Chicago Pop Vocalist Mary Fakhoury Finds New Life in Cartoons, Builds Multi-Media Business

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Model and singer Mary Fakhoury propels her career with popular new blog, upcoming full-length album, and cartoon characters. Fakhoury can be seen as a role model for Arab-Americans trying to succeed in the U.S. entertainment industry.

There used to be only one Mary Fakhoury. Now there are five of her. The Chicago-based pop vocalist and model is no longer just relying on her catwalk-ready looks and soulful voice to propel her career to stardom. Fakhoury's blog, "Mary Fakhoury's Pad" (http://mfakhoury.wordpress.com), has reeled in thousands of regular visitors to read her sometimes caustic and often witty commentaries on pop culture, politics, social issues, and relationships. "I can see the phoniness right through the heavy eyeliner," Fakhoury wrote in one installment about the superficiality of wedding receptions. "I check my purse to make sure I have enough Prozac because this is going to be a long night."

But Fakhoury's blog is just one part of her new strategy for global success. The other involves comic-strip versions of herself. Named Rockann, Venus, Edith, and Donia, the characters take on Fakhoury's appearance but with different guises and personalities. Fakhoury created them all herself; illustrated in an anime-esque fashion by Ian Llanas, the ladies will be brought to life by Fakhoury at her upcoming concerts, including a European tour scheduled for the beginning of this summer. Fakhoury's latest album, "Red Diamond," will be released in the spring, and already has physical distribution in the U.K., Europe, Canada, and Japan, among other countries.

Unlike many other young female artists in the music scene today, Fakhoury rejects vulgarity and shameless shock-value antics. Her role models are performers from the '40s, especially the classy bombshells from that era. Fakhoury's father Hani Fakhoury is a renowned Jordanian international singer. For Fakhoury, her dream of making an impact in the entertainment industry is something that she shares with her dad, struggling and working hard in an unpredictable, high-stress environment, often plagued by sharks and naysayers, sometimes from her own family and Arab-American culture. However, after spending years of modeling for BMG Models and Lily's Talent Agency in Chicago and self-releasing records, Fakhoury is about to make a run for the gold. Fakhoury is currently open to hearing offers of possible sponsorships and endorsement deals for her blog, her characters, and her upcoming tour.

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Robert Sutton

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