noor Fares
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Outside Middle Eastern specialist book store Al Saqi in Westbourne Grove, Razane wears: Jumper, Dhs20,420; shorts, Dhs4,100; and shoes, all Chanel. Bag, Razane’s own
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea
Razane Jammal: Made In Chelsea

“London is where I found myself in college and for me, it’s kind of the centre of the world,” 27-year-old Razane Jammal tells us as we arrive at her home on Kings Road in Chelsea. “That’s what is beautiful about it. I can easily keep in touch with Paris, the States and the Middle East from here. It’s cosmopolitan. Plus, I have my life here, and my family and friends.”

The actress has recently moved back to the UK capital, having lived there for six years previously during college, though she doesn’t consider herself to be an expat. “I’ve never really felt like an expat, no matter where I’ve lived. It’s not like Dubai where foreigners feel like it’s the expats versus the locals. London has always been very diverse.” She credits her multicultural upbringing with helping her feel at home anywhere she goes. “Being Lebanese, we’re exposed to different parts of the world and different languages very early on. Personally, I grew up in a very diverse house where each family member was a mix of two different cultures at least. We embraced that, and learned to live peacefully together. That’s why I don’t feel out of place in London. I always merge well with other cultures. I like to think of myself as a child of the world.”

For the most part, London brings her a lot of happiness, however she admits the grey skies occasionally wear thin. “I can’t lie and say that I’m not affected by the weather,” she smiles. She’s quick to point out though, that Lebanon is never far from her mind. “I miss the warmth of Lebanon, I miss the food but I mainly miss the people. I still have family there so I visit a lot.” She confesses it has a lot to do with her mother still residing there. “In our culture, we’re very close to our families so I can never go too long without seeing my mum. I miss her a lot. I’ve lived abroad for 10 years so it’s important for me to show her that I haven’t forgotten about her.”

In terms of the cultural differences between her two homes, as she refers to them equally, Razane says, “London is so organised and that can get boring compared to the organised chaos of Lebanon. The people are warmer in Lebanon too. In England, people are so nice when it’s sunny but when it’s miserable, no one is smiling.” She pauses, thinking, before adding with a laugh, “Though I can’t blame them!”

“I really believe in the designers coming up from the Arab world. Dubai, in particular, has really created a great environment for them”

When she’s not working, Razane likes to explore the city. “I try to embrace the diversity of London, so I don’t only visit Lebanese places,” she explains. “I explore different parts of London almost religiously. I love the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park, Momo restaurant in Soho, Al Saqi book store, going to the park... I also love any shop or café in Notting Hill and I love spending time at SoHo House, where I’m a member. There are a lot of people from my industry that hang out there so that makes it interesting. For food, I love to get breakfast at this organic place called Juicebaby, along with the cafeteria at Triyoga and The Good Life Eatery.”

Razane, at her home in Chelsea, wears: Trousers, Dhs9,300; blouse, Dhs11,690;
bracelet (left) Dhs4,902; bracelet (right) Dhs5,550, all Chanel

From skipping around her favourite London hot spots to jetting around the world, to say it’s been a busy year for 27-year-old Razane is somewhat of an understatement. She embarked on an inter-country marathon for her most recent filming schedule, travelling from Paris to Marseilles, and then all over Beirut in the space of just three months. The film in question, Don’t Tell Me The Boy Was Mad, by Robert Guédiguian, “takes place in the ’80s and concerns the Armenian people,” Razane explains. “It’s not about the Armenian Genocide, but about a young kid called Aram who goes to fight the Armenian revolution against the Turks. It’s also about a mother who’s on a journey to find her son and bring him back.”

In the film, Razane plays Anahit, Aram’s fighter compatriot and love interest. “I loved the fact that she was a bad ass,” she laughs, explaining how this casting was a departure from past roles. “In general, people stick me in these princessy type roles, because I am very polite and well-spoken at castings, so they don’t really see aggression or an evil character.” The experience of playing Anahit, she says, has strengthened her resolve to pursue similar characters in the future. “I think every actor dreams of getting to play the bad guy. No one wants to be the nice guy! The evil, bad characters are so much more interesting and have so many more levels. And in a way, it’s therapeutic. You can be mean on screen and you don’t have to be in real life – you can get it all out!”

For the full article, see the November issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Styling: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Photography: Andrew Woffinden. Prices approximate. Photographer’s assistant: Michaela Letang. Hair: Daniel Dyer at David Artists. Make-up: Jackie Hamilton-Smith at Caren using Chanel. With special thanks to Al Saqi books and Momo London