With a successful acting career, a busy life as a mum and millions of followers across social, Mariam Hussain is one of the UAE’s brightest stars.
The Handbook were lucky enough to catch up with the Dubai resident to find out how she’s grown such a huge following, how’s she’s adapted to an ever changing world in these strange times and, most importantly, nabbed some tips on where the best places to eat, sleep and shop are both at home and when she’s travelling.
Here’s what Mariam had to say…
You’re based in Dubai, what’s the situation been like there during the COVD-19 crisis?
It was difficult at first but Dubai was, in my opinion, the best country to manage this pandemic. They were extremely responsible and quick with their actions, responsible and organized.
They were concerned about our safety and on top of it all from the beginning until now. I feel very lucky and blessed to have been here when the lockdown happened.
How has life changed on a personal note?
I am a person who respects the rules, so I was very keen about social distancing – I didn’t go out, didn’t meet any friends or even go to meetings. It was a good lesson in how to save my money too.
Workwise, how have things changed during the crisis?
Surprisingly, it changed for the better. I honestly don’t know why, but things picked up especially after they eased the restrictions. I think we are in a social media age and the Corona pandemic only proved that its becoming a necessity.
What has been the hardest part of the change?
I love working and moving around. I am a very active person especially when it comes to my work and businesses. Not being able to do that was hard as I put everything on hold.
What will you look back at with fond memories during this time?
Spending time with my family, especially my daughter. She would hate it when I leave for meetings or work so she would just crawl into bed with me and try to stop me from leaving. I got to hold her a bit more, spend more time with her and that will be a lovely memory to have.
You’ve got an impressive following. How did you grow your Instagram?
I think I create creative content and I work really hard on it. I also like to get close to my fans and know what they need and want and I make sure I offer it to them.
Was there a turning point in your acting career and a moment when you went from micro to huge influencer? How did you deal with that?
As an actress, I went from secondary roles in the Middle East to lead roles in major movies and series. That’s when my fans grew and I took the status of “influencer” as major brands wanted to collaborate.
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What do you look for when deciding to work with a brand on Instagram?
How have you managed to build your relationships with brands?
I use The Handbook’s Influencer Platform that allows me to see what my competitors are doing and keep up to date with audience insights. It’s been really helpful to grow my brand and following.
What are the ingredients to the perfect Instagram post?
Posting things that you are passionate about, that is the ingredient.
What are the downsides to sharing so much of your life and how do you cope with them?
I only share about 10% of my personal life because of the negative experiences I had in the past. I love sharing with my fans but I limit it now.
Do you plan your posts or are they very much in real time?
Some are planned with my team and others are in real time . It depends on the project I am working on.
Do you ever take a break from social media?
Yes, I do. I think it’s a must to humble yourself and have some peace. I did it during my pregnancy and my daughter’s first year as she needed all my attention and time.
Where are your favourite places to eat, shop, stay in Dubai?
And what about here in London – any favourites?
Where are you looking forward to travelling to once the pandemic is over?
London. I have a lot of friends there and it’s also where my brand QM Lashes was born so it’s a special place for me.
What are your favourite hotels in the world?
What’s the best Dubai hotel to stay in if you’re planning a staycation?
The Versace Hotel. I love it there, it’s almost a second home for me.
Nikki Beach in Dubai
Where’s your favourite city break?
I’m much prefer relaxation so I’d go for a private beach villa in Mykonos instead!
What restaurants and cafes do you go to most often?
Gerard Café because I have so many fond memories of that place from my high school days.
Best Michelin-star menu in Dubai?
Again there are so many but I enjoy fine-dining at Hakkasan.
Where’s best for brunch?
What’s your favourite place for healthy food in Dubai?
I think Zero Fat.
Where is good if you want a fun night out?
Bab Al Shams Resort and Spa. They have these Arabian nights that I absolutely enjoy and Music Hall
Where do you love to shop in Dubai?
The fashion avenue in Dubai has everything I need and love so that’s my choice.
Where do you shop for great interiors in Dubai?
Where do you go for beauty treatments?
Hoor Al Alia Clinic is one of the best clinics for treatments in Dubai. I also love getting pampered in La Loge Salon, Rival and Ramona’s.