Filipinos are naturally beautiful with or without a mixed heritage, we are all unique and diverse in our features, and that is what makes them stand out whether you’re in the Philippines or an OFW abroad.
If you ever watched your favorite celebrity or a rising influencer on TV or social media and noticed they must have a mixed heritage with their distinct features and foreign-sounding names. Before finding yourself in the guessing game of their mixed heritage. Here are the top Filipino celebrities who have Arab or Middle Eastern origins.
1. Jessy Mendiola
Jessy is one of the well-known Filipina actresses in the Philippines. When her father was stationed in Dubai, Jessica Mendiola Tawile, most commonly known by her screen name Jessy Mendiola was born in Dubai to a Filipino mother and a Lebanese-British father, making her the middle child of three. She was three years old at the time, and she and her older sister Pamela were sent to the Philippines by their mother.
After discovering her father’s infidelity, her mother decided to abandon him. Megan, Jessy’s younger sister, was born in Mexico, where their parents reconciled before splitting up again for mysterious reasons. Her father, a marine anthropologist, is stationed abroad, but they keep in regular contact. She had just returned from a trip to Dubai with her husband Luis Manzano, where she saw her dad and other relatives and shared her journey in her vlog.
2. Sarah Lahbati
On October 9, 1993, Sarah Lahbati was born in Geneva, Switzerland. Currently, she is 29 years old, and she’s a loving wife to Richard Gutierrez; she has two sons. Sarah’s parents are Esther and Abdel Lahbati. The fashion influencer, actress, and model also hold Swiss citizenship. She held her 21st birthday party with a Moroccan theme in honor of her ethnicity last 2019.
3. Mary Jean Lastimosa
Born to a Filipina mother and a Saudi Arabian father on November 23, 1987, Mary Jean Ramirez Lastimosa has Filipino and Arab ancestry.
She is known by her stage name MJ Lastimosa, she is a Filipina engineer, Eat Bulaga host, actor, and TV show presenter who won the 2014 Miss Universe Philippines competition. She competed on behalf of the Philippines at the 2014 Miss Universe pageant, where she advanced to the top 10 semifinals.
4. Gazini Ganados
Another beauty pageant titleholder who has Arabic descent. Model and beauty queen Gazini Christiana Jordi Acopiado Ganados is Palestinian and Filipina by birth. Her parents, a Palestinian father, and a Filipina mother, lived together when she was born in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. The grandparents on Ganados’ mother’s side raised her. When Ganados was in sixth grade, her family made a move to the city of Talisay on the island of Cebu.
5. Ivana Alawi
Mariam Sameer said Sayed Marbella Al-Alawi was born on December 25, 1996. She is a Filipino-Moroccan actress, model, and YouTuber known locally by her screen name, Ivana Alawi. She is also the CEO of Ivana Skin, her line of skin care products.
Alawi was born in Bahrain to a mother from the Philippines and a father from Morocco. After her parents broke up, Alawi, who was seven years old, flew to the Philippines by herself to live with her mother. She had several part-time jobs to help her family financially in the Philippines. She is the third child of four, and all of her father’s money went to her. She shared her acquired property in her one of her vlogs.
Ivana is the Filipino celebrity with the most subscribers on YouTube. She is seen as one of the most influential people on social media today. At the PMPC Star Awards for Television in 2019, she won “Best New Female TV Personality.” In 2021, TC Candler’s list of the “100 Most Beautiful Faces in the World” put Alawi at number four. Google gave her the “Top YouTube Content Creator” award in the Philippines for two years straight.
6. Yasmien Kurdi
Yasmien Yuson Kurdi-Soldevilla was born to a Muslim father, Mohammad Kurdi, and an Iglesia ni Cristo mother, Miriam Ong-Yuson. Her mother’s family is from China, and her father is Lebanese.
She lived in Kuwait for the better part of her childhood, thanks to her father’s job, and she witnessed the Gulf War firsthand while she was there. Before she joined StarStruck, she sang in her church’s youth choir. Her formal education began at Jabriya Indian School, continued at Angelicum College, and graduated with a degree in political science from Arellano University, from which she graduated magna cumlaude.
7. Dawn Zulueta
Are you a big fan of the Chardawn love team way back in the 90s or mesmerized by the beauty of Dawn Zulueta? She’s still stunning; even now, she embraces her gray hair. Dawn Zulueta, whose real name is Marie Rachel Salman Taleon-Lagdameo, is a famous Filipino actress, host, and commercial model.
She was born on March 4, 1969. As of the 1992 FAMAS Awards, she was the only Filipino actor to win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the same year. She also placed in Manila Standard’s Top 10 Filipina actresses of the 1990s list in 1999. Her grandfather, George Anton Salman, was a Palestinian Arab who settled in the Philippines during World War II. She’s married to Antonio Lagdameo, Jr. Jacobo Antonio, and they have two children.
8. Kuh Ledesma
Do you love listening to Filipino classic songs Till I met you, or I think I’m in love? Kuh is the one you should thank for that!
Maria Socorro “Kuh” Hashim Ledesma is a Filipino singer and actress born on March 16, 1955. She has performed in both the music and film industries in the Philippines. She was born in Manila to Lebanese ancestors and Ilonggo parents and later attended college in Bacolod City, where she met future bandmates.
She has earned the nickname “Pop Diva” in the Philippines. Kuh Ledesma has spent the last 25 years playing in the music industry. During that time, she has given over 300 performances, won various honors in the Philippines, released 18 albums in the Philippine recording industry, and starred in a television show as a co-host and several films.
In March 1989, she made history as the first Filipina artist to win a Salem Music Award in London. In 1997, she published her first album internationally, titled Precious, which featured contributions from top-tier American and Filipino musicians, songwriters, and arrangers. They have been married for some time now. They are the proud parents of two wonderful children.