From beauty entrepreneurs to self-proclaimed fashionistas, they remain ahead of the game
Social media has had a huge impact on our everyday lives and we rely on it for entertainment, information and even inspiration.
Over the past few years, influencers in the Middle East and abroad have flourished thanks to content they provide audiences.
Whether they’re beauty and make-up industry entrepreneurs or self-proclaimed fashionistas, their Instagram feeds also often offer an envious peek into a world far different from what most live.
Their posts, peppered with images of VIP events, celebrities they’ve met, luxury cars driven and exotic places visited arouse the curiosity of their followers and perhaps even influence the next holiday destination viewers plan to map out.
Taking up space in this niche segment are also actresses and pop singers, whose following is easily formed with the fan followers they already command. While this domain is dominated by women power, there are also a few male social media influencers, whose expertise mainly lies in gaming, humour and luxury lifestyle.
A prime example is UAE’s home-grown talent Khalid Ameri rose to popularity with his anecdotes on day-to-day life events and incidents narrated in a unique style.
The growing number of followers and their engagement with influencers are just a few factors that can be used to measure the growing popularity of this new breed of stars.
The collective reach of the featured top 10 influencers in the GCC alone is more than 40 million followers commanding a cumulative brand value of over $180 million, as per a conservative estimate.
The social media scene for the influencer market in the UAE, particularly Dubai, is growing and proving to be on a par with global market trends, while the rest of the GCC nations are yet to reach that bar.
We’ve compiled a list of the top social media stars with the help of Anne Kurian, Oman’s long-standing media member who is also a social media influencer in her own right; Dhanitri Pai, another influencer in Oman whose posts are about food; Oman’s popular TikToker Razan Possible; freelance social media marketing consultant Avaantica Ashok; and Mohammed Al Prince, a biker and blogger in Oman.
They all firmly believe in the strong emergence of social media influencing as a force to reckon with in 2022. Ashok says that some of the small and medium industries that consult with her have indicated a sizeable budget for influencer-based marketing for this year. She said: “2022 surely is going to be the year of social media influencers and the trend will stay.”
Who is she? As the former TV host of the show ‘Sabah El Kher Ya Arab’, influencer Lojain Omran is one of the most influential media personalities in the region. The professional actress-singer, who based in Saudi Arabia, was also featured on the Forbes list of top 100 Arab celebrities, landing in at the 55th spot.
As the face of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award For Tolerance, Omran’s success story also means she is one of the most sought-after brand ambassadors in the world of beauty. She’s also ranked as the top five most influential personalities in Saudi Arabia, as well as being the fourth most-followed celebrity on Snapchat in the country. When not influencing, she is a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) ambassador for a raft of charity works and the Ambassador for ROTA (Reach Out to Asia). Her posts are mainly on personal experiences, inspirational statements, and product review and endorsements.
Instagram following: 9.6 million. Net worth is estimated at $3 million.
Who is she? As the founder of the beauty empire Joelle Group, Joelle Mardinian is also make-up artist, TV host, entrepreneur and brand influencer. This Lebanese beauty moved to Dubai from London in 2004 and set up her niche beauty salon in 2008. The business boomed and soon 14 branches were peppered across the MENA region. A further diversification of business led to the opening of the cosmetic clinic Clinica Joelle, which saw her beauty business flourish even better. Along with opening her clinics across five locations in the region, she launched her own skincare brand Joelle Paris and has since been moving up and ahead successfully. Her social posts are mostly on her personal experiences, travels, children and family.
Instagram following: 9.5 million. Net worth estimated at $44 million.
Who is she? Karen Wazen Bakhazi is a Lebanese-British fashion entrepreneur and digital influencer based in Dubai. Her husband, son and twin daughters are equally famous. Wazen Bakhazi’s twin sisters are also social media stars — one is the founder of a shoe label and the other is a chef. A blog she started in 2016 where she showcased her lifestyle found many followers and she never looked back. Her fame as an influencer also got her the coveted role of a high-profile supporter of UNHCR.
Her posts are mostly personal posts about family, outings, family announcements and occasionally product reviews.
Instagram following: 4.2 million. Her net worth as indicated $2 million.
Who is he? Mohamed Beiraghdary is a successful man in an otherwise woman-dominated field, with a whopping 4 million Instagram followers. Beiraghdary, based in Dubai with his family of parents and sister, started off as a gamer. The YouTube channel Mo Vlogs subsequently got its extension in Instagram where he raked in more followers. His posts feature super cars and luxury lifestyle, offering his followers a peek into his uber rich life in Dubai. He is also into fashion designing and has launched a merchandise company called MV. With a circle of rich friends, his posts feature celebrities that he rubs shoulders with. This 26-year-old’s sister who goes by the name Lana Rose (Parisa Beiraghdary) is also an influencer and a good singer.
His posts are about personal experiences, celebrity meets, super car drive review and social experiments with friends.
Instagram following: 4 million. Net worth estimated at $10 million.
Who is she? At 66, Egyptian yesteryear actress Youssra is considered a glamorous icon in the Middle East. A trailblazer in the 1980s, Youssra has constantly been reinventing herself to successfully stay in the limelight. Her keen sense of fashion and ability stay young and fit got her the position as one of the judges for fashion and realty TV shows like ‘Project Runway Middle East’, alongside designer Elie Saab. In 2014, Youssra was named as one of the world’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women for her long history of achievements. Youssra is based in Cairo and is a UN goodwill ambassador.
Her are about events attended, festival greetings and places visited.
Instagram following: 3.3 million. Net worth listed as $19 million.
Who is he? A young rising male star in a relatively women-dominated realm, Dyler is a Saudi rapper who started his tryst with music in his teens. He is based in Dubai from where he churns out posts that delight millions of his followers. What endears him to his followers, who are mostly children and young adults, are the themes of his music which are almost always centred around everyday events and happenings at home and around. He is hailed by media as one of the youngest to indulge in a smart social media investment with resources of his own as capital.
His posts are about gaming and personal events.
Instagram following: 2.9 million and net worth listed as $2.3 million.
Who is she? The 19-year-old a Lebanese singer, dancer and model based in Lebanon got almost a million fans and followers soon after she became part of the band Now United. From a local singer in Beirut, she rose to fame when she was signed on by Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller last year for his visionary global pop group. This move also makes Ardakani the first Arab representative from the MENA region to be part of this global pop group. Now she’s living a jet-set life with recordings and concerts but before that, Ardakani was once a singer in a local band called Front Row that she formed with her friends. With a girl-next-door image and looks to match, this Beyonce-loving singer is happy and proud of her close-knit family.
Her posts are mostly about music, Now United, concerts and personal posts at times.
Instagram following: 1.8 million and rising.
Who is she? Bodi is listed as the richest and most popular Instagram star. Born in South Africa, this 35-year-old Indian origin model gained popularity for her beauty and ultra-rich lifestyle posts on Instagram. She endorses a variety of luxury products. She is also a blogger and founder of the I Woman of the World events company. She is based in Dubai and has a huge fan following of other popular social media influencers. She was also the first Indian face of an international publication in Saudi Arabia, and got an honourable mention as one of the best dressed at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Her posts are about her personal and family life and product endorsements and reviews.
Instagram following: 1.2 million and net worth is listed as $1.5 million.
Who is he? A well-known face on Facebook and Instagram, Ameri is the quintessential Emirati talent, nurtured in the heartland of UAE. He started off with his own YouTube channel in 2011 and his excellent story-telling talent won him a lot of followers. His posts are mostly human-interest stories, revolving around his life, kids and wife and fellow humans. With the boom in social media, Ameri reinvented himself as an influencer. Giving him support is his wife who appears in most of his posts. Ameri also endorses products on his Instagram handle.
His posts are about events and happenings in and around UAE, endorsements curated in exclusive style, family incidents and travels.
Instagram following: 1.8 million. Net worth estimated at $1 million.
Who is she? Apart from being the wife of social media influencer Khalid Ameri, Salama Mohamed has her own fan following. Her inimitable style in content creation has earned her many followers and she continues to inspire her audience on a daily basis. She has also created a sustainable skin care product line called Peacefull. She posts episodes of funny incidents that happen in day-to-day life with an ample serving of humour. She also collaborates with beauty brands, destination management companies and hotel providers along with her husband.
Her content is mostly about family, her product review/line-up, new products and endorsements
Instagram following: 1.2 million, Net worth estimated at $1 million.
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