Meet the winner of the popular Al-Jadeed TV reality show El-Za3im: Maya Terro. With brains, beauty and a brilliant personality, Terro won over the hearts of Lebanese people everywhere with her charming speeches and captivating campaign tactics. Her prize? A fully-funded political campaign that will be entirely covered by Al-Jadeed.

Down-to-earth and totally crazy, “but the good crazy,” she insists, Terro started off among a thousand other potential contestants for the show, which were whittled down to 600 interviews. From that staggering number, only 15 finalists were chosen for live TV, among them Lebanese personality Myriam Klink. The infamous model-turned-provocative singer made waves in national media after she appeared on a live television program last year singing a song called 'Antar,' which in Arabic has a double-meaning, referring to both a cat and the crass slang term for a lady's private parts.

"We didn't know she was going to be on the show,” explained Terro of her blonde and buxom competitor, adding “nobody told us.” Surprisingly, Terro had nothing but nice things to say about Klink, remarking that “she's got a really good heart," and is “actually smart; she just plays stupid.” Terro went a step further and related the notion that ‘looks can be deceiving’ by describing the public and judges’ own perception of her.



Terro explained that some of her fans on Facebook told her that she was "applying for the wrong show" and that she should apply for Miss Lebanon instead. “It’s a common misconception,” she said, “that if she's pretty then she's automatically dumb.”

Indeed, Terro fared well throughout her entire tenure on El-Za3im, proving once and for all that blondes are as badass as they are beautiful. “People are always saying ‘she's pretty and smart’ and it's nice to hear those two words put together," said Terro, adding, “Move over Haifa and Elissa!”

But the real intrigue behind Terro’s win is the fact that she is completely independent—both politically and religiously. “I’m agnostic,” she explained. “My parents are Muslim and Christian, and I respect both religions, though I don’t identify with them.” She relayed the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln to describe her feelings on the matter: “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion."

In fact, Terro believes so much in the importance of independent representation that she chose not to run her El-Za3im campaign in her village, because “I didn’t want to rely on people I know.” She took to Beirut instead, where she spent six years in AUB.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master's in Public Health from the American University of Beirut, Terro’s educational background was much more diverse than the rest of her El-Za3im team whom she described as “crazy competitive.” She also received a second Master’s degree from Italy in Developmental Economics. “My multidisciplinary approach gave me a view from different angles that other people didn’t have,” she explained.



Regarding her lack of background in politics, Terro laughed. "I never think about it as politics,” she enthused, “I think about it as what’s good for Lebanon. It’s not my thing but I've always wanted to get involved—I love to challenge myself."

“In Lebanese politics, we don’t have a vision. We follow our hearts… but we should be following our minds instead.” The tall blond went on to comment that Lebanese people repeatedly complain about the same issues, but are re-electing the very same politicians that never address those issues. “There’s a quote by Einstein that explains this perfectly,” she said. “‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That’s Lebanon."

Terro's hopes to change much in the future of Lebanese politics and society, and already promises an electoral platform of reform. Consisting of political awareness and education among the youth, her platform operates under one condition: that it should be based on non-sectarian principles. She also hopes to bring to surface a variety of civil rights, focusing especially on woman’s rights (“no one mentions women!”) and special needs. “People with special needs make up ten percent of the Lebanese population and couldn't even vote if they wanted to because of lack of accessibility!” exclaimed Terro.

When asked if there was a possibility of her winning a seat in parliament, Terro smoothly replied: "In my mind I always have a chance... so why not?"

"Winning is a means, not an ends,” she explained. “I’m independent and alone, so my chances are low; I know that. But being given the chance to express your opinions is amazing enough."

Regardless of the outcome of her campaign, Terro will forever appreciate her memories in the big house, her conversations with fans, and her new status as a role model. “Always concentrate on making a good generation because it will have a ripple effect,” she advised. “And above all, if you want to make a change, change yourself.”

When Brains and Beauty Meet Political Ambition: Meet El-Za3im Winner Maya Terro
 

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