Legendary actor Omar Sharif and famous filmmaker Jim Sheridan speak to Danae Mercer about Arabic cinema, prejudice and the potential for change. Over the last few years, Arabic performers kept coming to six-time Oscar nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan with a problem. “They kept saying to me: ‘the only guy we get is the bombing Arab,’” explains Sheridan. Somewhere along the line, Arabic actors “went from being the exotic seductive Sikh to a… Read More

Delicious dishes, relaxing massages, spiralling markets – Bangkok has it all. Hello! scopes out how to savour this unique city. This article by me originally appeared in the October 2nd issue of Hello! magazine.

When the lights go down, the jazz in New Orleans heats up… “Jazz is the heart and soul of New Orleans. It mixes with New Orleans because it is the soundtrack of New Orleans – without jazz, there is no New Orleans,” explains Irvin Mayfield, a jazz trumpeter with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Mayfield began playing jazz as a young child (“after seeing the success a friend of mine was having… Read More

In Dubai, I grocery shop most days. Stores are everywhere. Produce doesn’t last very long. And the weather’s too hot and food too heavy for massive bulk trips. Then when I’m feeling a bit lazy, I just pick up my phone, place an order, and have the store come to me. The entire process of shopping is one of the most intimate parts of living in a new city. It’s something I love, something I’ve… Read More

Celebrity Julia Stiles has a long history with the theatre.  For Phoenix the play, Stiles steps back on the stage. In this exclusive interview, Stiles tells Danae Mercer what it’s like to work with good friends, why Jennifer DeLia is a name to know, and just what she’s up to next. Click here for a PDF. Jennifer DeLia awoke one day in April and grabbed her phone. Moments later, Julia Stiles received… Read More

Take tons of giant trampolines. Mix in brightly coloured socks. Encourage adults to come. And you’ve got the recipe for Bounce, a fairly new trampoline park in Dubai. On one sleepy Friday, a group of nine friends and I hopped on down to Bounce (…yes, I know) to give it a go. Here are some thoughts. Location Near Mall of the Emirates, Bounce rests in the relatively hard-to-get-a-taxi land of Al Quoz…. Read More

I lost my phone last night. It was my own fault. A friend and I were at brunch, one of those dangerous affairs that sprawls into dinner. I kept snapping pictures to help me remember the course after course that came out. And somewhere, somewhere between the mains and desserts, I forgot to nudge my phone back into my bag. I lost it. Forgot it. In London, I would have to count… Read More

The website says that Physique 57 a barre-based workout that incorporates cardio, strength, stretching and recovery to rapidly transform your body. Friends said that Physique 57 was a brutal workout that “made me crash my car,” “left me shaking,” “is tougher than Fly Wheel”. So I did the only obvious thing: at 11:30am on Saturday, I went. Location Nestled near DIFC in Dubai, the studio was fairly small. It had the high-end… Read More

Lasting a month, Ramadan is a time when Muslims reflect upon their faith. So what’s it like as an expat in the UAE? For the entire month, pretty much no one – including Westerners – is allowed to eat or drink during the day in public, from the time sun comes up until it drops down again. Smoking is limited, and live music is pretty much stopped (save for the gentle strumming of… Read More

The glamour of the stage looks charmingly effortless. What happens behind the scenes is anything but. Experts from Cirque du Soleil and London’s Royal Opera House discuss. This article originally appeared in Jumeirah magazine in the July/August 2014 issue. When the house falls silent and the curtain slides back, an opera singer waits on stage, his face upturned, his hands by his sides. An acrobat is poised, ready for the dive. A… Read More


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