Currently based in London, Soraya Bakhtiar describes herself as “a blogger, digital influencer, stylist and freelance writer.” Though the British capital is where she calls home for now, Soraya was born and raised in Geneva, with Persian and Egyptian heritage. Despite not having a permanent base in the city, she comes back to Dubai regularly and says the region is having a positive effect on her style, “I never noticed that my style changed slightly until my last trip and I was quite surprised by it. I enjoy dressing up a bit more when I’m in Dubai and wearing shoes that I wouldn’t normally wear in London. Maybe because I don’t have to walk around all the time. Overall, my style is a bit more polished when I’m in town.” When she is in Dubai she spends time exploring local boutiques – “I’m always excited to shop the collections of local designers, and a stop at Level Shoes is consistently on my itinerary.”
Soraya thinks that the overall aesthetic of some women in the region could be improved and they should celebrate the beauty they were given. “I think I would tone things down a notch. Women in the Middle East are naturally beautiful and carry genes that Western women would kill for, but they tend to overdo it when it comes to beauty, styling or plastic surgery,” she says.
Needing to stay Instagram-ready at all times, Soraya says she prioritises working out and eating right. “Exercise is the only thing that makes me stay sane and healthy. My workouts are a combination of barre, boxing and yoga. When I’m in Dubai, I always enjoy the classes at Physique57. In addition to all of that, I learnt what works for my body through trial and error. I try to stay away from sugar after lunch, drink loads of water and avoid gluten during the week.”
Refreshingly, the blogger shops at Zara – “Honestly, I love it. I go once a week and get a few items. Little things that update my wardrobe.” Three pieces in her wardrobe have special sentimental value. “My very first Chanel bag, a fully studded leather jacket from A.L.C. and a diamond ring from Tiffany & Co that I wear on my middle finger.” The ring is particularly important to Soraya. “I got it in New York at the Fifth Avenue store almost a decade ago with money that I’d put aside from a summer job. It was a very symbolic process as it was my first trip to the city and I decided to wear it until I got married – an engagement to myself I like to call it.”
In addition to the success she’s enjoyed so far, Soraya says there is still a lot more she’d like to do. “I’m very grateful for the journey I’ve been on – one door really led to another and will continue to do so, I’d like to believe. What I seek in life is excitement and creativity, and I don’t see my life as being one straight line. I also want to pursue some of my dreams that aren’t only career- oriented. On my bucket list I’ve got going back to piano lessons, visiting Australia and Bali, and creating my own perfume.” Watch this space.
Soraya Bakhtiar wears Maria Lucia Hohan dress, Gucci sandals both at Ounass.com. Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Hair & Make-up: Blowout & Go. Location: Little Black Door