In 2013, Shahrukh Khan predicted in an interview that future stars wouldn't necessarily emerge from films alone. It was in the context of highlighting the potential of social media to create stars, saying, "Social media and its widespread accessibility will produce many stars. It won't be just film or television stars." A few years later, his prediction materialised with the rise of influencers. Marking their territory alongside traditional entertainment icons, these new-age stars have secured brand endorsements, appeared on reality TV shows, have been featured as showstoppers at international fashion shows, and have even made their way into the film industry.

Dubai's opulent lifestyle serves as a backdrop for creating social media stars, and more so it has become a magnet for influencers seeking glamorous content. But the bigger question is: Is It solely the luxury experiences that enhance an influencer's content? Dubai based social media star, Farhana Bodi believes that ‘authenticity, relevance, and consistency are crucial for truly engaging material’.

With her engaging content, she has not only elevated herself to digital stardom in the region but her visually stunning posts have captivated the eyes of the luxury industry and international fashion houses alike. City Times got in touch with the jet-setting Dubai Bling star who just returned from Geneva where she spent few days for a retreat.

In a world saturated with influencers, why do you think people follow you so religiously on social media?

I understand the responsibility I have to my fans and my community. I, therefore, truly believe that I have to be myself with my values and beliefs. I hope this comes across in my content which I try to keep authentic and relatable. I am a single mum, juggling work, my son, filming, and travelling. I'm not afraid to show my challenges and all the aspects of my life including the highs and the lows.

How do you navigate the balance between showcasing your glamorous life in public/TV and maintaining privacy when needed?

It’s not always easy. Whilst I love sharing glimpses of my glamorous moments with my followers, I also believe in safeguarding certain aspects of my personal life. It's very important to find a middle ground that allows me to connect with my audience without compromising the privacy of my son and family. My family's well-being remains a top priority.

How do you handle negativity or criticism on social media, and what advice would you give to others facing similar challenges?

Negativity and criticism are unfortunately part of the package in the world of social media. Over the years, I've developed a thick skin to deal with haters and negative comments. Firstly, I remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinions, and not every perspective will align with mine. I surround myself with a strong support system of friends who understand the challenges of being in the public eye.

For others facing similar challenges, my advice is to prioritise self-care. Take breaks from social media when needed, engage with a supportive community, and remember that your worth is not determined by the opinions of strangers just stay true to yourself.

Is there anything such as too much wealth?

Its very subjective. I think the more pertinent question is how you manage your wealth and your relationship towards money. My personal goal is to provide first and foremost for my son and my family. I think you have to respect money and not fear it.

How has your perception of success and happiness evolved since gaining popularity on social media?

What I have realised is success should not be measured on the number of followers you have. I've come to realise that true success goes beyond numbers. For me, success is authenticity, meaningful connections, and the positive impact I can make on others.

Can you share a behind-the-scenes anecdote or challenge that viewers may not be aware of from your life as a reality social media star?

Absolutely. Being a reality social media star has its fair share of challenges and behind-the-scenes moments that might not be immediately apparent to viewers. One notable anecdote involves the juggling act between capturing the ‘perfect insta image’ and the 30 takes it can take to capture that perfect moment. “

Younger audiences have a growing acceptance of living their lives online. Where do you think one must draw the line?

I believe the line should be drawn at safeguarding one's mental and emotional well-being, as well as respecting the privacy of oneself and others.

How do you balance your time with your son and your professional commitments. Does the mother’s guilt kick in anytime?

Absolutely, finding a balance between my role as a mother and my career is an ongoing journey, and it's one that I approach with a mix of dedication and mindfulness. My son is my top priority, and every decision I make is with his well-being in mind.

As a single mother, there are moments when the inevitable mother's guilt creeps in. However, I've come to understand that taking care of myself and pursuing my passions sets a positive example for my son. It's about teaching him the importance of balance, resilience, and following his dreams and at the end of the day, being able to provide for him and his needs.

It's a continuous effort to strike the right balance, and I believe that being a present and engaged mum while following my careers will set a positive example for my son's own journey in life."

Can you give us a sneak peek into Farhana’s world at home? Who are her friends and what does she really like to do away from the public eye?

Behind the glitz and glam of the red carpet and jet-setting lifestyle, there's a side of my life that I hold dear, away from the public eye. When I'm not in the celebrity and social media world, attending or walking international fashion weeks or filming for Dubai Bling, I just love spending quality time with my close-knit circle of friends and family who have been a source of support and joy.

I enjoy cosy evenings at home, cooking for my son and creating lasting memories with him. Family time is so important to me, and I relish those moments where I can simply be a mother, sharing laughter, stories, and bonding over shared experiences.”

Away from the spotlight, I also find solace in activities that rejuvenate my mind and body. Such practising yoga and exploring this amazing city which is our home. Maintaining a sense of normalcy in the midst of a high-profile lifestyle is important to me. So, you'll often find me enjoying the simple pleasures at the supermarket or being outdoors.

Your plate must be always full with offers and collaborations. How do you decide which brands to collaborate with and which ones to decline?

When deciding which brands to collaborate with, authenticity and alignment with my personal values are really important. I also have a great management team that guide and advise me. We assess whether the brand's ethos resonates with my own and if the collaboration provides genuine value to my audience.”

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