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The It Girl: Cynthia Jreige

The founder and editor in chief of Beirut-based magazine JDEED discusses her inspirations, biggest achievement, business tips and more

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born and raised in Luxembourg, a tiny European country, to a Belgian-Italian mother and Lebanese father. I’ve been wanting to pursue a career in fashion ever since I was 11 years old.

With that in mind, I completed a BA in Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni after which I flew to NYC to join the Hugo Boss Studios then ran by Jason Wu for a year and finally pursued a MA in Fashion Journalism at London College of Fashion. I now live between Beirut, Dubai and Luxembourg but am most likely always on the road.

What inspires you?

People with the right dose of self-confidence and people who built their careers from zero. I’m truly inspired by ambitious, risk-taking individuals. Each and every person in my family has also been a source of inspiration at some point; they’re all pretty much everything I just described.

Favourite city and why?

I think people who know me will laugh when they read this as I mention my love for it at least once a day, but I definitely have to say New York City. I can’t really explain what attracted me to this town but I would literally dream about years before I ever even went.

I started learning English on my own, telling my parents I’d one day live there and hence had to know the language (my mother tongue being French.) I eventually lived there and I keep returning; the energy, the people, the food, the activities…I love everything about it.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t feel like I belong anywhere and that the people of New York are from just about everywhere, that I feel a special connection to it?

Cynthia Jreige

What do you do in your spare time?

About six months ago I started doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with an amazing Dubai-based teacher called Maram Ashour and for once, I’ve found a sport that I enjoy doing and that I can do at home with her YouTube videos.

I’ve been seeing changes in my body and it’s really encouraging! Otherwise I love to cook, discover new brands online, plan my next trip, and think of work.

Favourite food?

I’ve been a pescatarian for 8 years but since I don’t digest lactose and fish in Lebanon is imported (as our seas aren’t the cleanest), I’ve mostly been eating vegan and really enjoying it.

Otherwise, I truly love pancakes that I could have them at every meal. My dad’s crab pasta is also a killer. Wait, this question is really hard for a foodie! I also love anything with eggplants and a good spicy avocado toast on sourdough.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?

A time I could be around my grandparents that are sadly not here anymore. Maybe I’d also travel to 2011, my first year in Paris, living alone for the first time. It’s quite a sensation to be able to do whatever you want at all times!

Who do you look up to and why?

My parents for having given my brother and I an exceptional education, amazing living conditions and a great couple figure. I also look up to independent women who were never afraid to say things out loud; Simone Veil, Meryl Streep, Michelle Obama. More recently, I’ve found Lizzo to be someone who makes me want to trust myself more!

What is your life motto?

"Everything happens for a reason," which has often helped me accept the good and the bad.

Biggest achievement? 

Founding my own magazine and publishing company at 23, JDEED. But I also believe in small daily achievements like baking an amazing cake or not giving up my sports routine.

Any career/business tips?

To work hard, stay consistent and be patient. You could reach a point where you believe the efforts aren’t paying off but a key someone would have actually noticed you in the background; things could change in a day!

By delivering consistent work, you’ll more likely reach your goals (in general in life). And also: interact! With people who message you on Instagram if you’re a business like a brand or a media platform, get back to emails, be (a bit) available: people love to hear back and feel heard.

Anything else?

JDEED Magazine also acts as a consultancy platform to help businesses define their branding, positioning, marketing strategies, as well as a production company that has previously worked with Level Shoes, Alexander McQueen, Amman Design Week, Beirut Design Week and more.

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