The unstoppable wave of women’s empowerment sprawls across different fields, especially the media where Emirati Afra Al Marar, founder of Toaster Productions, is going the extra mile to create quality content for TV, films and online outlets.
TEMPO: How would you describe yourself?
Afra: I always find it difficult answering this question. I am an ambitious entrepreneur in the media field, and I love to experience new and different things.
TEMPO: Has it been difficult overcoming stereotypes about women?
Afra: I don’t really see myself as breaking the stereotype. There are many Emiratis doing great work across different fields. My love for art started when I was in School. I went to the Al Shohub private school for girls and we were involved in a lot of extracurricular activities such as drama, writing, public speaking and painting. This made me realize my love storytelling and the creative arts.
TEMPO: How did you get into media?
Afra: I did not know where to begin. I did a few internships in WWF, Abu Dhabi Media, to name a few, but my real opportunity came when I interned at twofour54 in their communication department. I met people who are passionate about the media, like Tony Orsten, Wayne Borg and Noura Al Kaabi. I fell in love with twofour54, and it was my entry into the media industry.
TEMPO: How have people around you reacted to your success?
Afra: I am extremely blessed for being surrounded by people who support me in my career. My family is always very proud of my accomplishments, and so are my friends.
TEMPO: Are there Emirati role models who inspire you?
Hala Kazem is a very inspirational person to me. She is an artist, a mother, a certified NLP coach and practitioner. She has also established “A Journey to Change” which aims to help people improve their lives. I admire her for her creativity.
TEMPO: What’s a typical day like for Afra?
Afra: My phone starts its day earlier than me. I wake up and have breakfast with my parents and then I go to my office at twofour54. I check my mail and messages, and write a to-do list for my team. I then either start working in the office on budgeting and/or concept development, or spend the day on a shoot. My day ends between 6pm and midnight. I work long days, but I find it very rewarding in the end.
TEMPO: What are you currently working on?
Afra: On the development of a seven season series about a small group of girls from the Gulf. The show details their everyday lives, and offers a peak into the super exclusive reality of the women of our region. It’s a project I have been researching and developing for the past three years.
TEMPO: What’s your motivational message for others?
Afra: Challenge yourself to achieve more and always judge your work based on your previous best.
Connect with Afra on Instagram & Snapchat: Afraalmarar