10 top TikTok personalities from the Gulf: from Jumana Khan to Mohammed Abbas

These are the people from the region who have the most followers

From left: Jumana Khan, Sarah Milad and Ziba Gulley, UAE influencers who dominate TikTok in the Gulf. Instagram
From left: Jumana Khan, Sarah Milad and Ziba Gulley, UAE influencers who dominate TikTok in the Gulf. Instagram

The Gulf region loves social media, from Twitter to Instagram and now TikTok.

In fact, we love the video-sharing platform so much that its top regional influencers have doubled their follower counts within the past year, according to new research by analytics and technology consultancy Anavizio.

This means the cumulative follower total among the top 10 Gulf personalities on TikTok grew from 24.6 million at the beginning of 2020, to 54.6 million in February – an increase of 120 per cent.

The biggest boost in the platform's popularity happened in Oman and Qatar, where follower growth among the top three influencers increased by 658 and 674 per cent, respectively. But the region's 10 most popular people on the Chinese app all come from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

So, who are they?

Interestingly, it's not who you'd expect. Those big-name stars on Instagram, who have tens of millions of followers, haven't quite made the smooth transition to TikTok just yet.

In fact, beauty mogul Huda Kattan is one of the few regional celebrities who has successfully crossed over, and yet she still doesn't make it on to this list.

No doubt, things will change drastically in the months and years to come. But, for now, here's who makes the top 10.

1. Jumana Khan / @jumana_khan_

The model and fashion influencer, who lives in Dubai and is of Indian heritage, has 8.9 million followers and almost 206m likes. She posts about 8.8 videos per week, with an average of 169,800 views each.

She's so famous, she's even had her face plastered in lights along the side of the Burj Khalifa.

Her last few videos on TikTok, at the time of writing, were of her dancing with celebrity dance choreographer Shahid Mohammed.

Khan is active across all social media and also has a YouTube channel, where she posts general content about her life. There has also been speculation that she will soon star in some South Indian movies.

2. Ziba Gulley / @xzayx89

Following close behind Khan is Ziba Gulley, who has 8.8m followers and 247.9m likes. She shares an average of 23.8 videos per week, with 328,600 views each.

Gulley, who works in the hospitality industry, was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, where she still lives, but is originally from Afghanistan.

She joined TikTok in September 2018 and has since become known worldwide.

It was her funny short videos that snagged fans, according to her website, especially one in which she argues for Dh1 karak chai and her riffs on the famous Pashto saying "Ghareeb Taba De".

3. Sarah Milad / @sarahhmiladd

Born and raised in the UAE, Sarah Milad quickly became known for her short but hilarious lip-synchs and dubbing videos.

@sarahhmiladd

الييين خسرت ههههههه🥲💔 @hadeel1marei @reneeff @eleen_su #foryou #fyp #foryoupage

♬ pass the orange - deys siblings 🎶

Today, she has 7.2m followers and 82.2m likes, and posts about 3.8 videos per week which get, on average, 427,600 views each.

She's also known for her glamorous make-up looks and dance videos.

4. Mohammed Al Shamsi / @iimeeto

The first entry on the list from Saudi Arabia is Mohammed Al Shamsi, who makes his subscribers laugh across all platforms with his comedic videos. In fact, his mission statement is to make us "happy", according to his YouTube profile.

@iimeeto

والله مسويتله شي

♬ اوف مشهوره صرتシ - 👻

Al Shamsi currently has 7.1m followers but an impressive 174m likes, posts an average of 7.5 videos per week and gets a whopping 3.5m views per post.

He's most famous for playing a character called Umm Mohamed, who is deemed as a "typical" Khaleeji mother, but with a mischievous streak.

5. Faryal / @faryal_fairyyy

Back in the UAE, Pakistani fitness instructor Faryal has been making her own waves on TikTok with her lip-synch videos.

@faryal_fairyyy

where I did mistake? Tell me on comments,I will respond😊 #faryal_fairyyy

♬ original sound - Faryal 🧚🏻♀️

The influencer, who is in her mid-twenties, has racked up 6.7m followers and 131.9m likes by posting about 12.4 videos per week, which have an average of 308,400 views each.

Faryal is particularly loved for her stylish yet modest outfits.

While she has presence on other social media platforms, it is TikTok where she really shines.

6. Ayesh / @a5_l

Ayesh, from Saudi Arabia, has 4.4m followers and 43.3m likes, even though he only posts about 1.6 videos per week. Each of those videos gets about 1.6m views, though.

@a5_l

اسهل طريقه تتطلع فيها فلوس 💰😭@lulahaj

♬ original sound - عايش / ayesh

To a backdrop of predominantly hip-hop music, Ayesh dances, back flips and lip-synchs, often with other people – most frequently other TikTok-ers – making guest appearances in his videos.

Ayesh is also big on Snapchat, but has seemingly little presence elsewhere online.

7. Khadeeja Ashraf / @dooj214

Khadeeja Ashraf, who is based in Jeddah, has 3.1m followers and more than 67m likes on her TikTok page. That's with about 3.7 posts per week and an average view count of 542,500.

She's an actress and her talent is obvious after scrolling through just a few of her lip-synch videos.

Her feed features a mix of solo performances and group gigs in which she ropes in plenty of friends and fellow TikTok users.

She's even done a duet with fellow top 10 TikTokers Al Shamsi and Marwan Salman.

8. Meshaal bin Misfer / @sh3lan

A quick scroll through this Saudi actor's TikTok feed is all it takes to know why he's on this list.

Meshaal bin Misfer, or Shaalan, has a reel of well-made videos featuring him dancing or generally acting silly by himself or with friends.

That's what's propelled him to the top of the TikTok charts, with 3.1m followers and more than 53.3m likes.

He might only post an average of 1.6 videos per week, but they still get about 618,900 views.

9. Marwan Salman / @meeeero1

He might have 2.9m followers, but Saudi star Marwan Salman also has an incredible 65.7m likes on his TikTok account.

The self-professed poet, singer and actor posts almost four times a week and each video gets about 651,800 views.

His cheeky videos regularly feature him hanging out with friends or dancing, and he's even done a few collaborations with fellow Saudi stars Al Shamsi, Ashraf and Mohammed Abbas.

10. Mohammed Abbas / @abas.iiii

The Saudi filmmaker and actor might be last on this list, with 2.9m followers, but he has almost 70m likes.

He posts about five times a week and gets just under half a million views per video.

@abas.iiii

#عباس_هنا الان قسمة 2 على قناتي 😍 ابغا اشوف تصاميكم على الصوت 🔥

♬ original sound - عباس|Abbas

His videos, a medley of scenes and acting snippets, are well made and of high quality. There are, of course, a few simple dance posts thrown in for good measure.

Abbas reportedly benefited from the platform's Creator Academy, which led to him becoming the face of Rotana's TikTok Ramadan show Who Said?.

Abbas also has a hugely successful YouTube channel, with nearly seven million views, which he has had for almost 12 years.

We won't be surprised to see him soar up this list in no time.

Updated: February 28, 2021 03:50 PM

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