Day in the Life: Dubai image consultant makes TV presenters presentable
Mimi Raad is an image consultant, managing the styles of about 100 presenters on MBC1, MBC3 and Al Arabiya News.
She moved to Dubai from Lebanon nine years ago to establish an “image department” for Dubai TV, when it was launching its five new channels. Six years later, Ms Raad, 47, was asked to do the same for Al Arabiya News and now runs the department for all three MBC channels.
She also has her own fashion segment on the Al Arabiya Morning Show and blogs fashion advice for The Huffington Post. Ms Raad appeared at the Emirates Literature Festival last week to discuss her views on cosmetic surgery.
I wake up. I usually go jogging two or three times a week, take a shower and drive to the office.
I’m very picky about my breakfasts. I always have two coffees, and unless my assistant comes up with a brilliant idea for breakfast, I usually end up having a slice of toast with light labneh on. On Tuesdays I present a fashion segment on the Al Arabiya Morning Show at 10.40am, so I get to the studio at 7.30am to have my make-up and hair done first. It’s in Arabic, but I think in French and the fashion research I do for it is in English, so I have to write down notes in Arabic, or I get confused.
If it’s an office day, I will be doing rounds of the studios to make sure the presenters are looking their best. I make a chart for every presenter in detail – for the make-up artists, hairdressers and stylists – so they know they have to stick to certain colours, cuts, and make-up styles for a particular presenter. I take into consideration many factors – the set, lighting, mood of the show, and the presenter’s personality. You can put on something that you think looks amazing, but the camera won’t like it. Decency is a major thing on the news. No cleavage, no trousers higher than the knees, and no bare arms. They’re not going to an evening party. I tell the presenters that the news itself is why people switch on, they are just the medium. I think they hate me for that. But I love my job.
About twice a week I’ll go straight to the mall in the morning instead of the office, to go shopping for one of the presenters. The presenter picks the store and the challenge for me is to come up with the best choice of clothes for them from that store. If they don’t have a store in mind, I ask them their budget and guess which store they would suit. Sometimes, I go to one of the presenters’ houses to check their closet, and mix and match their outfits. This assures I won’t have any nasty surprises when they’re on screen. I make a list of all the basics they have to buy if they don’t have them. If we finish early, I’ll have brunch afterwards with the two stylists who work with me. I love the conversation we have – we share our fashion thoughts. It’s very intense. Not everybody would feel comfortable while we’re talking about fashion.
I grab a salad for lunch. I don’t like to eat heavy foods during the day because then I have more energy for the rest of the day. For the local presenters, I had to learn about shaylas, abayas and kanduras, which was very challenging. If you don’t have the right texture for the shayla it will keep on sliding on the presenter’s hair. It’s annoying when you see someone on screen trying to adjust their shayla every two minutes. The make-up for locals is completely different, too, because their hair is covered, so you have to make sure the skin glows without looking too dark as they’re wearing dark clothes.
I go home, put the TV on to keep monitoring what’s on air and read magazines, which are my homework. I always have to be updated on the latest trends.
I order a light dinner, usually from Kcal because it’s very healthy. Then I start writing my fashion blog for The Huffington Post. Usually after that I do a bit of fashion research.
I’ll read on my Kindle, and go to sleep. I only need a few hours to sleep, and I’m always full of energy.
Updated: March 8, 2014 04:00 AM