“After high school in Lebanon I studied Business Administration with a major in Finance. I graduated with Honors. I am also a MBA graduate from the Lebanese American University. I wished to become a global citizen and so I pursued an international degree which would give me opportunities to live and work all over the world.”
“At a very young age, my passion for fashion started, maybe already in my mom’s womb. When my parents hosted dinner parties at home or when I was just a bit bored, I disappeared and emerged back to the festivities with make-up, high heels and accessories, borrowed from my mother’s wardrobe. I enjoyed dressing up and being glamorous, it became a creative outlet for me.” Talar met her future husband in Lebanon. At that time he was already living in Thailand, but often returned home to visit his family. Says Talar: “We happened to meet through a good, common friend.
“Two years before I met my husband, I visited Thailand and immediately fell in love with the country and the beautiful and serene culture. I especially fell in love with Bangkok’s bustling vibe. I remember during my first visit I made a wish at one of the shrines to come back and live here. Two years later I met my husband who had already built a life in Bangkok.
“After courting for two years we decided to get married and live in Bangkok. My wish was fulfilled when I settled here in 2008.
“Although I was educated as a banker, I have always followed fashion trends very closely. Lebanon, in my eyes, has always been up to date in the fashion arena for both women and men. I grew up amongst a diverse community of people who reveled in fashion. For us it was normal to always dress up. My upbringing in Lebanon honed in on my ability to absorb what was in-trend and what to wear, and I learned how to become creative with my own style preferences.
“When I made the transitional move to Bangkok, I left behind not only my family and friends, but also a successful career in the finance world. It was a big change from being at home in Lebanon. My husband is a successful business man and I often accompany him to work functions as well as to private dinners and events.
“I noticed at an early stage, that people didn’t know my name, I was only seen as my husband’s beautiful wife and people called me ‘khon suay’ which in Thai means ‘beautiful person’. Nobody seemed to know I was a banker by profession. I decided that ‘beauty on the outside’ was definitely not enough for me.
“I knew I had a calling and the desire to be something more than just a pretty face and my husband’s beauty queen.
“I strived to create a life for myself that would empower me and other women. Beauty isn’t the only constant in one’s life. With the birth of my three children, I knew I couldn’t just accept being ‘khon suay’. I felt I was destined for something more. I wanted people to debate with me about life, current affairs, the news, fashion and motherhood among other topics.
“I am a woman who has seen and lived through a war, experienced poverty, achieved a degree and got a job without my parent’s guidance.
“I didn’t accept being just a beautiful frame to decorate my husband. It was time for me to transform and I enrolled into a life coaching program in 2014 and soon I was ready to help others. My long term vision is to be a role model.”
Today Talar is involved in a project called ‘Women Uplift Women’ founded by Natalie Glebova and Dr. Patama Mokaves Dumas. The purpose of this foundation is to address intra-gender equally issues, while encouraging all women to raise one another and treat each other with respect.
“Personally I don’t believe in total equality between men and women. We have to accept that our DNAs are different.
We women have the power to give life, but of course we couldn’t do it without the men. To me it’s important that a woman stays and behaves feminine. Women should celebrate each other and strive to give each other esteem while working in unison with each other for a greater purpose. We are all worth it.”
It was against this background that Talar launched her ‘Be a Starlette’ blog. “To me all women are beautiful,” she says. “And if they take good care of themselves and allow themselves some ‘me time’ it’s easier to feel beautiful and happy.
“To be a happy person is a state of mind and if we allow ourselves to dress up, while possessing a positive attitude, there is no reason we shouldn’t feel like a Starlette. My mission is to let women know that motherhood, being newlywed or single, should not alter our inner resilience. In my blog I discuss: fashion trends, beauty, and women’s most common concerns like wrinkles, menopause, cellulitis, stretch marks and motherhood. I share information about all the products I use and I share techniques on how to keep healthy and fit.
“We all have our bad and good days, so with my blog I show my followers that vulnerability is okay. It’s my absolute belief that we can be happy from the inside out and vice versa.”
When asked what Talar focuses is on the most nowadays, the reply comes rapidly, “Motherhood is my essential role and my three kids are the light of my life. Looking at them I know they are our future and I want them growing up knowing that life has its ups and downs and family always remains constant.
“Occasionally my social life by my husband’s side can be very hectic and to balance home life and work has been quite a challenge. I try to be completely present at each moment, which makes me feel satisfied and happy. Through
my blog I want to provide the right message to the world. I’m focusing on organizing events for women covering important topics like health, style and beauty. I will host workshops in Thailand soon.
“Stay tuned,” she says. “My goal is to change more people’s lives for the better. I often remind people – what would you lose if you try or don’t try?
“I also want to round up more fashion events here in Thailand similar to those hosted in cities like New York, Paris, and London and also of course, Lebanon. Fashion brings us all together.
“My future goal is to create a ‘fashionable’ platform with Be a Starlette, which represents a life changing resource and a solution to many women’s concerns. It’s important for me to be a positive role model for my children and their friends.”
Talar is fortunate in having lots of opportunities to meet interesting and role-model people. “Every day I try to learn something. I have met politicians, celebrities and even royals, and I have come to understand that when you are face to face with these people, you feel that they are totally human, some of them fragile, which can be very different from the image they portrait in public.” If Talar could pick one woman to enjoy a private dinner with, who would it be? “Oprah Winfrey,” she responds without hesitation.
“Since I was a young girl living in Lebanon I have admired her. Meeting Oprah would be my ultimate dream. She has lots of power and charisma. If I had a choice to dress her, I would imagine her in an elegant, classic suit.
She is a woman who keeps up with fashion trends, especially when it comes to her make-up, hair and clothes. “Jennifer Lopez represents a hard working woman, and I really admire her. She’s not only beautiful, but also a mother of two children, a singer and actress. This woman sets people’s hearts on fire. Her hours of hard work and the dedication behind her success is truly commendable.
She has a talent for discovering new and upcoming designers’ talents and she seems not to have any issues working with them, instead of playing it safe and sticking with the known, big brands. She doesn’t forget where she comes from and she reminds everyone that poverty is a state of mind. She nails everything she does.”
As talented and beautiful woman, one wonders whether Talar senses jealousy from other women. Talar says she was born with a ‘sixth sense’ about people and their thoughts.
“Of course I sometimes both sense and feel jealousy from others and I try not to give it too much attention. I try to make those women comfortable with me and also try to improve their self-confidence. I remind people that I’m not at all perfect and that I also have lots of faults and sometimes a less ‘pretty side’. That’s what makes us human, isn’t it?
“I respect other people’s feelings and accept their choice if they choose not to be around me. If a woman comes up to me saying, she is jealous of me, I think it’s bizarre. I absolutely don’t want women to think I’m a threat to them. I let them know I also have my insecurities and that I don’t see myself as perfect.
“I remind myself and people who are close to me that we are all a work in progress. You can’t please everybody unfortunately, as we all have different priorities in life.” What are her recommendations for women to ‘look good’?
“Good health should be the first priority in everyone’s life; then beauty comes from the inside. I recommend that everyone should adopt a healthy lifestyle, invest in yourself, learn something new every day, eat healthy, work out and exercise your brain as well as your body. To dress appropriately and beautifully is part of the image you reflect to the outside world. Looking after your complexion should be a lifelong process, but must not reach an obsession.” Does Talar get any time off? Has she time to follow a sport or hobby?
“Of course I wish I had more time,” says Talar. “I’m always busy creating projects for myself and my family. Before I had the kids, I used to read lots of books and I also performed Latin dance and ballet. I stopped this because of my studies and lack of time. Currently I have some projects in the pipeline, relating to health and wellbeing. For my next big project in Bangkok, I will be hosting and organizing an event for International Woman’s Day in March 2020.
“I already have a solid idea in mind for this event and I’m really looking forward to getting started. This event includes both men and women from our community and it will be a lot of fun. I will soon reveal the details, so folks, stay tuned!”
Agneta Bekassy De Bekas