Maha Zeenni

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Feb 28 2016 / 20:30 PM

Palestinian/Syrian, 30

Maha Zeenni
Maha Zeenni

Maha Zeenni wears Chloé at dress. Converse shoes, her own

With a list of achievements that includes opening her own cosmetic surgery clinic last year, you’d be forgiven for assuming Maha Zeenni is older than her 30 years. “I tend to look younger than I am,” laughs the co-owner of Abu Dhabi’s New Age Clinic. “However, that can sometimes be a hindrance, so when I get dressed, I have to make sure I always look my age. If something makes me look too young, I tend to change. But who knows, maybe in the future it’ll be a positive challenge!”

The clinic opened its doors last September, and while the Abu Dhabi business offers everything from hair restoration to fillers, Maha is still very much an advocate for loving the skin you’re in. “You don’t need to have the ‘perfect body’ to be stylish,” she opines. “Whether you’re curvy or petite, use it to your advantage.” According to the Palestinian/Syrian businesswoman, who splits her time between the UAE capital and Dubai, it’s all about wearing the right piece for your figure – something she learned the hard way after an oversized dress with a broken belt caused an embarrassing moment at a dinner party. “Lesson learned: I now always wear something that fits. If it isn’t working, absolutely nothing you can do will change that.”

While she oversees the daily operations of the clinic during work hours, in her downtime, you’ll likely find Maha taking advantage of the balmy Middle Eastern climate at the beach. “It’s my happy place. I love the warmth of the sun on my face and the wind in my hair; it’s my definition of peace.” Plus, it gives the self-confessed swimwear shopaholic a chance to indulge her addiction. “I’m obsessed!” she laughs. “I’m a complete swimwear hoarder. It started four years ago and now I own 43 bikinis.”

With a “need to feel womanly”, Maha admits that she would wear Saudi designer Razan Alazzouni’s skirts every day if she could, and believes that elegance is all a woman needs to make her stylish, “Because it gives her confidence”. Also key is, “Not trying too hard,” she adds. For inspiration in that department she looks to this region, where the women are, “Spot on in how they dress. Every city has a culture, a story and street style. Here in the UAE, we have our own aesthetic that is unique to us. I love that.”

Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Maria for SoH Art + Beauty. Make-up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: America's Pavillion at Global Village