The Team

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Editorial Board

Founder/Editor in Chief

Mariem ELTagoury – I am a graduate from German University Cairo. Reading novels is my passion and writing is my release. My guilty pleasures include fashion & playing around with my make-up kit.

A couple of years back when I was introduced to the online world, back in 2007; I was quite surprised that in spite of the presence of thousands of young Egyptians who follow the online sphere daily, there wasn’t one site that represented us or our lifestyle. [Later we’d come to see the rise of the political, religion, social-elite, and foodie websites, but still the voice of the average Cairene youth was missing.]

I was glad to find out that I wasn’t the only one who had the feeling of the outsider on the internet, that’s why I decided to gather a team to fill a gap & finally find our place online and give Cairo’s youth a real voice that reflects its true culture. I hope you find our site interesting with a new view of life.

Besides running the magazine & editing, I write the “Sans Sugarcoating” column, pardon my french, and a couple of other stuff around here!

If you want to contact me, my email is mariem.eltagoury@cairocontra.com; you can also use our contact form or email directly to contact@cairocontra.com

Copy Chief

Aya I. Shaaban – It’s Aya, but usually referred to by my last name ‘Shaaban’; senior Sociology student at the American University in Cairo with a triple minor to complement since I hate having free time and would rather kill myself studying. Three things I profoundly hate are bad grammar, atrocious spelling, and plagiarism so I was probably born to be a copy editor. My biggest guilty pleasure is being a fangirl; I’m a fangirl at heart but I don’t fangirl over one thing for too long, usually I find one thing to obsess over for a while then I move on to the next thing.

Publishing Editor

Lama EL-Najdi – I’m secretly a 90-year-old crazy cat(less) lady inhibiting the body of an almost twenteen-year-old. I aspire to one-day frolic in gardens and collect crystals for a living, but in the meantime, I’m studying Biotechnology to become an FBI agent, devoting my time to binge-watching TV series and pretending to be a teen on Cairo Contra.

Fiction Editor

Alaa  A. Rahman– I’m one of the In-Betweeners. I hover between reality and fiction worlds (of my own creation or currently existent). However, my 26 year old Economic Analyst alter ego at the Egyptian Ministry of Finance keeps me grounded in real life (unfortunately!). I am a big freak when it comes to Harry Potter related basically anything. I love writing; I draw and paint as well as cook and play the violin (still an amateur though!) Kingdom Hearts is – in my opinion – the best fantasy game out there and music is life! Besides editing, I’ll also be writing Decisions in a Halo.

Copy Editors

Ola El-Wassify – I’m in love with the idea of Arts, whether it is music, writings, paintings, dancing, composing, sculpture, and even digital art. I believe we are all the sum of the books we read, the movies we watch, and the music we listen to, and that is why I am always interested in knowing new people to create new characters in my head, or in my writings. I am a 25 years old word-nerd hearted person who is madly in love with English linguistics, literature, psychology, and cycling.

Dalila Yaser – I am a 23-year old trapped in a little girl’s body, I believe that being one’s pure natural self is the ultimate kind of beauty, just like a kid’s. I am statistician, have been a math freak since forever, but that’s not all to it! I have much more interests than my everyday 24 hours could handle; I love reading novels especially with historical themes, music, animals (I would die for a dog or an elephant!), working out and above all traveling.

Writers

Hussein Ahmed – Hello everyone, I’m 17 years old. I grew up in New York but I have been living in Egypt for the past three years. My greatest happiness is reading while listening to Coldplay and spending time with my family. My greatest fear is growing up, making wrong decisions and having to choose to do something or be somebody I do not want to be. Despite this, I have a passion for writing and joining Cairo Contra is a step in facing my greatest fear. I am a co-writer for “It’s a Teen’s Life” column.

Malak Nour- A 21 year old (in the process of wrapping my head around that fact) AUCian who’s majoring in both marketing as well as English and comparative literature, not to mention minoring in philosophy! I’m still in the process of figuring myself out, but one of the few things I’m sure I’m interested in is reading. Oh, and I make really good chocolate truffles! I have people who can vouch for that…. and I’ll be writing Art Bits!

Nada Hemida – I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pencil in hand, and I don’t plan on quitting that any time soon. I will sing along to every single Disney movie soundtrack and I will feel no shame! I have a knack for art, whatever kind it is: painting, photography, writing, filming, anything that I can stare at for hours and feel like I’m in another world…. or like my work From Another Realm 😉

Farida Gamal – I’m majoring in mass communication because I’m really interested in script-writing! I’ve always loved writing and have always had a passion for movies, so practically I killed two birds with one stone and enrolled as a writer for The 7th art section in Cairo Contra! I’m intensely trying my very best to give my full potential to everything I love, and ignore all the circumstances that could lead me to give up on what it is I’m passionate for!

Fahmy Hady – A 23 year old who recently became known as a civil engineer through no fault of his own. Asks ‘why’ too often where it is trivial yet asks too few inquires when it matters. Hates himself but thinks he’s better than everyone else. Brings you stories from another realm because the real world more often than not is too realistic if that makes any sense.

Rawan Mamdouh – a 17-year-old pharmacy freshman with a heart bestowed by writing and reading. An intensely inquisitive mind that has a thrill for hairstyling — you can find me on Instagram. I sincerely believe I was meant to do extraordinary things but my laziness has prioritised sleeping above them all. With passion driving me, I will be writing for What’s Trending?

Mariam Amin – I’m a 16-year-old high school student who loves food dearly -well who doesn’t – among other stuff but let’s focus on food! I’ll be eating/writing for Contra Bites.

Aya Telmissany – I am a 22 year old AUCian, an English and Comparative Literature major, a Creative Writing minor and a poet. I am a fiction writer here at CairoContra. I basically read and when I’m not reading I am either buying books, sniffing books, looking up some new books online, taking pictures of my books (and my dog), or writing books (at least that’s what I hope I’m doing).

Shaymaa Mohammed Sedki – 23-year-old Capricorn, with a bachelor degree in English language and literature. I’m a weird mix of rational thinking & daydreaming. My hobbies include writing poetry, watching sci-fi movies, reading young adult fiction and listening to classical music. Shall be writing for Students’ Hub.

Dalia Ismail – One of my selves is a cranky, critical misanthrope who rejects ‘face values’ and likes to question ‘conventions’/why things are the way they are. Another is a young dupe who has a ridiculous flare for Dickensonian curiosity. (That is, she takes pleasure in teasing out the odds and evens in the simplest of matters). In between one self and the other (and one book and the other), you’ll find that I’m a vulnerable human being searching for a purpose. Shall be writing Cairo’s Bibliomane.

Manar Nassef – Smashing the patriarchy with a good book in hand. I’ll never turn down a Game of Thrones or a book discussion. Shall be writing Cairo’s Bibliomane.

Aleiyeldin Al Zayan – AZ, is my name…. and yes it’s not Ali, it’s Aleiy! To sum myself up, I’m an artist, art enthusiast, very good eater, I worship dogs (and cats), the stylish part of my squad, I’ve got the weirdest thoughts, I accept the weirdest people and I love rock ‘n roll & mint chocolate. Shall be covering Cairo’s Street Style.

Creative Circulation Crew

Creative Director

Lobna ELZayan – Fashion is my passion and Marketeer is my job. I appreciate all kinds of art and find writing one of them. You will find me in my own bubble in any art space. Animals and babies are my favorite creatures on earth -so far- and my silver rings & bracelets are my guardian angels. I find my inner peace near the sea or flowers. I deeply believe that “everything happens for a reason” so you are definitely reading this now for a reason! I have a fashion blog on Instagram (@withintheclosetwalls) & will be writing in “Infusion with Fashion” and “How to Spell Gabbana” occasionally, hope my pieces inspire you in any way. Oh and I’m the Creative Director for the talented CC team!

The Crew

Nourhan Hamdi – Hello, I’m a girl who was born and raised in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m known as Nour not Nourhan ’cause it’s short and simple just like me. I’m a Commerce and Business Administration student at Helwan University but I find my own world in painting, drawing and designing. I love art but never ever called myself an artist. I love adventure and trying new experiences. Guess that’s all, see ya’. 😀

Nouran Samy – A full time “trying to ditch pharmacy and be a writer”. I’m currently studying pharmacy in GUC, but one day I will challenge myself and follow my psychiatry passion! I love trying new things and entering new challenges, that’s why I applied at CairoContra! Oh, and I’m a Grey’s anatomy freak.

Lama EL-Najdi – I’m secretly a 90-year-old crazy cat(less) lady inhibiting the body of an almost twenteen-year-old. I aspire to one-day frolic in gardens and collect crystals for a living, but in the meantime, I’m studying Biotechnology to become an FBI agent, devoting my time to binge-watching TV series and pretending to be a teen on Cairo Contra.

Administrative Team

Managing Director

Menna Rateb – I’ve studied engineering & I have an MBA with a major in human resources, I’m also working as a planning specialist in a well-known company, but where my heart truly lies is with movies, the books I love, the places where I’ve had my best memories and the people I’ve made these memories with. I’ll be writing The 7th Art

The Team

Nada Yasser – I’m just a kind hearted person, who loves to help any human being. I’m too emotional; my dream is to make all the homeless on earth sheltered and safe, and to try to talk with the big heads of the world to stop wars. The funny side about me is I believe in any small word from others and a fact about my self that no one knows till now is that I’m so nervous!

Previous Editors

Merna Abdelsalam – My birth certificate says I’m 21, but my heart says I’m 10. I’m currently majoring in Political Science, not for long though! Psychology is my passion, and my dream is to obtain a degree in Psychology at some point in my life. I took an advanced psychology course in my senior year in high school for this reason. I’m either writing, watching ballet shows, or stalking notorious serial killers. Keep a look out for my column “Al Saraya Al Safra”!

Ola Oreiba – I’m a 22 year old girl who’s just graduated, typically doing nothing except wondering and wandering around Cairo. I spend most of my time listening to music while I’m mostly stuck in the Cairo traffic. I love fashion and food A LOT, I also have a thing for reading books by not-so-popular authors because I believe there’s an intriguing story behind each and every creature in this world of ours.

Sara Al Wardani – I’m a 17 year old senior in high school. I’ve loved writing since…… forever really; I even post a fiction story on a website called Wattpad (here’s the link if you’re interested). Reading has had a huge impact on my life and the way I see things, and so I know it will always big a huge part of my life. I’m an outdoors person, would rather stay out all day long. I literally listen to music all day every day! I’m really picky about it though, I mostly listen to rock, alternative rock and oldies.

Menna Fahmi – In 2011, I turned 18 and I haven’t aged since (What? I don’t want to grow any older!). I always wanted to be a book publisher, but I am Egyptian so I am one of those scary people in suits (Majored in innovation and technology management and finance, in case you didn’t get it). Unlike any other girl my age I spend more money on books than I do on clothes. I feed on books. And as cliché as it may sound but coffee is my other addiction, just ask the waiters at any coffee place in Cairo; they know me.

Previous Writers

Ahmed Badawi – I don’t like what’s conventional, especially when it comes to our society’s norms which puts me in conflicts on a daily basis, but mostly end with a smile. I’m studying Dentistry, learning programming, wanting to learn a language and writing here! I hope I take the path of entrepreneurship as soon as possible, maybe own an international company at some point; but right now I’ll be co-writing Sports Zone.

Menna Fahmi – In 2011, I turned 18 and I haven’t aged since (What? I don’t want to grow any older!).  I always wanted to be a book publisher, but I am Egyptian so I am one of those scary people in suits (Majored in innovation and technology management and finance, in case you didn’t get it). Unlike any other girl my age I spend more money on books than I do on clothes, and I’m writing Cairo’s Bibliomane to prove it! I feed on books. And as cliché as it may sound but coffee is my other addiction, just ask the waiters at any coffee place in Cairo; they know me.

Mariam Amr – I’m currently a university sophomore studying Actuarial Science at AUC and looking to build a good writing portfolio. I love exploring different cultures, perspectives and identities through literature, both fiction and non-fiction. I believe all forms of art are agents of change, but literature truly has the ability to connect people together and change perceptions. I have four siblings (3 sisters and a brother!) who take turns inspiring me and driving me insane, sometimes all at once. I also write Cairo’s Couch Corner Column.

Raghda Ashraf –  A 21 year old GUCian majoring in pharmacy & biotechnology, a member in two clubs at my university & I was a high school biology TA for two years. My writing developed to poems when I found myself writing one out of the blue and then started to benefit this for events & birthday greetings instead of the usual “Happy Birthday” and got them published in a magazine. It popped into my mind this year to try writing small posts on pictures, so I went for it and made “DiaryThoughts” Facebook page. I co-write Students’ Hub.

Haisam Elkewidy – I suppose I can express myself better in writing than with vocals. Been writing ‘stuff’ since high school, and when I say ‘stuff’ I really mean ‘stuff’. Trust me, it’s better to try and write ‘stuff’ than to just focus on one thing, because at least you’re performing the act of writing. Specializing in fiction, I like eccentricity, and unorthodox situations. They create amazing stories.

Salma Khalid – an 18 years old potter head that just survived 3 years of high school. A book dragon you can say, so don’t mess with papers when I’m around OR ELSE. I love watching movies, a lot of them at once! Have a 3 years experience in social media management and 7 months experience as an assistant teacher of English. I’m recently -besides being a co-writer for the Students’ Hub column- a social media specialist at The IG Club!

Amna Jamal – I’m a senior to-be in Al Alsun, it was my dream college ever since childhood :’) -Not anymore!!- I believe that if I managed to get my eyeliner perfectly winged from the first try in the morning, my day would go just as perfect. Awkward silences are nightmares to me so you’ll always find me talking and to talk I need words and if I have words why not write them down, and that’s how I started writing. I’ll be writer & photographer for Street Style.

Mahmoud Bondok – My name is Mahmoud Bondok (it’s my real name, I swear) and I am sarcastic. That is all. I could go on for a long time about how I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and how writing makes me feel like an immensely powerful being, capable of creating new worlds and –hopefully- expanding my readers’ horizons… but then I’d be lying because whatever I write doesn’t expand any horizons that aren’t significantly narrow.

Shutterbug – I’m a 21 year old college graduate. I studied HR & marketing in college; however I had dreams about being a fashion designer, photographer, a TV announcer and many other things! Now I’m working in a totally different field; I’m dealing with the stock market, basically something I never dreamed of. However, in the past few months I’ve been working as a freelance photographer. I’m also a shopaholic and I love travelling especially to the USA, I just love it!

Ibby– I have experienced 21 separate occasions where I’ve stood amongst family expected to blow out candles, that’s a fancy way of saying I’m 21. Films, to me, are a dream like state of reality, bubbles of thoughts, emotions and experiences that swell up in a mosaic of images. I believe films are one of the most expressive mediums out there and it is a great passion of mine to explore and express the world around me through film. Reading, writing, watching and making films are all paths I set myself upon gladly.

Rana M. Taha

Solace

Menna Zaki – A 21 year old but if you ask me I will definitely deny it… about to graduate and add one more individual to the unemployed population… Well I am a very morning person, I spend my time either eating or reading… hate to miss an opportunity… I’ve always wanted to be a journalist and I hate to have to recount the tragedy of getting into business faculty, majoring in finance and economics; which means I’ll have to be stuck in an excel sheet for the rest of my life, or work for the stock market and suffer a heart attack! So Cairo Contra is kind of my way “eni a3’yar el wake3”!

Nour – I’m a 24 year old graduate from Biotechnology, MSA. I love music & shopping! I especially love hunting down good bargains, as much as I love sharing my skills with others. Honestly, I’m not much of a reader; unless it’s a topic that actually interests me. That’s why I was excited to work with Cairo Contra, which covers several aspects that interest young people in Cairo and helps them find sales & bargain in town. I can’t wait to be your guide for smart shopping in Egypt; whether you’re a shopaholic, like me, or not you’ll need it … everyone loves a bargain.

Ola Oreiba – I’m a 22 year old girl who’s just graduated, typically doing nothing except wondering and wandering around Cairo. I spend most of my time listening to music while I’m mostly stuck in the Cairo traffic. I love fashion and food A LOT, I also have a thing for reading books by not-so-popular authors because I believe there’s an intriguing story behind each and every creature in this world of ours.

Yehia O – Do you know that cute guy that passes by and all the girls check him out? It’s not me. I’m Yehia, I’m 26 years old, still 18 at heart. I fix people’s teeth for a living and sell art to those who have a lot of money and don’t know how to spend it. I’m extremely passionate about art –you can check my own sketches on this page – , any form of art, including music except for country; Yehia and country music don’t mix. I Have a lot of numerous and diverse interests a lot more than I can mention here. I value time and don’t like wasting any, and of course I waste a lot more than I’d like to admit. I do not like sleeping.

Sara Al Wardani – I’m a 17 year old senior in high school. I’ve loved writing since…… forever really; I even post a fiction story on a website called Wattpad (here’s the link if you’re interested). Reading has had a huge impact on my life and the way I see things, and so I know it will always big a huge part of my life. I’m an outdoors person, would rather stay out all day long. I literally listen to music all day every day! I’m really picky about it though, I mostly listen to rock, alternative rock and oldies.

Sondos Abdallah – I’m a 19 year old majoring in Art and Design; I have been in a war with food ever since I found out how delicious it is, it’s just too good to stop eating.  I’m proactive when I’m not procrastinating and I’m very good (not really) at photographing anything with a good view. I love DIY stuff and I’m in love with music, any kind, any genre. I love looking at clothes I could never pull off (I blame my genes). I spend most of my time editing, drawing or just plain sleeping, which I do ALOT.

Z – The youngest of them all! I’m fifteen, a junior (soon-to-be senior) in high school in England. I’ve been to eight schools, and have moved countries five times. As an International Baccalaureate student, the words “social life” is a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I am a master procrastinator; I spend my time scrolling through websites like reddit, reddit, and hmm… reddit. I plan on studying PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) in university, and hopefully rule the world in a couple decades. I’ll be writing for The Groove Online, so keep your eye out for my articles!

Ahmed Tarek – I’m a 17-year-old guy who was born in New York, lives in Alexandria and writes for a blog that’s concerned with Cairo. Writing reviews and think pieces is my passion. I started writing when I was 15 (The 62-page Harry Potter rip-off novella that I wrote when I was 10 and am still embarrassed to show to anybody seven years later doesn’t count). I’m a musicaholic, workaholic and an overthinker (I could say thinkaholic, but enough of that!) and not sure what I wanna do with my life when I graduate from high school. But I’ll get to that later (hopefully).

Mark Rafik – A 17 year-old who’s passionate about what he does, I’m starting my senior year in highschool and ready to take on the world! I tend to do something just to prove to myself how capable I am of overcoming any issues, this specifically applies in sports. Being a tenacious food lover, I believe in “You are what you eat” and that food represents what an entity values, should that entity be an individual, a tribe, or a culture. I’m writing the “Contra Culture” column!

Islam Lotfy – I’m 23 yo and I go by Solly or Sam, And no I’m not too old for that! I’m an engineer/amateur singer/writer/PC gamer/ Series binge- watcher/bookworm/Politics enthusiast. I’ve always felt like in between all these things and I’m glad that I’ve found a group of other cool ‘in betweeners’ like me who don’t like to settle down. And I really hope we would have some good time writing about what we’re passionate about. I’ll be co-writing for Musical Vibes. 

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Team CC would like to mention two invisible soldiers without whom this whole project wouldn’t have come to realization.
A big thank you goes out to Hassan Aly Selim who made it possible for us to create the blog and, have it as user friendly as possible, for you to actually read our stuff.
Another big thank you goes out to the very talented Nora Kahil who designed the logo and made it as beautiful as you can see. You can checkout more of her work here.
And a special word of thanks to the creative Muhammad Radi the graphic designer who continuously supports our online campaigns.
Thank you so much. Team CC is in your debt!

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