Introducing Andrew Riad: Our Dubai-Based TikToker

Are you an avid TikTok user? If you are, we are almost certain that you’ve come across Andrew Riad at some point during your scrolling adventures. If you haven’t, we must ask… are you living under a rock? Andrew Riad is a 20-year-old student at New York University in Abu Dhabi pursuing a double major in Literature and Legal Studies, but in his free time, he makes TikTok videos – and hilarious ones at that! Whether you’ve come across this flamboyant, lovable character on your For You Page, or are just hearing about him now – keep reading to learn all about him and his venture into the world of content creation!

How it All Began

Credits: Instagram (@_andrewriad)

Like many of us, Andrew wasn’t too keen about the idea of TikTok when the hype first started to play out, but one day, during the peak of lockdown, he had downloaded it for fun and admits he spent an “unhealthy amount of time on it” – can you relate? We sure can! With the addiction to the app slowly creeping up on him, Andrew created his first TikTok and went to bed. To his surprise upon waking up, the TikTok had gone viral overnight! “It was such a weird experience for me,” Andrew confesses.

Andrew, known for his comedic and upbeat personality, decided to stick to his roots with his first TikTok and created it without having known how many people could have related to the message. “I remember it was about being an Arab Christian and having a “Western” first name and a very, very ARAB last name: Andrew Riad – that literally sounds like the capital of Saudi Arabia,” He says, “People related. I was shocked at the reactions and how it went viral. I realized also that people were relating…That to me was a beautiful moment.”

Andrew’s “Yalahwis”

Credits: Instagram (@_andrewriad)

Andrew uses TikTok as an online and open Diary. “For me, it’s a coping mechanism,” He admits, “I don’t necessarily see it as a job or as being a “content creator”…It quite literally is just me ranting or venting about something somewhere.” From educating the region on colonization, religions, and more, to partaking in comedic trends and, of course, his infamous twerking skills – we see different sides of Andrew on TikTok almost on a daily basis.

Although TikTok has made Andrew a very prevalent figure in the content creation industry in the region, he admits to having his awkward moments. “TikTok has, at times, impacted my life quite a bit. I feel like I get recognized in public quite a bit and at times I’m just like uh…haha..I am shy little boy…But it is such a surreal experience,” He opens up, “Sometimes I forget that strangers literally perceive me online and I know I don’t look like it but I am an extremely shy and reserved person that deals with a lot of mental health issues including crippling social anxiety so I really try to be as excited as I can be when meeting people but sometimes I’m just like “omg I disappoint people”.” Don’t worry Andrew, you are never a disappointment to us!

Accolades and Looking Ahead

Credits: Instagram (@_andrewriad)

Regardless of the downsides, Andrew tells us that he has had great opportunities because of his social media presence. “I’ve had the privilege and opportunities to meet and interact with beautiful people because of TikTok. It honestly was a game-changer of sorts in terms of connecting with amazing people in the region. I don’t know exactly what I would like out of it but it’s fun and if I can have my platform foster this space for people then I’m happy,” He says.

In terms of looking ahead, and the basis of his online presence, a message Andrew is keen on advocating for is for content creators not to stay silent and to be true to the fundamental truths within them. “So often will I find people online succumbing to a status quo. But why? If there is this platform and people are listening, let’s begin planting seeds of incremental change,” He says.

Words from Andrew

Credits: Instagram (@_andrewriad)

“This is one of the ways in which TikTok has afforded me. I am in constant dialogue with beautiful and resilient people that add to my life. If I could use my platform to create a space for marginalized voices, identities on the periphery, and to foster this kind of space that is free of judgment and full of expression and representation, then I’ve done my job.”

Make sure to follow Andrew on his Instagram and TikTok platforms to keep up!


Omaya Michelle

  • Eclectic soul
  • Staying Mindful
  • Ardently Artistic