Tala Ardalan and Tanya Jules are two Dubai based women who are living proof that girls can do anything they put their mind to. These two multi-cultural beautiful ladies grew up all over the world, from the United States to France, but decided to settle down in warm Dubai to start up their ventures.
Together they have co-authored the children’s book The Adventures of Tutu & TanTan; a major hit in the children’s book department across the UAE. This book cleverly combines imagination with reality spurring creativity and imagination for children and even adults, think of it as a modern Dr Seuss story with specks of reality!
Tala is a fashion designer, designing her own fashion line “Yasi Couture” a line of edgy, unique pieces and I must add with impeccable quality. Tanya on the other hand is a power woman working in one of the most competitive industries in the world. Tanya is the managing director of Bliss Inc Entertainment, one of the biggest names in entertainment in Dubai, and is one of the few women in the region to have prominent position in such a competitive industry.
We asked the creative twosome a couple of questions and found out more about the motivation behind their impressive projects.
First tell us about your book that you have co-authored with one of your closest friends Tala…
The Adventures of Tutu and Tantan! It’s such a great feeling to be able to talk about the book as it started off as just a project for myself and Tala and we never imagined it would turn out into an actual real product. The two of us together share a huge imagination and decided to turn these adventures into a series of books as we do actually go on our own adventures in Dubai and around the world. The title explains it all as Tala was given the nickname Tutu from a young age and mine has always been Tantan, so it really is us with all our quirkiness!
You also manage one of the biggest names in entertainment in Dubai and we hear you’re quite the event planner! How do you manage to do everything all at once?
Trying to balance a job that requires me at 9am for a corporate meeting to discuss Marwan/DJ Bliss and at 1am for an event, such as 411 Saturdays at Armani Prive, is tiring but I love doing it. Then on the other hand I am dealing with trying to make The Adventures of Tutu and Tantan work. It becomes really challenging but I think to myself ‘it all HAS to work!’ and somehow it does all come together. At Bliss Inc Entertainment I have a great team behind me and we all support each other with our projects outside of work the best we can.
What would you say is the most difficult part of your job?
Keeping my energy level up! Meeting with new clients everyday and coming up with new ideas requires a huge amount of positive energy which becomes difficult to find after only four hours of sleep on some days.
What advice do you have for young women out there who are in such a competitive industry?
Do your research and always be social. The entertainment industry is extremely competitive and people are coming up with new ideas and plans everyday – you need to keep up, you need to always be one step ahead so the research never ends!
What is your motto in life?
With a little enthusiasm anything is possible. Everyone has the tendency to give up when situations become difficult which can impact you in such a negative way, but the road to success is always under construction so you have to find that enthusiasm within yourself to keep going and make it work.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your social life with work and keep a healthy balance?
Very! The biggest complaint I probably get is ‘we never see you anymore.’ I never thought I’d be the type of person whose work would become their life, but when you love your job it’s difficult not to. I love it when the opportunity arises when my friends can come to the event I have to go to or host – it’s not the healthiest balance but I try to make it work.
First tell us about your book that you have co-authored with one of your closest friends Tanya…
Our book The Adventures of Tutu and Tantan is a book based on two characters which venture around Dubai and discover the places they love, make wishes and wait for magic to happen! The two characters are Tanya and myself in illustration form. The great part about our book would be that it is a combination of real images overlapped with illustrations. This is great for children as they will be able to relate to imagination and reality.
What made you start your own fashion line:
Growing up between Los Angeles, Geneva and Dubai and being originally Iranian! This gave me a lot of different colors; what I mean by this is that I have seen so many different things everywhere I go and since I am based in the UAE and I like to dress more conservatively here, I take inspiration from what I have seen and colors that influence me and piece them together to form my style. This is how Yasi Couture was born. Yasi is actually my niece’s name since she contributes a lot to my collections. She already has her own style, even though she is just 1 and a half years old!
How would you describe the Yasi Couture lady?
The Yasi Couture Lady is anything you could think of. If you have a certain style in mind, you will find it in my collections. I don't have a specific style, I’m very playful with what I like to create and wear. I guess she is everything!
What advice do you have for young women out there who are in the fashion industry or who want to get in it?
The advice is for any woman who wants to get into the fashion industry or any industry for that matter. Don't ever limit yourself to what you want to be. Some people are afraid to unveil that mask, being different is something special is a gift. Most of the time society thinks that the norm is safety. I go against that rule. Being myself which is different than any other human being in this world is what puts me out there, makes me shine and attracts people to me. So ladies… unveil yourself to the world!
What is your motto in life?
There are so many obstacles in life that you stumble upon, so my motto seems to change every once in a while. As for now it's “love yourself first and others will follow."
What would you say is the hardest part about designing your own line and where do you get your inspiration from?
The hardest part about designing my own line is that I don't have enough time to finish all that I want to finish within one collection. My inspiration comes from the streets… streets of Paris, Rome, Geneva, New York, Dubai. However, the main inspiration is my grandmother from my mother’s side. She knows the world I live in and she knows it because she lives in the same exact world. Everything she wears inspires me. From her jewelry to her shoes to the way she sits and drink her tea, she is a great inspiration to me.
– Sharifa Al Badi