Dubai: She came; she made a milkshake; she conquered hearts. Well, almost.
While hundreds flocked to The Dubai Mall over the weekend to see reality star Kim Kardashian launch the Millions of Milkshakes outlet and promote her perfumes, some in the UAE were underwhelmed — even offended — by her presence in the city and the media coverage she was getting.
In her blog My Name Is Hind, UAE fashion designer Hind Beljafla yesterday expressed disappointment at the way people were “heralding her [Kardashian] as some kind of queen, running after her every move... She is not a positive role model for us or our society.”
When contacted by Gulf News, Hind said she was simply giving voice to a common sentiment.
"I think my blog post has caused a stir because there are many people in the Middle East with strong opinions on Kim; either very positive or very negative. Perhaps I said something which a lot of people have been thinking but had not voiced themselves."
"I wanted to express my feelings and use the platform which I am lucky to have on my blog and on Twitter to make it clear that I do not think women like Kim, who use their bodies and sex appeal to make money, should be role models for girls in the Middle East."
On gulfnews.com, readers were split — some were excited to see the star, while others questioned why she was famous.
“Kim who? Is she a social worker?” asked Chamlika from Sharjah. “Why GN so interested in spotting Kim, we have a lot of other matters seeks attention,” asked Joseph in Abu Dhabi.
“Seeing Kim K in Dubai is very exciting. Kim K is well known for many things, not JUST the video that went viral,” said Fiffz, a Dubai resident writing from Canada.
With the help of her manager-mother Kris Jenner, who accompanied her to Dubai, Kardashian has turned her early notoriety into a multi-million-dollar business, with many brand endorsements in addition to her own brands. Hind took umbrage with the fact that Kardashian’s trip to Dubai included many endorsements. “... everything has been planned purely for her personal financial benefit."
"I do not have anything against Kim personally; I do not know her so I cannot judge her character, but I don't think the way she conducts her business or herself in public is something we should aspire to in the UAE," said Hind in an email to Gulf News.
Sheeraz Hasan, the founder of Millions of Milkshakes and the man responsible for bringing Kardashian to the UAE, says Kardashian’s loudly expressed love for the UAE (tweets such as “I feel the love here so deep... good night Dubai. Thanks for an amazing day!”), will project a positive image of the region around the world.
“It’s going to showcase Dubai in a really positive way,” he said yesterday. “As a Muslim, I wanted the culture [of the Middle East] to be seen in the US in a positive light. Kim can reach the planet. For her to come here and appreciate Islam and its values — it can have a huge influence.”
Kardashian was followed throughout her trip by the crew for her TV show, and the UAE episodes will air in the US in late November, said Hasan, who says Kardashian will also return.
“When someone is coming and experiencing the UAE, the love and warmth... when she is talking good about the UAE... they can say they don’t like her, but she is focused on one goal — she doesn’t have time for negativity,” added Hasan.