Queen of the event scene, British-born PR director Shimaa Elsayed is one of this region’s most beautiful women… whilst she can thank her Egyptian heritage for her piercing green eyes, olive skin and flowing dark hair, her stunning physique owes more to hard-work and a dedicated training regime. Sand & Smoke catches up with the 35 year-old beauty to discuss her daily routine and how she stays in shape both physically and mentally…


Top & Bottoms, Shimaa’s own. Trainers, NEW BALANCE.


I grew up being one of those really lucky girls who could eat as much as I wanted and never put on weight. That lasted through my twenties, but suddenly changed in my early 30’s…

It was after my best friend’s wedding in Cape Town, when I saw photos from the wedding and realised, that I had put on weight,  I decided to explore something different and that’s when I discovered pilates reformer. I wanted to try something that was a little out of the ordinary and a form of exercise which would allow me to evolve. Now, I am obsessed.

This year I have tried to mix things up to achieve an exciting but well-rounded exercise routine. I go to Mojo for pilates reformer classes twice a week. I try to go to Flywheel once a week. I love FlyBarre and recently joined a class with Celebrity instructor Todd Allen, who flew in from New York. It was a super class with such great energy… he actually inspired me to become an instructor one day. I go to Fitness First gym twice a week. There, I love using the power plate, the cross trainer, lifting weights (arms & legs) and working my abs on the mat. I also tried aerial yoga recently at Fitrepublik, which was a really fun and rewarding experience. I plan on trying it again. I really believe that taking your time doing exercises correctly and perfecting your form is much better than doing more reps and compromising on form.

Top, MICHI at Hautletic


I am more about eating what I want, but exercising portion control…

Enjoying what I am eating is key, I really don’t believe in depriving myself. Life is not fun without consuming the food that we love. Typically, my day starts with a banana and a handful of almonds followed by a red apple with two tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter a couple of hours later with a Green Tea and Lemon. For lunch, I usually have a balanced meal from Kcal or a hearty soup from Richy’s. I love the Thai Green Chicken Curry and brown rice from Kcal– it’s so tasty. My afternoon snack is a cup of pomegranate seeds, it’s definitely one of my favorite fruits and I always fit a coconut water in there somewhere. At night, I like to have a salad, preferably with tuna or a fillet of fish and vegetables. A cheat day would probably involve Shake Shack.

Top, URBAN OUTFITTERS. Bottoms, Shimaa’s own


I try to always look well put together, chic and elegant, I stick to pieces that flatter my figure and not necessarily styles that are completely on-trend…

My go-to brand has always been TopShop. I love the way their pieces fit me. I like that they closely follow runway trends and that they are so decently priced. When I fancy indulging, I love Chloé and the timeless elegance and felinity that is instilled in every piece of every collection. I believe in being comfortable in your own skin. Don’t try to be like anyone or imitate anyone. You’re setting yourself up for failure. Learn from people, but avoid trying to be like them. For working out, I like to mix and match, I have pieces from Nike, Reebok, Lulu Lemon, and Victoria Secret.

shimaaimage-7 colour


Beauty is from within and so if you are not content on the inside, you will never be content with the outside. Love yourself and your skin. Treat it well…

I wash my face in the morning with Chanel Rinse-Off Foaming Mousse. Then apply Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. I am using Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Lightweight Cream on my face and Natura Bisse Diamond Extreme on my eyes. Always Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on my lips and Kiehl’s hand salve on my hands. At night, I wash my face with Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator, and apply Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye and Concentrate.


Top & bottoms, Shimaa’s own


With every year that passes, I realise more and more how closely linked emotional wellness is to physical wellness…

Good health certainly starts with emotional wellness. Being good to yourself is the best start to any journey to better health and wellness. This year, I am trying to dedicate more time to loving myself and my body.

In Dubai, I also absolutely love working at Manzil Downtown Hotel. It has such a great courtyard that seems to make all your troubles evaporate. Such a calm, serene place!!

Top, VERSACE. Shorts, Shimaa’s own. Trainers, NEW BALANCE


Listen to good music

Drink coconut water

Wear bright trendy trainers

Surround yourself with good energy

Always smile

Photography by Juliet Dunne

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