من صحيفة Arab News
RIYADH: Coming from the world of spotlights, fame and glamor, Swedish model and singer Oksana Andersson is living a quiet life after moving to Riyadh in August with her husband, Swedish national team player Christian Wilhelmsson, who signed a SR25-million one-year contract with the Riyadh-based Al-Hilal club.
The 24-year-old model seems to be happy with the break she is taking from the glitzy life she once had. As she welcomed Arab News to her house, the first thing she asked is how the locals see her husband.
“What does the Saudi press write about Christian?” she asks.
Andersson was born in Russia and moved to Sweden at the age of 10. She has been a model, a pop artist and a TV host, which allowed her to travel worldwide. Her visit to Riyadh is the first to the Gulf region. “I was excited to be here because I love to experience other worlds,” she said,
At King Khaled Airport in Riyadh, she had her first experience with a totally different culture from her own.
“As I arrived at the airport I put on all that I had carried in my bag as I saw women dressing conservatively, something which I wasn’t really aware of,” she said.
After some time, she adapted to the abaya. She now has four abayas with beautiful designs and colorful embroidery, very suitable for a model.
“I think it eliminates the competition among women, which I see as an advantage,” she said, adding “Sometimes I feel comfortable with it because it keeps men’s eyes away from my legs.”
Andersson pointed out that she shows a lot of respect to Islamic culture when she is in public. “I put on my head scarf whenever I hear the prayer call because part of living in a society is respecting its culture.” Over the past few years, Andersson has been on the cover of high-profile magazines in Scandinavia, apart from working in big TV shows in Italy.
“I know I am now far away from the spotlight and when some people say I will be forgotten as a model and a cover girl, that doesn’t bother me because showbiz is not my profession. I do it just for fun,” she said.
Andersson pointed out that in big cities such as Rome and Paris, there are huge opportunities for any model to get involved in the media and in fashion shows. But, “in Riyadh I found peace of mind,” she said.
“It has always been difficult for me or Christian to move in public because people jump in and take pictures … Now I am not interrupted by camera flashes or fans because no one knows who I am,” she said.
“But this hasn’t prevented some girls from coming to me while I am shopping and ask, ‘Do you think this color suits me?’ That might be because I look like a model!” Andersson writes for the fashion magazine Pause. She also writes in her blog about her daily life in Riyadh.
“Shopping is exciting here in the Kingdom,” she said. “The market here is international. I find all the Italian or French and American brands in one mall.”
But there is another thing she likes about the Kingdom. “I like the diversity,” she said.
“I find people from all over the world. Moreover, I like the mixture between traditional culture and modernity. People here still keep the tradition and globalization hasn’t eliminated their identity.”