DUBAI: With 13.6 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 6 million followers on Instagram, you might expect Iraqi vlogger Noor Stars to view social media as pretty much perfect. But at a talk she gave on Thursday at On.DXB — an event in Dubai dedicated to film, gaming, music and video — she described the “idealism” that often permeates opinion of social media as “the lie of our era.”
“In fact, we probably have more problems (because of it),” she said. “Maybe people on social media have more insecurities, because every flaw gets enlarged.”
Like many social-media influencers, Noor has been the subject of offensive and negative comments, but she says she has learned to deal with them.
“When I first started, I was shocked,” she said. “I would say, ‘Wow, who is this? Why would they (write) that?’ But after five years, you reach a point where you get immune to such stuff, no matter what people comment or say. It’s like you start understanding yourself more.”
She explained how important it was for her to have built a career based on her “passion,” which has meant she always enjoys her work. “It’s the challenge I experience every day of presenting something new and different,” Noor told the audience. “I’ve been waking up with the same passion for five years.”
And despite her earlier warning of the dangers of social-media, Noor stressed that it is still a powerful tool that has changed the way Arab women are perceived.
“A few years ago, when I used to go to LA, people would ask me so many questions that would irritate — or maybe even offend — me,” she said. “Now, people understand that we are strong, educated women in the Middle East. We are not like the Western media shows. Now, they say, ‘Wow, you guys really know how to dress.’ So social media did change a lot.”
Noor was raised in Syria and has lived in Turkey and America too. She believes her multi-cultural background has shaped her personality.
“Every country I go to changes something in me. Of course my roots are Iraqi and I am proud of that, but maybe it’s this mix that makes (me) stand out?” she said. “And the uniqueness is what makes (me) successful.”