Yara El Guindy is the voice that millions of Egyptians wake up to every morning on Nogoom FM and her groupies make sure to tune in Nile FM when she so stylish. I met with Yara for a chit chat about music, lifestyle and showbiz.
The entertainment business became Yara’s calling in 2008 when she began her career at Nile FM after winning ‘So You Think You Can Nile’. “I never thought about working in showbiz, it never crossed my mind, and my friend talked me into joining the competition and I told her what am I going to do there? Then I said maybe I’ll send something in and see. It was a two months competition, and I got chosen in the end”, she tells us. With a hit show on Nile FM Yara soon became the voice. Nogoom FM followed a year later with a show in Arabic. “Nogoom FM and Nile FM are both under the same umbrella of Nile Radio Productions Company and we all work in the same building, I was doing The Big Drive Home with Safi when I started out and a year later they asked me how about I present in Arabic on Nogoom FM and do the morning show. I told them do you have any idea what I’m like? So they told me just come and record a voice demo. So I did and it got accepted”. Alongside Marwan Kadry their morning show soon became a big hit with millions of loyal listeners, “the listeners became our friends. When I’m a little bit down they sense it and send me SMSs like ‘what’s wrong with you today’ without any radio request. On my birthday, they surprised me by sending a big frame with my picture, a pendant, chocolates and lots of flowers. Other times they send us breakfast and magazines, it’s amazing”.
Nile FM rocked the radio scene in Egypt since it started, bringing in international DJs and catapulting Egyptian DJs to the international sphere. The grid of the station is updated regularly; linking listeners with interesting guests and top rated music refreshing new styles and bringing new sounds to their listeners “everyone now has an iPod and we should be entertaining and updated enough to get listeners on board. We choose the topics ourselves and we do all the technical work such as shifting from one track to the other and creating playlists and so on, it’s a one man show, making us in control and confident of what we do”, Yara adds, “Nile FM has been around since I came to Egypt and it had been operating on international standards, in terms of presenters and the fact that we do everything ourselves is what makes it one of a kind”.
In Nogoom FM, Yara and Marwan brainstorm for topics together with no script writers based on their choice, “I sit with my friends and listen to their stories and catch ideas that I think would appeal to listeners. I drive my car and observe something interesting and I talk about it the next day on the show”, she tells. The chemistry between Yara and Marwan is always right, and people are quite fond of their teasing each other which is rather most of the time, “I’ve known Marwan before I worked on the show as we worked for a year in the same building, you have to have chemistry with your co-host if you fake it or act it will show and anyway you cannot do it for long”.
Nile and Nogoom FM have millions of listeners which is a daily challenge for radio presenters. “I know not all those people would like me, some like me some don’t, some think I’m ‘Farfoura’ and some send us messages like ‘stop talking’, but I got used to it. I can’t appeal to everyone’s taste. There are various cultures and backgrounds of listeners, my radio identity is to be myself, and if I try to pretend or be someone else and it will a show. The trick is to be yourself and don’t fake it”.
So what does Yara do when she isn’t on air? I was curious to know that from a young woman who wakes up at 5am for her morning show and runs for steady 9 hours at work, “when you do a morning show, you have to compromise a lot. During the week there is nothing called late night outs, but you get used to it. I do miss up on a lot of things, if there is an event I really want to go to; then I suffer the consequences. When you’re not sleeping well by default you won’t function well. I wake up very early and my job is to animate people so I should be animated and awake myself” she explains. When she is finished with her show on Nile FM at 4pm, Yara gets ready to relax after running around studios “I can’t even go to the gym because I don’t have the energy. I go home chilling or relaxing and play around with my dogs, and that’s the story of my life (laughs) but I always manage with my co-host to getaway for 10 days in the summer or something”.
Nile Style was a show that provided Cairene’s with a special flavor of radio targeting the young and hip with lifestyle topics. Amy Mowafi, the renowned author of Fe-Mail, joined Yara every Thursday talking about different relationship issues, “Amy is a good friend of mine and I know how smart and intelligent she is. We were thinking about making a segment about Cairenes and it did really well” Yara adds.
Yara is also one of those book worms who can’t sleep without a book next to their bed “I don’t like thrillers; I like nice books which are interesting and talk about something I really want to know about, a nice story”. She has a big library in her room that is crammed with books, “I buy a lot of books, I live in the suburbs and I have this foreigner next door who does garage sale with books, I go and buy a bunch of books every now and then, I love reading”.
Yara worked as a celebrity editor for two years in a magazine prior to her radio career, as well as in marketing and PR, and hopes one day to establish her own PR agency. She holds a BA in Marketing and an MBA “I got interested in media and worked my way up in advertising. I also worked in media production as a producer where I learned how to edit and anchor. I have been working since high school as I was bred in the US and Saudi Arabia and I was brought up that I should be working on summer vacations”.
Yara loves “anything with engines” from cars, motorcycles, to jet skis and boats “I like sand boarding and kite surfing a lot, I don’t have time for sports but I like doing activities like horseback riding, actually I have a horse in Sakkara”. This entertainment wiz is also a big-hearted animal lover “I have a zoo in my house”, she laughs, “I have two parrots, Sprinkle and Said, I know I give strange names to my pets (laughs) I have four cats: Fluffy, Bubbles, Sushi and Abdo. Milo and Snowy are my dogs”.
Her fans are more than eager to see her on TV so let’s not tell it all and wait for the ‘so stylish’ TV appearance of Yara El Guindy; until that tune in and enjoy!