Follow 10 Middle Eastern influencers – Photos

I always thought I understood what it meant when people said “Representation Matters“ but I really didn’t know what I was missing until I challenged myself to put together a list of successful female influencers from the Middle East.
What I found was a group of brilliant young women who work and inspire a whole new world. Having someone who looks like you to look up to or even just be inspired by, someone who looks like you but lives a completely different reality, makes all the difference.
This list is like seeing 10 versions of me and realising what people like me are able to achieve. From the first woman to swim the Thames river to the Arab Kendall and Kylie Jenner, click ahead to meet our favourite Middle East influencers.

Taim AlFalasi

The 25-year old Dubai native has already been named one of the “100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40” by Arabian Business. She is known for her flawless style – her wardrobe and her brows are major goals – and her openness on how to cope being a young, ambitious woman in the Middle Eastern media. AlFalasi currently has 2.3 million Instagram followers and almost 500k on Youtube. And a hit radio show.


Thana & Sakhaa Abdul

Basically the Saudi version of Kendall & Kylie, these two Medina-natives moved to London almost 13 years ago and have been fascinated by fashion ever since. Their instagram and their blog, The Abduls, take you into their closet and around the world on fashion shoots and runways. The two are also the founders of Coded Nation, “a multi-brand e-commerce boutique where the sisters spotlight emerging designers and up-and-coming brands.” It’s definitely not something for everyone but, as Thana puts it in an interview with Vogue Arabia, “it’s everything to someone.”


Zahra Lari

Lari is the first Saudi figure skater to compete internationally after having won several national championships. She is also part of Nike’s Middle East adand the brand’s first Pro Hijab campaign that has recently sparked controversy.


Najla Kaddour

Najla Kaddour is one of the most successful makeup artists in the Middle East. While blogging and sharing makeup tutorials, she has also established herself as the go-to person in the Arab world for stars like, oh, JLo.


Anum Bashir

“Clothes are best served with a side of intellect,” it says on her blog, Desert Mannequin. And Anum Bashir actually makes an effort to follow through on that. The Qatari art and fashion consultant has been featured in some of the biggest local fashion magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, but has even managed to make appearances in the German weekly, Die Zeit, and Vogue US. While she’s definitely an expert on style and design, she makes a point of translating to the Western world that there is not one singular image of “the oppressed Middle Eastern woman” but that they, in fact, are more independent, fearless and fierce than you might think.


Dina Tokio

Dina Tokio is a poster child of the self-made millennial woman: Born in Cairo to a British mom and an Egyptian dad, she is now UK-based and has evolved to become a style icon, a successful youtuber and instagrammer, a proud representative of modest fashion, a mother and a wife. Scrolling down her insta feed, you’ll probably wish she were your BFF, or that she’d at least give you a much-needed spring makeover. But alas, Dina has already made plans with gran. (Good for her.)


Yalda Golsharifi

Yalda Golsharifi is a film school graduate-turned-entrepreneur and a part-time lifestyle editor for the Kuwait Times. She is currently the face of L’Oreal’s Middle East campaign while also running her own beauty salon and an online fashion store.


Nadya Hasan

Hasan is a UAE-born fashion designer and blogger. On her blog, The Fierce Diaries, she gives beauty, travel and just plain awesome lifestyle advice.

In 2015, Hasan launched her first shoe collection. “When I started working on the design of the shoes, I really wanted to bring back the ‘20s. The women from that era were simply fabulous,” she explained in an interview with Vogue, citing the golden era as a main source of inspiration. “Their style was a mix of masculine and feminine and the ‘20s also made a significant mark on the fashion industry; hemlines were cut above the ankle and women paid more attention to wearing shoes that they could show off.”


Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Al-Khatahtbeh is a published author, a writer and an editor, she has her own Youtube channel and she’s an outspoken activist. She is the founder and editor of Muslim Girl, a media platform that shows life in the US through the eyes of young Muslim women. Muslim Girl, together with Getty, just launched the first stock photo collection of Muslim girls and women. Representation of Muslim women in the media has mostly been very stereotypical, and doesn’t “really capture the spectrum of Muslim women,” Al-Khatahtbeh told Refinery29. “There are women of different skin colors and body types, women who choose to veil and women who choose not to.”


Ascia AKF

This Kuwaiti-American is a true beauty and fashion pro, collaborating with other influencers, such as British-Egpytian Dina Tokio, or platforms like Net-a-porter. Ascia and her husband, Ahmad, also have a joint blog, The Hybrids, where they talk about common causes and topics as well as individual ideas.


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