Simo Ben Bachir, president of the Red Ribbon campaign against AIDS, has invited several international celebrities to support his association’s work against AIDS. Among Simo’s big projects this year are the 2008 calendar and book featuring Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe. Simo talks about his project and working with Haifa.
Why did you choose [Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe] for the 2008 calendar?
Apart from the fact that Haifa Wehbe is a superstar, she is also an ambassador for the Red Ribbon and the fight against AIDS in Africa and the Arab world. I suggested to Haifa that she might donate the best of her photos and some other exclusives to launch the official Haifa Wehbe calendar, which will be sold to raise money for forthcoming work to combat AIDS in Africa. There are plans for an official tour by Haifa with journalists and VIPs after the launch of the calendar.
How would you describe Haifa as a star and as a person? Is there any difference?
Haifa is the most modest star I’ve ever seen! I know several celebrities, but Haifa is still my favorite, whether as a fan, a collaborator or whatever! She gives you time and listens to you. I’m happy to work with her on new projects. Her official visit to Morocco last year was an enormous success, not only here but everywhere ... Haifa the artist and Haifa the woman are one and the same -- always beautiful! But it’s her inner rather than her outer beauty which is most attractive. She’s a model of modesty and kindness.
Why did you choose Haifa as the subject of your book?
I worked with Haifa in 2006 for a major campaign which was a real success for the Red Ribbon. Apart from the fact that she’s a superstar, she’s also kind and modest. I believe the public as a whole is interested in knowing Haifa, hence the idea of bringing out a book looking behind the scenes at her life and satisfying the public’s curiosity. It’s not for nothing that she receives the most media attention of any woman in the Arab world!
Why do you think Haifa is interested in the idea of having a book written about her? She’s young, and generally people write biographies about their subjects when they’re older.
Firstly, this is not a biographical book. It’s a book about a person, Haifa, star of song but also of social life, given her future travels in Africa. The book and the calendar are first and foremost for her “Haifa for Africa” campaign, with which medicines and Haifa t-shirts will be distributed across several African countries.