S.O. is excited to interview Aysha Majid of Cherry Pick the coolest insiders guide of the best of Dubai. Their aim? To promote the city’s best bits and save you time by providing easily accessible info on hidden gems this city has to offer as well as offering access to a cherry picked world of handpicked venues, via their Members Club.
Aysha how and why did you start Cherry Pick Dubai?
I have family in Dubai and first visited around nine years ago. It’s fascinating to see how much it has changed. As a journalist I’ve predominantly worked in features and lifestyle. I launched CP to help people discover the city, as Dubai’s a pretty hard shell to crack. I wanted to develop something I would use and something organic that wasn’t swayed by advertising. Everyone likes to feel special and our Members Club allows you to access special ‘under the counter’ privileges from our venues. Our phone app also has a Members Perk Tracker, which is great if you’re out and about and want to make the most of your privileges.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
I’ve always been fascinated with baroque architecture and writers like Keats and Byron. I would say I’m a practical romanticist (if there is such a thing). There’s a real art to communicating words simplistically and I love writers that are expressive but not pompous. There’s a writer called Kate Grenville who does this beautifully.
Fashion icons in your opinion?
A fashion icon (to me) is someone who doesn’t let the latest trends dictate their style and is confident in their own skin and not afraid to push boundaries.
What do you love most about living in Dubai?
When I first moved to Dubai I found it pretty hard having lived in London for 12 years. I love walking and old architecture. Imperfections are what give us character and this is very much the opposite of Dubai’s ethos, but this is slowly changing and if you look hard enough you can sniff out the character and charm.
I love waking up to the sun everyday and having the beach nearby and I’ve now developed an appreciation for modern architecture. There are not many cities that have achieved what Dubai has in such a short space of time. It’s a really exciting time be here and I feel privileged to be part of that.
Favorite beauty tip or secret?
I try and use organic products where I can and I love Lucas Pawpaw Ointment. My older sister got me onto this and it’s great for eyes, lips, everything! I’m also an obsessive water drinker.
What is your exercise regime like?
I’m not a gym bunny that’s for sure, but I find swimming really relaxing. I have ridden from the age of six, so riding is something I enjoy and has always been a part of my life but unfortunately the equestrian centre I ride at is a bit of a drive (so time is an issue). I also love kickboxing but I damaged my ankle some time ago now, so I’ve recently began boxing instead.
What are some of your favorite local artists, designers, brands, boutiques?
I love S*uce. Everything they do is fresh, inventive and fun. I often shop at Bambah as I miss the vintage markets of London and this is one of just a tiny handful of vintage stores in Dubai. I also love rummaging through Garderobe’s rails, in Jumeirah. I love Safa Park. I am a bit sad that they are building over a part of it. I miss the green and I enjoy just chilling out, having a BBQ and wondering the markets there on a weekend. I love Dumyé. Their dolls are ethical, thoughtful and I would buy their whole collection for myself if I could! There are some really talented emerging Emirati artists; I think Maitha Demithan’s scanography work is really interesting. I also like Khalid Mezaina’s contemporary, culturally fused designs and I recently came across Nawal Khoory’s Bastakiya collection and love the way she uses contrasts of defined calligraphy and delicate watercolour.