He is only 14 years old but Rashed Belhasa is already famous and a friend to the stars.
The teenager is a social media celebrity with tens of thousands followers on YouTube and Instagram and is an entrepreneur who co-owns a clothing brand. He is also the first call of most celebrities and footballers who fly into Dubai for events or a holiday.
“They all want to spend time on our family farm and see our tigers,” says Belhasa, who studies at the International School of Arts and Sciences in Dubai.
“Wiz Khalifa is my friend. Steve Aoki is my friend. They have all come to our farm. But sometimes I have to say no to celebrities who want to come here. I don’t have the time and it is tiring.”
Watch a video of Rashed Belhasa showing off his favourite sports shoes here
But Belhasa doesn’t let them down himself. His meet and greet schedule is handled by his agent. This week, the youngster invited us for an exclusive show-and-tell of his US $30,000 (Dh110,188) sports shoe collection and to discuss his meteoric rise on social media.
Belhasa, who goes by the moniker Money Kicks online, has racked up more than 96,300 followers on Instagram and 77,300 subscribers on YouTube.
Dressed in an all-black sweatshirt, shorts and a cap which read KingPin, all from the clothing line KA-1 that he co-owns with Dubai-based model-turned designer Ross Mackay, Belhasa is ecstatic when showing us his most recent acquisition. We are in a small storeroom filled from ceiling to floor with boxes of trainers where he proudly opens a box – inside is a pair of black leather and red suede sneakers twice his size. Belhasa signals to read the handwriting sprawled on the side of the toe box.
“I bought these two weeks back and they are signed by Michael Jordan,” he says, with a broad smile. “This one cost me $1,900 and is my most expensive [pair of] shoes. It is a 2004 edition Air Jordan 13 retro “Bred”. Michael Jordan has touched these shoes and has also given a certificate of authenticity. I will meet him one day. I wasn’t shocked when I met my favourite footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, but I will be shocked when I meet Jordan.”
Belhasa has 70 pairs of the Air Jordan, of which 15 are from the OG (original) series and the rest are the retro collection. “When popular designs from the past Air Jordan line are revived, they are called retro,” explains Belhasa.
His fascination with sneakers didn’t start too long ago. He got hooked only after witnessing the mania around the Kanye West designed Adidas tr