Tell us about how you got started in journalism, reporting and presenting – have you always wanted to work in television and entertainment?
I started in a little bit of an unusual way: I never wanted to be on television, I was studying economics. By a pure twist of fate, I was offered a job at a radio station and then a segment on a TV show. I resisted in the beginning, but as soon as I stood in front of a camera, it felt like a very natural thing for me to do. So I pursued studies in media and cinema. I knew I had found my way.
Can you share with us a favourite professional memory – a highlight or special achievement that you’re especially proud of?
I have loads...but I still remember vividly my feeling the first time I went to the Oscars. I really felt like it was a BIG thing. My special achievement is really to have established a show where viewers can rely on seeing the biggest stars being interviewed every week, not just on a special occasion. Arabic viewers relate to the show and feel represented in Hollywood. I am proud of that.
You always seem so calm and in control on camera. How do you settle your nerves before a big interview?
The secret is to talk to stars as if you’re talking to a girlfriend. It has to feel like an effortless conversation. But the truth is that I calm my nerves by being very prepared before I enter an interview.
You must be constantly travelling for work – can you share with us some tips and tricks for packing the perfect suitcase?
I often make a list of what I need. The best tip is to make sure you don’t pack too much and make sure your clothes are folded nicely so they don’t get wrinkled. I prefer to travel with a carry-on, so I always choose clothes that I can mix and match so I don’t need to carry a lot.
You are always on camera for Scoop, Arabs Got Talent and more – do you have any confidence-boosting style tricks for when you appear on screen?
My best and only trick is to be myself! As a TV presenter it is very important that what the viewers see is really who I am. Presenters are not actors nor models and the viewers have to identify with us.
Describe your personal style for us – what is your fashion trademark?
I like to be comfortable and stylish. My trademark style would be little cute dresses, and when I’m not working, big jumpers and comfortable trousers with trainers.
Raya wears trench, Dhs795, boots, Dhs595, both Banana Republic
Raya wears top, Dhs150, sequinned singlet, Dhs175, jeans, Dhs350, cuff, Dhs175, and bracelet, Dhs175, all Banana Republic
Raya wears jumper, Dhs295, shirt, Dhs250 skirt, Dhs375, jacket, Dhs1,995, and leather cuff, Dhs175, all Banana Republic
Raya wears jumper, Dhs295, pendant, Dhs195 skirt, Dhs795, leather cuff, Dhs175, and boots Dhs595, all Banana Republic