Sexy, Smart, and Serious: How Amal Alamuddin May Have Charmed George Clooney
I can’t get Amal Alamuddin out of my head. I know by now it’s virtually old news that she and acclaimed Hollywood personality George Clooney are engaged and planning a wedding for September. But still, their story has held me captive, and I can’t but reflect and try to piece together their brief six-month courtship. I suppose it may be natural for me to do so, because I share a bit of common ground with Amal. (Hear me out before you dismiss me as being immodest!)
We are both Lebanese who spent our formative years abroad, I in the US (and a year in France), she in the UK (and at least five years in the US for grad school and early career). Amal was a star student, attending Oxford University’s St. Hugh’s College for a bachelor’s degree before matriculating to NYU Law School. At both institutes she was showered with accolades, and she even interned as a law clerk at the prestigious offices of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I, too, was a scholar, a magnet for all things academia and knowledge. With my focus solely and unwaveringly on excellence, I graduated with top honors from top schools at BS, MS, and MBA levels. Therefore, like Amal, I know the value of hard work.
Where we diverge is that Amal returned home to London after finishing her studies and a three-year law stint. I shipped out to Lebanon to realize a childhood dream of settling in my country of heritage. And thus, over this difference, my investigative spirit kicks in.
How “Lebanese” was Amal’s upbringing? Did her parents rear her and her sister Tala in the culture, rituals, and ways of the Lebanese? Did she visit relatives in Lebanon on a regular basis, perhaps in the summertime as my family did? Did she speak Arabic at home regularly? The media (and her lawyer profile page) claims she’s fluent in Arabic (and French), but is she conversational or does she speak broken Arabic? How religiously involved is Amal—does she observe Druze conventions? And just how “conservative” is her family? Does she have her own bachelorette pad in London, or is she residing with her parents, assuming they live within reasonable distance from the law firm where she works?
I did a bit of sleuthing and discovered that sister Tala is married to a fellow Lebanese by the name of Nagi Hamiyeh and is happily settled in Singapore with their two young daughters. Tala is an independent events social professional who graduated from Richmond American International University in London in 1995. Husband Nagi is a senior executive at one of the largest holding companies in Singapore. By deduction, Tala is a few years older than sister Amal.
We know that the girls’ parents laid quite a lot of emphasis, as certainly most Lebanese parents do, on education. In fact, their father Ramzi Alamuddin is a retired business professor at AUB, while mother Bariaa Miknass is a veteran journalist who is currently a correspondent and editor at Al-Hayat newspaper. The girls’ grandmother was purportedly the first female to graduate from AUB, and their uncle Akram Miknass is the CEO of a leading Lebanese advertising agency.
There is no doubt as to how accomplished Amal is professionally, and I won’t dwell on her CV, as it can be easily fetched online. What intrigues me is her character. At 36, she is sexy, confident and driven, but is she in fact a “modern” Westerner who has sloughed the comparatively archaic values of Lebanese society? More directly, did she have premarital relations—a taboo by Arab standards—with the charming Mr. Clooney? Before you accuse me of being stiff and anachronistic, let’s do some playback.
I did read that Amal, who met Clooney at a charity event, refused to take his number and made him wait a few days before responding to his recourse, an email. Surely she felt what any grounded woman not blinded by celebrity status would have felt: did she really just want to be his next plaything? Another proverbial notch on his bedpost? The rebound girl after his famous split with Stacy Keibler? Clooney had a rich history of dating gorgeous bombshells, and he’d been rather vocal about his eternal bachelor status. If Amal was even half as serious about personal stability as she was about her career, then why would she want to get entangled with a man, no matter how wealthy and renowned, who could promise her neither domestic bliss nor permanent commitment?
The way I see it, Amal resisted Clooney’s advances and remained level-headed until she secured his unquestionable sincerity. She introduced him early on to her family and her values, and he reciprocated. She undoubtedly laid it out for him and gave him the choice. He fell in love with her and couldn’t wait to be with her. And she didn’t sell herself short. Perhaps that’s how Amal landed an engagement ring after just six months of dating. Amal’s likely chastity may have also driven Clooney to want to tie the knot as soon as possible, because why wed so soon when you’re getting all the benefits of married life sans the vows? In this age of “taking it slowly,” a marriage within a year of the iconic first date is unheard of.
So in the end, our dear Mr. Clooney proved to be the gentleman the world has long touted him to be. And Amal, for her part, held our heads up high, because she wouldn’t allow name or fame to seduce her so easily. She kept her bearings about her, clung fiercely to her values, and reeled in one of Hollywood’s most alluring and elusive catches. Ultimately, Amal showed the world that smart, sexy and serious Lebanese girls got game.
I think the best thing Amal has going for her is a very strong PR!ReplyDelete
If Amal is all that she's made to be, why is she single at almost 40?? In Middle Eastern standards she's not really pretty, stylish perhaps ( I'm not crazy about her style either, tries too hard) unhealthy- thin, thyroid-eyes and yes compared to Clooney's ex's, she's educated, but as the writer says so are so many other women…so it is indeed puzzling, she definitely played her cards right because she's not such a catch, if she was she wouldn't be single!ReplyDelete
Yes, she is terribly scrawny, isn't she! Fragile-like. By Lebanese standards, she would be considered past her prime, and as you said, there are many highly-educated, accomplished women like her. But I suppose because she's such a major foil to Clooney's usual blonde beauties who aren't notably intelligent, the media and the world (and Clooney) have fallen in love with her.Delete
Like they all say.. love happens when its unexpected.. and count in a lil bit of luck and :) timing.ReplyDelete
This lady comes from a wealthy family and if look at her and read her life story and resumé, she is a product from the West.Don't expect her to follow some rules.What truly matters is their happiness, let us hope for a true love story with a happy ending. :)ReplyDelete
Hi there, I am of Lebanese decent and I can only say one thing is for sure that the Lebanese women are very smart (meaning bright) and not to mention loyal and beautiful. And it is a known fact the the Lebanese are the best dressed and best cooks ever. I am married to an Irishman for almost 40 years and we are still very much in love. So I can only say one thing is for sure this marriage will last given the she is Lebanese and he is of Irish decent. Oh by the way she is not scrawny . I am just as slender as she is and I always make sure I look the part. I am Lebanese of you please!ReplyDelete
My grandparents were married for almost 50 years and she was Irish & he was Lebanese.Delete
wow. I can only say that the Irish Lebanese combo is fantastic and although they are miles apart their morels are the same and they have alot in common. I can only say good things about this wedding and it will last. Good luck to both of them.Delete
Lot of talk about her boyfriends from Oxford days to New York before Clooney going around internet, for one Javier Laroche, few married men and many others apparently! She is British more than Lebanese I guess. I think she played the game well with this guy introducing the family quickly, going on family vacation in Seychelles,African safari, Italy etc well matched for his usual tactics, game over for GC! :)ReplyDelete
Tala has 12 yr old daughter and twin sons. Read that she is divorced and has a Italian fiance now called Nico...Good luck to both sisters, hope they are happy.
who were her boyfriends???? Please, write.Delete
I think you missed the point the writer was making. By sticking to the deep rooted and principled attributes of honor found in the Middle East, Amal was able to land the eternal bachlor. The reason? She didn't sleep with him!!!!!!!! So she may have many "Western" attributes, but she is a true beauty and honor of the Middle East.ReplyDelete
But how do you know if she slept with him or not? I mean unless you were physically present you can not say that definitively. Same goes for sticking to as you put it, "deep rooted and principled attributes of honor found in the Middle East", because you simply don't know her. Because you view Western attributes (whatever that is) as negative, does not mean she does. But sex is a personal matter and I dont expect her to parade her sexlife around.Delete
This is ridiculous. I would hope that Ms. Alamuddin had "premarital relations" with Mr. Clooney before she married him. I am also certain that she had her own home, and did NOT live with her parents. She is smart, sophisticated, and has been abroad in the world for quite sometime. I think it is insulting for the author of this blog to tie her "honor" to her chastity. She was raised and educated almost entirely in the U.K. and the U.S.; I would assume she lived her life the way most normal Western women do - by dating (and probably sleeping with) many men. And that is proper and appropriate. I, for one, celebrate her freedom. She has had the change to get to know many men - and to get to know herself through those relationships, and also by developing her own life.ReplyDelete
In contrast, I have noticed that most Middle Eastern women I have met who were raised "conservatively" have had a very difficult time with their relationships. If you don't date a lot of men before you settle down, it is hard to understand what personality works best for you. Most of my Middle Eastern and Indian friends who had arranged marriages and did not date have been through some difficult times. In fact, many have had to get a divorce because the living situation was simply untenable, and they were utterly unprepared for the reality of their future spouse.
With that in mind, I think it's also ludicrous for the author of this blog to suggest that Ms. Alamuddin was able to reel Mr. Clooney in by not sleeping with him immediately and by introducing him to her family. If only it were that easy. A-list men (and by that, I mean men who have a lot of power, or a lot of money, or both) are very difficult to land, no matter how beautiful or smart you are. And after you have "landed" them, it takes a lot to keep them around. But one thing is for sure: you don't get a "hard to get" man by playing "hard to get". He simply has too many options.
The bottom line is that Mr. Clooney married Ms. Alamuddin because she brings skills to the table that he does not have but is fascinated by: she has an intellectual background, and she has a Middle Eastern background. Mr. Clooney has long been fascinated by current events, and is even more fascinated by the Middle East. By marrying Ms. Alamuddin, he gets to access a world that Westerners only read about in the newspaper. He also gets to rebrand himself. After nearly 30 years of sleeping with as many women as he wanted, he had established himself as a cad and a playboy. There's nothing wrong with that image when you are in your 40s and younger, but older men who sleep with hordes of women tend to look like dirty old men. It's bad for your box office image. So, Mr. Clooney rebranded himself: by marrying Ms. Alamuddin, he looks like he has a serious and sensitive side; you can't label him a playboy and a lightweight anymore. Not with a wife like Ms. Alamuddin. It's win-win for both.
Many of your arguments are inherently flawed because your conclusions do not follow from the premises you set forth, and you stereotype quite liberally. For example, you say “most normal Western women [date] and probably [sleep] with many men. And that is proper and appropriate.” Really? Can you be so bold as to speak on behalf of “normal Western women,” whatever that means? How do you know their sleeping habits? And who is contrasting Amal with Western women anyway? I merely suggested she was more self-restrained in her doings, but by all standards and measures, Amal fits in the category of Western woman. She was raised in the UK after all, and she lived nearly her entire existence between the US and UK.Delete
You also imply that divorce rates in the Middle East and India are higher than in the Western world. Check your figures. That couldn’t be farther than reality. Besides, no one is arguing against the benefits of dating, namely becoming acquainted with what personality type is compatible with yours and who you could potentially share a life with. Dating and bedding someone are two different concepts.
I’d like to add that Lebanon—from where Amal hails—is very modern and Western by several standards. People here date regularly, as in other parts of the world, and while premarital relations are not unheard of, they tend to be frowned upon and discouraged. Arranged marriages are reserved to a numbered group of very orthodox communities, but in no way are they the norm.
I seriously doubt George and Amal tied the knot purely out of self-interest, as you suggest. Do you really think George needed Amal to clear his playboy image and to get access to the Middle East? He need not do either—he was highly successful and beloved by the world exactly as he was. If any judgment was passed on George, it was rather favorable. Switching the spotlight back to Amal, what precisely did she gain in the match, which you dub “win-win for both”?
Amal looks so much like a man. she has no resemblance of her parents whatsoever(just compare their looks). Also what are her professional accomplishments? Name the cases she won. She lost all of them. For a lawyer it's not on what cases she was but what and how many (out of total number) she WON. Please enlighten me.ReplyDelete
Your speculation is immodest, vulgar, and perverted. How about having some manners and simply saying you are proud that someone who you relate to is being celebrated for her accomplishments? Amal Clooney's accomplishments can be tied to honor -- the rest of her personal life, convictions, family affairs and choices are strictly her business.ReplyDelete
A fellow Lebanese
If I weren't so fiercely proud of Mrs. Clooney and her accomplishments, do you think I would have dedicated this and several other posts to her?Delete
Allow me to enlighten you:
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to infer through inductive reasoning how much I admire Amal.