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A chat with UAE Influencer Naomi D'Souza – Dubai's Dessert Queen

Making the ‘Top 100 Influential Influencers in the UAE’ list is no easy task. It requires blood, sweat and tears. And in the case of Naomi D’Souza, a healthy appetite for dessert.

With the new 2018 UAE Influencer Law in place, we turned to Naomi, UAE’s beloved food blogger and influencer to talk about the implications of the new law on her work and on that of other influencers.

What do you think about the new influencer law put together by NMC? 

Every coin has two sides. Similarly, I think the new influencer law has its pros and cons. It’s great because it helps weed out those influencers who were only in it for the freebies, but had no passion for the work. To be clear, we all LOVE freebies, but if that’s the sole purpose of why an influencer is an influencer, then they’re not doing the work justice. That said, the hefty fee can be unfair to a whole lot of bloggers who are truly passionate about what they do but find the cost of a new license prohibitive. 

What impact has it had on you and your work? 

To be honest, the new influencer law hasn’t impacted me very much. There was confusion initially about the fine details of the license. I had to stop all my collaborations and reviews for a while. Not being able to do anything, while still having to maintain my blog with great content was stressful. But once all the details were sorted out, and I could continue with reviews and collaborations again, it was all good.  


Naomi's recent collaboration with Hellmann's Arabia

And have you acquired the influencer license for yourself? Or have you tied up with an agency? 

I’ve been a part of ITP for the past 2 years as they’re a great media agency. Back then licensing wasn’t even part of the discussion. 

Do you feel that the new license requirement will put a damper on the influencer party? 

It depends, actually. If an already established blogger makes good money from their blog, the license may help them grow. But if a new blogger is trying to make it and blogging is their only source of income, the license could hamper their growth since 15,000 dirhams is a considerable investment! If bloggers do not have the resources for it, they may be forced to do a lot of free collaborations at the start until they build their reputation. Once they did that, they could then try investing in a license to run authorised campaigns… to be honest, that’s how I started off, too. 

Learn more about the new influencer law here

Let's talk ethics. Do you follow certain ethical standards and practices when doing the work you do?

Absolutely! While making collaboration decisions, it is so important for every influencer to remember that there’s a group of people, your followers, who have loved and supported you every step of the way and that they’re the reason you’re here today. If you collaborate with a brand you don’t believe in, just for the money, you’re being dishonest with your followers. Its very easy to get swept up in the world of big brand names and money, but being honest and ethical is extremely important. At the same time, if we can find ways to integrate a specific brand into our profile seamlessly, particularly if they are my bread and butter, then collaborating with them would be okay. Additionally, buying followers is always a big no! 

Tell us why you love being an influencer. What has been your best collaboration with a brand so far? 

My best collaboration so far was with the financial services company, Standard Chartered. I was one of the handful of influencers in the UAE chosen to represent them! It was my first-ever marathon, so I started off small, with a 4K run. But the weeks of preparation before the run, including spinning, swimming and running, made me feel so much fitter than I usually do and it made me feel an integral part of the entire campaign experience! I also have an incurable love for desserts, and the marathon made me feel a little less guilty 😜

 

The other collaboration I just LOVED was the ‘Aqdar Drive Safely’ campaign by Nissan Middle East. I had to help spread the word amongst millennials to not use their phones while driving, as it’s one of the main causes of road accidents in the UAE. The campaign also gave millennials a chance to win an internship, which was cool to be a part of. 


Check out Naomi’s website for more interesting articles about her work, or be a part of her Instagram journey. Looking for ways to optimize your social media strategy beyond influencers and Instagram? Check out our 20-point plan for a winning social media strategy!