She has the gift of speech, eloquence, an innate grace … And the art of good speaking, straightforward, spontaneous, critical and deferential. Arriving very young in this vast world of media, Paula Yacoubian succeeded in establishing a constructive dialogue with guests, discuss recurring problems of her country with great professionalism and respect for media ethics. Also CEO and Executive Director of “Integrated Communications” company, Paula wants first and foremost to be a filled mother. Welcoming every week her guests on her show Interviews, Paula Yacoubian today opens her heart to Prestige, the time of an interview.
Everyone knows Paula Yacoubian, but for you, who is Paula Yacoubian? Paula Yacoubian is primarily the mother of Paul, my nine year old son, my pride. Every mom is proud of her child at first. I am also the journalist coming across in the media at the age of 17 and who is unable to conceive her life otherwise. The profession of journalist involves a great mission: ethics, professionalism, respect, objectivity. I am fully convinced of the need to be objective. However I think for big cases dealing with humanitarian, manners, or in the case of a national cause, objectivity doesn’t exist. The explanation is simple, because in this case it is impossible to cover only those events, without taking part. Finally, we are an integral part of our society and its facts. You have two important statutes, professional and familial. Which one do you prefer as a woman? There is no need to make the comparison. Being Mom is a priority. The profession is also important, because the intellectual vacuum is not good, that’s why it is filled with work. Personally I focus first on my family life as a mother, and I organize my schedule based on that. For nine years we have been organizing ourselves, Mouafak and I, so never to leave Paul alone. How do you define the mother? Who says mother says love. Total and unconditional love, that expects nothing in return. I lost my mother a year ago. I was very attached to her, especially that I was deprived very early of my father who died when I was nine. My mother was our mutual friend for Paul and me, her death is a great loss for us both. My son happily compensates this loss and fills this love. Which definition do you give the father? My father survived the Armenian Genocide, he is a survivor. My grandfather was the Emir of Zeitoun. My father was four years old when he attended, unable to react to the murder of his mother before his eyes. Thus, he grew up in an orphanage in Aleppo. He told us, his children, the course of this tragedy, without hatred or rancor. He insisted to tell us the story to let us know that historical memory. I think it is good that the new generation knows its history and draws lessons.
You are part of a group of Armenians who are the pride of Lebanon, being more proficient in the practice of Arabic than the Lebanese … My mother is Lebanese and thanks to my father I understand and speak the Armenian language. I also insist to be very careful while speaking in Arabic, to prevent making mistakes. In New York, you have been trained as “Media Trainer” and participated in workshops on the art of speaking in public. How did that contribute to the success of the company “Integrated Communications” you founded with your husband Mouafak Harb? The company “Integrated Communications” develops media strategies for individuals, institutions and departments who wish to improve their brand image. Being communication experts, Mouafak and I, we provide a “media training”, prepare speeches, a «Powerpoint» presentation for corporations, organize conferences and information for the press. What makes “Integrated Communications” different from other companies? “Integrated Communications” is not classical communication. Rather, as its name suggests, it incorporates new concepts in Lebanon, such as the “Reputation Management”. We develop a media strategy to help some politicians to respond to violent campaigns aiming at their reputation through social media like the internet, facebook, etc.., And classical media as TV, newspapers … Other characteristic features, daily monitoring we ensure the customer and regularly sending of the most important articles in the international press, with exclusive reports we write ourselves on the international situation on all fronts. What about your customers? Our clientele consists of Lebanese political figures, executive directors of commercial and real estate companies, presidents or vice-presidents of public and private institutions, chambers of commerce, any person who addresses the media on behalf of its business.
Lebanon in the eyes of Paula … Lebanon is my original and final homeland. It is true that our Armenian parents were forced to leave their country of origin, but in Lebanon I was born and I grew up, and my belonging to this country is total and absolute. Nationalism differs from the homeland. There is no diversity in Lebanon, we are one people united by many traits in common, our differences are minimal. This union should be used to defend their interests. Personal success leads to a collective loss. If you are elected to represent the Lebanese, what would you do first? I refuse being elected because my beliefs are nothing like those of the majority. It is difficult to represent people who think a certain way but are unable to put into practice. The promotion of freedom of thought and expression is sacred for big responsible people. What reaction do you have if a stranger approaches you on the street? I feel great joy, even if I am in a sporty and casual dress, without makeup, natural.
Who is your hero in life? I would say Paul, in spite of the fact that he is my son. At a critical point in our life, he really surprised me by his early maturity. What is your main quality? I love being able to ensure all at the same time, combine my family obligations, professional obligations and my friendships. And your biggest flaw? My anxiety and nervousness. What does Paula do to look as radiant and elegant? I choose comfortable and practical clothes. Elegance comes from inside. Your favorite stones? Emerald, diamonds and pearls. What sports do you practice? Swimming, tennis that I play with Paul and scuba- diving. What do you like most in your husband? His intelligence, his wit, his openeness and deep culture. Strong proponent of environmentalism, you encourage a project to preserve the environment. Tell us … In Lebanon, many factors seriously affect the environment, including vehicle tires, which are a real ecological danger. A group of young volunteers, which I encourage, managed to make out of the air chamber tires, stylish women’s bags, of various designs and dimensions without any processing of the product. This is a totally environmental friendly upcycling. The line of bags which will be launched on the market in September, will bear my signature. Interview by MIREILLE Bridi BOUABJIAN
Photography: Nour el Khazen. Makeup: Nassim Masri. Hairstyle: Elie Matar for World Eve salon. Dresses: Toni Ward. Jewelry: Gérard Tufenkjian.