The name Laila Mourad might ring a bell, but we're not talking about the famous Egyptian singer from the 40s, we're talking about one of the biggest up-and-coming YouTubers in the region.
The Lebanese-Canadian vlogger who currently resides in Saudi Arabia started vlogging back in 2015. After graduating from the Lebanese American University in Beirut in 2014, she moved back Saudi Arabia (where her family is based) and started her YouTube channel.
Mourad started off by giving tips about weight loss and work out routines, but later expanded into documenting her daily life, travel, lifestyle, Q&A's and challenges with her youngest brother, Ricky.
She currently has more than 400,000 subscribers and a total of 16.2 million views.
We had a chat with the successful YouTuber about her channel, her biggest challenges and internet trolls.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you first got into YouTubing?
Growing up, I was always into sports and living a healthy lifestyle. But as I got into my teen years, that wasn't enough to get the body I wanted. After many years of doing everything I could to lose weight, I developed an eating disorder. Despite this, I spent most of my time researching the science behind losing weight.
I knew there had to be some "simple truth" behind it so I started doing intense research for around 2 years. When I finally learned the truth behind the myths, I decided I needed to share them with the world. And Ta-Da! My Youtube channel was born.
You started off doing health videos, why did you decide to branch out into lifestyle vlogging?
I came to realize that people don’t relate or connect to videos that are preachy or involve pure facts. The audience might see that informative video, learn a thing or two and then never come back.
What I found was that they are more interested in seeing how I apply the tips I talk about and learn from someone's real life experiences. Ever since, I started vlogging my lifestyle, and with more and more requests to incorporate my personal life into it, which I began to do as well.
I think it’s very important to listen to your audience but always create the content you want. My channel is still health and fitness based but has a little more spice to it to keep the audience engaged.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
Management! As a YouTuber, you are the entire crew. You are the producer, director, presenter, editor etc... This gets tough to manage at times so I have to be super organized.
What is the most rewarding part of having a channel?
That would have to be the feedback. Subscribers may seem like just numbers until you look through the comments and messages.
When I read comments from people telling me how I’ve deeply impacted their lives or that I’m the reason they overcame an eating disorder, it's unbelievable and greatly humbling.
How do you deal with negative comments from people?
Honestly, it doesn't bother me anymore. I mean, everyone has their own opinion about every single thing in this world. It’s impossible to please them all so why let it get you down?
What do you think is the secret behind the success of your channel?
I believe it’s the fact that I’m always as natural as I can be, and the audience really relates to that. I’m a dorky person and I don’t hide it. I’m also told it’s because I’m very positive.
Do you feel like there is a certain kind of pressure to deliver?
I wouldn’t call it pressure. The audience grows to feel like you’re their best friend so they constantly want to see more of you. I create as much content as I can, around 2 videos per week, and they’re very understanding.
Where do you see the channel in two years?
I hope it’ll be one of the leading female channels in the Middle East, empowering and enlightening more and more women.
You’ve mentioned that you’ve always dreamed of working with Rayya from MBC. Are you anywhere close to achieving this dream?
Haha! Yes, I grew up wanting to be a TV presenter and her job was exactly what I wanted to do. I would love to work with her.
I think it would be interesting to make YouTube videos on my channel about the experience of having such a job. A mix between social media and traditional media would be so entertaining.
Hit me up, Rayya ;)
What advice would you give to people who are just starting to vlog?
Be yourself. The audience can always tell when you're faking it or aren't being real. As long as you're natural (as natural as you can be with a camera) people will feel like you're being real with them and that builds trust between you and your audience.
What should we be expecting from you soon?
To take over the world! Haha, nah! But Ramadan is just around the corner. Since it is prime time for content consumption, I’ll be releasing videos much more often. They’re going to be great, so don't forget to subscribe!