A Modern Role Model: Carla DiBello Answers Your Questions

BY HARPER'S BAZAAR ARABIA / Jul 14 2016 / 18:40 PM

Carla DiBello’s LA-to-UAE life marries gloss (she is best friends with Kim Kardashian West) with substance (she brokers nine-figure business deals) making her the ultimate expat

A Modern Role Model: Carla DiBello Answers Your Questions
A Modern Role Model: Carla DiBello Answers Your Questions
Ethan Mann
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What’s your morning routine like? 

I wake up at 7:30 am every morning, make a Nespresso and go through emails, the Wall Street Journal, and of course, Instagram. I get to the gym at 8:30am and am in my office working by 10am.

What’s your favourite thing about being a consultant?

I love coming up with creative ideas, meeting new companies and people, and finding ways to put all the pieces together. To me, it’s the perfect mix of strategy, analytical thinking, and creativity.

How did you meet Kim Kardashian West?

Kim and I first met briefly through mutual friends and it was an instant connection. One day, even though we had never actually officially hung out before, we decided to plan a spontaneous trip. After picking her up from the airport, we spent an amazing staycation in Vegas together, where I was living at the time. Ever since that first trip, we have been inseparable. A few years later, I came on board as a producer when we started the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. For the next several years, Kim and I did almost everything together - from business, to our social lives, and everything in between. Understanding everything about each other has allowed us to both work exceptionally well together and remain incredibly close as friends. Whenever I'm back in LA for the summer, we pick up exactly where we left off. Those types of friendships are rare, but they’re the best kind. Twelve years later, we still laugh at how crazy we were to spend a full week together while barely knowing each other!

Why did you move to Dubai?

I had been coming to Dubai since 2005 when I started in film financing and we helped premier the first Hollywood movie at the Dubai International Film Festival. I was so impressed with the level of hospitality and saw so much potential in the growing emirate. I loved the respect and admiration that was given to the ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and was moved by his vision. I started bringing opportunities from the US to Dubai almost immediately, as I knew my dream was to one day live here.

Favourite workout?

I love to cycle outside at Meydan. I do anywhere from eight-to-16 kilometres and it's the best cardio workout.

What is your dream goal in life?

I love business. It energises me and I thrive on making deals, whether it’s raising capital or helping a company grow and expand. It's what I love most, and it inspires me every day to source new opportunities that I can bring to the UAE and the Middle East. But my ultimate dream goal is to be happy! 

How many languages do you speak?

I speak English, some Spanish and am learning Arabic. I take Arabic class three times a week.

Who are your favourite fashion designers?

I love Zeena Zaki in Dubai for dresses and Balmain for blazers. Antonio Berardi and Roland Mouret are absolute favourites as well.

Favourite make-up?

I am absolutely obsessed with my beautyblender. Just like with anything else in life, you need the right tools to get great results. I also love NARS All Day Luminous Foundation. For lips, I can’t live without my Huda Beauty Lip Contour Pencil in Bombshell. It’s a soft nude tone with just the right amount of pink. I also adore the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit in medium and Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzing Powder.

What’s your number one beauty secret?

I’ve become really OCD about making sure I drink three litres of water a day. I see a huge difference in is my skin because of it. I’m also a big fan of getting facials and I absolutely love the diamond dermabrasion and hydrafacial from CosmeSurge in in Dubai Marina.

Your job looks super glamorous. How do you balance this aspect of your career with a strong sense of professionalism?

It's hard sometimes, especially being in the Middle East and having a social life in Los Angeles. There are times when I want to post certain things on social media and then I have to stop and tell myself, ‘Carla, you are a professional business woman - not a high schooler!’ If you want to be taken seriously, it’s important to tone down certain things. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing two different characters. In business I know it's important to be serious, professional and well spoken - but at the same time, I enjoy joking around, taking silly selfies, or listening to loud rap music in my car. Now, before I do anything or react in a certain way, I always ask myself: what would Queen Rania do?

How do I get my dream job or internship?

You need to do your homework. Study the place you want to work. Find out where they sourced their last interns. Network - both in real life if that’s a possibility, or online. Check LinkedIn to see if you know anyone who might have a connection to where you want to end up. Reach out to people you know who are doing something similar to where you want your career to end up and ask them if you can spend some time picking their brain. Persistence is key. Don’t take rejection as the end of the road, but as a learning opportunity. I also really believe in making vision boards as well as making lists on a daily basis of what you want to accomplish. When you get a little lost, revisit your vision board or your lists, and refocus your goals. Above all else, lose all your fear and be confident. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to?

What is something about you that people might not know?

I have a twin brother and we are born five minutes apart - but on separate days. My mum didn’t know she was having twins and I was a surprise!

What’s your best piece of fashion advice?

Finding what works best for you, your lifestyle, and your body type is more important than following trends. A high quality piece will last longer and look better far longer than something cheap and trendy. It’s a smarter financial decision to go for an investment piece every once in a while than to go shopping every weekend.

What should I do to be taken seriously as a female professional?

I do business with a lot of men and I have to negotiate well and express what I want clearly. I treat every day like I am about to go to war and I need to fight for what I want. Nothing in this world is just handed over. So have that uncomfortable conversation with a boss about that raise, or ask to have something explained if you don't understand. In the business world you must be fearless and take risks. In the end you will always be respected more for what you stood for rather than what was left unsaid. 

What’s your advice for young female entrepreneurs?

Never give up on your goals.  Even if they seem unreachable, remember that nothing happens overnight. Maintain a strong work ethic, and be persistent, I promise you will accomplish what you want to do. 

If you could do one other job, what would it be? 

I’d love to be either Beyoncé or the President.

This article appears in the July/August issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia