Interview With TV Host Razan El Moghrabi

Razan El Moghrabi is one of the very first television presenters who grew up on the TV screens. From Lebanon to London and then Egypt. From TV hosting to acting and then singing. A childhood sweetheart, a diva and a caring mother, her life path is full of change, challenges and success that reflect the person she is, a person who is full of life.

She is not afraid of making any mistake, because she knows that no matter what happens, she will transform it into a learning lesson and stay true to herself.

Razmania (the version of Razan that is at the epitome of activity and creativity), is what we got during our interview with her.

A trendsetting public figure

AM: In your own words, how would you introduce us to Razan?
Believe it or not, I feel like I have achieved nothing. I am still my same old self, I don’t change, but it’s the people around me who do. I am a girl with a solid upbringing and a supportive family. That 15 year-old girl who went with her mother to the offices of Future TV station in Beirut. Basically, Razan who moved off to London and pan-Arab channels like MBC, while maintaining her crazy cheeky personality.

I never took the easy way because I wanted to be free. I had the privilege of connecting with people, so I stayed spontaneous while respecting the Arab values. I like to believe that I have broken the norms of TV hosting and changed the image of a TV host, because I was always close to the people. I took the presenter out of the box, I hosted my shows seated on the floor, in my bed when I was sick, and much more.

Yes I did some mistakes here and there, but I truly did it my way. Sometimes I pay the price because I may put makeup on my face, but never on my personality!

AM: Being one of the youngest TV hosts to start off in the industry, what were the advantages and disadvantages of this career move?
I was like an embryo at Future TV. Yet I never felt young even though I had absolutely no experience and I didn’t even have my high school diploma yet. At the time, Mr. Ali Jaber, CEO of FTV, told me: “I am going to make the biggest scoop out of you.” I didn’t understand the word, for me scoop was an ice cream!

And so I become one of the first faces of the channel, followed by my stay in London with MBC group for 15 years, and collaborations with the BBC network. I then became the first non-Egyptian TV presenter to appear on Egypt’s national TV during the holly month of Ramadan.

I don’t regret it at all, I would do exactly the same and even at a younger age. I was naïve and I asked questions that were simple. I brought the baby to the screen and spontaneity to my questions. I believe creativity comes with this, doing things that are unexpected.

AM: Which job do you enjoy more: TV presenting, acting, or singing, and why?
When I was 15 years old, I would have answered dancing. Now, I feel like TV is passing through an unhappy phase and could even disappear in 20 years time. We don’t focus on it anymore, because our daily lives include a lot of multitasking and distracting technologies. In the Middle East, the trend is to import international programs to our countries, but where is the creativity in all that? It’s like we are living in a fake media bubble.

So now I feel like acting is my ultimate passion, I can be different people, and experiment new personalities. What I like about acting is that it’s very related to life; it’s based on observing and discovering.

I have not been challenged by any of the roles presented to me in the past few months, so I am waiting for the right role that satisfies my passion for acting.

AM: You were the first Arab TV presenter ever to interview international celebrities, how did you manage to do it?
I started off in Lebanon interviewing notorious Arab celebrities with my crazy style. I think I was too spontaneous that TV executives felt that I should launch a career on a global level. So fast-forward to London, where I confronted the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Yet, it was 10 times easier to interview them than meeting Arab stars. After our interviews, I often ended up being invited on road trips with British bands like Blue and Boyzone, and because of their natural and inartificial personalities, I made friends like Shakira, Marc Anthony and Beyoncé to name a few.

I covered global award ceremonies like the Grammys, AMAs, VMAs and BAFTAs, and I have numerous stories of how I employed my spontaneous and rule breaking style to land exclusive interviews with the biggest celebrities.

Sometimes I was the headless chicken, I made some mistakes, but I always bit the dust and just carried on.

AM: What is your proudest career moment?
My time in London was definitely a period I am very proud of. I would love to restart programs on an international level. Knowing that it was my decision to move back to the Middle East due to artistic projects.

AM: What is a career objective you want to achieve?
With everything happening in the modern world and due to the takeover of digital media, I want to go viral. I want to have a strong online platform and make it an empire of mine. I want to reach out to an even broader audience and maintain a closer proximity with spectators.

AM: What is your advice to an aspiring TV presenter?
Simply be yourself! Think about it, you will have the same camera, microphone, studio and equipment like anyone else. But the only unique factor will be you.

Motherhood and baby Ram

AM: Your son’s name Ram is very original, where does it come from?
Prior to his birth, I wanted a name for my son that reflects me and my husband’s fruit of love. Knowing that Ram will hold his father’s family name, I wanted his first name to represent our bond, and thus the name Ram, which is an abbreviation of my full name: Razan Abdelwahab Moghrabi.

AM: How has motherhood changed you?

Ram will soon be three years old, and I literally feel like my life has started three years ago. He is my true love, my passion and my everything. I am rediscovering life with him, the colors, nature and trials and errors. With him I can by young and careless without even justifying it.

AM: How do you manage both your career and motherhood?

He definitely took me away from my career because he previously lived in London, which was harder for me to commit to long-term projects. He is even the reason I have moved back to Lebanon, because we wanted him to have a stable life and a proper education in his home country. So I recently shot a pilot program for a Lebanese TV station and currently in talks with other local channels. I want to do it here for Ram, and I want him to witness his mother’s success and make him proud.

AM: What kind of mother are you?

In my opinion, kids are the image of god, the purest form of humans, so he is the one who teaches me about life. I want to instill the general values in him, but not teach him about what is right or wrong specifically. Because as adults, everything we perceive is based on our own baggage in life and our own problems, so he should be the one who creates his own mindset and fills his own blank sheet.

What used to be “right” for our parents’ generation might not be the right thing to do anymore. I wanted him to hold the British nationality because it is a passport that knows no color, religion or other forms of biases. My “mommy strategy” is that before we discuss any topic together, I want to have his opinion about it first, so we can then find the right answer together.

Razan’s style

AM: Where do you get your fashion inspiration, and where do you shop from?
I think my fashion style reflects my own philosophy in life. Residing in London, I was living on a budget in the beginning, so I used to shop from everywhere. As I become more famous, I remember my colleagues telling me to purchase big brands and go shop at prestigious stores.

But then I thought to myself: when I leave this world, I will not take with me that designer bag, but my happy moments, travels and quality time with friends and family. So I now choose to live freely, and spend my money on vacations and new experiences. Don’t even be surprised if you see me working my husband’s clothes.

I have to say, I am still searching for the right stylist that can help me in expressing my personality. I don’t want to write a check for a four thousand dollars outfit, because that is too easy to do, and I will end up looking like everyone else. I want someone to help mix and match styles and brands, and that is where all the effort and creativity takes place.

One of my precious anecdotes is when a fan in Dubai approached me and told me that I introduced my infamous leather trousers style to the Gulf region. Knowing that leather materials are not so popular in the region due to its hot climate, that was a very gratifying moment to me.

AM: In your opinion, what are some must-have items that every woman needs to have in her closet?
I think red high heels, a pair of good jeans and a white tank top are a must. I also like leather, short skirts and fur (faux fur). And now, ever since I am a mom, I always need a big and comfortable bag or even a backpack.

AM: Can you describe your diet and beauty regimen?

I usually wake up around 5 a.m. My gym consists of lifting my son and running with him in the playground (she laughs). Sometime I jog beside the sea. I don’t like using face creams, trust me, I have purchased all the famous expensive brands but never committed to applying them on a daily basis. I don’t eat chicken or meat, only fish, and I hate chocolate and chips. Honestly, I think I carry my mother’s beautiful and ageless genes.

Razan’s Favorites List:
  • Favorite Arab designer(s): Nicolas Jebran and Zuhair Murad
  • Favorite clothing brand(s): Dsquared and Dolce & Gabbana
  • Favorite Fashionista: Shakira, she’s simply effortless
  • Favorite model(s): Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova
  • Favorite city: Any city on the French-Italian Riviera
Everyday Razan:
  • I can’t leave the house without: Kissing my son Ram
  • On a typical day you will see me wearing my: Nike shoes, jogging suit and no makeup
  • My current perfume is: Raz De Razan (Editor’s note: Her very own perfume
  • My relationship with the gym can be described as: Uncommitted 
  • My guilty pleasure is: Fizzy drinks  
  • After a stressful week you will catch me: At the beach 

Editor's note: The interview above, is only a fraction of our conversation with Razan. Our chat was filled with laughter, jokes and memorable candid moments.
 
Immerse yourself in Razan’s happy and intimate universe here.

CONVERSATION