Select Page
2019 MTV VMAs: 7 must-see moments from the show – Global News

2019 MTV VMAs: 7 must-see moments from the show – Global News

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) were held in Newark, N.J., for the first time on Monday night, and the performers, presenters and host Sebastian Maniscalco made sure to remind everyone at least every 10 minutes.

From New Jersey Devils hockey player P.K. Subban to the actors from The Sopranos, the Jersey references were definitely there, like Maniscalo’s joke that Bruce Springsteen was the Garden State’s only social media influencer.

But besides all the Jersey references, there were seven must-see moments from the show, including performances from Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, J Balvin and, of course, Missy Elliott.

READ MORE: 2019 MTV Video Music Awards — The best and worst of the red carpet

1. Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s Señorita performance

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello perform onstage during the 2019 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

Pickering, Ont.’s Mendes and rumoured girlfriend Cabello performed their latest collaboration Señorita for the first time ever at the 2019 VMAs.

They were surrounded by candles on stage and remained very close during the performance. There were many moments where their faces got close throughout the song, leaving fans wondering if they would kiss.

The pair, who are music’s most talked-about duo at the moment, did not end up kissing, but once Mendes stopped playing his guitar for a moment, they were able to re-enact the choreography from the Señorita music video.

READ MORE: Lindsey Vonn, P.K. Subban engaged

Instead of sharing a kiss during, they touched noses at the end of the song.

“The skin, the hair, the lips!” host Maniscalco said after they left the stage. “And give it up for Camila, too.”

2. Taylor Swift’s political moment

Taylor Swift receives award onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/WireImage)

Swift shared the stage with her collaborator and co-executive producer Todrick Hall as she won two awards for her song You Need to Calm Down.

Swift brought up the cast of the music video to thank fans for supporting the message of the song, which she said was a world “where we are all treated equally under the law, regardless of who we love, regardless of how we identify.”

She noted the video prompted a petition for the Equality Act, legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation.

She said the petition “basically just says we all deserve equal rights under the law.”

“I want to thank everyone that signed that petition because it now has half a million signatures, which is five times the amount that it would need to warrant a response from the White House,” she continued.

She then looked down at an imaginary watch on her wrist and implied that the Trump administration is late and should address the petition.

The singer praised the cast of the video.

“My cast live their lives so authentically. Thank you for being the example that you are. I love you guys so much,” she concluded. “Thank you, MTV, for lifting up this point in this video. We love you.”

3. Missy Elliott’s performance and emotional Vanguard Award speech

Missy Elliott proved why she is one of the best and most innovative rappers of all time with an incredible medley of her most famous songs and music video looks, from the black puffy bag dress for The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) to camouflage for Get Ur Freak On.

In her return to the VMAs for the first time since 2003, Elliott was backed up by a talented group of dancers for songs like Pass That Dutch, Lose Control and Work It.

Elliott also brought out Alyson Stoner, who was the 10-year-old girl dancing in the rapper’s Work It music video.

The now-26-year-old Stoner joined Elliott’s dancers on stage, sparking nostalgia for 2003.

Accepting her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Elliott said she would try to hold back tears, but the award meant so much to her.

“I have worked diligently for over two decades,” she said. “And I never thought that I would be standing up here receiving this award, so it means so much to me. I promise it don’t go unnoticed, the support and love that you have all shown me over the years.”

READ MORE: Missy Elliott to be first female rapper inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

She thanked Janet Jackson, who she named as an inspiration for her music videos, along with Madonna and Busta Rhymes.

Elliott said she missed the late singer Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 plane crash.

She dedicated the award to the dance community as her dancers erupted behind her.

“When y’all get on the stage with these artists, y’all are not just props — y’all are the icing on the cake, y’all are the beat to the heart.”

4. John Travolta has an Adele Dazeem moment — except this time with Taylor Swift

(L-R): Jade Jolie and Taylor Swift. (Getty Images)

Getty Images

In 2014, Travolta introduced Frozen star Idina Menzel as “Adele Dazeem” at the Oscars and he had a similar gaffe during this year’s VMAs.

The actor presented the award for video of the year to Swift for Calm Down but he appeared to hand the statues to former RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jade Jolie.

Jolie appeared in Swift’s Calm Down music video, dressed as the singer.

Many people took to Twitter to discuss the awkward moment.

John Travolta thinking Jade Jolie was Taylor Swift has just officially made 2019 the best year of my life

— Kate (@urm8k8) August 27, 2019

At the next awards show John Travolta should not only announce all of the winners, he should also have to go into the audience and present it to the person he thinks it is.

— Emily Davis (@emdavis3) August 27, 2019

Why do we keep bringing John travolta back to present at award shows? Can anyone answer this?

— Olivia Greene (@ogreene623) August 27, 2019

5. Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s Qué Pretendes performance

Reggaeton superstars Bad Bunny and J Balvin took the stage to perform their hit Qué Pretendes from their joint album, OASIS.

The performance was Super Mario-esque, with the artists wearing inflatable custom-made cartoon costumes, surrounded by cartoon cacti and dancing inflatable animals. They even flew above the stage.

Many VMA viewers discussed the performance on Twitter and compared it to the popular video game.

Nah this a Super Mario game level 😂😂😂 #vmas Yoshi def about to come out lol

— Melanie Love (@theLovegirlllll) August 27, 2019

6. Lizzo’s Truth Hurts, Good As Hell medley

Lizzo performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)

Lizzo made her VMAs performance debut with a medley of her hit songs Truth Hurts and Good as Hell.

The singer and her dancers performed in front of a giant inflatable butt.

When Lizzo switched to Good as Hell, she stood on a podium and spoke about self-acceptance.

READ MORE: Who is Lizzo? Everything you need to know about the ‘Truth Hurts’ singer

“Let me talk to y’all for a second,” she said. “I’m tired of the bullsh–. It’s so hard to love yourself in a world that doesn’t love you back.

“Feel good as hell because you deserve to feel good as hell.”

7. Cardi B wins best hip-hop video

Cardi B accepts the award for Best Hip-Hop Music Video onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Cardi B took home best hip-hop video for Money on Monday night.

She thanked her glam squad, makeup artist Erika La Pearl and hairstylist Tokyo Stylez for always making sure she looks her best in her videos.

The Money rapper also thanked her music video director Jora Frantzis.

“Since this is the Video Music Awards and everything, I really want to thank my music video team — first Jora Frantzis — that’s the director,” Cardi B said in her acceptance speech. “She gotta hear outta my mouth, ‘I look ugly. Edit my stomach, edit my butt. Smooth my cellulite out.’

“And I wanna thank my glam team. Erika, Tokyo, thank y’all so much. Without y’all, my music videos wouldn’t look like this. Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus!”

#VMAs on Twitter

—With files from the Associated Press

Follow @KatieScottNews

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Read More

How to get full coverage foundation ft. Patrick Starrr

How to get full coverage foundation ft. Patrick Starrr

  • YouTube star Patrick Starrr teaches us how to get full-coverage foundation.
  • He covers priming, foundation, highlighting, contouring, baking, and setting.
  • Patrick Starrr is famous for his baking technique and has a baking powder collaboration with MAC Cosmetics.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

– Hey guys, my name is Patrick Starrr. I’m gonna show you guys how to cake your face in the best way possible. Foundation, concealer, powder, setting, all the above to set your face up for a beautiful makeup look.

The four most important things are priming, foundation, highlight, and contour , and then setting and baking, very, very, very important. And, last but not least, blending all the powders together.

First, because we are going to cake the face, I like to prep my lips and my under-eyes, those being the thinnest parts of your skin. You wanna make sure, because you’re caking up makeup all the time, you want to make sure that your skin is protected. I like to use this lip balm, it’s by Tatcha. If you don’t hydrate your under-eyes, especially if you had a long night out, like me the night before, your makeup will end up looking so, so creasy and dry, and that’s not what we want. And a lot of people that I see do eye cream don’t do the tops. So, it’s really important to do the tops of your lids, but be gentle as well. All right, also moisturizing is really, really important. This one is by Charlotte Tilbury. It’s very, very, very expensive, but because I do shave and I have razor bumps and we film in very, very HD here on YouTube land, it’s really good to surge your skin, especially if you’re gonna cake it up. Wake up the skin and massage your skin because you’re gonna be like baby. Like, you know, you’re massaging your chicken or your turkey to prepare it for the seasoning. And you wanna go up. All right, so, next, I’m gonna go ahead and take this Nars Pore & Shine Control Primer. Believe it or not, I get greasy still. So, I’m gonna apply this where I’m the most porous and the most shiny. And I have my really large pores right here. I used this when I did Naomi Campbell’s makeup.

OK, I think we’re ready for foundation. I’m gonna go ahead and color, because, you can see, I have a lot of blue. If you look at a color wheel, the orange cancels out all of the blue, like, all the bruise colors, and it will neutralize it so when you put on your foundation, it doesn’t look blue or purple or green underneath. It looks crazy, but this is very, very important. Now because I have large pores here too, I like to take a little bit of translucent powder and put it in just to fill it in, kind of like caulk in a wall. All right, now it’s time for the makeup. I’m gonna go ahead and take this Kryolan TV Paint Stick. Scott Barnes, who does J.Lo’s makeup, does this as well, and it actually works. So I’m gonna start off with this contour color. I like to contour and highlight before the foundation because this will peek through. Because if I take my foundation first, then the foundation color, which is my actual skin color, would tint lighter. So for me, I wanna make sure that my contour shows and it doesn’t disappear. I love using creams when I’m contouring because they seamlessly blend together, and I have different foundations for different purposes. So this one for sure is for simply coverage. For longevity, I like to use the Estée Lauder Double Wear. I’m gonna go ahead and take a lighter color of this, and this is gonna be my highlight color here. I’m gonna go here. So we’re gonna make sure that’s completely full coverage. And I’m starting to look like a Van Gogh painting, so that’s good. I like to cut…see, these are the points on my face where I like to highlight because I have such a flat, manly face. I like to look snatched. You wanna blend your colors in the direction that it’s going. You see, ’cause I have my contour, if I blend it this way the darkness would come up, and what was the point of doing it, so I’m gonna go ahead and start and blend all the way back to my neck. Now, remember that foundation I told you about earlier, the Double Wear foundation, I’m just going to go ahead and apply this right here, just stippling this a little bit across the face so it kind of locks it in. So this sponge right here is by Real Techniques, it is the body blender, if you are a drag queen or a showgirl, this really not for the face, this is actually for your body, but, being that I have a large head and a face, it really gets the job a lot quicker. Go ahead and take this Uoma concealer, this is called the Woke Concealer, I am in the color number Honey, and this concealer, I know, you’re like, you already have makeup on your face, but this is to brighten and just smooth. Again, the same points that we did before, the top of my nose, the forehead right here, the top of the lip, and the chin, and maybe just, like, a little right here. All right guys. I wet my Beautyblender, and I’m gonna go ahead and take this and blend that concealer. So this Beautyblender, I like to use for the smaller areas, like under my eyes, because it has a point. All right so next, now that I am happy and satisfied with my foundation, highlight, and contour, it’s time for a powder.

Now, I’m going to show you guys a few different powders that I like to use. It’s not about how much powder you use. What’s more important is what powder you use for what area. So this is my favorite powder for under the eyes. This is the Banana Light Luxury Powder, so, so good, as you can guys can see I ran out but, you know, I got me a backup. This one is just so micronized. It has, like, a beautiful translucent, like, banana color, and it has a brightening effect. Right before you blend, make sure there’s no creases. I like to get the sides of my nose with this because, you know, I smile, I laugh, I talk a lot, I have a long day today. My chin, and the center of my forehead. And what your essentially doing, I learned from Kevyn Aucoin, is to, we’re pretty much reshaping the face, so we’re creating a canvas. This I love because it is super heavy duty, and so, so strong, because, you know, I have facial hair, my cheeks. The fallout, the shadow from your eyes, can fall onto here, and it cleans it up right away. So I would say that baking is my favorite part of the process. Fo’ sho’. So next I’m gonna go ahead and do my eyebrows and my eyes. Normally that could take 20 minutes, 30 minutes but I would leave this for about like, 10, 15 minutes as you do your eye makeup, that way it solidifies and it bakes everything under into the skin. So now it’s been about maybe 20-ish minutes since I’ve done my eyes and my lashes, so now I’m gonna wipe this off and reveal skin. But, to make things faster, I like to take my foundation powder. This is the Double Wear Foundation Powder, the color 5W1 bronze. It’s the powder version of the liquid so, same color, same everything, and I like to just buff it into the skin so I can bring back color onto my face because, you see, it has, like, that white color cast. It’s really, really nice to just kind of go over it. And that baking powder is more for durability, and this is more for, you know, color. And I only like to use this foundation powder on the outside. Don’t put it all the way up under your eye, it’s a no-no. No, no, no, no, no, do not do that, because you wanna make sure, because this has a lot of coverage and color, you wanna make sure this goes everywhere else except under the eyes. I’m gonna go ahead and bronze and contour. I’m gonna go ahead and take this Mineralize Skinfinish form MAC, called Dark Deep, and just kind of sketch out my cheeks, right here, and just bronze the face. This is what I’ve changed since 2016. I like to cut my cheeks, so, see it’s a little bit splotchy? We’re gonna kind of erase and go up, and it kind of acts like a reinforcer, and you see the bronze, I just got too bronzer happy. It kind of, like, erases and reinforces that. Yeah, other things that have changed since 2016 too is my way of blending, my patience with makeup, and because I’ve had experience, like, watching myself back on YouTube, on TV, on shows and red carpets, I kind of have learned a lot from looking back at myself, and always having the mindset that there’s always something new to learn. All right, so this next part’s one of my favorite parts. I’m going to go ahead and take the Beautyblender and another foundation powder, yes, another foundation powder. This is a lighter-color foundation powder, and I like to take this and put this under my eye. And this kind of is, like, one of the second to last powders, for the ultimate full-coverage look. You’re like, second to last? Yes, second to last powder. So let’s take that same powder on my Beautyblender and go down the nose, of course right here, under the eyes, and voila. I’m just gonna go ahead and blend this part with a little bit of blush, because, see how it’s, like, the contour now, and the highlight’s gettin’ a little bit cray cray.

I became a foundation expert by having my makeup done by other people because I know that I don’t know it all. Watching videos of myself, watching myself back on YouTube, and just really trying a new product, there’s always something new launching. Like, almost, like, every day, every month, every week, every hour, and by watching other people on YouTube I’m really able to learn something new. Do this and just dust off all the powder. You see? We look cute. We got somewhere today. This is going to give it that skin-like effect.

Keep your eyes closed, get a fan. Spray’s super important last, because it really locks in the makeup and makes it look like skin again. Because you guys saw I used like, 10-bajillion powders on my face, but it’s really important to do that because this gives it that HD, finished look and I love it.

All right everyone, I got my turban on and a cute little outfit. I hope you guys enjoyed this video. I feel like I look so snatch. This is the Ultimate Full Coverage Foundation look. I hope you guys learned some tips and tricks and try this at home. You can follow me on all social media at Patrick Starrr, subscribe to my YouTube channel, comment down below if you guys liked it, and I hope to see you all in the next video. Bye.

Read More

Must Read: The Deal With Influencers at the Met Gala, Clothing Rental Companies Expand to Serve Niche Markets

Must Read: The Deal With Influencers at the Met Gala, Clothing Rental Companies Expand to Serve Niche Markets

YouTuber James Charles in Alexander Wang at the 2019 Met Gala. Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

YouTuber James Charles in Alexander Wang at the 2019 Met Gala. Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Friday.

What’s the deal with influencers at the Met Gala? 

Camila Coelho and YouTubers James Charles and Lilly Singh made their Met Gala debuts as guests of Diane von Furstenberg and YouTube, respectively. Liza Koshy also attended as YouTube’s guest. Chiara Ferragni was the first influencer to grace the Met Gala carpet back in 2015, but the number of influencers this year is perhaps a sign of acceptance and proves that they have at shot at becoming part of fashion’s elite. {WWD

Clothing rental companies expand assortments to serve niche markets 

Renting clothing is no longer just popular among 20-somethings scrambling to find new dresses to wear at their college friends’ weddings. Today, an array of consumers see these services as a wardrobe hack to outfit their everyday lives. In response to this shift, rental companies now offer options tailored to specific segments of the apparel market, like plus-size, maternity and kids clothing. {Business of Fashion

Net-a-Porter pivots to video and shrinks Porter magazine

Net-a-Porter has decided to reduce the print frequency of Porter magazine to twice a year and put a larger focus on video, podcasts and digital content, WWD reports. The retailer plans to open new video studios and editing suites in a bid to produce socially-led content with speed and agility. {WWD

How War Paint is using toxic masculinity to sell makeup to men

War Paint, a British brand that sells “makeup for men,” has critics up in arms, with claims that it perpetuates “toxic masculinity.” The company launched its concealer, bronzer and tinted moisturizer months ago, but it’s getting backlash thanks to a new campaign video, which features a heavily tattooed white man using various War Paint products, flexing his pecs and putting on a large skull ring. There is still a stigma attached to men and makeup, but selling foundation with muscles, big bulges and war is not going to remove it any time soon. {Vox

What a shortened NYFW means for designers 

The goal of the shortened NYFW is to attract more international buyers and editors and to lure back prominent designers who have decamped for Paris in recent years. Proponents of the plan say that a tighter lineup will give it more energy and urgency, and will help propel American brands onto the international stage. {Business of Fashion

Nike is using AR to help you get the perfect fit 

Nike is introducing a new technology called Nike Fit, which uses computer vision and augmented reality to analyze a photo of your foot, so that it can help determine your correct size in any style of shoe Nike offers. The sportswear giant will begin rolling Nike Fit out on its app and to select U.S. stores in July. {Quartzy

Why beauty and CPG conglomerates are looking to digitally native brands 

Beauty and personal-care mergers and acquisitions are hot right now, especially for digitally native brands. Razor startup Harry’s was acquired by Edgewell Personal Care for $1.37 billion on Thursday, and last week, there were rumors that fellow DTC-first brand Kylie Cosmetics was also in acquisition talks. These companies are attractive to beauty and CPG conglomerates, because they have access to proprietary data through e-commerce and social media, as well as strong brand loyalty, product development innovation and a diversified go-to-market strategy. {Glossy

Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Read More

Oscars 2019: How to watch the winning movies – CNET

Oscars 2019: How to watch the winning movies – CNET

The 2019 Oscars were Sunday. If you’re feeling inspired to see some of the winning films you didn’t catch earlier, here’s a guide to where you can stream, rent or buy the majority of them. Sorry in advance, but there are still quite a few you’ll have to catch in theaters — not that you need a movie subscription service to do so, but it can’t hurt.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Stream these 2019 Oscar nominees now


Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor 

Green Book

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu

Best Director, Cinematography, Foreign Language Film


Streaming: Netflix

Rent/Buy: Nope

Best Actor, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing

Bohemian Rhapsody

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVudu

Best Costume Design, Production Design, Original Score

Black Panther

Streaming: Netflix

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google PlayiTunesVuduYouTube

Best Adapted Screenplay


Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVuduYouTube

Best Actress 

The Favourite

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Best Original Song 

A Star is Born

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Google PlayiTunesYouTubeMicrosoft StoreMovies Anywhere

A Star is Born

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.

Warner Bros

Best Supporting Actress

If Beale Street Could Talk

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Best Makeup and Hairstyling


Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Best Visual Effects

First Man

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVuduYouTube

Best Animated Film

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Best Documentary – Feature

Free Solo

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: AmazonGoogle PlayiTunesVuduYouTube

Best Documentary – Short Subject

Period. End of Sentence

Streaming: Netflix 

Best Animated Short Film


Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: YouTube, Google Play 


Incredibles 2


All other nominated films

A Quiet Place

Streaming: EPIX

Rent/Buy:  Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Avengers: Infinity War

Streaming: Netflix

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Streaming: Netflix

Rent/Buy: Nope

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube


Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Cold War

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

At Eternity’s Gate

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

First Reformed

Streaming: Amazon, Kanopy

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Incredibles 2

Streaming: Netflix 

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Isle of Dogs

Streaming: HBO

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Mary Poppins Returns

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Mary Queen of Scots

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes

Minding the Gap

Streaming: Hulu, PBS

Rent/Buy: Nope


Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Never Look Away

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters

Of Fathers and Sons

Streaming: Kanopy

Rent/Buy: Still in theaters


Ralph Breaks the Internet


Ralph Breaks the Internet

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube


Streaming: Hulu, Hoopla

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Ready Player One

Streaming: HBO

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube


Streaming: Hoopla

Rent/Buy: Amazon, iTunesVudu, YouTube

The Wife

Streaming: Nope

Rent/Buy: Amazon, Google Play, iTunesYouTube

For more information on what’s available to watch online, check out or subscribe to the podcast — it’s free! And go to CNET sister site to see what else is out in the world of streaming.

Audio (weekly): RSS | iTunes | Google Play

Video (monthly): iTunes (HD) | iTunes (HQ) | iTunes (SD) | RSS (HD) | RSS (HQ)RSS (SD)

Read More

Is Australia targeting Saudi women fleeing oppression?

Is Australia targeting Saudi women fleeing oppression?

An investigation by Australian journalists found that authorities in that country are blocking Saudi women suspected of wanting to seek asylum from entering the country.

An Australian television programme is contending that Australian border forces have been targeting women they suspect are fleeing Saudi Arabia and blocking them from entering the country and applying for asylum. The Australian investigative television show Four Corners unearthed evidence of at least two young Saudi women being sent home after arriving at Sydney Airport and indicating they planned to file asylum claims.

Four Corners also found that Australian authorities ask Saudi women who arrive alone why they are traveling without a male guardian, and ask for their guardians’ phone numbers.

Despite recent reforms in the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia maintains a severe system of male guardianship that requires women to have a male relative   a father, uncle, husband, brother or even a son   serve as their guardian and make critical decisions on their behalf. Women are prohibited from applying for passports or travelling abroad without permission from their male guardian.

“This system strangles women …and considers them as minors in society,” Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a women’s rights activist and MENA region consultant for Equality Now, told FRANCE 24.

Many things considered normal for women even in other parts of the Arab world, such as baring skin, wearing too much makeup or swimming in public are considered moral crimes that can land one in jail. Women also become the targets of honour killings at the hands of their families.

Four Corners spoke to several Saudi women who managed to flee to Australia. All of them are still waiting for their asylum claims to be processed. But even in Australia the women don’t feel safe because they are regularly harassed by Saudi men trying to persuade them to return home. Four Corners confirmed that at least one of the men involved in the harassment works for the Saudi Ministry of the Interior.

At least 80 women sought asylum in Australia in recent years, according to the Four Corners report. According to World Bank data, 1,169 Saudis left the country as refugees in 2017. That same year Australia resettled 15,100 refugees, according to UNHCR. In 2015-2016, the numbers of refugees originating from Iraq and Syria eclipsed those from other countries, according to Settlement Services International. Saudi Arabia was not in the top 10.

Denied entry

One of the Saudi women interviewed on the TV show said that, in 2017, she went to the Sydney airport to meet a friend who had fled Saudi Arabia via Indonesia and was planning to ask for asylum in Australia. She never emerged from airport arrivals, and her friends in Australia haven’t heard from her since.

The programme also detailed the case of a woman who landed at the Sydney airport in November, 2017. She was interrogated, detained for three days without access to a lawyer and then forcibly deported, according to Taleb Al Abdulmohsen, a Saudi psychiatrist and activist based in Germany who spoke to FRANCE 24 and was interviewed on the show. 

“They started to meticulously interrogate girls at the Australian airport at least since August 2017. It is getting worse,” Abdulmohsen said on the program. “They ask the Saudi woman if her male guardian allowed her to travel. They ask for his phone number to call him. They also ask her to give them her cell phone and read her SMS, WhatsApp and other chat messages and emails, searching for signs of asylum intent, and they meticulously search the luggage to find any signs of asylum intent such as school certificates.”

A woman denied entry to Australia still has the right to apply for asylum, but the process becomes very different. “They take you to a detention centre, and the treatment is very harsh,” Abdulmohsen told FRANCE 24. For an asylum seeker, a detention centre in Australia is “the worst place you can be in all developed countries”.

Many women do not get as far as Australia. Four Corners also told the stories of two Saudi sisters who were planning on traveling to Sydney from Hong Kong last September. The young women had valid Australian visas but Saudi officials stopped them at the Hong Kong airport, took their passports and asked Australian consular officials to cancel their visas. The officials complied. The sisters have spent the last four months in hiding in Hong Kong.


Just getting out of Saudi is an ordeal.

“There’s really two methods for doing this,” Adam Coogle, a Middle East Researcher for Human Rights Watch told the program. “One is they hack into their father’s phone and change the permission settings for their travel … and run to the airport… The other method is if the family takes a vacation, they flee and abscond while outside the country.”

The Four Corners investigation began in January when Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi teenager, ran away during a family vacation in Kuwait. She intended to go to Australia, but was detained in Bangkok. Thai authorities initially said they would deport her, but she barricaded herself in her room at the airport transit hotel and quickly opened a Twitter account, sending the #SaveRahaf hashtag global.

At the time, Qunun had a valid Australian tourist visa. Her plan was to spend a few days in Bangkok before she continued on to Melbourne, where she would apply for asylum. As soon as she landed in Bangkok, she told Four Corners, a man approached her saying he was there to help her get a visa for Thailand. That was a lie; the truth was her family had reported her missing and he worked for the Saudi embassy. He took her passport.

As soon as she heard about the case, Australian journalist Sophie McNeill flew to Bangkok, snuck past the guards outside Qunun’s room and barricaded herself inside with the young Saudi woman. Qunun said she would not leave the room until she spoke to a representative from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Eventually UNHCR gave her refugee status. The Australian government said they would review her case but it would take time. Canada granted her status within a matter of hours of her request. A week later she arrived there.

Qunun told Four Corners she had been warned about border agents in Australia. “I heard that they investigate women, especially Saudi women and ask them where their guardian is,” she said. “So, my plan was to tell them that my father knew about this and he has allowed me to travel.”

Where is Dina?

The outcome for girls leaving Saudi Arabia isn’t always as rosy as it was for Qunun.

In April, 2017, 24-year-old Dina Ali Lasloom was stopped in the Philippines on her way to Australia and had her passport confiscated.

Lasloom’s story also went viral after a stranger she befriended in the airport filmed a video of her saying she would be killed if she returned home and posted it on social media. But the intervention was to no avail. Men who were said to be her uncles showed up in the airport, duct taped her mouth shut, taped her arms and legs together, and forced the screaming young woman onto a plane. Activists heard reports she was being held in a shelter for women, which effectively serve as prisons, but she hasn’t been heard from and her exact situation is unknown.

What is sure is that women who are returned to the Kingdom face bleak futures. “They will be living in hell,” Abu-Dayyeh told FRANCE 24. “If they are not killed they will be locked in home, they will be imprisoned at home.”

The Australian Border Force issued a statement after the broadcast, without addressing any of the specific allegations in the piece. “Any traveller who seeks to engage Australia’s protection obligations are subject to a process that confirms their circumstances and whether their reasons for seeking to enter Australia require further consideration against Australia’s non-refoulement obligations, or whether they can be removed to their home country or place of departure, consistent with Australia’s international obligations,” the statement read in part.

Read also: Saudi teen’s asylum in Canada seen as win-win for Trudeau

Read More