Name: Rima Habib Karaki
Date of Birth: Every new morning
Occupation: Author, Media Trainer, TV Programs Editor & Presenter, and University Professor
Birthplace: I belong equally to every m2 of the 10452 km2
She's one of our favorite journalists who is not afraid to speak up and reveal exactly what is on her mind. Rima Karaki shines a friendly face that we have come to know for many years now. But who is this intellectual woman behind those eyes and that smile? We are here to figure that out.
The early days…
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I studied at the LAU and graduated with a degree in Business Computer. I also attained another degree in Management and Leadership from the AUB.
Who has influenced you the most in your field?
I am not influenced by specific people; I believe everyone impacts us somehow in his/her own way. We get influenced by the successes out of admiration, and by the failures out of fear.
Did your family support your decision to enter the media realm?
Not much, especially since I used to have a very good position in the central bank - so they considered my move to TV as an irrational act.
Do you have any regrets or wish you went down a different path?
“Regret” doesn’t exist in my dictionary. I think that mistakes, even vices, are blessings. They are the strongest lessons we always remember. They make life less perfect, thus less boring. They create challenge... the word I like the most. I never regret anything; every action in its moment is the right one. Following this path made me discover that I can write; I can be someone of influence. It was in fact a good decision, despite all the accusations. I was reproached because I left a secure job. I am proud of what I did….
What kind of child were you?
The one who appeared to be shy, but felt inside the power to invade the world. The one who appeared to be naive, but in fact knew the others more than they knew themselves.
When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming?
A judge - because I needed to cure myself from the hesitation syndrome, to learn to make logical decisions, and to serve the purpose of “fairness" in life.
In the media eye…
How did your career start off?
Pure coincidence. I went along with some friends who wanted to apply for presenter positions.The well-known director, Antoine Remi (may he rest in peace), saw me waiting for them and asked me to do a camera test. He recruited me right away.
How would you describe your experience on TV overall?
A non-stop discovery trip to oneself, to people, and to the whole world. A trip where the excitement never fades; even with all the anger, deception, and conflicts that come with it. It makes it more challenging.
Do you think the quality of television programming is getting better in Lebanon?
I believe we have "quality” people in Lebanon, but unluckily, they are not properly valued. We are progressing backwards: looks and connections are the main success criteria and this is ridiculous! Whereas on the political level, programs are becoming battle fields that nurture more sectarianism and produce more stupid narrow minds. We pretend to be “free” and that’s the biggest joke ever. We are trapped like kittens in the hands of politicians and corruptors.
What is the biggest mistake people in the media make?
They sometimes forget that they are the carriers of the light, and not the light itself. They forget that they are responsible for exposing a subject or a guest, they become self-centered to a high extent. Some are “gods,” and I can sometimes see them going towards a suicidal way of thinking, when the “mirror on the wall” chooses a new star. Some are also puppets to politicians who manipulate them, and they drown in the mud of politics.
What is the key to your success?
The key to anyone’s success is to be the only one who doesn’t believe it and live accordingly! To admit that we are still at the first stage, no matter what we achieve, and to seek continuous criticism. We have to be the creators of our own words and not machines reciting papers others prepare. I honestly feel very powerful coming up with ideas for programs and asking “my own question.” On the political level, we have to try to be logically subjective, reasonably subjective, calmly subjective... because I don’t believe in objectivity. Objectivity is a big illusion, a cliché that is not human.
Do you have unforgettable moments on TV?
A lot and especially in my last program “Bidoun Za3al;” questions were very straight forward invading the three most controversial issues and taboos: religion, politics and sex - so episodes were daring and some answers constituted book material by themselves, not to forget that some guests were as deep and profound as philosophers.
Favorite person interviewed?
Every guest in his/her episode is my favorite “treasure.” I try to bring the best out of him/her, and expose the real person. There are favorite moments, not favorite people, and famous names are not necessarily interesting.
How would you describe your personality?
I am very ambitious: I can follow a dream, yet give it up in seconds if my dignity is at stake. I am a rebellious person who thinks she can change the world. I believe dying for one’s thoughts is far better than dying daily because we gave them up.
How many children do you have? How do you balance being a working mom?
I have two angels and I am not good at balance. I don’t believe in balance, when passion prevails. I am passionate about motherhood, as if am the only mother on earth, and passionate about my job, as if I started yesterday... so my moods in both roles affect each other.
Do your kids have the desire to be in the media?
They play music, draw, and they sing at school. They are good at sarcastic imitation too. I think they are deeply involved in expressing themselves… nobody knows … I will support their choices anyway.
What do you think is the key to a successful marriage?
To make the woman happy. When a woman is happy and is treated as a real woman, the whole family will be happy. She should come before work and kids since she is the key to a family happiness. It is not in the classical sense that she bares the responsibility to be labeled as “good,” but in the sense that she should be pampered, respected, and loved. She is the energy provider.
A marriage is also successful when people admit that whether they have kids or not, they want to stay together forever. Marriage is about “Couples” not Families… We should be attached and convinced with our partner, and not stay with him or her for the kids only… kids are the fruits of love, and not the traps of life…
Who has influenced you the most in your life?
Many writers, leaders, colleagues, and friends, in addition to reactions and actions. I am attracted to the positive energy that others spread whoever they are.
Who has been your biggest role model?
The role model is a variable, not a constant, and I am still excellent in math. Each situation has its own heroes.
Do you think there are any misconceptions about you?
Too many and I am amused by them!! Some accuse me of being “disrespectful,” since I was the only one to omit my guests’ titles and address them with their first names no matter who they were; I see it as more respectful in fact because we don’t need all the poetry to introduce them.
Others say that I have no limits in my questions; I see this as an added value. Some say that I am not objective; I call it honesty. For those who describe me as “Not being loyal to or not following any political group,” I see it as cleanness.
How do you define your life?
I am proud to be a self-made person, proud to have fought alone all the way. I see my life as a glorious victory despite any moment of loss or failure.
What is your biggest fear?
That we get used to all the scenes we are witnessing: the bloodshed, the hatred, the terror scenes... until we become beasts watching beasts - that one day beasts themselves will fear us… it is my disgusting fear!
What gives you the most pleasure in life?
I can easily be happy… a beautiful song relieves my mood, a nice scenery, time with my kids and my friends. Life is a very beautiful journey for whoever falls in love with it.
What type of diet do you follow?
I never worry about that, not that I don’t need it, but I hate to resist temptation, and food is one of my irresistible temptations. Anyways... watching 8 and 14 March stupid struggle is a natural, involuntary diet for me!
Do you workout or exercise? What do you do and how often?
Yes, but not regularly. I swim and walk every Monday since serious decisions work only on Mondays!
Do you have any bad habits or guilty pleasures?
Plenty and without feeling guilty. I rush for chips and salty nuts. I sleep sometimes during the day, I love caffeine, and I do many things last minute. My worst habit is that I am very bad at marketing myself, very lazy about it in fact, and that is a killer in our current times.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
No spare time! Between working, teaching, and raising kids, daydreaming, planning, writing, and seeing my friends, I barely have a few minutes for myself. And when I do, I stare at the wall and envy the empty minds!
Do you have any hobbies?
I remember them when updating my CV only!
The perfect Saturday night for you would be…
Depending on the mood: I can be in bed with the hero of a new novel I am reading or with friends over diner, at the movies, or dancing somewhere.
Do you have a beauty item you cannot live without?
Pictures of my kids that makes my laughter amazing.
Any view /opinion on the plastic surgery craze in Lebanon and all over the world nowadays?
We lived in war for years; I believe Lebanese women were brave and patient. They have the right to seek beauty now, to grasp every moment they lost, to dream of perfection. Who hates to look better anyway! I am not against plastic surgery as long as the deficiency is not in the mind, because some ladies are becoming plastic clowns!
What is your favorite type of music?
The one the heart plays to scream passion, joy, or pain.
The harmful food is the most tasty... "fried”... but I know I should answer you like a grown up and say something healthy J …. In fact I love sushi!
Mine, Bidoun Za3al! "Modestie mise à part,” as the French say.
Book or author?
The last one I read is always the best.
When we are in love, we know the value of “natural” scent, don’t we?
The confident face is the best brand...
Gandhi says that “Happiness is the harmony between thoughts, behavior, and feelings”... and I see this as pure honesty at any cost - honesty with oneself - and this is what counts.
I know the one I hate…. The Lebanese war and all the “reality” terror movies we watch daily on TV.
Any plans for the future?
Trying to hunt luck… and always being ready to be its favorite…plans never end!
What challenges do you face?
Wanting to stay in Lebanon is by itself a huge challenge…because it kills many better opportunities outside…The narrow perception about women; that is judging them by their looks and age which is narrowing the progress and limiting the chances of the “worthy.” Living in the era where religion is a threat not a relief, is by itself a disaster!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
In a small house in the countryside, writing stories, listening to music , laughing at all my battles and challenges, and falling in love again with nature, music, God…. and above all... still drowning into a new challenge of a different kind.