Is Dubai Bling Real? Discover the truth behind the Netflix Dubai reality TV show

Is Dubai Bling Reality? The Truth About Lifestyle in Dubai

Hannah Mason
Dubai

Is Dubai Bling Reality? The Truth About Lifestyle in Dubai

Hannah Mason • Nov 30, 2022

Netflix’s latest reality TV offering, Dubai Bling, shows us the glamorous life of a cast of super-wealthy Dubai socialites.

Think Real Housewives, Made in Chelsea or Bling Empire, but with more sand and the Burj Khalifa.

Outrageous displays of wealth have many viewers asking ‘Is Dubai Bling Real?’

If you move to Dubai with $300 and get into real estate, could you achieve this lifestyle?

The short answer is, probably not.

As someone who moved to Dubai as an Expat and spent eight years there, I’m going to share my thoughts on what Dubai Bling gets right and what is simply not true.

Which parts of Dubai Bling are real?

Here are the aspects of the Dubai lifestyle that Dubai Bling gets right.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Luxury hotels & shops are seen everywhere in Dubai Bling

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

Whereas in most places, the types of luxury locations seen on Dubai Bling would be reserved for the super-rich, in Dubai you’ll find plenty of ‘regular’ people visiting 5-star locations for a meal or a day out.

In fact, you may often find yourself stumbling into a luxury space by accident as they often sit alongside everyday locations.

For example, take a quick walk around Dubai Mall and you will find discount stores and exclusive designer boutiques within a 5 - 10-minute walk of each other.

The flashy displays of wealth

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

Discretion and modesty are seen as classy and you can often tell if someone is genuinely rich because they will look scruffy and unkempt. The UK's former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is a classic example.

Not so in Dubai. Expect to see super cars and designer labels regularly in the city, especially in Downtown Dubai and JBR.

People in Dubai do not shy away from glamour and the general rule is more is more.

I used to recruit lawyers in DIFC so I can tell you that this is true.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the architecture!

Dubai Bling shows a melting pot of cultures

The Dubai Bling cast come from all different parts of the world and bring with them their own culture, religious beliefs and in some cases, languages.

Nevertheless, they all remain friends and have grown to share the same ‘Dubai’ culture.

This is quite representative of Dubai as a whole. It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and generally it is amazingly tolerant of different cultures.

In fact, the city is even more diverse than the show and if you move to 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 and 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.

People in Dubai Bling 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 but is very normal amongst the middle class and moderately wealthy.

As such, most properties for middle to high-earners will include a maid’s room/living quarters as standard.

However, this practice points to the huge disparity in wages and living standards. More on that later.

Kris Fade is ubiquitous in Dubai Bling

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

If you live in Dubai expect to hear him on the radio and see his range of healthy Fade Fit snacks everywhere.

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

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Which parts of Dubai Bling are fake?

Naturally, a lot of the dialogue and scenarios in the show are scripted, but some of the broader themes 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

A number of the cast claim to have made their fortune in real estate but the reality is most real estate agents in Dubai work on a commission-only basis and will often 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 it’s certainly the exception, not the rule.

The Dubai weather is not always great

Watching the show, you might be mistaken for thinking you can sit outside and enjoy beautiful weather all year long.

Yes, 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 in 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

Yes, there are lots of beautiful luxury locations in Dubai and 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 where you will find mega mansions alongside workers' accommodations where 5 people share a room.

Next to 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’ve found it amusing to observe the camera angles and editing, knowing what lies just around the corner of many of the scenes.

In conclusion

Dubai Bling is certainly 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 schedule a session with me!

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