By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 3/30/2006 | 6:43 pm
She is beautiful, gorgeous. They call her 'Madonna of the Middle East'. Haifaa Wehbe, the Lebanese top-model and singer who took the Arab world by storm after the release of her first album, Howa el-Zaman (It's time), is currently in Morocco to support the Moroccan branch of the Red Ribbon.
In an interview with the electronic Arabic newspaper, Elaph, Haifaa Wehbe said that she is in Morocco at the invitation of the Red Ribbon to help raise people's awareness about the danger of AIDS.
“I am traveling to Morocco for a humane cause and not for artistic reasons and I wish to perform concerts there very soon, maybe in the summer,” Wehbe told Elaph.
The Lebanese singer has denied rumours that she was banned from singing in Morocco by the country's local authorities. She stressed that Morocco is a country of culture, adding that the famous Moroccan singer Samira Said is an idol and that she is one of her fans.
Talking about her artistic career, Wehbe said that what she has achieved was a gift from God.
She added that she is currently shooting a film in Tunisia, without giving further details.
Wehbe held a press conference on Wednesday and underwent a blood test. Haifa Wehbe will also be participating in the support and nomination of Oprah Winfrey for a Nobel Peace Prize for her role in fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa.
Wehbe's travel to Morocco was sponsored by Citadine Magazine, part of the Lilas group, which also publishes Medina magazine, and other two professional journals, Médecins and Pharmaciens. The group also organizes Khmissa, a yearly event which coincides with the international women's day, and honours five Moroccan women excelling in different fields.
Ali Bajaber, president of the Lilas group told Morocco Times their motivation in sponsoring Wehbe's travel is to boost the activities of the Red Ribbon and help raise awareness about the danger of AIDS.
Wehbe grew up in Lebanon. She became a model at a very young age and won the title of “Miss South Lebanon” at 16. She later participated in the national Miss Lebanon pageant and won the title of second-runner up. However her title was soon revoked once it became revealed that she was married and had a daughter, Zaza.
She released her first album as a singer, titled "Howa el-Zaman", which surprised many people given the low expectations. Her success was attributed more so to her beauty than her vocal talent.
Although she is not widely regarded as a talented singer, she is famous for her performing abilities and seen by many to be one of the prettiest women in Lebanon.
Her second album "Badi 'Aish" ("I want to live") was released in 2005 and is living up to expectations. She remains popular among Lebanon's youth and makes countless television appearances. She has certainly cemented herself in Lebanese popular culture as the ultimate sex symbol.
Last year, Haifa, along with 14 other celebrities from the Arab world, began airing the live pan-Arab reality show series "Al Wadi", based on the French reality show “La Ferme des Célébrités”. The show featured weekly live performances in which Haifa played a central role singing songs from her new album.
Recently, she announced her engagement to a Saudi businessman, Tariq Al-Jaffali. Rumors about the gifts he offered her began to circulate immediately. However, after only a few weeks, her fiancée abruptly called off the engagement for unknown reasons.
Other Lebanese stars including MBC channel star Razan Moghrabi, TV host Carolina De Oliveira, Lebanese model and actor Saleh Abdelnabi, and singer Jad Choueiri were also invited by the Ruban Rouge Organisation, chaired by Simo Ben Bachir, to lead a awareness campaign against the danger of AIDS.