The modelling industry in the UAE was taken by storm in 2003 when Nicole Rodrigues decided to start Diva Modelling and Events, which then expanded into a multi- million dollar business empire. Nicole, who is now the Founder and CEO of the Diva Group of Companies, is a full-time mum, entrepreneur and probably one of the warmest people we have ever come across. She became a one woman show set to revolutionise the modelling industry in the UAE… and she did just that.
Her husband, Dr. Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi complements her perfectly. Born to a German mother and Iranian father, Sassan’s family migrated from Iran in 1978 when the revolution broke out. After a short stint in boarding school in Shareborne, England, he relocated to Germany where he finished his education and trained as a lawyer. He practiced law for five years in Frankfurt in some of Germany’s top 10 city law firms and moved to Dubai at the end of 1999 where he set up German Imaging Technologies, the company he manages today.
Ask Nicole about Sassan and she instantly brightens up. “He is my best friend, confidante, guide and guru, if you may call it. He provides me that security of always being there and guiding me emotionally, commercially and professionally when I need it. We both are learners and believe in constant innovation and change. He is a family man with his feet well-grounded and I love that about him”.
Sassan says it was love at first sight. “I truly believe that we’re soul mates. We spend hours, days, weeks and months just talking and talking and talking. Our record stands at a staggering 9 hours talking sitting across from each other with no distractions. I think we have a magical chemistry and we definitely have eyes for only each other. She played hard to get, and probed and tested me relentlessly”.
Nicole and Sassan are the proud parents of Victoria, 13 and Victor, 10 who are as different as they are similar. The siblings share a very strong bond, despite being in very different phases of their life.
They are a family that truly believes in the spirit of camaraderie and friendship.
L to R: Victor, Nicole, Victoria and Dr. Sassan
Photography by:Sarfaraz Ali