Petra Narch, a Lebanon native, is one of the UAE’s most prominent entertainment figures. She is a content creator and a presenter on Dubai TV. She is one of The Insider Show’s top reporters, and she has met some of the greatest celebrity names in the entertainment industry. Petra has a large following on social media, where she often shares unique content about fashion, lifestyle, and her career. She pursued acting as an experiment in the industry and her drama A’ali Almakam was trending on the awaan website at number one.
Petra shared us about her start in the profession, her inspirations, guidance, and some scoop.
- What led you to break ground in the media industry?
“We always hear individuals discussing getting on TV or being on the big screen, but what most interested me was what was going on behind the scenes. I had a few significant role models as a young girl who inspired me to follow this path, which ultimately prompted me to choose advertising and marketing in college along with media classes. I mustered the guts to look directly into the camera once I realised what was going on behind it”.
- What makes a great Tv presenter? What qualities do you need to be successful at it?
Being well informed. A pretty face is not required to be a presenter. You can educate yourself through books, social media, and newspapers, but your life experiences are one of the most important sources of knowledge. Keep an eye on your surroundings, be attentive, and always prioritise education and knowledge.
- So far, who have been some of the fantastic people you’ve encountered and who have stood out to you?
There are a great deal of people here, and I can’t really focus on just one encounter. I was honoured to have the opportunity to interview several notable people. Eva Longoria, McKayla Maroney, Kris Jenner, Will Smith, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and other celebrities were among them. My most exciting encounter, however, was with Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad. He was working on El Camino when I got the chance to interview him, and I was the only Arab to do so. Netflix invited me to go to London for a one-on-one interview with him. This was my favourite experience, and he is also my favourite actor. I was having a little fangirl moment because I am a hardcore Breaking Bad fan.
- You must have interviewed a lot of great celebrities; Were there moments when you encountered grumpy ones?
This is the first time someone has asked me a question like this, and to be honest, there have been a few celebrities that have been difficult to deal with. I am the type of person who can effortlessly break the ice and adapt to other personality types. I do have someone in mind and will give you some scoop. Naomi Campbell. I am a Pisces who believes in astrology. We Pisces absorb energy. I’m pleased if you’re happy. If you’re down, I’m down. It’s simply something I believe in. She was quite moody the day I met her. Maybe it’s not her regular personality, and something had happened to her earlier that had altered her mood. She’s known for her friendly demeanour, but something must have triggered her emotions when I met her. She was grumpy that day, and it affected me, but I still managed to create a wonderful interview and one of the best pieces of content out of it.
- How do you get the nest of a grumpy celebrity? What are some of your tips and tricks?
We must always accept that celebrities are human beings as well. When I meet someone new, I always put myself in their shoes. Someone or something must have bothered them, affecting their feelings. I strive to be myself without the mask of a presenter. I make every effort to be friendly and to break the ice. I try to think of creative methods to break the ice, and one of them is to play games. In Naomi’s instance, playing brief games with her helped to lighten the mood.
- You are also an actress, are there any similarities in terms of presentation, are there any transferable skills? What are the similarities to you?
You must be an actor to be a presenter. There are occasions when you must wear a phony mask. For example, this is a situation that I personally experienced, which made me realize I had some talent for acting. My mother was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. It was the most difficult time of my life, and I wish no one had to go through something similar. I was still a host, and the show needed to go on. I had to put on the mask to entertain the crowd and viewers, even though I was suffering with pain. I felt dead on the inside, even though I was smiling and making people laugh on camera, but when the camera was turned off, I would cry. I’d be the sad Petra, not the Petra everyone knew. As a result, there are commonalities between being a TV presenter and acting.
- Is there any upcoming project that you are working on right now in the field of acting?
Since I worked on A’ali Almakam on Dubai TV, the show has been trending at the top of the awaan website. However, it provided me the motivation and desire to pursue further acting roles. So far, I’ve received three screenplays, which I’m still reading and attempting to comprehend. I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’ve always loved acting and used to take a few acting classes as a pastime and for fun. But it had never occurred to me whether or not I should pursue it. The chance unexpectedly arrived at my door step. I’m cautiously making decisions with the support of my acting coach after doing a terrific job on the first series and receiving favourable feedback. If God wills, I will most likely be working on a new project during Ramadan next year. It is a career option that requires and provides more time.
- Is there a specific goal you want to achieve in your acting career?
I really want to be in a Lebanese film. Films from the region are gaining international fame, including at the Cannes Film Festival. Being a part of a film from my native nation would be a great accomplishment.
- Was it challenging for you to balance your roles as a presenter and an actor at the same time? What difficulties did you experience?
The major difficulty that I had to deal with was time management. There are only 24 hours in a day and I desperately needed more time. Around the time I began filming for the series, A’ali Almaqam, I was still a presenter on Dubai TV’s Insider Show and a host for a live expo 2020 show that would broadcast the events taking place on a daily basis. I was working on three distinct projects at the same time for six months. However, where there is a will, there is a way. People frequently ask me how I manage to work on and prioritize three projects. Always follow your passion. When you are passionate about something, you will always make time for it.
- Finally, what are some great tips for the upcoming aspiring presenters?
Just be yourself and follow your passion wherever your fate leads you to. Most importantly, don’t fake yourself on cameras because people are not naive. People should stay and watch your content. One shouldn’t create an opportunity for the audience to switch channels or drop the show.
Petra can be seen on Dubai TV presenting The Insider show. She has hosted numerous events and served as a reporter on numerous shows. Her creative output can be found on Instagram (@petranarch), where she has over 50k followers and generates lifestyle and fashion content.