Meet the Best in Dubai Judges

Ahlan! Live introduces the panel of expert judges who tirelessly sampled the emirate’s delights to bring you the shortlisted Best in Dubai nominees


Ahlan! Live Editor Sarah Hedley Hymers has travelled the globe as a social commentator, appearing on TV shows ranging from the BBC News to The Oprah Winfrey Show to Dubai’s very own Studio One. Her career in lifestyle journalism has seen her review restaurants, resorts, spas, bars and clubs on all continents over the last 15 years, and, for the last two, Dubai has been her focus as she’s sampled the very best of what the emirate has to offer. As a Best in Dubai judge she’s here to share her experiences with you.


Ahlan! Editor Nathan Kay has been a showbiz journalist for 12 years. He’s worked on prominent publications, including The Mail on Sunday, in both the UK and USA before heading out to the UAE to edit Ahlan! magazine and oversee the Ahlan! Gourmet and Hot 100 projects. He’s now a regular fixture on the party scene, becoming great friends with socialites and business people alike. After attending many parties and events across the emirate he has a great deal of insight into our Best in Dubai categories this year and is in a strong position to cast his well-versed vote.


Filipino designer Furne One has been leading the fashion pack in Dubai since 2002. Furne’s fashion label, Amato (which means ‘beloved’), has also grabbed A-list attention on the international market. The talented designer recently had a call from Lady Gaga’s people who requested two dresses from Furne’s range for the singer. He’s also the only Dubai-based fashion designer to have dressed Heidi Klum, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj and now he’s casting his vote as a Best in Dubai judge.


Comedian, producer, TV presenter and MC are just a few of Ali Al Sayed’s job titles. The Emirati multi-tasker - known as Dubai’s first professional comedian - is also founder of entertainment company Viva Arts, co-director of Dubomedy Arts and organiser of Dubomedy International Performing Arts Festival. The skilled funnyman can often be spotted on our most popular channels from OSN to Dubai One, and is keen on developing talent in the region; most recently he produced Funny Girls, the first all-female stand-up comedy troupe to tour here, proving he has a discerning eye for top acts.


As co-owner of The Talent Brokers, Indian-born Padma Coram is a supremely successful international businesswoman with her finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry. She is responsible for bringing high-profile stars such as Sir Elton John, Moby and Bryan Adams to the region and is no stranger to awards herself - in the 25 years she’s lived in Dubai she has won several of them, from Best Asian Events Organiser (Ahlan! Masala) to Woman of the Year (Emirates Woman).


British expat Rima Armstrong has been living in Dubai for more than six years and this year won the Ahlan! Live reader competition to be a Best in Dubai judge. Here’s the business press officer’s winning entry statement: "Don't look any further; I was born for the role of Best in Dubai judge! There's not a grain of sand I haven't unturned in this emirate, from deepest, darkest Deira to jolly Jebel Ali. If Dubai was a living room, I'd be part of the furniture. And when friends want advice on where to go and what to do, they always come to me!".


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