The Washington Post

After Asma al-Assad’s Vogue profile, more despot chic needed

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad in Paris. (GERARD CERLES/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

TO: Vogue editors

RE: Possible profile subjects

We so enjoyed reading that profile of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad, particularly the bits about her Christian Louboutin heels and charitable works. We can only say: give us more! More dictator’s wives! Bring on the ladies who love tyrants, the women behind the despots — so long as they’re glamorous and wear fabulous shoes.

And now, thanks to the New York Times piece describing how the Assad profile came to be, we have a better idea of the qualifications you’re seeking in profile subjects. Apparently, a nice figure and a well-stocked closet are the biggies for you. The author of the Asma al-Assad profile described her subject as “extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue,” according to the Times.

So given the interest in dictator-chic, here are a few possible interview candidates who fit the bill. We think they’d make fantastic feature stories, but here’s a helpful hint: in interviews, steer clear of the following words and phrases (not that you would go there anyway): “genocide,” “human rights” and “economic sanctions.”

Mrs. Kim Jung Eun

She’s an international woman of mystery. In fact, no one knows whether the wife of the highly secretive North Korean despot even exists! Reports have cited a “pretty new companion” wearing sharp suits among the newly installed leader’s entourage. Bonus — there’s a sexy youth angle: At 28, Kim Jung Eun is the world’s youngest head of state.

Chantal Biya

So, she’s not exactly pin-thin — hourglass curvy is more like it. Still, the first lady of Cameroon certainly cuts a glamorous figure. She favors Western designers, including Chanel and Dior, and her elaborate hairstyles are so iconic, they’re called “The Chantal Biya” (kind of like Jennifer Aniston’s “the Rachel”).

Tell your writers to be careful, though. The guy who wrote an unauthorized biography of her wound up getting tossed in jail.

The Gaddafi ladies

The late deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi might be out of the picture these days. But we’d love to read more about some of the women in his family. Take his daughter, Aisha. She was a lieutenant colonel in the Libyan army, but her designer duds and model-like looks earned her the title “the Claudia Schiffer of North Africa.”

Then there’s Gaddafi’s daughter-in-law, Aline, the wife of his son, Hannibal. Sure, the Lebanese former model might have once poured boiling water on her maid’s face, but she’s certainly got the jet-set thing down: racy Internet photos? Yep! Domestic dispute in a luxury hotel room? You bet.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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