Netflix’s ‘Dubai Bling’ stars respond to online criticism, celebrate show’s global reach 

Netflix’s ‘Dubai Bling’ stars respond to online criticism, celebrate show’s global reach 
Netflix’s ‘Dubai Bling’ has been a hot topic among viewers over the last month. (Netflix)
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Updated 16 November 2022

Netflix’s ‘Dubai Bling’ stars respond to online criticism, celebrate show’s global reach 

Netflix’s ‘Dubai Bling’ stars respond to online criticism, celebrate show’s global reach 

DUBAI: Netflix’s latest show on the Middle East, “Dubai Bling,” has been a hot topic this month on social media in the Middle East and beyond. 

Two of the show’s 10 stars — Safa Siddiqui and Farhana Bodi — spoke to Arab News about the criticism they have faced since the series launched and their thoughts on the global reach of the reality hit. 

According to Netflix, it was their third most-watched non-English TV show on the week of its release, and was last week the most-watched in Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as all the Gulf countries. Fans in the UK and US have also taken to social media in recent weeks to express their delight with the show that chronicles the lives of Dubai’s ultra-rich. 

“I expected the show to be successful but did not expect this global reach, which was very thrilling and overwhelming altogether,” Bodi said. 


A post shared by FARHANA (@farhanabodi)

Meanwhile, fans have been asking whether the show is scripted and if the drama was fake. Both Bodi and Siddiqui gave an unequivocal no. 

“Nothing about this show was scripted,” Siddiqui, the British fashionista of Iraqi descent who is married to Indian businessman Fahad Siddiqui, told Arab News. “The majority of us are neither actors nor performers, we’re CEOs and business owners who know each other and interact outside of this reality show.” 

Bodi also assured fans that the show was not scripted. “Our interactions were natural and did not involve any interference from the crew or production team,” said the Indian fashion influencer. 


A post shared by FARHANA (@farhanabodi)

While thousands of viewers enjoyed the Netflix show, the stars did face criticism online. However, that did not get to Siddiqui who chose to only look at the “positive side.” 

“All opinions are respected and as long as they are constructive, then it is fine whether people liked the show or not,” she said. “I’m glad that so many people have shown their admiration towards the show.” 

“I would say there is definitely more depth to me in reality but the audience should understand that reality shows are made for entertainment purposes,” Siddiqui said. 

According to Bodi, “Dubai Bling” is not a reflection of life in Dubai, but of the cast members’ lives as “successful individuals living in the city.” 

“The show sheds light on the opportunities the city has offered us and various people over the years,” she explained. “‘Dubai Bling’ is neither a comprehensive, nor holistic view of Dubai. Dubai is my home and I love it because it is multifaceted — the city is a melting pot of cultures and people, and ‘Dubai Bling’ is just one perspective.” 

“It follows my life and the lives of my social circle, and we are fortunate enough to live a privileged life, which is reflected in ‘Dubai Bling,’” added Siddiqui. 

Siddiqui wishes that viewers watch the show with an open mind. “I hope people enjoy watching ‘Dubai Bling’ in their own way and appreciate the important messages that it entails,” she said. 

Bodi added: “I hope everyone can take something from the show, whether they get inspired by the success stories, to escape into the world of glitz and glamour or just follow the daily lives of 10 celebrities and influencers on screen.” 

Bodi, who has walked international red carpets including the Cannes Film Festival, said that the show had increased her exposure and opened up more job opportunities for her. 

“Following the show’s debut, many brands have requested to work with me, and I have been getting a lot of regional and global collaboration opportunities ever since, which is always something to look forward to,” she said. 

However, Siddiqui has not had time to look at “the thousands of messages that I have been receiving since the show’s release.” 

“I am looking forward to launching my fashion line and that’s when I will find out the actual feedback on my work,” she said.