With acting in her blood, it is no surprise that Yasmeen was first in front of the camera at just two weeks old. Her childhood was much like any other child however, she had a strong interest in the arts. She began acting as a child and attended the Mannes School of Music in New York to study opera and music theory.

When she was just 15 she uprooted her life to follow her passion to learn about distant and different cultures but specifically the Bedouin people. Her first stop was Egypt. She had intended on going to Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but her visa was rejected. She came up with the idea to sneak into Saudi Arabia by camel via Abu Dhabi. Thankfully these plans were curtailed by the American Embassy on her arrival in the newly formed United Arab Emirates.

“Everyone kept telling me to leave when I came to Abu Dhabi. It was the height of the Iran and Iraq war, the American kidnappings in Lebanon were in full swing, they had just bombed the Gulf Air Flight 771 that killed 117 passengers and all the Americans were gone or leaving. I arrived on an Al Alia 747 in Jordan in route to Abu Dhabi, that was empty except for an old Bedouin woman and myself.”” says Yasmeen.

In 1989, she started The Secret, a boutique and trading company, which represented international apparel brands such as La Blanca, Victoria’s Secret and Gottex located in the Abu Dhabi Hilton Hotel.

Several years passed since Yasmeen was in front of the camera, but in 1981 that all changed. She was selected to host a reality television program “Behind The Scenes” for Abu Dhabi Television. This show and others for the local Abu Dhabi English Channel became her stepping-stone to the international renowned CNN World Report. She was just 22 years when she became one of the CNN World Report’s youngest correspondents ever. Simultaneously she became one of the first female directors at Abu Dhabi Television writing and directing her own stories.

“When I represented the CNN World Report for Abu Dhabi TV I found myself interviewing fascinating and influential people. I’ll never forget the interview I did with Mikhail Gorbachev at one end of the scale and on the other, entertainment personalities like Tom Jones.””

She explains that the CNN World Report was like 2-minute postcards to the world from a place that at that time that no one had ever even heard of; from a place that she loved with all her heart.

Yasmeen E Stewart CNN CNN Yasmeen E Stewart

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