Dubai Bling - What's True and What's Not?

What's the truth behind the hit Netflix show Dubai Bling?
Written by
Hannah Mason
Published on
August 1, 2023

Netflix has confirmed the release of Dubai Bling season two, and we can expect it to hit our screens in the fall of 2023!

The first season of Dubai Bling, showcased some of Dubai's wealthiest celebrities. The cast included some familiar faces from Dubai society. Kris Fade, Ebraheem Al Samadi, Zeina Khoury, Lojain Omran, Safa Siddiqui, and Loujain Adada were regularly featured.

Before season two hits our screens, let's answer a question that many viewers are asking;

‘Is Dubai Bling Real?’

If you move to Dubai with $300 and get into real estate, could you achieve the Dubai Bling lifestyle? The short answer is, it's unlikely.

I moved to Dubai as an Expat and spent eight years working as a Dubai recruiter.

I'm going to give you my Dubai Bling review, revealing what the Netflix show got right and what is fiction.

You might be surprised!

Which parts of Dubai Bling are real?

Here are 6 things that Dubai Bling gets right about life in Dubai.

Dubai is full of luxury restaurants and shops

Dubai boasts no shortage of luxury hotels and shops! Because of the sheer number of them, they are very accessible to everyone.

In Dubai you’ll find plenty of ‘regular’ people visiting 5-star locations for a meal or a day out.

Take a walk through Dubai Mall and you'll find discount stores and designer boutiques within a 5 minute walk of each other.

Flashy displays of wealth are the norm in Dubai

I’m from the UK and here you’ll find that a lot of wealthy people hide their wealth.

Not so in Dubai. Expect to see super cars and designer labels all over the city. People in Dubai do not shy away from glamour and the general rule is more is more.

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures

The Dubai Bling cast come from all over the world.  This is a very accurate representation of Dubai's population. People bring with them their own culture, religious beliefs and languages.

Despite cultural differences, the cast of Dubai bling have grown to share the same ‘Dubai’ culture.

Dubai is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is very tolerant of many different cultures.

In fact, the city is even more diverse than Dubai Bling reveals. If you live and work in Dubai you’ll likely meet people from all corners of the globe.

Dubai can be a great place for entrepreneurs

Many of the Dubai Bling cast are self-made. Having arrived in Dubai with nothing, they have built a name for themselves.

This is actually pretty accurate. Dubai is a city of opportunities. I know many people that have started successful businesses and built a great life for themselves in the city.

The government is seeking to make this even easier and the options for setting up a business or obtaining a long-term visa are always expanding.

A lot of people in Dubai hire home help

Having a nanny, cook, maid or driver is much more common in Dubai than in most places. What’s more, it isn’t something reserved for the ultra-rich. It's common practice amongst the middle class to hire home help.

This practice unfortunately points to the huge disparity in wages and living standards. More on that later.

Kris Fade is famous in Dubai

Kris Fade is one of the Dubai Bling cast and he is a real life Dubai celebrity.

If you live and work in Dubai expect to hear Kris Fade on the radio. You'll also see his range of healthy Fade Fit snacks everywhere.

So there are plenty of aspects of Dubai life that Dubai Bling gets right.

Which parts of Dubai Bling are fake?

Naturally, a lot of the dialogue and scenarios in the show are scripted. Some of the broader themes also strike me as fake or misleading too.

This list could go on and on but here are some of the main ones.

Real Estate Agents in Dubai are (mostly) not super-rich

Some of the cast claim to have made their fortune in real estate. The reality is most real estate agents in Dubai work on a commission-only basis. Many of them struggle financially.

The Real Estate Agents I met in Dubai were very different from those in the show!

There are high-ticket properties and I expect the few agents with access to this market do well. But this is the exception, not the rule.

The Dubai weather is not always great

You might be mistaken for thinking you can sit outside and enjoy beautiful weather all year long.

Dubai does enjoy plenty of sunshine but outdoor activities are only enjoyable for a few months of the year.

The rest of the time it’s too hot, with temperatures reaching 40 – 50+ degrees Celsius.

If you're thinking about looking for a job in Dubai, make sure you go at the right time of year.

Dubai Bling is very selective in what it shows you

There are lots of beautiful locations in Dubai. There is a segment of the population that live a ‘Dubai Bling’ lifestyle. But the show leaves a lot out and there are a lot of parts of Dubai they don’t show.

Dubai is a city of extremes. You'll find mega mansions alongside workers' accommodations where 5 people share a room.

Besides a fancy golf course, you will find unfinished projects and building sites.

Some of the population are very wealthy but the majority of Dubai residents are not. What's more, as there is no minimum wage, there are plenty of people on very low salaries. This is what makes it possible for people to hire Maids and Nannies.

I found it amusing to observe the camera angles and editing. I know what lies just around the corner from many of the scenes.

In conclusion

Dubai Bling is an exaggerated version of Dubai that leaves out a lot of the less glamorous parts of the city.

But, many of the themes are true and Dubai is a city of opportunity where many people find success.

I’m grateful for what the city gave me; a great career, friends from all over the world and a chance to start my own business.

If you’re considering a move to Dubai then I say go for it, but know that it isn’t all glitz and glamour. There are two sides to every story.

If you need help with your Dubai job search check out our Dubai Job Search Toolkit here.

You may also like