DUBAI: Lebanese actress Cynthia Samuel is currently in Italy attending the 77th edition of the annual Venice Film Festival and she couldn’t be more excited. For the 25-year-old, the “opportunity to attend the Venice Film Festival has been a major career highlight,” she told Arab News.

“I’m just trying my best to enjoy it,” said the actress, who attended the premiere of Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” wearing a navy blue ball gown from Beirut-based designer Aboud Jammal on Friday.

According to the star, the Italian get-away was very much last-minute. “We found out that we were going to the Venice Film Festival a week ago,” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wasn’t going to deny (it) so I immediately said yes.”

Cynthia Samuel wearing Aboud Jammal at the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival. Getty

Typically, Samuel starts preparing for major red carpet events at least a month in advance, however, she only had a single afternoon to get ready for this year’s festivities in Venice.

“I had a Friday to get together 4-5 looks by different designers and prep my red carpet looks and my schedule so it was stressful,” she said, adding “but at the end I’m happy with how it turned out.”

In addition to couture gowns from the likes of Georges Hobeika and Aboud Jammal, her suitcase was stocked with travel essentials that included medical-grade face masks and gloves, hand sanitizer and “anything that makes me feel safe for the trip,” she explained.

As the first major international event to take place after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic in early spring, it certainly wasn’t without its obstacles. “We got to the airport and we got news that, apparently, they weren’t letting people into Milan,” revealed Samuel. “So, we were stuck in the airport for two-and-a-half hours thinking ‘what are we going to do?’”

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Fortunately, the actress was able to make it through and celebrated by shutting down the red carpet.

Between posing for selfies and sightseeing, she is making the most of her time in the Italian city. Miss Universe Lebanon 2015 admits that she will make sure to return to Venice. “My schedule is pretty hectic so if I don’t get to go to amazing spots this time around,  I’m going to make sure to put Venice on my travel bucket list for next time,” she said.

When asked how she keeps her energy levels up in between the photo calls, red carpets and premieres, Samuel revealed that she simply reminds herself to be grateful. “Events and photoshoots are very exhausting, so the first thing I always keep in mind is to be happy that I’m there in the first place,” she said. “If I feel super exhausted, I’ll hydrate with some water, have a little snack or put some music on to uplift my mood,” she added.

As for her red carpet must-haves? “A smile, good attitude and an amazing look.”



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