With my love for all things media paired with my passion for story-telling and interviewing, I decided to create my own podcast - Shaw Me Your Way. Having grown up in Dubai and continued my education in London, I knew I could create a diverse platform of people who are happy to share their journeys into their businesses, artistry, careers and more.
13 May 2020
Why did you study English and Drama at Queen Mary? During my time at secondary school in Dubai, where I grew up, I had taken English Literature and Drama as my A-Levels and I knew that I loved performing, reading and Theatre history. Naturally I was drawn to this course as it combined all of those things. I knew I could be my creative self while studying this course. The modules seemed the most unique amongst the degrees that were similar in the UK and that attracted me, too.
What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? What modules did you like learning about and was there anything that surprised you in your studies? I enjoyed that I was studying two subjects and how the two also often overlapped in readings. My favourite module had to be Show Business: Theatre and Capitalism in my final year. I’ve always been intrigued by the business side of entertainment and showbiz so I got some great insights into that world. I remember getting so into this module that I went to the library and started reading about the financial crisis and Keynes' philosophy of money and finance, my professor (Michael McKinnie) found this quite amusing. I also loved the Shakespeare module in first year and the visits to the Globe, those were some memorable moments for me.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary in particular? I knew I wanted to be in London to be close to the heart of Theatre and to be able to take advantage of that, so this was non-negotiable in my applications. Once I had come across Queen Mary and interviewed there as part of my application process, I loved that it was one of London’s only universities with one big campus and that it was ranked number 1 in the UK for Drama at the time.
Can you describe your journey since Queen Mary and touch on your current role? Since I graduated from Queen Mary, I went on to do my MSc in Media and Communications at LSE. Since then I’ve interned at MBC Al Arabiya News, one of the Middle East’s biggest broadcasting companies and news platforms. There, my supervisor believed in me and I got to write some original articles that were published with my name. I wrote about Tunisia’s journey since the revolution in 2011 and how the country was progressing, a very proud moment for me. I also wrote an article about the UAE embracing different cultures around the holiday season, an article that did really well – and a topic I will soon touch on in my podcast Shaw Me Your Way. Since then I’ve been focusing on my freelance writing career whilst applying to jobs in the Broadcast Media field.
Congratulations on the recent launch of your podcast ‘Shaw Me Your Way’. Can you describe what your podcast is about and how the idea for your podcast was conceived? Thank you! Shaw Me Your Way came about once I had finished my master’s degree and decided to take some time off before delving into the job-hunt. I kept thinking that I wanted to get more insights into people’s journeys into their career, especially at the beginning when one is just starting out. We always get to see the end product on Instagram or in articles online, but rarely do we get to hear about all the steps it took to get there.
How do you discover individuals to feature on your podcast / what do you look for in the individuals you feature? It’s a mixture of personal contacts between Dubai and London and some research on LinkedIn. I am blessed to have grown up around a lot of creative and brilliant minds that have gone on to do amazing things in their early careers – so I make sure that others can hear their journeys and potentially get inspired by them. As for LinkedIn, I come up with a couple of industries and I research those who work in these industries and reach out to them. I like the podcast to be full of variety, whether you’re an Artist or an Investment Banker, your journey can be told on Shaw Me Your Way.
What are your dreams for your podcast going forwards? This is definitely a passion project for me, it brings me a lot of joy and happiness being a part of telling other people’s stories. I truly believe that it has the capability to inspire a lot of people wherever they are in their own journeys to see that if others have done it, they can do it too. So, my goals are to check off some dream guests on my list to interview and to keep enjoying this journey with the hope to inspire people in the process. In saying that, it’s also in line with my career aspirations, so if opportunities arise to have the podcast sponsored, I would be ecstatic about that.
How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development? My time at Queen Mary made me a well-rounded person; as I was studying two subjects, I had the ability to explore more than one element of my passions. I got very good at writing through the English Literature side of my degree whilst elevating my creativity and performing skills with practical projects twice a year in the Drama side of my degree. In my last year, I joined the QMTV society (it’s never too late to join societies) and helped present a small segment ‘Mile End in a Minute.’ I loved it and knew presenting was in my future from that one video I did, which is why I think it’s important to try new things, even once. Looking back, these skills have helped me immensely in applying for jobs (the writing required for a great cover letter) and the confidence from performing that is required to work in Broadcast Media, in TV and Radio.
Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options? I would say not to limit yourself especially if you are unsure of what career path to embark on, look at all of your strengths and explore them – especially current students, freelance work is incredibly rewarding and can truly prepare you for working life and help you out financially (especially as a busy student, it’s remote!). So, evaluate your skills whether it’s writing or video editing and find a good platform for freelancers, it teaches you a lot before you enter traditional job roles.
Do you have a favourite spot on campus? Queens’ Building. I remember walking in and getting my student ID in first year and my parents taking embarrassing pictures of me on the steps, all the way to submitting my dissertation and voluntarily taking the same embarrassing pictures at graduation with my family! It’s a beautiful building with so much history and it gives me that ‘full circle’ feeling every time I see it.
Do you have any role models that you look up to, both inside and outside of your field? I have a few role models; I could never pick one as I look up to people for several different reasons whether they are in or out of my field. My number one role model would have to be my Dad; growing up I was always fascinated by his career and how he left London to go to Dubai (when it was practically still just a desert), to him becoming his own boss. I’m pretty sure I polished my interview skills by asking him 101 questions about the construction industry or about everything he knew about history or business. Aside from both my parents, my role models are very varied. Closest to my industry would have to be Shereen Mitwalli, she is a Presenter, educator and a great personality in Dubai. I see a lot of myself in her; she’s Egyptian/Australian and has grown up with both those cultures influencing her, she’s also interviewed some of the world’s most successful people like Richard Branson! I love her interview style, her drive and her focus in her career, it has truly inspired my full speed ahead approach to my own career!