Egyptian singer Amr Diab tops the first Forbes Middle East list of 100 Arab celebrities from the Middle East, with over 30.6 million followers across his social media platforms.
The list, published in the latest edition of Forbes Middle East reveals the region’s favourite personalities based on their length of time in the industry, their influence, and their social media following.
Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria lead the ranking with 46 of the stars coming from Egypt, and 24 calling Lebanon home and eight from Syria. There were five from Saudi Arabia, four from Morocco and Tunisia.
There are three celebrities on the list from the UAE—singers Ahlam Alshamsi and Hussain Al Jassmi, and sports commentator Faris Awad. Jordan accounted for two, and Palestine, Iraq, Yemen and Algeria each have a singer on the list.
Amr Diab, since he started out over three decades ago, has endorsed some of world’s biggest brands such as Pepsi and Vodafone, and set up his own online store ‘Amr Diab World’.
Diab is followed by two best-selling Lebanese singers, Nancy Ajram and Elissa, with over 48 million and 43 million followers. Nancy became a goodwill ambassador for Unicef in 2009 and is a popular judge on Arab Idol. She also has a number of brand endorsements under her belt.
Elissa, often called the Queen of Romance, has created her own perfumes and is also a talent show judge on X-Factor Arabia.
The combined social media fan following for all the celebrities is over 1 billion. Singers rule the ranking with 51 celebrities, followed by 37 actors and 11 presenters.
Adel Emam is the highest ranked actor. The only composer to break the top 100 is Hassan El Shafei.
METHODOLOGY: Forbes Middle East researched over 500 Arab celebrities’ social media platforms and took forward those with a total number of over 3 million followers. More weight was given to social media following but the length of their showbiz career and their activities outside their dominant field were also considered, among other points.
Khuloud Al Omian, editor-in-chief, Forbes Middle East, said: “This list for the very first time showcases the quality of talent across the Middle East region, especially in the arts of music and acting. The sheer number of fans following these celebrities is a testament to the growing potential of the region’s entertainment industry. With the advent of social media, fans can truly appreciate and support their favourite celebrities irrespective of their country of origin.”