Stars With Arab Roots

Stars with Arab roots

Entertainment has historically transcended boundaries, connecting people who share a common love for an art or song. Similarly, Arab celebrities have united the Arab diaspora that is spread across the globe today. Many homegrown Arab stars have made a mark internationally while there is a crop of second-generation and first-generation immigrant Arabs who have earned global recognition as entertainers.

Today Arab stars‘ concerts are a full house while their films have opened to much acclaim. There have been many Hollywood productions starring Arab actors in key roles. Keeping the popularity of these Arab artists and stars in mind, Forbes Middle East has compiled two lists namely Arab Celebrities on the Global Stage and Celebrities With Arab Roots. The former includes Arab artists who have found success outside of the region and have got loyal followings among Americans and Europeans of Arab origin. The list classifies celebrities into five categories such as singers, actors, directors, fashion designers and footballers.

Celebrities with Arab Roots lists celebrities who are of Arab origin and have earned many accolades for their work. The list includes Arab celebrities who were raised outside the Arab world.

ImageRankNameCategoryAgeOrigin/ NationalityBio
1ShakiraSinger41Lebanese/ ColombianShakira Isabel Mebarak is a Colombian singer, songwriter, and dancer. Born and raised in Barranquilla, she began performing in school and have demonstrated Latin American, Arabic, and rock and roll influences in her dances. From 2012 to 2015, she was listed among world’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the world by Forbes. Over the course of her career, she has won five MTV Video Music Awards, three Grammy Awards, 13 Latin Grammy Awards and seven Billboard Music Awards.
2DJ KhaledMusician42Palestinian/ AmericanKhaled Mohamed Khaled is an American record producer of Palestinian origin. He is also a radio personality, DJ, record label executive and author. In 2009, Khaled became the president of record label Def Jam South, while he is also the CEO and founder of We the Best Music Group. In 2017, he was ranked 9th on the list of top hip hop earners by Forbes, with an estimated income of $24 million.
3Gigi HadidModel23Palestinian/ AmericanBorn and raised in Los Angeles and of Palestinian origin, Hadid has 37 million followers on Instagram. The star uses her Instagram to promote the brands she endorses, and this has helped her launch her own collections with brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Maybelline and Vogue Eyewear, earning an estimated income of $9.5 million. She was ranked the 5th highest paid model in the world by Forbes. Her sister Bella Hadid (ranked #4) was also on that list, making them the first pair of sisters to feature on that list
4Bella HadidModel21Palestinian/ AmericanAn American model of Palestinian origin, Hadid is the daughter of a well-known real estate developer Mohammed Hadid and is the sister of Gigi Hadid. Aged 21 and with an estimated income of $6 million, she was the youngest model to appear on the Forbes Highest Paid Model 2017 list. Hadid was ranked 9th on the list and endorses popular brands such as Nike and Dior Makeup.
5Salma HayekActress51Lebanese/ Mexican/ AmericanHayek is a Mexican and American film actress, producer, and former model who moved to the U.S. in 1991. Already a popular actress in Mexico, she rose to fame in Hollywood with films such as Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn and Wild Wild West. Her role in 2002 film Frida earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. Hayek is married to French billionaire and Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault.
6Rami MalekActor31Egyptian/ AmericanAn American actor of Egyptian origin, Malek won a Critics’ Choice Award and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his lead role as Elliot Alderson in the television series Mr. Robot. He also received Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and nominations for the same. Malek is set to play the lead role in the much awaited biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, a film based on popular musician Freddie Mercury’s life.
7Tony ShalhoubActor64Lebanese/ AmericanAnthony Marcus Shalhoub is a popular American actor of Lebanese origin, best known for his role as detective Adrian Monk in the TV series Monk. He has won many awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his role in Monk and a Tony Award for the best actor in a musical. Shalhoub, along with the Network of Arab-American Professionals and Zoom-in-Focus Productions, established The Arab-American Filmmaker Award Competition in 2005.
8Catherine KeenerActress59Lebanese/ AmericanCatherine Ann Keener is an American actress of Lebanese descent. She has been nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles as Maxine Lund in Being John Malkovich and Harper Lee in Capote (2005). Last year she starred in the movie Get Out, which earned a nomination for Best picture at Oscars.
9Alia ShawkatActress29Iraqi/ AmericanAn American actress and artist, she is perhaps best known for her roles as Maeby Fünke in the television sitcom Arrested Development and black comedy series Search Party that received a100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television. She is of Iraqi origin.
10Zinedine ZidaneFootballer46Algerian/ FrenchA former-French footballer of Algerian origin, Zidane was a key player of France’s football team. He led France to a World Cup victory in 1998. In 2001, Real Madrid bought Zidan from Juventus for a whopping $66 million and he played five years with the club. The 46-year old retired as the manager of Real Madrid, after he led the team to their 13th UEFA Champions League trophy in May this year.
11MikaSinger34Lebanese/ BritishBorn as Michael Holbrook Penniman, Jr. Mika is a Lebanese-English singer and songwriter. Mika debuted in the industry with his first single Relax, Take It Easy from his debut album Life In Cartoon Motion. The singer has sold over 10 million records. In 2007, he won the World Music Awards for best-selling new artist, best-selling male entertainer, best-selling pop/rock artist and best-selling British artist. He also appeared as a judge in 2013 on X Factor Italy.
12Sam IsmailWriter and Director40Egyptian/ AmericanThe 40-year-old American-Egyptian film and television director, screenwriter Esmail is popularly known for his television series Mr. Robot that starred actor Rami Malek. His three season television series—fourth season in pipeline—bagged the 73rd Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series–Drama in 2016. Esmail’s directorial debut Comet released in 2014, starring Emmy Rossum who he married in 2017 in New York City. Esmail bagged awards for Best Drama Series and Best New Series for Mr. Robot at the 2016 Writers Guild Awards.
13Kathy NajimyActress, Director, Writer, Producer61Lebanese/ AmericanBorn to Lebanese-American parents, Najimy is an American actor, director, writer, producer, and activist. Internationally acclaimed for her portrayal of Sister Mary Patrick in the Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Najimy has been most known for voicing Peggy Hill for fourteen seasons for the Emmy award-winning animated television series, King Of The Hill. The 61-year-old Najimy has appeared in more than 25 films and over 100 television projects.
14Amy YasbeckActress55Lebanese/ AmericanBorn in 1962, Yasbeck is an American actress known for her roles on the sitcom Wings that aired from 1994 to 1997 and in films The Mask (1994) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Yasbeck has also appeared in popular shows Workaholics and Pretty Little Liars. She has co-stared in many films including House II: The Second Story, Pretty Woman, Problem Child and Problem Child 2 among others.