In The Hot Seat – Rachael Perrett

We chat with Rachael Perret, Editor at Abu Dhabi World, who talks about her role and offers her thoughts on the media industry in the Middle East…

Name: Rachael Perrett

Age: 29

Nationality: British

Current job title: Editor, Abu Dhabi World

When did you first arrive in Abu Dhabi?
I arrived in Abu Dhabi in January 2007 on a gap year and never left.

Where did you work prior?
I’ve only ever worked in the UAE and have worked for What’s On and done freelance writing for Hello! Middle East, Good and BBC Good Food

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?
Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to compare it to as my journalism career started and has grown here. But I certainly had a shock when I changed career (from hospitality management) and moved into the world of journalism. For starters, I was amazed at the lack of communication in the industry (ironic, I know) and how often things here are organised or announced last minute. This is a real challenge for those of us in the media industry who have deadlines, but alas it’s part of the culture here so I’ve learned to accept it.

Tell us about your current role…
The role of Editor is new for me but I’m loving it. Abu Dhabi World is a community magazine – we are people living in Abu Dhabi, writing for other members in our community. It’s incredibly satisfying meeting so many people here who make this place so special and getting to share their stories with readers.

We have a really small team and producing a weekly publication sometimes feels like we’re on a hamster wheel as we send one edition to the printer and start all over again on the next one in the same breath.

As an Editor, I still get to do a bit of writing, which I love. I’m constantly planning future issues and supplements, attending press conferences and events and always trying to get out and explore so that I never lose touch with the city as it’s constantly changing.

What challenges do you face?

There’s so much going on in the city and so many people doing cool things. But many people aren’t forthcoming with information and there’s only so much we can do to dig up stories when we don’t always know where to look.

Then there are the usual challenges that I’m sure many managers, not just in the media industry, face – lack of resources, time constraints and budgets.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

You just do! We don’t have time to get writer’s block as we’re writing several features a day but of course, there are times when it happens. I go get fresh air first. Then if something really stumps me and I can’t figure out how to pull all the words together, I’ll talk about it with a friend or colleague. Sometimes it helps to say things out loud and just let the words roll off your tongue in a casual conversation rather than stress about how you want it to come across on paper. Then you’ll often find that it all suddenly makes sense and everything will just start flowing.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Meeting new people on a daily basis who are from totally different backgrounds with amazing stories to share. Sounds cliché but that’s essentially one of the beautiful things about living in Abu Dhabi.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

Will Smith rapping a press release!

What do you think of publications in the region?

I think the quality has really improved over the years and we’ve seen new publications introduced that have added healthy competition. I’d love to see more independent publishing houses here with local publications that could reflect the essence of UAE life.

What role has digital media played when it comes to reader engagement in the magazine industry?

Digital media is a really valuable tool for us that has allowed us to reach new audiences and interact more with our existing one. For a magazine, it means better feedback and being able to monitor areas where you can then implement changes in print as well.

That said, I like to call the digital world a minefield: you never know what’s going to happen and one wrong step could be disastrous. The challenge is to create interesting content that’s as fast-paced as our lives are today, but that still fits with your brand identity.

Everything changes when you enter the digital world. You’re no longer competing with other print publications in your town or country, you’re now competing with the giants for the attention of users who themselves sometimes don’t even know what they’re looking for. Digital media is a whole other ball game.

Has the region’s culture and diverse audience posed as a limitation or advantage in producing editorial content?

Both. For us, we have 82,000 copies a week and our demographic is vast. So catering to such a wide audience is a real challenge for obvious reasons. But then that’s also one of the advantages. The diverse culture here makes for great content and readers here always seem to be eager to find out more and celebrate the local culture.

What’s your pet PR peeve?
People sending me content about Dubai… Sorry guys but not everything revolves around Dubai.

Describe yourself in five words…

Organised, creative, passionate, sporty and a health-freak

Who inspires you?

My parents.

What’s your most overused saying?
No way!

Five things you can’t live without?
My horses, my cats, dark chocolate, green tea and water

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An animal psychologist

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I’d be pursuing my Olympic dreams! Or running a restaurant

What’s your favourite form of media?

Print. I will always love reading words on pages and flipping through from cover to cover.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in the media industry in the UAE?

Be willing to start at the bottom, don’t act like you know everything and always ask for and take on criticism to help you improve. I’ve seen too many people here who’ve studied journalism or media and come into the industry thinking they’ve got it all sussed – boy do they get a shock!

I got my foot in the door with an unpaid internship that lasted way longer than it should have or than I wanted it to, but I kept at it as it got me the experience I needed and I was working with such a great team who taught me much more than I potentially would have learned in a paid position with a less passionate and willing team.

Jennifer Gibson goes freelance

Jennifer Gibson, former Editor of good magazine, part of Motivate Publishing has gone freelance. Having joined Motivate in 2016, Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has worked on as well as contributed to a number of titles including VIVA, Hello! Middle East, What’s On Dubai, Emirates Man, Emirates Woman, Jumeirah, The National, The Telegraph and Gulf News. She also worked in broadcasting as News Presenter and Commentator on Dubai 92 as well as Dubai Eye. Following her relocation to the UK, she will continue to work across publications in the UAE and UK as a freelance Editor.

“It has been an honour to edit good magazine since August 2016, to work with an incredible team of brilliant people and to meet so many of the innovators, entrepreneurs, environmental activists and charity campaigners who are doing so much to take community life here in Dubai forward,” says Jennifer. “The time has come for us to make a move to be closer to our families, but I look forward to continuing to work with so many of the brilliant editors and journalists I’ve met during my time here – and to the opportunities my continuing work here will allow for lots of visits to escape the Scottish weather!”

Shelly Mistry joins The Media Network

The Media Network has appointed Shelly Mistry to the role of Editorial Assistant. Having previously assisted on a number of lifestyle publications including Citizen K Arabia and Citizen K Homme Arabia, part of Gulf News Publishing and a number of APP Media Group titles including The Rake Middle East, Revolution Middle East, Condé Nast Traveller Middle East, Stylist Arabia and the Hello! group, she will now assist with all editorial including news and features for the B2B media platform. Shelly will also manage client relations with The Media Network’s Premium Members as well as help manage the website and social media content.

“Having previously worked in publishing, I have always looked to The Media Network for daily updates and happenings within the industry,” says Shelly. “I am delighted to join the region’s first media-exclusive communication platform and look forward to developing my career with the wonderful team.”

Hello! Middle East secures Hillary Clinton exclusive

Hello! Middle East has secured an exclusive interview with US Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton. The seven-page regional exclusive interview will be available across the Middle East from Thursday 13, 2016. It features Hillary speaking about her family, life challenges and reasons why she believes she is ready to be the next US President along with rare pictures of former President Bill Clinton and their grandchildren.

“Being involved in such a game-changing cover is a dream come true, especially given that Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly the most talked about woman across the globe right now,” says Selina Julien, Editor-in-Chief, Hello! Middle East. “Showing Hello! and Hola‘s unrivalled access to the A-list, the rare interview with newly launched sister publication Hola! USA, shows the nurturing side of the wife, mother and grandmother as she takes on Donald Trump in the race to the White House.”

Lena ter Laare joins The Dubai Mall Magazine

Lena ter Laare has joined Emaar as Content and Publishing Manager of The Dubai Mall Magazine. Having previously worked as Editor in Chief of Good Housekeeping Middle East and launch phase Group Editor of Hello! Middle EastHello! Indo-Arabia and Hello! Arabia at APP, Lena takes up her new role on The Dubai Mall publication that is published by Mediaquest.

For further details, contact Lena ter Larre on / +971 4 362 7737

Hello! Middle East welcomes Sarah Jimaa

Sarah Jimaa has joined the Hello! Middle East team as Fashion & Beauty Editor. Having moved across from NPI Media, Sarah previously worked as Fashion & Beauty Writer on The Dubai Mall Magazine, Concierge Magazine, and contributed to the launch of

Handling all things fashion and beauty related, Sarah will now be covering trend reports, features and photo-shoots, across all three editions of Hello!Hello! Middle East, Hello! Indo-Arabia and Hello! Arabia – published by Arab Publishing Partners.

HELLO! Middle East welcomes Deputy Editor

HELLO! Middle East has appointed Claudia de Brito as Deputy Editor. With over nine years of experience in media, Claudia previously worked for ITV and 111 Pictures in London, before moving to Dubai. In her most recent role, Claudia was Catalogues Editor within ITP’s customer publishing division, where she worked across all print publications linked to exhibitions at Dubai Trade Centre such as Gulf Food, Beauty World and GITEX.

In her new role, Claudia will oversee HELLO!’s food section, while also contributing to additional features, interviews and local news.

Sonia Khosla joins Hello! Middle East

Sonia Khosla has joined the Hello! Middle East team as Sales Manager. Sonia boasts solid sales experience gained from working across media titles in the UK and UAE, and has moved across to APP’s newly acquired title from ITP’s Cosmopolitan Middle East, where she also held the position of Sales Manager. In this role, Sonia was responsible for generating new business and handling existing accounts, as well as developing the publication’s portfolio of offerings. Sonia will now apply her sales expertise to the Hello! Middle East brand, which is due to re-launch on April 2, 2015.

Hello! Middle East welcomes Group Picture Editor

Emma Verlander has been appointed as Group Picture Editor of Hello! Middle East. Previously with the title as Picture Editor for almost two years from 2006 – 2008, Emma has since been a part of the ITP Publishing Group team, where she has held the position of Group Picture Editor. With Hello! Middle East recently acquired by Arab Publishing Partners, Emma will now oversee picture content for the three newly formed Hello! publications – Hello! Middle East, Hello! Arabia and Hello! Bollywood.

Hello! Middle East welcomes new Managing Editor

Hello! Middle East, newly acquired by Arab Publishing Partners (APP), has appointed Selina Julien as Managing Editor. Previously Editor at Hello! Middle East, whilst under the umbrella of Motivate Publishing, Selina will now oversee the daily running of the coveted English language weekly.

A significant brand re-launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015 under APP, which will include the release of two new premium monthly titles – Hello! Arabia and Hello! Bollywood, extending the global reach of the Hello! brand to 33 editions worldwide.