E! People’s Choice Awards is launching in the Middle East for the first time ever, and some of your favourite stars have been nominated as contenders for the Middle East Social Media Star of 2021.
Eight Middle Eastern stars have been nominated for the award, from different countries across the region – proving that Arab talent is widespread and dominating the global industry. Of these eight contestants includes the remarkable Karen Wazen, who has graced the cover of our first issue back in April this year, and we have to say it’s no surprise that her talent is being recognised.
Mother, brand owner, lifestyle guru and fashion influencer – there’s not much that Karen Wazen can’t do, and there’s a reason we begin the list of her many vocations with mother. Wazen has used her platform to spread positivity since as long as we can remember, but when asked what she’s most proud of, she explains, “As a mum, one of the real big fears that I had, was the fact that I thought that if I become a mother, I won’t be able to have a life outside of being a mum. And I’m proving the opposite to myself daily; I am a full-time mum and with three children, I have a big family. And at the same time, I’m very proud of what I’ve built on the side in terms of my businesses, and that I’m continuing to build and to grow. And this is something that means a lot to me, especially coming out of our region, where women are more seen as housewives – not that I think there’s anything wrong with that. I just think that every woman should follow what she truly believes in. But for me, I just feel happy to be able to set an example that I personally would have liked to see for myself. And it makes me proud.”
It’s quite a milestone to reach around 11 million followers across all social media platforms, not to mention to also be nominated as a Middle Eastern Social Media Star of the year by the E! People’s Choice Awards, so we wondered what it meant to Karen to be chosen and what it would mean to her if she was to win. “Growing up in the world of social media and being present and active myself, I very much was aware of the People’s Choice Awards and always thought that it was something very far from anything I would ever be nominated for.”
“It almost felt impossible, like those unattainable goals or dreams. But, you know, sometimes life surprises you.”
She continues, “I’d be super proud because this has been a long time in the making. I’ve been in this industry for quite a while – I put a lot of myself out there, a lot of my family out there. And I’ve been constantly trying to evaluate where I stand in this industry, what my purpose is, what kind of messages I’m putting out there. So this award would be like a pat on the back saying, ‘you’re doing well.’ And obviously everyone needs to hear this from time to time, especially from such an accredited international organisation. So it would definitely make me super proud and motivate me to do even more and to continue.”
For far too long, the world has turned a blind eye to the Middle East, but it finally feels like that’s coming to an end. From Fashion Trust Arabia in Doha, to Expo 2020 in Dubai and MDLBeast Soundstorm in Riyadh, we have been proving time and time again that the Arab world is on the map of every industry and we’re here to stay, and Karen seems to agree. “When I received an email saying that there was going to be a category for the Middle East, that in itself made me feel so good.”
“I felt like we were noticed and heard and taken into account as a market. So that already in itself was a great thing to see. And then to see my name on that list, I was super proud.”
“Whether it was, for example, the designers or the film industry, or the media, we just wanted to show the world ‘hey, we are here, we exist, we’re cool are worth you guys looking into.'”
Karen first started her journey on social media through a blog back in 2016, and is now one of the most-loved and respected influencers in the region. Yet, Karen explains that becoming an influencer wasn’t something on her radar. “When I first started, I did not have an intention to become an influencer, because I started early on when there was no such thing as an influencer anyway. So I did not have that as a goal. I think it’s something that happened very organically and just almost by surprise. I just really had a passion for taking photos and having stories. Having a story behind a photo, having a message behind a photo is sending out an emotion. Even prior to Instagram when we had Blackberry, I was very active in changing my BBM photo, and I would travel around with my DSLR camera. I also have a Master’s degree in psychotherapy, which makes me feel very close to my audience with the way they think, the way I feel. I also love the aesthetics, and the fashion world. So all these things just really put together made me want to get into this.”
When asked about the biggest lesson she’s learned throughout her journey on social media, Wazen declares that it was her ability to make her dreams come true. “I can’t believe this went from being the dream that I had to now living it. If you really, truly are passionate about something and you work hard for it, it can become a reality.”
Influencers have had the ability to shape our wardrobes, photos, lifestyles and so much more. But when asked what’s the one thing she hopes she can influence her fans with, it’s simply to be true to themselves.
“Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus but I keep trying to really take a step back, look into myself and be the truest version of myself because I realised this is when the wind comes. This is when people feel truly attached to you. This is when you grow as a person. This is something that I would love people to kind of feel when they follow me and be inspired to do themselves.”
The voting window will begin 27 October and run through 17 November, on http://www.votepca.com/me or Twitter. Tune into the People’s Choice Awards on December 8 at 3:00am KSA exclusively on E!, via the region’s leading entertainment network, OSN Streaming, from December 9 at 12:00am KSA.