Ranking reveals Saudi Arabia’s top female YouTube stars

Njoud Al-Shammari
Updated 28 November 2016
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Ranking reveals Saudi Arabia’s top female YouTube stars

JEDDAH: A new ranking has revealed the most influential Saudi women on YouTube — and shows the videos they produce are about five times more engaging than most other clips.
Online video intelligence company Tubular Labs ranked female YouTube creators in Saudi Arabia over the last 90 days.
The list, revealed on Monday, placed 21-year-old Saudi lifestyle video creator Njoud Al-Shammari as the most influential of all, with more than 890,000 subscribers. 
Lifestyle and beauty vlogger Asrar Aref came in second, followed by Amal Elmziryahi, who runs a cookery channel, Hessa Al Awad, a fashion and beauty vlogger, and AlJuhara Sajer, who runs a beauty channel.
The top five names on the list scored the highest on the "Tubular Influencer Score" (TIS), which takes into account 10 different metrics when generating the rankings, including the creator’s reach, engagement with viewers, and the channel’s activity.
Video geared towards women continues to grow on YouTube, with the number of hours spent watching female-related videos rising by 50 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the Middle East and North Africa. Saudi Arabia has the highest YouTube usage per capita globally.
Denis Crushell, VP at Tubular Labs, said: “Online video is more global than ever before, with creators around the world making content that resonates with their audiences. These top female Saudi creators deliver content that engages their audience, providing both entertainment value and inspiration. Collectively their content has drawn more than 184 million views (in) all time with an Engagement Rating… that is (five times) more engaging than average video.”
Diana Baddar, head of YouTube Partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa, said she was “happy to see these women’s hard work recognized by hard data”.
“Each of these creators continues to make high-quality content that is not only useful but is also an expression of their creativity. They are telling their own stories to their audience and the world, and will continue to utilize YouTube’s reach to more than one billion daily users to grow their channels,” she said.
“Where we were four years ago to where we are today, there has been a massive growth! We have thousands of channels in Arabic created by Arabic female content creators. That in itself proves that women haven’t found the content that interests them as much, so they felt the need to create it themselves,” Baddar added.
In October, YouTube launched Batala, a dedicated channel that features the region’s top female creators, featuring more than 100 women from across the Middle East and North Africa. All five channels in the Tubular Labs list are on Batala.
Njoud Al-Shammari, a 21-year old Saudi lifestyle and comedy vlogger, posts videos ranging from comedy and tips to fun tutorials. She often features her brother on her channel who is also a widely-followed YouTuber. She managed to get 890,000 subscribers and 52 million views in only a year.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Shammari said that things were difficult to begin with.
“My brothers and I were harshly attacked by people for doing what I believe in. And the fact that my brothers appear in my videos made the attack even harsher,” she said.
Al-Shammari advised aspiring YouTube creators to invest in what they do best, but at the same time be creative and develop new categories to stand out. Hessa Al-Awad is a 24-year old Saudi beauty creator and an avid fan of Japanese pop culture. Her videos range from hair tutorials to personal hygiene tips. Hessa produces, shoots, and edits all of her videos in her house. She is the second creator on the list who has never revealed her face on YouTube — something that hasn’t held back her popularity on the video platform. Her channel has 469,000 subscribers and 60 million views.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Awad said that she gained more confidence in herself and a lot of love from her fans, whom she calls “flowers.”
On being named among the top influential creators on YouTube, she said: “It feels like I am flying from happiness, and so proud of what I have achieved so far.”
AlJuhara Sajer, 25, started her YouTube channel in 2012. In her first videos, she did not show her face. She was so popular that her subscribers started recognizing her voice in Jeddah’s malls. She soon started showing her face on her channel, which has videos ranging from beauty tutorials, to fun conversations and challenges. Sajer, who is from Saudi Arabia, managed to get 423,000 subscribers and 48 million views on YouTube.
Sajer said that YouTube changed many things in her life, “I am not the same person I was five years ago, it changed me personally, not only socially and media wise. I became more outspoken, courageous and bolder, and more open-minded as I met a many people from different backgrounds. Now, I have bigger ideas.”


Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

Updated 18 June 2019
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Google Doodle serves up falafel in quirky animation

  • It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans
  • The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple

DUBAI: One of the Middle East’s favorite dishes has been featured in a Google Doodle as the site apparently took a break from the Women’s World Cup.

Google had been running a series of doodles about the major sporting event, but on Tuesday – apparently randomly - focused on what the search giant described as the “best thing that ever happened to chickpeas.”

We don’t know why they chose Tuesday to run the Doodle – June 12 having been International Falafel Day.  

But the Middle East’s claim to these mouthwatering balls of chickpeas, onions, herbs and spices is undeniable.

Here's a simple step-by-step guide to making falafels, posted by food blog Food Wishes:

It is believed falafels originated in Egypt, where they were called ta’ameya and made of fava beans, about a thousand years ago, by Coptic Christians who ate them during lent as a meat substitute.

Another version of the story suggests that it goes further back to Pharaonic times – traces of fava beans were said to be found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, according to website Egyptian Streets, and that there were paintings from ancient Egypt showing people making the food.

The popularity of falafel then moved towards the Levant area, where the use of chickpea became a staple.

Over the years, many variations of falafel were invented, with global fast food chain McDonalds joining in the falafel craze with its McFalafel.

Popular Iraqi-American comedian Remy Munasifi, attracted more than 1.5 million views for a song about falafels he posted on his YouTube account “GoRemy.’