The incredible Neetu Bhatia and her journey as Dubai’s leading Makeup Artist

Neetu Bhatia

This interview is very close to my heart for many reasons, today I’d like to share how Neetu made my dream turn in to a reality. Our first meeting was back in 2009 when I was planning the very first Fashion For All ( A unique fashion show that highlighted women from all ages, ethnicities and sizes) our motto was beauty without boundaries. I was a 29yr old entrepreneur challenging beauty norms and Neetu was a bright and talented makeup artist. Over a cup of coffee we decided to join hands and change the fashion world in the UAE. Neetu worked backstage tirelessly with over 50 models and till date, it is our best FFA thanks to all the love and support!

The beginning

Beauty, Skincare and self grooming have been a been part of my youth. Right through my teen years and today I have always believed; to look good and stay ready, you never know when you will meet destiny. 

I used to sketch a lot and after getting my beauty diploma, makeup fascinated me on how it brought about so much confidence in a person.

Unforgettable moments

My first fashion show (Fashion For All) with Zareen Khan. She was super kind to take me on as a newbie and I never looked back because it gave me so much confidence to go on my own path.

Neetu at Fashion For All

My very first bride. She met me and hired me on the spot right after a meeting with me. There was no trial, it was a straight booking. I started my life long love for bridal makeup. The complete process of getting a brides ready is the most satisfying for me. 

My first Indian bride. Was super sweet & became a friend for life. After her, I have done makeup for every bride in that family.

My first destination bride. It was in Bali. I did makeup for her and two sisters and her mother. Gorgeous and kind family, we are still in touch. 

Such an amazing time I had, fell in love with Bali and since then Ive been there twice.

Another highlight was working with Emirates airline as one of their hair and makeup artists. I remember being so naive and didn’t know what to expect. This job elevated my own experience as a makeup artist and offered me so much knowledge on how to better represent myself. And boy! This was one was a hard job to do with long hours but so satisfying to see the results. I’m still in awe of the airline when I saw how much went into building their own brand image. I was later hired by the airline to work on their commercial that aired on all in-flights of Emirates Airline. This was another proud moment for me. It was a 22 hour job that I loved!

Another memorable project was doing makeup for Atif Aslam. His brother called me and asked me to do his makeup. For me, it was just another job and I went around 10pm after a long day of another job; to his hotel. I did his makeup and he was super generous to give me his concert tickets. Now this was over 10 years ago and I had not heard of him or his music and told him that directlyAfter that, I started listening to his music and now? I’m a HUGE FAN! One of my goals is to have him sing for me at a private event.

Another client that makes me smile is Divya Khosla, the Bollywood actress/producer. Such a humble person and so beautiful. 

Having said that, all clients have been amazing and am humbled with the trust they place in me and my art. 

You can follow Neetu’s work on instagram: @neetubhatiaartistry

4get-me-not pays tribute with Art by Alia Al Hammadi for Worlds Alzheimer’s Day

Celebrated local digital artist Alia Al Hammadi honors seniors with her art for 4get-me-not

World Alzheimer’s Day will be commemorated on the 21st of September 2021across the globe. 4get-me-not, a social enterprise based in the UAE is marking this special day with art. 4get-me-not has commissioned an illustration of the organization’s senior members by Sharjah based digital artist Alia Al Hammadi to honor the lives of the elderly living in the UAE and to create awareness about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 

“4get-me-not is determined to raise awareness on Alzheimer’s disease and promote quality of life for seniors and caregivers in the UAE since 2013; we make efforts throughout the year to host events and create opportunities to talk about the effects of Alzheimer’s on the community. This year we wanted to honor our senior citizens for World Alzheimer’s day and what better way to immortalize our cause than by having an Artwork created just for them, all the characters in the artwork are inspired by our real members. We were very fortunate to have Ms. Alia Al Hammadi on board with us to create such a thought-provoking illustration for a good cause!” ~ Desiree Vlekken – Founder of 4get-me-not

For the month of September, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the global federation of over 100 Alzheimer’s and dementia associations across the world including 4get-me-not Alzheimer’s, are encouraging everyone to know about Dementia and Alzheimer’s; by spotting the warning signs of dementia and to seeking information, advice and support that can potentially lead to a timely diagnosis. 4get-me-not has been working with various International organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) London office, Dementia Friends of Alzheimer’s Society UK and World Health Organization (WHO) through its Eastern Mediterranean Office, to build a vibrant community that addresses Alzheimer’s in a preventive, holistic and innovative ways.

About Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)

ADI is the international federation of 105 Alzheimer associations and federations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI’s vision is prevention, care and inclusion today, and cure tomorrow. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. ADI works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for persons with dementia and their care partners, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change. For more information, please visit www.alzint.org  

About 4get-me-not Alzheimer’s

4get-me-not, the only Social Enterprise in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East which focuses on seniors (60 years old and above) as part of its mission to address Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), was launched in 2013. It’s Founder – Desirée Vlekken, belongs to a community touched by AD where both her father and father-in-law drew inspiration to create a social platform for families and caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.

4get-me-not creates a positive impact to the society, particularly the senior community by creating awareness on the importance of giving proper attention to their wellbeing and quality of life as one of the means to prevent AD. Positive lifestyle approaches are considered to help seniors cope with physical and cognitive changes. http://www.4get-me-not.org

For more press information, please contact:  Zareen Khan – W2W events & pr – Email:zareen@w2wevents.com  

Featuring the Singapore based musician “Tejpreet Kaur” and her devotion to her beloved “Rabab”

The beginning

I have been very fortunate for being raised in a family of music lovers. From a very young age, my siblings and I were encouraged to learn a musical instrument. In fact my brother, father and sister all play the tabla and I am the only string instrument player in the family. Music holds a very sacred place in the Sikh culture and my journey started with reciting holy hymns in the Gurdwara.

One of my biggest supporters are my mother and my paternal grandmother. They are like my Rabab managers and are a constant source of support and guidance, and at times they are also my critics, which pushes me to challenge myself and grow.

Musically inclined

When I was in primary school, I was in an ensemble, where I played handbells for four years. It was also a time when I learnt to read musical notes and began to have an understanding of Western music, all of which helped shape and influence my music today. As a teenager, I played the harmonium and along with that, I also pursued Hindustani classical vocal training and classical Indian dance (Khatak). My second instrument is the Dilruba, which I played for 5 to 6 years before picking up the Rabab.

Love at first strum with the “Rabab”

“Rabab” has a sacred place in Sikh tradition, as it was the first instrument used by Bhai Mardana, a companion of Guru Nanak. Whenever a shabad was revealed to Guru Nanak, he would sing and Bhai Mardana would play on his Rabab, and hence was known as a rababi. Interestingly, when I would occasionally hear the Rabab playing around me, it did not have any impact on me until I heard it being played on Coke Studio Pakistan. That truly changed my perception of how it sounded and I found myself drawn to the sound. I started listening to more songs that used this magical instrument and slowly but surely I found myself wanting to learn how to play it myself. Initially I didn’t own a Rabab of my own, so to learn and play, I would go to the music academy at the Gurdwara, where I took weekly classes. I remember feeling excited every day after school, to run over to the Gurdwara and get my hands on the Rabab. It almost felt like my “Pehla Pehla pyaar”. I had never experienced this kind of excitement before and I worked hard to learn more and get better at playing it.

It was 5th September 2019 when I picked up the Rabab and instantly within a few weeks of lessons with my Ustad, I fell in love with it. It was a very special moment for me. It fit, it really fit. The whole Rabab, the sound and the texture of the music was soft and sweet. My favorite raags to play are Raag Jog & Raag Miyan Ki Malhar.

I have been very fortunate to have been invited to perform live. One of my performances was in front of the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore for the museum exhibition’s grand opening and my second performance was at the hall of the Gurdwara. It was special for me as it was the first time that I performed at a large scale event in Singapore.

Guiding lights

The more I learnt to play, the more inspired I was by the incredible musicians around me. I found videos of a very gifted Afghani Rabab player, Ustad Homayoun Sakhi on instagram (@homayounsakhi) and what I loved about his videos is that when he played, he would constantly smile, as if being transcended through his music. Currently I am grateful for being guided by two Ustads- Ustad Jatinder Singh based in Singapore (@angadsingh1) and Ustad Bilal Khan based in Pakistan (@bilalkhanbilal_official). I take online classes with Ustad Bilal Khan and his adoration and respect for Hindustani classics is truly heartening to see. As an artist myself, I have always dreamt of peace between the two nations (India and Pakistan) and have come to believe that music transcends borders.  I feel that music bridges the gap between nations.

My dream

I feel at peace when I play the Rabab. When I am sad, it is my place of happiness. When I am homesick, it takes me home. It is my healer in times of stress. My dream is to achieve world peace through music. I envision myself performing worldwide and uniting the world through music.

To follow Tejpreet’s music on instagram: @she_rababi

This was an interview was conducted by Zareen Khan from @w2wevents

For more information & stories – email: zareen@w2wevents.co