Dubai's Hayla TV reveals secrets behind 9million YouTube fans

UAE YouTuber shares the formula to social media success ahead of VidCon Abu Dhabi


David Light

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Published: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 6:46 PM

When you can boast nine million YouTube subscribers the media possibilities are presumably endless. We’ve witnessed those with a far more modest following use their channels as a path to superficial fame and fortune on countless occasions. Dubai’s 26-year-old Hayla Ghazal, though, has chosen to build her platform — Hayla TV which she established almost a decade ago — for an infinitely more worthwhile cause.

Ghazal employs her socials to spread positive and powerful messages in order to enhance female empowerment and has gone on to become a life coach and mental health practitioner. As a result of her endeavors the Syrian native was appointed Change Ambassador for gender equality as part of a collaboration between YouTube and the United Nations. She partnered with the Verified campaign under the United Nations and was selected as the only female Arab content creator to film with the current Pope.

Next month Ghazal will be appearing at VidCon Abu Dhabi from December 3 to 6 at ADNEC. The content producer will accompany a host of personalities across a variety of panel discussions, workshops and Q&A sessions at the UAE’s debut edition of the world’s largest celebration of digital creators and online video.

We caught up with the star to find out more.

How does it feel to be part of VidCon? What unique feature about you do you believe demands your inclusion?

I am very excited to be part of VidCon to participate in a panel about women empowerment and mental health.

How quickly did you adopt social media when you came across it? Was it an instant relationship?

I started my YouTube channel back in 2013. My childhood dream was to work as a presenter and I found that making videos from home was the most suitable environment for myself and my family. I would make videos in between my studies and classes at university. I loved every process of creating them from the ideation to filming and editing. I remember stacking books to lift the family camera to film. I started off with English videos but the moment I shifted to Arabic, the channel began to grow rapidly.

How do you think being a social media star in the Middle East compares to elsewhere in the world?

When I first started my channel, I used comedy to highlight misconceptions about women and to encourage young girls to be ambitious. I would dress up as different characters portraying a typical Middle Eastern family and used storytelling to create impact.

You took a break from making videos a few years ago, why was this?

After four years of creating content on social media, in 2017 I announced that I was not going to be making videos anymore. Since then, I indulged in higher studies and certifications on top of my Bachelor’s degree to become a licensed and certified mental health practitioner and life coach. In my practice, I go to the root causes and subconscious mind programming that is causing mental, emotional or physical pain for my clients. With the incredible amount of knowledge I have gained, I returned to my social media platforms to share how people and young women can transform their lives.

Is there a secret to getting over nine million subscribers? Why do you feel people responded to your content? Do you feel TV is still important?

I believe consistency and relatability can have an impact. Regardless of the media outlet, I want to create content that inspires and supports others to create the life they want. I am open to appearing on traditional TV if the suitable opportunity arises.

How did you get on during the worst of the pandemic? Were you able to continue your activities? Has the experience changed anything about your life?

During the pandemic, I transitioned my work as a mental health practitioner online. It was the best decision as it allowed me to work more effectively and efficiently. It was also a great chance to go within and explore my creativity. I spent a lot of my time drawing, reflecting and studying.

What made you start this career in the first place and how does it feel to now be a person in charge of their own destiny? You’re your own boss, what advice do you have for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

The most important thing is for a person to find their passion and purpose. Without either, there won’t be motivation to pursue or sustain anything.

How do you feel your time as a UN change ambassador has gone? What more do you want to do?

Throughout entertainment videos, I highlighted some of the habits and thought patterns still present within Middle Eastern families. These videos created change by encouraging girls to want to advance their education and to go after their dreams. I want to integrate my new knowledge in my videos to continue to encourage young women to use their full potential.

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