What does being an influencer mean to you?
Honestly, I think there is a negative stigma around the world, so much so that some Influencers don’t want to be called that. The simplistic answer is someone who can influence the public to take action. Personally, I consider myself more of a digital content creator than an influencer, but since I have grown on social media, my Instagram account is considered influential.
What was your career before becoming an influencer?
I went to University in the US for filmmaking: directing, producing and cinematography then continued my education in digital photography, television and video production, post-production and editing with basic graphic design and animation. In my early career, I shot weddings, senior portraits, real estate photography and the list goes on, but I hit my stride in commercial/fashion photography in 2010 when I was published in my first major print publication: Esquire Bulgaria. Since then I’ve been published in over 44 pictorials in 12 countries including: Maxim Italia, Playboy Philippines, and FHM India.
Seems you turned a notable photography career into becoming a digital content creator. How was that transition?
For me it isn’t much of a leap but I can say that the biggest change is having a public life on a social media platform. I moved to Dubai with my family and decided to use my photography skills as a digital content creator for companies and brands. At this point I’ve worked with a few notable brands like Nokia, Nars Cosmetics, Fujifilm, Empire Movies, Dell Computers and even UAE Tourism Boards.
What are some unique experiences or opportunities that have opened up for you as an influencer?
I have had some really exciting opportunities become available to me, which I am truly grateful for. For the past year, I have been a contributing beauty columnist for WKND magazine with 8 articles published at this point. I was an official Ambassador for the Middle East Film and Comic-Con this year, which was a rather expanding experience. I’ve been shooting in the hospitality sector as well, contributing my photography to TripAdvisor, Zomato.com, and growing to over 1 million views as a Google Local Guide.I was recently featured on 103.8 Dubai Eye radio talking about multitasking my life, which made me consider additional avenues for myself. I am looking into focusing on my youtube account and after being featured on a Lebanon-based podcast, perhaps even starting my own entertainment podcast.
What do you think is the difference between being an influencer in Dubai than any other region in the world?
In general, it opens up opportunities one wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Being an American expat in Dubai, I have that unique platform combined with my education, life experiences and family. Dubai is such an international location so I have the rare and special opportunity to have a community of so many different races and cultures. I often get messages that aren’t in English, which makes my translator a necessity.
What are some of the negative aspects of being an Influencer?
Having a public platform comes with a variety of potentially negative experiences. The more public one becomes, the more one can tend to lose the public’s understanding of simple human understanding and decorum. Inappropriate comments, DMs, and general presumptions can cause anxiety, stress and depression. I try my best to block those accounts and just be aware of what I’m sharing and exposing publically.
Let’s do some fun quick-fire influencer questions!
What are three things your audience knows you’re all about?
Beauty, Lifestyle and I do share a bit about my family.
What are three things anyone needs to know before aspiring to be an influencer on social media?
Know your brand, be authentic to your brand and be your authentic self.
What are some of the bigger failures you’ve had that you want to share for others to avoid?
Trying to do whatever is trending was a really bad idea. That’s won’t get you a lasting and engaged community.
What are some assumptions people have about you when you introduce yourself as an influencer?
That it’s not a job and that I don’t do anything.
What do Dubai Influencers get paid?
Like any job, it can fluctuate depending on the brand your working with, what they’re requesting of the influencer, the influencer’s reach/engagement/audience and a few other factors.
How do companies/brands reach out to you?
Through my DMs and email, but I prefer email.
Name one of your favorite brand collaborations?
I love to work with brands that are open to true collaboration and want me to be authentic. Honestly, that is a condition I require when working with any brand.
What is something you wish your followers knew?
I wish people understood that Instagram doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Without realizing it, people tend to follow accounts that affect them negatively. The app has changed so much in years; I recommend revisiting your account to see exactly who you’re following and why. I only follow accounts that bring me joy and inspire me. I’ve recently unfollowed over two-thousand accounts and it’s really changed the app for me.
Jaime Morton-Hawley is an American expat living in Dubai with her husband and 2 sons. She is a published photographer, notable Digital Content Creator and Social media influencer. You can follow Jaime on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok: @JaimeMortonHawley.