RAK singer Elizabeth Donald's celebrity talk show takes UAE to the world
Who's the most famous person you know? Take a minute and look through your phone. Scrolling through the endless names, you may happen across a cousin who once sat next to the guy from that insurance ad, or someone who went to school with a hockey player, but on the whole direct lines to Hollywood A-listers won't usually be found at your fingertips. That is unless you happen to move in decidedly starry circles like chart-topping country music star and UAE resident Elizabeth Donald. The Melbourne native, who spent part of her life in Los Angeles, counts legendary actors, sports supremos and even politicians as longtime mates. And when the Covid pandemic put paid to traveling to Nashville to record her latest single in March, Donald decided to embrace #StayHome time at her Ras Al Khaimah villa and begin an IGTV talk show featuring a rolodex worth of well-known chums.
"I've never really spoken about my network of celebrity friends," Donald, whom we previously met when debut track High Definition topped the iTunes country chart in early 2019, told us about the show's inception. "Given we have been so cut off from human interaction, people have started craving to hear about others' life stories and how they got to where they are. I figured it was the right time to speak to people I know and share their stories from the perspective of a friend talking to a friend."
Video calls with idols including Jane Seymour, former Liverpool squad member and new Dubai-dweller Nathan Eccleston, ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia Julie Bishop and country music contemporary Ashley Campbell have been highlights of Donald's talk show journey so far. The programmes, which the host films from a comfy cushioned sofa in her living room, encompass a variety of topics from industry secrets to issues of the day including race relations and female empowerment.
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My friend the iconic Jane Seymour! @janeseymour Together we discuss Janes incredible philanthropy with her foundation @theopenheartsfoundation , our friendship and fun times and her incredible career as a multi award winning actress! Please go to the Open Hearts Foundation website NOW and bid on one of Janes incredible paintings with ?? of profits going to allocated charities for the most vulnerable during this pandemic. You only have ONE more day left! ?????? #janeseymour #openheartsfoundation Full interview on YouTube and FB Www.openheartsfoundation.org #drquinnmedicinewoman #weddingcrashers #jamesbond007
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"It's not a basic chat because these aren't people I have just met," Donald continued. "These are relationships that have been formed over many years, so it's easy to dive into a relaxed conversation, which I find you get more out of."
Interning for news organisations such as Australia's Channel Nine and journalistic aspirations early on in Donald's career helped prepare for what has resulted in a natural interviewing technique. Each episode's standout feature, however, has to be the cultural education guests receive about RAK and the nation at large.
"In every conversation we talked about the Middle East. It put a different perspective for them on how the region really is," Donald said. "People are unaware of just how cosmopolitan our society is. It gives them a more contemporary view of life in the UAE."
What is your best memory from the shows so far?
Probably talking with Jane Seymour. As you learn in the episode I asked Jane to come over to the UAE a while ago and she did because up until then she didn't know anything about the Middle East. I took her around the country and gave her a new perspective. I like her large international fan base can see how this new perspective was formed. I take great pride in stereotypes being broken through her.