In The Hot Seat – Shweta Bhatia

Shweta Bhatia, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at newly launched fashion and lifestyle platform, talks to TMN about her career and her views of the media industry in the Middle East…

Name: Shweta Bhatia

Age: 34

From: India

Current job title: Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Hubb

When did you first arrive in Dubai? 

When I was 28 days old.

Where did you work prior?                           

Prior to my current position, I was a freelance Fashion Writer and most recently Fashion and Beauty Editor at Femina Middle East.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?       

The media industry is pretty much the same everywhere in the world, with specifications varying depending on each country or region. The people are more or less the same – a bunch of them are cut throat, competitive and beings that rule and lead, while the remaining just try to stay afloat.

Has your opinion changed much?

Not so much, except that I feel some people have become a little more accessible from where they were before.

Tell us about your current role…

At Hubb, I oversee everything — from the tone of the website to the design and articles posted. I also work on stories and video edits as well as organise schedules for each week.

What challenges do you face?

I think the main challenge is to get subjects for my readers that interest them. I want to be able to tell stories that resonate with the reader. Not just report things for the sake of it. Everything is so proper nowadays. I like mess-ups, I like that people are not perfect or super articulate. It drifts away from the reality of the story. There are many real stories to tell if we find them but finding them is a task. Even if it’s a light and humorous article, I’d like the reader to look forward to the next edition — and in order to do that, I love to cover personalities that are engaging.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

With a big jar of Nutella and binge watching a favourite show

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Definitely the people! The people I meet always stay in my mind. I read their body language and observe their behavior. Sooner or later, you will find a trait here or there mentioned in my stories when I sit to write. I never forget anybody who I meet once. Other than that? The paychecks at the end of it!

How would you rather be contacted at work?

I prefer to be emailed or contacted via WhatsApp.

What impact has culture had on the UAE’s media industry?

UAE is a multi-cultured society, so meeting all standards without hurting any particular group’s sentiment is a challenge in itself. This ensures that all segments are aware of each other and work together in order to present the right information. It has the perfect mix of the east and the west.

If you could change something about the media industry in the UAE, what would it be?

It would definitely be certain people and their attitude.

Describe yourself in five words…

Passionate, loyal, affable, straightforward and a foodie.

What inspires you?

People who are fearless inspire me the most. Those who aren’t afraid to try anything and have a very different take on life. I love that hunger for adventure in them. I can’t ever connect with anyone who says, “I’m satisfied with what I have in life.” People who don’t give up make for great stories and that’s what inspires me.

What’s your most overused saying?

No worries.

What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you in your career?

My team. I met all the members of my team in my journey here. They are the most exciting part of my journey.

Five things you can’t live without?

My phone, watching TV, food, fashion and my family.

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

I’d be travelling around the world.

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

I wanted to be a Bollywood actress!

What is your favourite form of media?

Definitely the television.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t let rude personalities affect you, this is their shortcoming, not yours. Stay grounded and grow a thicker layer of skin to stay sane.