Who said fairy tales are just a fantasy? The life of Benedetta Paravia, Princess Bee, as she calls herself jokingly, is a triumph of everyday beauty. Sure, Mother Nature has been generous with her, giving her the looks that earned her second place at the Cartier casting, after Monica Bellucci. But Princess Bee’s world is made up of energy and determination, which have allowed her to launch the most popular program in the Emirates, a cross-media docu-reality for women called Hi Emirates.
Because of her commitment to women, Benedetta is considered a key figure in the Arab Global Renaissance, strongly promoted by A.A. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, a 33-year-old heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia. She truly lives a daily fairy tale. And we asked her what the magic recipe is….
How did you end up in the Emirates? How did your daily fairytale begin?
Benedetta Paravia: «I arrived in Dubai in 2002 for a vacation with my then-boyfriend and my brother. We were invited by one of the sons of the president of the country. When I got off the plane, I was struck by the desert air; I immediately felt happy. I remember turning around as I was at the top of the ladder, ready to get off, and seeing a red car with a hawk on the license plate. That was the car that took us to the birthday of the person who would become a great friend to me. My daily fairy tale began right there».
Clarins, Dior, Cartier…your face was everywhere. Tell us about it!
Benedetta Paravia: «I had just graduated from college and was studying to become a lawyer. Since we decided to stay 3 months, I started working for the most famous and institutional fashion agency at the time, which was present in all the countries of the Arabian Gulf: Bareface. It was a big deal for me because I was included in the Models 1 category (i.e., international models), and I did more covers and editorials than anyone else. I posed for Cartier, Dior, Clarins, Emirates Airlines… My face was on giant billboards all over the country at the time. There was a huge workforce working there, while today, my photos can be seen on digital billboards.
I chose to stay because I was simply satisfied. After 2 years, I started working with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, but I always continued to model and get satisfaction from my work.
Second step of the Daily Fairy Tale: the television adventure.
Benedetta Paravia: «I have always participated, since I was a child, in educational programs. The first time I was 8 years old, and I was in the studio with Piero Angela, my all-time TV legend. I also loved Corrado and Bonolis. Back in Italy, I was often a guest on TV shows to talk about my philanthropic activities and more.
In 2017 I was in the Emirates, and President Sheikh Khalifa announced the year of “giving.” So it immediately occurred to me to donate a TV program to the Emirati community that would debunk false myths and would tackle Western ignorance on certain topics such as the status of women, prospects for young women and the contribution of women in society. So in the following years, I produced HI DUBAI and HI EMIRATES, which proved to be a success. They showed the reality of this country to many people who lived in prejudice. My daily fairy tale is possible thanks to the environment I am in!»
How did you decide to talk about women? What is your relationship with Emirati women?
Benedetta Paravia: «Emirati women are wonderful! They have always supported, encouraged, admired and motivated me during difficult times in life. Knowing that you have a safe place to head for a chat, like you do as a teenager, even in the middle of the night, is priceless. And there are so many friends that welcomed me into their homes, and so many friends that if I call them at 2 a.m. for a problem, they’ll always answer. That’s true friendship».
In the Emirates, luxury and wealth are within everyone’s reach. Obviously, you have to conquer wealth in your heart first; otherwise, there is no sparkle that can hold.Benedetta Paravia
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How is your daily life as a nomadic woman?
Benedetta Paravia: «I love to travel and discover every time that I can live at least a month in every place I visit. I always have something to do, and I live the present moment with great joy. This is the real nomadic life!
Now I understand when the great Maestro de Crescenzo used to say to me when I was little: “Signorì qua solo il presente esiste!” (Miss, we have only the present!)Benedetta Paravia
But, besides the present, I also possess an immense treasure of beautiful memories».
What is the most significant thing that has happened to you during your career? The most interesting people you have met, anecdotes you remember with joy?
Benedetta Paravia: «The most significant, tragic or funny things I can’t tell you yet. There are also unpleasant episodes of inauspicious and unhappy people who have tried to hurt me a lot. Certainly, one day, I will recount everything in a book.
I met Pope John Paul II, and I gave him my first poem that I wrote when I was 7 years old and then he made me draw an eagle on the bottles of Praeclarus Champagne to celebrate the independence of Poland. I met the Dalai Lama and Rita Levi Montalcini several times and many heads of state.
I really liked Pope Francis because as we shook hands (it was still possible!), he said: “Pray for me.”Benedetta Paravia
But the one who impressed me the most was Andreotti: it was 2006, and we were at a meeting with Arab countries in Rome in a restaurant. I took my Olympus and said to him: “Mr. President, I admire you very much for your wisdom, and I am a Capricorn just like you, so let’s take a picture.” At that moment, no one was within reach of our table, so I turned my camera and took what would later be called a “selfie.” He was surprised and intrigued by my determination and made a hilarious joke that, unfortunately, I can’t remember today. I remember thinking: “Wow, how witty Giulio Andreotti is.”»