Taim Al Falasi, 29, one of the top UAE social media influencer now, always knew what she wanted to do later in life. She just did not know it would help her earn millions of dirhams.
Taim, whose full name is Futaim, says she still does not understand what the hoopla is all about when it comes to social media. However, she knows that she was born for it. And she loves doing what she does on social media.
That explains why Taim Al Falasi is one of the UAE’s biggest social media influencers today. Five minutes into chatting with her, you can see the real person with dreams, goals and maturity; one who understands that social media is in fact a serious business.
“I am a city girl. I love people and being around them,” gushed Falasi.
She knew her calling
Working in the media was always her ‘thing’, she said.
“I remember when I was eight years old, I used to stand in front of the mirror pretending to hold a paper in my hand. I was imagining that I was standing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, anchoring an event. That was the dream I had even then,” she said.
Falasi said her mother, Zainab, was early to catch on her daughter’s interest.
“One day she came to me with a newspaper. There was an advertisement in the paper for a young presenter. She wanted me to audition for it. I was only eight years old. She handed the paper to me and said I should go and convince my father about it. She said she would have my back covered, should my father get angry. So I mustered the courage and went to my father.”
However, her father Bakhit Al Falasi was not as encouraging as her mother.
“He threw the paper on the floor. He was quite upset I had approached him for it. He said girls that young should not be in front of the camera or on TV. I immediately looked back to see if my mother was still there covering my back. But she was gone!” quipped Falasi.
'Taim show' begins
But fast forward to 10 years later, everything has changed for the better.
“Life changed so fast. I grew up and began to see what I wanted to do in life. For example, I decided that I wanted to study media. So, without even asking my father, I enrolled for a media course.”
Falasi graduated in 2012 from Zayed Universtiy and immediately launched her own digital magazine called Yolomagazine.
“It was online and there was a print version as well,” she said.
Then in 2013 she launched her own show on radio and it was called ‘On air with Taim’.
The name of the show was later changed to ‘Taim show’.
“The show did two seasons and one of them was also sponsored. It was quite a success,” claimed Falasi.
“We had like 40,000 plays for each episode.”
Getting ready for YouTube
“Then came a special moment. I was working behind the scenes a lot. So I told myself it is time to be in front of the camera. YouTube was there and I thought I should try doing something there. But I was not confident about being in front of the camera. I weighed 113kg and I desperately wanted to lose some weight before I could get in front of the camera.”
“Although I do not think that one has to be in the best of shape to become a success on social media, personally I wanted to knock off some weight. So I did a sleeve gastrectomy and ended up losing 35kg. I told myself I was ready for YouTube.”
Her first video post
“It was about me going to Mall of the Emirates. It was a phenomenal post as until then no girl had taken the camera to a mall and recorded herself visiting stores. It was something so simple, yet so unique.”
Her father was not aware of her first blog on YouTube.
The simple but unique video became a hit.
Falasi, however, did not make everyone fans with this first post of hers.
“Friends of my mother and aunts thought it was so pointless posting something mundane like going to the shopping mall,” she recalls.
“But I ignored their feedback. My mother was on my side and she said I should not stop doing what I had started. So I continued doing my blogs and create content my way,” Taim said.
On my YouTube channel, I used to upload content three days a week. But people wanted to see me every day. They wanted to see stories about me every day. Naturally, Instagram was the way to go. Snapchat was not available back then so I started posting on Instagram
Reaching millions of hearts
Taim began to experiment with her blogs. She started doing food and travel blogs. They became massive hits. Her life, as she knew till then, was changing forever.
“People started recognising me on the streets. And all I was doing was simple things. They were all just normal blogs,” said Taim Falasi.
Soon she was attending events, visiting new restaurants, trying out new cuisines and posting them on social media.
Her social media presence began to spread from YouTube to other platforms.
“Instagram and Snapchat became my things. I am so grateful for these two platforms as they have put me up there. I realised getting into these platforms was a natural progression. On my YouTube channel, I used to upload content three days a week. But people wanted to see me every day. They wanted to see stories about me every day. Naturally, Instagram was the way to go. Snapchat was not available back then so I started posting on Instagram,” Taim recalled her path to social media stardom.
Besides the daily blogs, her travel and food blogs also turned out to be a big hit with the public.
She added: “People followed me everywhere and it was such a blessing.”
Today, Taim Al Falasi has a massive 3.2 million followers on Instagram. And thanks to this massive following and ensuing sponsorship, she is a millionaire social medial influencer.
She enjoys a Snapchat following of about 829,000 while there are 589,000 subscribers for ther YouTube channel.
“I can be a multi-millionaire but I spend a lot,” gushes Taim.
Knowing her worth
“I did not know that being on social media could also earn me some money until my third or fourth post. I went to a restaurant. It was for a food review. I had a hearty meal and left. I posted my review. Three days later I received an email from the owner of the restaurant. He said what have you done? There is a waiting list for my restaurant!”
She swears until that point, she was unaware of the impact she left on her viewers.
“Back then the concept of an influencer was not there. It was not part of the culture to influence people. But here I was doing it and I did not even realise it. A friend of mine then suggested we sit down and see how we can make a revenue out of this,” Taim narrates how she reached the top of the crop.
She then signed a contract with Etisalat, one of the biggest contracts of her life. She became the company’s brand ambassador.
“There were other ambassadors picked as well,” she adds.
She said the first thing she did after winning this contract was buy herself a Van Cleef and Arpels bracelet.
And that was just the beginning.
Today, she owns eight restaurants in UAE, thanks to the money she made as a social media influencer. She drives a Mercedes GX460, owns an apartment in City Walk and has invested in other real estate projects.
She has also spent a lot on friends and family. “I love to gift my loved ones. So if you ask me where I spend the money I make, quite a bit is given away as gifts. It gives me great pleasure to give gifts to my loved ones.”
Who can be a social media influencer?
“Anyone who is determined, confident and consistent with their blogs and posts can be a social media influencer. It is all about how well one is able to tap into the power of the social media. You can literally do anything – like selling this tissue box. Consistency is key,” she says.
“Personally, I am not a constant person. I get bored with things. That is what happened to me with YouTube. The last video I uploaded was a year ago. People want consistency. They want to like and comment on things regularly. Constant posts will make you a blogger. Being an influencer is the next level.”
About the family
Taim is one of 13 children. Her father Bakhit served in the UAE army. Her mother Zainab worked as a journalist prior to her marriage.
“So I get my interest in media from her. We are six children in all from my mother. I am the third. Salem is my oldest brother, then there is Rashid who is a popular comedian. In real life he is not so witty,” quipped Taim.
“The third in line is me. I have three younger siblings. There is Hamda who graduated from American University of Sharjah (AUS) and she came third in physics. Hessa is studying chemistry and the youngest is Zayed who became a hit as a child through my blogs.”
What's next for Taim?
“To be more creative. I am grateful for all the love I have received from people. It is a blessing. I want to keep them happy always,” says Taim.
That is great news for Taim Al Falasi's army of followers.