10 Emirati Women We Admire – and Follow on Instagram, Of Course

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Take a minute to reflect on what you know about Emirati women – rather, what you think you know. Now forget it and start afresh. Defying stereotypes and breaking barriers in the fields of film, fashion, sports, aviation, and more, this demographic is repeatedly proving that women can accomplish just about anything they set their minds to, regardless of where they come from. Today, we’re sharing our picks of 10 truly inspirational Emirati women to follow on Instagram – in honor of the UAE’s National Day next Monday, of course.


Amina Taher


We love it when a woman rules in a male-dominated industry, so we’re starting with Amina Taher, Vice President Brand and Marketing at Etihad Airways. Her previous role saw her tackling everything from Donald Trump’s laptop ban on Middle Eastern airlines to a terrorist trying to board an Etihad flight in Sydney and being the only woman on the board of Etihad Aviation Group – all of which she did with gumption.

Follow her here.

amina taher
Photo: Courtesy of @aminataher

Manaal Al Hammadi


Manaal Al Hammadi has been designing abayas for over a decade now, and has just launched her flagship store in Dubai. Not only is she celebrated for her minimalist, almost avant-garde aesthetic, but she is also a pioneer when it comes to incorporating cutting-edge technology into modest fashion – the designer has been working on a prototype for a solar-powered abaya and even presented her idea at the World Future Energy Summit in 2016.

Follow her here.


Hala Al Gergawi


“With every sip, a story is told” – that is the premise behind Tea Before Noon, an event platform that curates luxury experiences and was launched by Hala Al Gergawi. Not only is this successful entrepreneur focused on helping brands tell their story and understand what Khaleeji women want, but she’s also an avid traveler and involved in philanthropic initiatives.

Follow her here.


HE Noura AlKaabi


If the realms of art, theater, photography, literature et al fuel your soul, then the name Noura AlKaabi needs no introduction. She was appointed as the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in October 2017, and is now responsible for the promotion of cultural fields in the UAE on both a national and international level. Her relentless dedication to nurturing young artistic talent is what we admire most.

Follow her here.

noura al kaabi reading book
Photo: Courtesy of @nak

Zahra Lari


Zahra Lari may not have qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in figure skating, but she stole hearts everywhere for so many other reasons: she’s the first woman to have competed internationally while wearing a headscarf, she’s the reason UAE became the first Arab country to join the International Skating Union, she was inspired to take up figure skating after watching Ice Princess. Oh, and did we mention she’s not even 25 yet?

Follow her here.


Asma Al Janahi


Another young athlete that we’re all rooting for is Asma Al Janahi – only her sport of choice comes with a little less ice, and a little more edge. The aspiring Olympic fencer is an outspoken advocate for women – especially Emirati women – taking the road less traveled. Most recently, she has been competing in both duathlons and triathlons – and killing it, of course.

Follow her here.


Latifa Al Shamsi


Long before the word “influencer” entered our everyday vernacular, Latifa Al Shamsi was sharing her favorite fashion pieces, dining outlets, and travel destinations with her followers – a figure that now exceeds 355,000. While her claim to fame may be the fact that she’s the first Emirati fashion and lifestyle blogger, Al Shamsi has only garnered a whole new fan demographic as she navigates all things motherhood.

Follow her here.

Photo: Courtesy of @latifaalshamsi

Huda Al Nuaimi


Being the daughter of an Emirati father and a half-Spanish, half-Scottish mother, fashion designer Huda Al Nuaimi brings with her a unique perspective. What results is her eponymous brand boasting breezy, neutral-hued separates in luxe textiles. One glance at her most recent creations, however, and it’s clear why her statement earrings are considered must-haves.

Follow her here.


Hamda Al Fahim


Ethereal, whimsical, downright glamorous – is there any aesthetic that Hamda Al Fahim can’t pull off? The Abu Dhabi-based fashion designer manages to outdo herself with every new collection, as evidenced by her Spring/Summer 2019 lookbook. Her canary-yellow ‘Epiphany’ gown even made it to the red carpet at Cannes!

Follow her here.


Nayla Al Khaja


It’s not everyday that we hear of a female film director and producer based in Dubai – let alone one who is Emirati. That’s why this list wouldn’t possibly be complete without Nayla Al Khaja. Boldly taking on sensitive topics such as child abuse and arranged marriage in her work – and winning countless awards along the way – she continues to develop the local film industry while advocating for women in cinema.

Follow her here.

nayla al khaja emirati director
Photo: Courtesy of @naylaalkhaja
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