With over one million YouTube subscribers – that’s over 850,000 followers more than Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic channel – there’s no doubt when it comes to beauty advice, Hayla Ghazal is the Middle East’s go-to guru.
Starting as a fashion and beauty vlogger, Hayla Ghazal’s ultra-bubbly, comic-style videos on her YouTube Channel Hayla TV slowly began to highlight key social messages of changes to be made in the region. They’ve had such an effect that she was recently appointed an ambassador for the UN, who picked her to be one of seven Change Ambassadors to push for gender equality in their communities. No small feat for a 20-year-old who has only just graduated from university, yet also owns her on boutique in Sunset Mall, Hayla Couture…
Here Ghazal reveals her top Beauty SOS Tips exclusively for Emirates Woman:
Here we talk to Ghazal about what it’s like to be an Arab YouTube star and taking on the dotcom world.
Tell us about your YouTube journey so far.
“It started at 15 when I wanted to unlock my personality and have more confidence – the typical things a teenager wants! I started looking for ways to achieve that and began working as an extra in commercials. It was fun but I wanted to keep challenging myself so I started working for a TV production company and MCing, so at that point I felt like I’d experienced it all – the acting, presenting and the scripts.”
What did you get the biggest thrill from?
“MCing. When you’re doing a commercial, you never get feedback from the audience. When you’re an MC you get an immediate response and it’s the same with YouTube. I chose it because it was easy to set up – you don’t have to set up a template or a website and you don’t have to advertise anything.”
You started in English but now your videos are in Arabic, why the change?
“I put up English content but when I switched to Arabic, that’s when my growth started. I was hesitant at first to switch languages as I had a few hundred subscribers and I felt like that was too much to lose. But I thought I’d just try. Within that year I ended up with more than 700,000 so losing 100 was fine!”
Is that because there’s a saturation of English-speaking videos?
“Definitely! There really isn’t enough content in Arabic so the region was hungry for it.”
What’s your most popular video?
“One where I talk in eight different Arabic accents. That got more than two million views. When I showed it to my dad he was like, ‘I really don’t see the point of your videos…’”
How long does it take to create one video?
“So much time, although it depends on the concept. I’ve been doing lots of acting videos recently where I play different characters. It takes ages because you have to change costume and angles. But when you’re just sitting and talking, it can take two hours, if you’re lucky.”
Do you change your approach the more subscribers you get?
“I’ve always been true to myself in terms of my personality. Other people would cut out the parts where they messed up. I keep them. I don’t try to project a perfect image. The content has definitely changed, though. At the beginning it was all fun and games. As my numbers grew I felt like I needed a stronger message than a simple make-up tip. So that’s what I aim for now.”
Hayla’s top 5 tips for making it big on YouTube
1 Be yourself. Don’t try to copy someone else’s character because their channel is doing well – people will eventually see that it’s not the real you.
2 Be committed. And passionate. It’s a lot of hard work and it might mean you don’t sleep for two days because you’re editing a video!
3 Schedule. You can’t upload a video and then two months later upload again. People will have forgotten you.
4 Originality. Keep it fresh and come up with new ideas. If you stick with the same thing it will become boring.
5 Invest. It might be an expense to get equipment but, in the long run, it will only lead to good things for your channel.