Name: Raya Abirached
Date of Birth: May 12, 1977
Occupation: TV Presenter, Celebrity Journalist, Producer
Marital Status: Happily married
Whether you know her from Arabs' Got Talent, or her ever popular Scoop on MBC, there is one thing for sure: Raya Abirached has met and interviewed more than her share of celebrities, entertainers, athletes, producers, and directors. This influential TV presenter and producer has travelled the globe and had opportunities many would die for. Sweet, approachable, and impressive, she plugs away with success in her hands. Now she adds motherhood to her list of accomplishments with beautiful newborn baby Lola!
In the beginning...
When and where did your career begin?
I began my career as a print and broadcast journalist in Beirut before moving to the U.K. in 1999. I fell into this line of work, it was never my intention. I studied economics actually... I have a BA in economics; later I took my Masters in Cinema and a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Westminster University in London.
Do you find it challenging in your line of work being a woman?
No, not at all! On the contrary; I find it empowering and an advantage being a woman in this line of work.
Who has been a role model for you within the media?
I have had so many role models along the way. I admire those who have been tough with me and have criticized me. Nayla de Freige from L'Orient Le Jour and Samar Akrouk from the MBC group are a couple of women who have influenced me in my career.
What do you think is the secret to success in this business?
Working hard and accepting criticism...and growing from it. You have to build a career and earn it; I do not believe in overnight successes.
C'est la vie...
What is your biggest fear?
Danger and a threat to our security... this is why I left Lebanon in the first place. I also fear not finding the time to build my family. I love family life and worry about fitting everything into my schedule of life.
How are you finding motherhood so far?
I am finding motherhood wonderful!!
What gives you the most pleasure in life?
Ice cream! Ha ha!! Being surrounded by my loved ones. I truly find pleasure in the simple things in life such as a good film, a good meal.... I am so touched when people come up to me when they recognize me as well. It is so sweet!
How would you describe married life?
Marriage is amazing when you marry for love. My husband is my complete support and calms me down...
What is your motto in life?
You have to earn whatever you want in life.
Do you have any regrets?
I don't hate or regret anything that happens to me. Life guides you to certain things for a reason.
Who has touched you most deeply in your life?
My mother. She died of cancer when I was 31 years old - she was 62. It was a very difficult time and for all of us and she was in denial till the very end. She moved me a lot.
When did you know you had talent?
I am not talented (haha), artistically anyways. I do know that what I have accomplished for myself career wise is not by chance. I know I deserve my success because I am competent at what I do.
The opposite sex...
What is the first thing you notice in a man?
Hands... the look in the eyes... I love a man who has a quiet, charismatic appeal.
What is the most irritating trait for you in a man?
Arrogance for sure!
What do you think is the sexiest trait?
I find "niceness" to be very sexy! I love a man who is sexy and "doesn't" know it :)
Do you believe in love at first sight?
I have never experienced it personally... but who knows... maybe it happens with others.
So your husband is Italian. Does he enjoy visiting Lebanon?
Yes he does! He used to love the fact that he could come here to eat, drink, smoke....
What is the last thing you do before sleeping?
Surf the Net and brush my teeth.
How do you keep in shape?
If I want to keep my weight in gear I have to stay away from sugar! It is so hard! I can gain or lose weight easily by simply controlling my sugar intake.
Do you follow a certain type of diet?
I just try to avoid complex carbs mainly; I try to skip the pasta and bread.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to watch movies (professionally and personally), I adore watching television series, I enjoy going to the theatre, museums, music halls...
Are you selective in the brands of clothes that you wear?
Not when it comes to daily wear. However, I love my designer shoes and bags, there's no avoiding that! Of course in the media I wear designer names. I can be one extreme to the other.
Do you have any favorite authors or books?
Hmmm.... With age I appreciate French literature much more. I also adore Anglo-Saxon literature. I read all sorts of books; I can enjoy reading Shakespeare, and at the same time, can enjoy a book such as 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman and 50 Shades of Grey!
What is your favorite show to watch on TV?
I have many favorites; Revenge and Nashville are a couple. I find TV watching perfect for escapism.
What is your favorite type of food?
Indian, Italian, Japanese...
What is your favorite sport?
I love to rollerblade!
Do you have a favorite perfume?
I like to diversify with my mood... one of my favorites is Agent Provocateur.
Where is your favorite place to travel?
There are so many and it depends on the purpose of the trip. I like Peru, Miami, Jordan... every place has its unique charm.
Do you have a favorite movie?
As a movie critic it is hard to choose. I like films such as Citizen Kane, The Shining, Hugo, The Lives of Others, The Usual Suspect...
Do you have a favorite watch brand?
I have never really been into watches; however I was given a IWC as a gift from a sponsor which actually made me begin to love watches. I prefer styles that are small and discrete. I also like Cartier.
Do you have a favorite band or singer?
Again, it depends on my mood! I like Frank Sinatra, U2, Beyonce, Rihanna...even opera.
Favorite actor or actress?
I like Benedict Cumberbatch, an English film, television, theatre, and voice actor.
Do you have a favorite beauty product?
Moisturizing cream! I change brands all the time and pretty much don't stick with any one particular product.
How important is money to you?
It's important, but not the most important thing in life.
As a child, what did you dream of becoming?
Who have been some of your favorite people to interview?
Many of the directors such as Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood. Also Bette Midler and George Clooney... George has it all and doesn't take anything for granted. He's the real deal.
Do you prefer to live in London or Lebanon?
I really love living in London; having security and safety is important to me. Of course I love visiting Lebanon as well.
Does social media take up a lot of your time?
I have to admit, I cannot go a day without social media outlets. I am always connected. It's a great way to get feedback from viewers.
How important is friendship to you?
Very important. I have had the same close friends for the past 30 years. Guy friends and girl friends..they are like my brothers and sisters. Taureans are very faithful after all :)
A promising future...
What are your future plans?
I really live day by day, and I am very happy like that. I have no specific plans for the future at the moment. When life throws you a bone, you have to grab it! Just like how I ended up hosting Arabs Got Talent. It was a sudden and unexpected offer, and a fantastic opportunity!
Do you have any dreams?
All I ever want is to be happy and content. I never see the grass greener on the other side; it's always very green on my side!
How would you describe your experience as host of Arabs Got Talent?
Amazing! It is so fulfilling to see these dynamic men and women striving for what they want in a non-political atmosphere. And it is very emotional to watch them aim to succeed.
Who is the one celebrity you still want to interview?
Oprah Winfrey! I had an interview scheduled with her for her role in the Butler; however, there was a cut in her interview schedule.... Maybe next time :)