The Saudi Cup offers an unparalleled showcase of the Kingdom’s culture, with the event’s scope “as terrifying as it is exciting,” Princess Nourah Al-Faisal has told “The Mayman Show.”
The latest guest on the podcast serves as special adviser to the chairman of the Saudi Jockey Club and director of the Saudi Cup.
She said: “So I was brought in the second year of the Saudi Cup and my role was to coordinate between the equine world with the the racing world, the Jockey Club, with the Ministry of Culture, and to kind of bring them together. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had wanted to use the event as a showcase of Saudi culture. You know, the regionality, the beauty, the colorful.”
Al-Faisal added that at the time, the world did not associate the Kingdom with horse racing, giving an opportunity for organizers to showcase Saudi culture internationally in a new light.
Those efforts started with a bubble event for 3,000 people during the middle of the COVID
-19 pandemic, said Al-Faisal.
“You know, if you can imagine the difficulties with just transportation, getting the horses in, and getting the people in — understanding the testing that everybody had to go through just to kind of keep it as safe as possible,” she added.
Al-Faisal noted two key factors that made the event a highlight: “The first one was a Saudi horse won, which was so exciting to be there for that. Then the second one was, and I mean, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was actually there.
“The fact that nobody had seen him since COVID
-19 in person and it was the first time that he had come in person, and it was just such a wonderful feeling,” she said.
This year’s Saudi Cup marks Al-Faisal’s third year with the event, and every year the cultural element has been expanded to make the races bigger and better.
“The Ministry of Culture just keeps bringing it in terms of the fashion, the designers. Last year we had 100 designers and 100 people dressed in their clothes, in their beautiful, beautiful designs,” she said.
This year the Saudi Cup with increase the number of fashion designers to 200. “So that’s 400 people participating just on the fashion side alone with many other things as well. So right now as we’re getting closer to it, it’s as terrifying as it is exciting,” Al-Faisal added.
The Saudi design industry has developed attractive offerings for the international fashion community with events such as the Saudi Design Festival (SDF), Al-Faisal said.
“It’s really important to have these showcases where we’re showing what everybody can do, introducing people to each other, introducing all these different entities to the designers and to the designs, for example, universities, schools and projects.”
She added that the SDF is particularly good at connecting international entities, which is important in building ties between the domestic industry and the world.
Al-Faisal founded Adhlal, a research-based consultancy firm, in 2018.
She created the agency to help her research, understand and connect with the fashion community. Adhlal creates strategies using multiple partners and stakeholders, addressing needs and providing solutions.
Al-Faisal said that it took her about 15 years to get the confidence to feel like she was good enough to work in jewelry design professionally — and the support of her father, the late King Faisal, played a big role, too.
“My dad was super supportive and getting really fed up with me not kind of, officially kind of, coming out in that way and just having my own brand and my own business,” she told “The Mayman Show.”
Al-Faisal completed an apprenticeship in France in Paris’ Place Vendrome. She said: “I got to be in a workshop and see some of the most beautiful jewelry ever made just right there in front of me being worked on.” She commented as her journey began to start Nuun, her jewelry brand.
The special adviser said that she owes her career to the support and belief of her Saudi father, quoting his words of inspiration: “Hey, Nourah, go compete with them in their country.”