A couple of weeks ago I got a rather exciting phone call, going something like ‘Hey Nina, do you want to come to Qatar with us next week?’ I don’t think I need to elaborate here, I immediately started packing.
So some 14-odd days ago, I found myself in Doha, Qatar, shooting an advertorial for Volkswagen’s new Beetle for Vice Magazine. I styled the shoot and for a change, also modeled. It was an amazing - but much too short experience, it’s incredible how 50 small hours in Qatar can change your view on our little world. As the country with the highest income per capita in the world, and unimaginable amounts of oil and gas reserves (over 15 billion barrels of oil and over 900 trillion cubic feet of gas, if you must know), they’ve got a lot going for themselves. Everything is as big, new and as modern as it can get. Most of the roads were so new they weren’t even on the newest navigation system in the newest car. All this is pretty mindblowing, considering the fact that 60 years ago, before they found all that oil, the population was almost 1.7 million less than it is now, and those 25.000 people back then were either Bedouins or pearl fishers. The Sharia law still applies, although they’re quite liberal towards Westerners, so all the Qatari women are covered in Hijabs, some even completely covering their face - but sporting expensive handbags and sunglasses. This definitely contributed to the amazingly surreal experience of it all. One of the major estranging moments was going for a camel ride with supersweet Bedouin guys in the desert, and then cruising our Beetle straight through the sand dunes, surrounded by flaming oil towers, on the way to the 68th floor of the Kempinski (the lift goes up there in 70 seconds), for a champagne-fueled VW party. Oh, and I went for a ride on the Losail race track with Jacky Ickx.
Here’s some photos. For the 6 page advertorial, check the upcoming issue of Vice Germany.