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Rula Jebreal
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Rula Jebreal – Fashion Model, Journalist, and Filmmaker

Rula Jebreal – Fashion Model, Journalist, and Filmmaker

Rula Jebreal is an inspiring author and journalist with a background rooted in international politics. Rula had a tumultuous upbringing due to the political unrest of her native region but overcame these obstacles to become an inspiring woman.

Rula’s life story has been featured in books, such as “Miral,” as well as films and TV series. Rula continues to be highly active today – she has written numerous books and regularly contributes to renowned media outlets.

Despite Rula’s own experiences, she holds a fearless outlook on the world, which emboldens her work. Rula’s journey inspires different individuals who face adversity each day, reminding them that hope and courage will inevitably prevail over fear and adversity.

The Struggles of Youth 

Rula Jebreal was born in April of 1973 to a devout Muslim father who worked as a cleric at a local Masjid (which is like a Muslim church) and a young mother. She grew up in Jerusalem and remembers a childhood playing at Al Aqsa Mosque, where her father worked as a cleric, and recalls a gentle man who loved his garden and all things that grow. He had two daughters with Rula Jebreal’s mother, who was troubled by mental health challenges and ended her own life when Jebreal was only 5 years old.  

 

Rula’s father had a deep friendship with, and admiration for, a woman named Hind al-Husseini, who ran an orphanage and girl’s school in Jerusalem. Al-Husseini was a wealthy Palestinian woman who dedicated her life to educating girls. When Rula’s mother died, her father asked his friend Hind to take his girls into the school and provide them with education and mentoring.  

 

Aside from this troubled home setting, Rula’s childhood and young adulthood were spent in an environment that was, and continues to be, gripped by conflict, war, and insurgency. Rula’s father, a lifelong pacifist, wanted his daughters to grow up in a different environment and under the guardianship of a woman who became well-known for spearheading women’s education in Palestine.  

 

A Scholarship in Italy  

Even in the double-layered challenges of a difficult home life and a war-torn country, with the right kind of mentoring, Rula was able to travel abroad on a scholarship to Italy, where she studied physiotherapy.

 

At 17, in 1993, Rula recalled a conversation with Al-Husseini:  

She said, “What do you want to do with your life? Would you like to study abroad? You will go away for a while and come back, and you will have more distance.” I said, “Okay.” I didn’t believe that would happen, but then she called me one day and said, “You’ve been selected for a scholarship in Italy.” Soon after I left.” 

 

 

While she studied in Italy, she found herself with the major advantage of being fluent in four languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, and English) and grew to appreciate the education she received at a humble orphanage and girls’ school in Jerusalem. After graduating, Rula quickly moved into the fashion industry and news media.   

 

The First Foreign Anchorwoman in Italy 

 

Rula received a big break when she was hired to write for the Italian newspaper Il Messagero and later on moved to television. In 2001, after the tragedy in September, Jebreal was called again and again to provide an analysis of the Middle East.

 

Working for years as the only foreign anchorwoman in Italy, Jebreal lived the successful immigrant story with a career that grew and grew in broadcast media and later moved to writing a novel and producing an autobiographical film. In her 2022 film “Miral,” Rula describes her life story and leaves viewers with a message about the importance of education. Considering the challenges of her early years, Rula dodged a troubled path and moved instead in the direction of education and self-expression. Hers is a story of the importance of art, understanding, and communication even, or maybe especially, in the most difficult environments.  

Learn about more inspiring girls on our Smart Girls page, or follow our Instagram page for more stories like this!

 

 

 

Hannah

Hannah

Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights

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