What We Learned From GQ Cover Stars In 2019

30 December 2019
Culture, Celebrity Cover, GQ Middle East, Mohamed Salah, Sofiane Si Merabet, DJ Khaled, Nadine Njeim, Issam Harris, Mena Massoud, Mashrou’ Leila, Lewis Hamilton

From the Arab world and beyond, advice to help shape you in 2020

We get it, you want to roll into 2020 like a champion, right? Well sometimes, you’ve got to look back to move forward. Thankfully GQ Middle East can help you there. With 12 months-worth of cover star common sense at our fingertips, we felt it was only right to put it to good use and give you a crib sheet for your New Year Vibe in the process.

Wisdom from GQ Middle East Cover Stars

Twelve months, 23 print and digital cover stars talking everything from Arab culture to last-minute penalties in the World Cup; dealing with Hollywood’s most famous hair, to how to be good father. This is life-affirming stuff, so as you swerve into 2020, why not make like the GQ Middle East cover star set? It might just save your year.

Mohamed Salah on thriving

(Read: The Unstoppable Rise of Mo Salah, December/January, 18/19)

“The biggest thing that helped me throughout my career is that I always want to learn. If you want to succeed you have to be willing to learn everything. When you try to experience different leagues, lifestyles, culture... I’m telling you, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Sofiane Si Merabet on evolving Arab culture

(Read: From Confusion, a New Nostalgia, February, 2019)

“We really have to be very careful not to fetishise our culture. We speak more and more about what’s going on culturally in the region, but the problem is that we do it in English – we don’t do it in Arabic. We are taking some distance from our own identity.”

DJ Khaled on fatherhood

(Read: At Long Last, DJ Khaled Gets Real, May, 2019)

“When Asahd’s with me, it don’t matter what’s going on – because I want to make sure he’s alright. It’s not about me no more. That’s what I’m trying to tell you: I’m the father of Asahd. Nothing’s about me no more. It’s about going hard to take care of my family.”

Issam Harris on a rising Arab culture

(Read: The Gritty Rise of Issam, September 2019)

“American music isn’t innovating. There’s no shock anymore. Nothing new. It’s time for the Arabs to dominate. I really believe that. I want us to unite and help each other out. We can show to the world what we have. It’s our moment. It’s our turn.”

Mena Massoud on Arab diversity in Hollywood

(Read: Mena Massoud is GQ’s Breakthrough Talent, October 2019)

“I was the only one saying that Aladdin was the most diverse cast a Hollywood blockbuster ever put together. Disney didn’t have my back. Nobody had my back, because they chose not to. Hopefully, one day Hollywood does decide to embrace me. I don’t say they aren’t. All I can speak about are the facts. The facts are, it’s almost October, the film came out in May, and I haven’t had a single audition or offer in Hollywood since.”

Mashrou’ Leila on pushing through the hard times

(Read: The Agony and the Ecstasy, November 2019)

“At some point we didn’t know what the point of it was anymore. People were getting arrested, beaten up. It was rough and complicated. Each one of us saw different ways of fighting back. So we had problems. It took a while for all of us to calm down and figure out how to be smart and effective. If we break up, it’s the worst way to fight back.”

Lewis Hamilton on showing vulnerability

(Read: Once More, with Feeling, December/January 2019/20)

“It’s a growing process. It’s learning. And making mistakes. When I write something, I want to show more vulnerability. It’s very difficult: you’ve got a helmet on, no one sees how hard it is. They just see you turn up and win races, and don’t see your emotion inside. It’s not like basketball or other sports. [You don’t see] the tears, the pain, the struggle. It looks like it’s always bliss.”