DUBAI: Following backlash from some corners of social media against reality show ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’, which hit OSN in June, Emirati cast member and entrepreneur Sara Al-Madani has shared her thoughts on the Middle Eastern edition of the international franchise.
Some social media users, including Emirati influencer Majid Alamry, have criticized the US cable network Bravo show, saying it does not represent housewives in the UAE.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Madani said, “I don’t represent anyone’s wife. I do not represent Emirati women. This is not a documentary. I represent Sara, and Sara lives her life on her terms.
“That’s what the UAE is about. It’s about giving you the freedom to succeed, to be who you want to be and to accept yourself with tolerance,” she added. .
“I want to set an example for modern Arab women in the West,” she said. “So that’s the image I’m representing and trying to clarify, it’s to kill the stereotype.”
However, Al-Madani said that after the first two episodes aired, people understood the “purpose of the show”. It’s light entertainment. It’s funny. Honestly, I love the experience,” she said.
The mother-of-two, who stars alongside British TV personality Caroline Stanbury, Kenyan model Chanel Ayan, American property manager Caroline Brooks, Jamaican fashion designer Lesa Milan and the Lebanese-American entrepreneur Nina Ali said filming the show was a “beautiful experience” and “huge exposure for Dubai.
“This show takes place in a city that becomes the center of the whole world,” she explained. “I think the curiosity of viewers is very high. That’s what I think is very intriguing for people – to get a glimpse of life and how things are here in this part of the world.
Al-Madani said she was cast as the “Real Housewives of Dubai” two years ago. “I was like ‘this is a joke. This is a prank, right? I didn’t believe it at first,'” she said.
The businesswoman initially refused the offer and said, “I can’t do this. I cannot open my life to the world. How will the Arab world perceive it?
However, she then thought to herself, “’Sara, you are rebellious. You only live once. Seize this opportunity. Everything happens for a reason. Go for it.'”
While filming, Al-Madani said there were a lot of ups and downs.
“We are completely different individuals, from different backgrounds, cultures and religions,” she said. “So, of course, sometimes there are conflicts, but I am the very calm and peaceful type of person. But, sometimes things get intense and you have to control yourself and at the same time be yourself and not forget who you are,” she explained.
The star said getting in front of the camera to film an “unscripted” show was difficult at first, but the longer they filmed, the more comfortable she felt. “You start living your life and you forget everyone is there,” she said.
With this show, Al-Madani hopes to tell the world how respected and appreciated women in the Middle East are.
“For the other girls, people might say they are expatriates; it’s different. But I am Emirati. I show you exactly how I live my life and how I live my dreams,” Al-Madani said. “I couldn’t achieve all these things if my country didn’t believe in them. Our management believes in women and the position of women in society.
The show airs every Wednesday on Bravo and on OSN in the region.
In the first two episodes, the “self-made” women share glimpses of their lavish lives in the Middle Eastern city, from lavish dinner parties to fancy parties.