It is described as a Pan-Arab lifestyle show for the sophisticated woman, for the ambitious woman. Am A Woman will be kicking off its well anticipated second season this March with charismatic host, Sandra Mansour. And she’s not only the host of this program for women that has finally come out of the woodwork (and luckily so), she is the concept creator and writer of it too. A woman who wears many hats, Sandra is the current “it” woman on the tube. With a zest for life and an enthusiastic and contagious aura of energy, she has pulled in the female audience… ok, and surely some men too! Let’s meet the host and discover what we will be in for this season of Am A Woman…
How did the Am A Woman concept come about?
I lived in Dubai for eight years and was involved in a lifestyle program there called For Men. It was a great hit - with almost 3 million views on YouTube. I returned to Lebanon one time for a visit and I had the idea of starting a similar program just for women; so I decided to pass by MTV with the proposal. I felt I could offer women new ideas and a fresh perspective about their lifestyles since I can relate to them. I thought to myself: why not give it a try? Two weeks later I received a phone call telling me they loved the show idea and to come and do it!
Your audience has been looking forward to the second season of Am A Woman which will kick off in March. How have you geared this program to your audience?
This show is much different than my past show in Dubai. The Pan-Arab society is different and you need to address the audience in special way. Here in Lebanon, I have to fine tune it to suit the taste and the elegance of the audience. I have a great team and the perfect director, Charbel Youssef, who was instrumental in translating my idea into a trendy, dynamic show. Together we have come up with high standard program for the deserving audience. We use the best equipment and high definition quality; we are the first show in Lebanon to be in high definition and we use 5-D cameras. My goal was and is to be very close to women, to present a program almost like a reality show in a sense, but without being complicated.
How would you describe the program to us?
Am A Woman is a lifestyle show that is both entertaining and informative. Each program is comprised of different segments which are diverse. It is a rich, dynamic program that keeps the audience from getting bored! Whenever I am in the process of writing it or shooting with other people, I try to keep it simple and interesting. I like to get straight to the point in the segments and keep it both real and enlightening.
What has been the reaction from your audience?
The concept works. People love it and are really enjoying it. Viewers find it natural and see that it talks to them. It is a program that is unique from all the others, which of course was my goal from the very beginning. But of course it was a risky move and I wasn’t sure that I would be accepted. Women can be judgmental, as they should be, and I am so glad to be welcomed by the viewers. The best policy is to be yourself, and that is what I strive to do. Amazingly, I have had fantastic feedback. People tell me that it offers a fresh perspective.
Tell us about some of the various segments.
There is a Glam Me Up segment where I dress women like their favorite celebrity with the help of professional consultants and designers. We also have a segment about plastic surgery which is all about doing things the right way, about being the best that YOU can be without overdoing it. Then I have a segment called Define Me which involves nutrition and fitness advice. Then we have the Ambitious Minded Woman which focuses on personal successes, challenges, and expectations in life. I have a personal favorite which is called Men Stripped! I teach women how to read the body language of men, which is definitely useful, and how to know when men are lying, how to know when they want to stay or leave…. Then we have a segment called Out There which is all about traveling and about what women can do in their spare time like extreme sports for example. It’s about spicing up lives!
Is there anything in store for the male audience?
Season one consisted of 16 episodes. Now, season two will feature 20 episodes of which every four episodes we will feature a special edition called You Are The Man! This is a new idea of mine which is something fresh and exciting to also attract the interest of our male viewers.
How important is the team that works alongside you?
While I do all the planning, the research, and the writing, my team members are extremely important to me and the process of the show. It is a lot of work but I am loving it! I have a Masters Degree in Marketing from Liverpool University and of course this gives me a background in the field in regards to the platform and marketing the concept.
Exercising and working out is also an important part of the show. How many sports trainers do you feature in the program?
In season one, we featured three sports trainers and we focused on correcting body shapes. Season two will feature Marcelino as a fitness and nutrition consultant and we will be presenting new ideas of which self defense will be one topic… with many more exciting fitness ideas to come.
Do you think the Arab woman has special needs compared to Western women?
Absolutely; the Lebanese woman strives and wants to stand out. I want to prove that you can stand out and dazzle while still being simple and toning things down. With the right attitude and the right style, you can walk into a room and be noticed. I have been inspired by international series’ for some of my ideas in the show. We need good quality programming here and it is time to take their lead. I want to encourage women to get out of their cocoon, see the entire world, and take the best from it.
Do you cover anything related to sex?
We have covered some topics related to sex, tastefully so and nothing over the top. We have a segment called Men Stripped and its aim is to teach women how to read body language and help them analyze men using psychology. I talk about sleeping positions in a couple and knowing what kind of man he is in bed from the way he eats his food. The special edition of You Are The Man will feature a lot of interesting sex subjects under Women Decoded this season.
What have you personally learned along the way on this new journey?
I have learned a great deal about all types of people and how to deal with them. I have learned how to delegate and trust others, as well as share ideas. I feel I can now be more flexible with the help of everyone around me.
How do you keep in shape with your busy schedule?
I exercise a lot! I love to exercise!! I play basketball and squash, I go to the gym, I ballroom dance and salsa dance - I used to teach salsa in Dubai. I also used to compete professionally in basketball in Lebanon.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
Try to be as natural as possible. Take good care of your skin instead of covering it up with makeup. Try to take care of the quality of your hair rather than just styling it all the time. I try to maintain my natural aspects and nourish my body; this is how you glow! Work on being fit and healthy and anything you put on will look awesome!