New Year 2023: Life lessons we learnt from our cover stars in 2022

The CT team picks their best cover stories from the year 2022

By CT Desk

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Published: Fri 30 Dec 2022, 7:14 PM

We pick some of our best cover stories from the year gone by, and the lessons we learnt from our favourite stars. Whether it was their sheer awe of the amazing city we are fortunate to call home, or their humbleness, we were swept away by their down-to-earth charm and some simple yet key lessons we learnt along the way.

Covers by Ambica Sachin

Liam Neeson

"I’ve finished my 101st film; it’s a very unique profession. I feel very fortunate, very very lucky.” - Liam Neeson on the thrill of a theatrical release.

Talking to the multi-award winning actor I have watched wide-eyed on the big screen baring his heart, in a small way, to a journalist sat half the world away, is definitely a highlight from 2022. At 70, here was someone who has appeared in over 100 films, still raring to go in a profession where you need intense mental and physical stamina, leave aside talent and commitment, to be counted among the top. Gratitude for the amazing opportunities we are presented with (even if you have been doing the same thing for years) is I believe key to leading a happy life.

Fatima Alharthi

"I don’t feel sad if I don’t complete the race. I feel happy that I led the race, and learnt something anew.” - Emirati equestrian Fatima Alharthi on how she keeps herself motivated in the challenging field of endurance riding.

We can’t always be winners. But the lessons we learn along the way and most importantly the attitude we wear is important. It’s not just an expression of our core identity but one that hopefully makes us stand apart from the crowd. And Fatima’s optimistic belief in never giving up and always believing in yourself is one to imbibe.

Ronan Keating

"Don’t take yourself too seriously. I wish I had been able to enjoy it more in the 90s… I didn’t get to enjoy it; didn’t get to see the places I was in, feel the energies like I should have and really celebrate the success that we had."

It’s a lesson we all can hopefully imbibe in our own lives — to live in the moment and enjoy the joys of little things right now rather than wallow in the past or pine for the future. Talking to the singer ahead of his concert in Dubai drove home the point that whoever you are and wherever you may be, it’s always important to be present in the moment and make the most of it.

Covers by Enid Grace Parker

Damian Lewis

"Discretion, silence, charisma, a strong liver and a good running speed.”

During a Zoom chat about the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning British actor’s new television series A Spy Among Friends (based on the true story of Britain’s most notorious double agent Kim Philby and his friend Nicholas Elliott), a newly knighted Damian Lewis listed out the five most important qualities a good spy should have. And there goes our dream of being a spy...

Shemar Moore

"All I’ve seen are videos and pictures and I’ve heard from friends who have been there; it’s just incredible — it’s surreal, it doesn’t look real to me! And I just wanna come! Book me a ticket tomorrow! If we could shoot S.W.A.T. in Dubai, that’d be crazy!”

Daytime Emmy winning actor Shemar Moore may have never been to our desert city, but he’s definitely open to shooting a series here. The Criminal Minds actor spoke to us ahead of the new season of S.W.A.T dropping in the Middle East in November. We love it when celebs go gaga over our city.


"A lot more people know about Dubai now, and it’s because of Burj Khalifa. And I always like to remind them that, hey, I’ve been visiting before Burj Khalifa was built. It’s a place I have a big fascination with, and I love what the city is doing for the world, for our future.”

The Pakistani-American rapper, regarded as a pioneer in Punjabi rap music, was excited to be back on the road after the Covid pandemic. Ahead of a concert in Dubai, he dropped into the Khaleej Times office. It’s always great to hear someone praise our city.

Covers by Husain Rizvi

Anil Kapoor

"Sunita and I have been married for 38 years. There are things which we both have sacrificed for each other. But we love each other’s company, we have a lot of common things, and even when we have different tastes, we have an understanding, which must be one of the reasons for this longevity in our relationship.”

The fact that I got a chance to interview Anil Kapoor so early in my career as an entertainment journalist is wicked cool. But years later, if I were to look back on this conversation, the first thing I would remember is Anil Kapoor’s humility. “Rizvi sahab, adaab,” he said after my introduction, so courteously as if to denote that this wasn’t our first meeting. The Zoom interview was held in June, ahead of his film Jugjugg Jeeyo’s release. He even dished out some relationship advice that continues to stay with me long after the interview.

Yalla Football!

"Messi is yesterday. Mbappe is now and tomorrow. We did it in 2018, we will do it again," a French expat said.

Writing this story took me back to my days as a sports journalist. In the build up to the story in which I talked with fans about their thoughts on the Fifa World Cup 2022 final between Argentina and France, I provided an insight on both teams and it got me thinking how much I enjoyed writing about football.

Interviewing the fans was equally fun. Although a fan’s take was infuriating to me, a Messi and Argentina fan, when he said, “Messi is yesterday.” Oh, that didn’t age well, did it? The yesterday’s genius managed to win a World Cup and the Golden Ball at 35.

James Smith

"Confidence is something you build in accrual with evidence over time. So if things go wrong, I know that I need to change things. If things go right, then I know I need to be more consistent with it. It is really the building of those foundations over time that bring you confidence as a byproduct.”

I wouldn’t say I am a fitness freak. But I am someone who is constantly seeking motivation, or confidence, to become one. And when I had the chance to speak to James Smith, one of the world’s fastest growing online personal trainer (PT), and 3x Sunday Times bestselling author, I found his take on confidence to be very distinctive and rather interesting.

For James, confidence is a “byproduct” and not a “precursor.” Confidence comes from the relationship with failure, not so much with the relationship with success.

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