Part of “May I Have Your Attention Please” featured in the Summer Issue of Inc. Arabia. These are the men and women who have YouTubed, tweeted, ‘grammed, snapped and vine’d their way to sparking dialogues, decimating stereotypes and taking the perfect foodgram in 2016. Double tap this story to read how they are breaking into Arab Internet culture, via your phone screens, one like at a time.
Country: UAE • Age: 21 • Platform: youtube
•Handle: haylatv • Followers: 1.5m • Favorite App: Google Maps
Maintaining two fashion boutiques, becoming a UN Change Ambassador, as well as entertaining a following of 1.5 million people on YouTube, is just another day in this 21-year-old’s life. Hayla Ghazal had always wanted to be a TV presenter, but her parents didn’t like the idea at all.
“Here in the Middle East, society isn’t very accepting of women in media. So my parents were worried about the kind of negative feedback I’d get.” Being the good daughter she says she is, Ghazal tried out other careers. However, the idea stuck with her, and when she was 15, she joined a talent agency in Dubai. Of course, joining came with a long list of conditions from her parents: They would come to every job with her and it would only be a temporary activity.
But as can be expected, her love for the industry only grew. If she couldn’t be on TV, she’d find an alternative. And that alternative was YouTube. Again, her parents were apprehensive, but as organizations and people started showing interest in her work, her parents finally started seeing the value and her impact on her audience. Today, her father supports her with business development and strategy, and encourages her to create content that affects social change.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Don’t share too much personal information
- Do think twice about what you want to share
- Do think about who your audience really is
How I stay relevant
Never repeat, never.