Bruna Garcia Fonseca
São Paulo – In a souk in Amman, Jordan, Julia de Biase (pictured above) fell in love with the Arab world. The smell of the Arab incense bakhoor that filled the street market delighted the Italian Brazilian. “I was completely taken by the aromas. I couldn’t forget them; they seemed to get into my soul. From that day on, that trip changed my whole life. It was a watershed for me,” Biase told ANBA.
To show her love and praise for the Arab culture, Julia de Biase launched on Wednesday, 14, the YouTube channel Maktub, where she will share her testimonials, tell travel stories, and conduct interviews in weekly 10-minute videos. Maktub is Arabic for “it is written” or “fate.”
The Brazilian businesswoman fell in love with the Arab perfumes, customs and landscapes since her first trip to the region, when she visited Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates in 2008. Since then, her life has changed completely.
She can’t live without Arab perfumes, clothes and makeup anymore. She separated and started a business, and now she imports dates from the UAE, perfumes from Bahrain, and decorative objects from Morocco, making the Arab world her livelihood.
“I decided filming the videos to show how life-changing the Arab world has been for me. It made me claim my real me,” Biase recounts. She said she has had the project for over two years, but it kept being postponed, and with the pandemic, her workflow has decreased, and she decided to start it.
Biase is a self-defined Italian-descendant Brazilian with an Arab soul, and she believes her connection with the region comes from past lives. “I discuss this connection in the channel, with all the love and the respect for the Arab world. I talk about the countries I visited in the Middle East and North Africa, and I also invite guests to participate,” she said.
She intends Maktub to be a joyful, cheerful channel where she will talk about her life in perfumery, essences, dates, makeup, henna, trivia, and travel stories.
As a woman that has traveled alone to several Arab countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine and Lebanon, Biase says this arouses much curiosity and there’s still certain prejudices she intends to dispel with her videos, showing the positive experience she had in all countries she has visited.
“And I will show how all this became a job, a source of income, which started with perfumery back in 2012,” she recalled. Now Biase runs an Arab perfume store called Al Ward (Arabic for The Rose), which is closed due to the pandemic but keeps operating online. On the website, you can also buy dates and decorative objects.
“I hope the Arab community gets me and accepts me as a great admirer of this ancient culture that’s so rich, so wonderful and can’t be forgotten. This is my humble tribute to all of them. I’m not a scholar; I just want to show how the Arab world has changed my life. I am what I am now thanks to this culture,” she finished.
Watch the first episode:
Translated by Guilherme Miranda