Down time is a luxury when you’re Hala Al Turk. Like any ambitious teenager growing up in the non-stop age of social media, the Bahraini sensation finds it impossible to insert breaks into her busy schedule.
Between filming music videos in Los Angeles, planning a pink-laden cosmetics line in Korea, finishing up high school in Bahrain, and putting on a play in Kuwait, the 16-year-old has even teamed up with regional fashion brand Max, to showcase their latest clothing collection, Young Sweet Street.
It’s a lot to juggle, but Al Turk is used to the pressure. At the early age of nine, she shot to fame in the semi-finals of Arabs Got Talent. Now older and wiser (and still upbeat), she tells tabloid! what her fans can expect from her next.
You did a photo shoot for Max recently. Can you tell us about the collection that you modelled?
I wore a lot of pieces that haven’t even been released yet. I was so happy. The clothes were hilarious; when I saw them, I just wanted to grab them and go. They were so beautiful. It’s my style, it’s what I wear for concerts, for going out, for doing anything. It’s street style, it’s funky. Dresses with sneakers, for example. There was also cotton candy and doughnuts there … It was unbelievable.
How would you describe your style?
My style is funky, classic.
What kind of outfit would you typically pick out?
I would wear a pair of boyfriend jeans that are kind of ripped, with a hoodie.
You have an upcoming fashion brand and cosmetics line coming out, too. Can you tell us a bit about both?
I came to Dubai [in March] as part of MyBeautyFest, where I made a special announcement about Hala Cosmetics. I haven’t been able to work on it fully yet, because I’m focused on my studies, but hopefully, I’m heading to Korea to work on something called ‘30 shades of pink’. After that, I went to Los Angeles, where I worked with an extremely popular designer, who doesn’t reveal his name. He’s amazing. He gave me styles to make my Black Moon outfit designs; I picked the funky, classic styles, things that girls wear most — caps, sweatpants, jackets, T-shirts, a lot of beautiful things. I called it The Real Black Moon by Hala.
When will the lines launch?
I don’t want to make any promises, because I’m not sure exactly when, but I do hope to release by the end of this year.
Back to the subject of fashion — are there any singers, actors or celebrities in general who you look up to when it comes to style?
I like to see what they wear, but I don’t copy them. I stick to my own style. I try to be like them, but not in their way.
Who are the specific people you look at?
People like Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift.
You made an impression on people when you were only nine years old on ‘Arabs Got Talent’. How do you feel now, looking back at the baby version of Hala on TV?
A few days ago, I was sitting watching YouTube and remembering how I was so worried and stressed and afraid of the world back then. I compared it to myself now. I’m very happy, I laugh sometimes, because it was a long time ago. Like, ‘Look how far I’ve come!’ I’ve changed a lot. I rack my brain just to figure out what happened before. I just watch and laugh at myself.
How do you feel that you’ve changed now? What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt?
I was very mischievous and naughty before. I’ve learnt that I should mature a bit. I’m growing up, and I have to walk down a straight line. When it comes to singing, I’ve trained and practised a lot. I don’t take music classes, but I do train here at home.
You’ve spoken about your studies. Do you go to a regular school?
I go to school — I’m Grade 10 now, but God willing, next year I’ll be Grade 11. Thankfully, I’m a good student and I enjoy studying … But not always, to be honest. My favourite subjects are English and Business Studies.
What’s next for you, in terms of singing?
I have a new song, which hopefully will release during Eid. I’ve worked on a lot of music videos with an amazing director in Los Angeles. Right now, I have a play going on in Kuwait. I came back to Bahrain just so I can write my final exams — my last, last exams. I’m going back to Kuwait tomorrow to finish my rehearsals. I’m very pressured right now. I haven’t even had time to see my friends.
Tell us about the play you’re in, which is called ‘Sonia’a fi Zain’ (Made in Zain).
The communications company Zain have created this theatrical production, called Sonia’a fi Zain, with Fatima Al Safi, Hamad Ashkanani, Shahad Al Amere, Ali Kakooli, and some of the Sheyaab, who were with me at Arabs Got Talent. It’s kind of like a Toy Story play. I play a ballerina toy, who is in love with a boy called Sindbad. It’s very, very fun to play something that’s not real. It’s amazing.
You juggle so many different things — fashion, cosmetics, singing, acting. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like to have down time?
No, of course, I want free time to myself. I need to see my friends and sit with them. I enjoy sitting with my friends more than work, to be honest. Because they make me forget a lot of things. I really need time for them — they get upset with me because I don’t get to spend time with them.