A recent episode of Needle and New Thread shared a Christian attitude to beauty from a somewhat surprising source. Sandra Saeed, crowned Miss Egypt International 2016, appeared on the popular women’s talk show on 11 October to discuss the topic of inner and outward beauty.

“Some people get their value from relationships, the car they drive, their appearance, their parents’ social position, or their achievements. My real value comes from the Lord because He created each of us to be unique. I belong to Him,” said Sandra.

Sandra Saeed, Miss Egypt International 2016

Asked how this view fits with her new title, she replied that the Miss Egypt contest is not based on external beauty. “They had other requirements related to our studies, our talents, and other criteria,” said Sandra, who is a music student. “They put us through tests over a period of two months to learn more about us and our characters.”


The other guests who joined Presenters Mary Danial and Cecile Makram were makeup artist Vetta Nasr and Dr Andrea Zakaria, a television producer. The speakers discussed some troubling societal attitudes, including job advertisements requiring female applicants to be attractive and prejudice against women with darker skin in Upper Egypt. Dr Zakaria raised the issue of women being judged on their appearance in public spaces, with those perceived as being more attractive receiving better service.

The episode also covered rising global sales of Barbie dolls, whose body proportions, eye colour and hairstyles create unrealistic beauty ideals for girls in the Middle East and North Africa. A video report asked young girls how they felt about their dolls and beauty.


Asked about the importance of improving one’s appearance, Miss Egypt shared her view that balance is vital. “I need to stay close to the shape that the Lord initially created,” she said. “Plastic surgery was invented to solve problems, not to improve appearances.”

Interviewing Dr Andrea Zakaria

Dr Zakaria challenged the view that external beauty is unimportant, saying that attractiveness is a blessing that God gives to both men and women. However, the producer added that women should not be restricted by their appearance and told each viewer to “love yourself as you are”.

Viewers responded with a range of opinions of their own. Some, like Simone from Aswan, Egypt, agreed that true value comes from within. “I think that any girl must accept herself as she is… It is most important to have a good heart. God will not judge us on our external looks but the motives of our hearts,” said Simone.

Amgad from Minya, Egypt, said, “Many young men care about looks, but later we discover that character, knowledge, and personality are more important.”

Others agreed with Dr Zakaria that beauty should be celebrated. “K”, a woman from Mecca in Saudi Arabia, said, “Beauty is important because it provides a way to show inner beauty.”

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