Keeping up with Kris Fade

Estimated read time 6 min read

Virgin Radio Dubai’s celebrity host Kris Fade. JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA

He’s got his own Madame Tussaud’s wax figure in Dubai, a thriving health food company, a lucrative radio career in the UAE, and stars in Netflix hit show Dubai Bling. Who can keep up with Kris Fade?

Love him or hate him, the star of breakfast radio show “The Kris Fade Show” on Virgin Radio Dubai promises he is as authentic as anyone you’ll ever meet in the industry.

“You get the real me right now, you get the real me on radio. You get the real me on Netflix. There may be some areas that were possibly exaggerated on that show, which was not my doing, it was the aftermath of an edit. But apart from that it’s pretty much me,” Kris tells Expatmedia.net.

After 15 years in the UAE, Kris said he never expected to reach the level of success he has now. “I wanted it to, and I set goals to do so but you’re never really sure if those dreams do come true, you know?”

Dubai has been good on Kris, who is the only UAE radio presenter with a waxwork at Madame Tussauds Dubai.

Dubai was a different tune than his life in Australia. “I didn’t do great in school, so I couldn’t get into college,” he said, adding that the he worked odd jobs “just to make money”. “I was a barista. I washed cars. Sold a lot of clothes,” he recalled. He eventually found his way to radio, starting as a promotional truck driver for a Sydney-based radio station. “It gave me access to the radio studios and I used to just pop up to level 3 and see the radio studios,” he said.

An innate people person, Kris easily befriended the radio presenters, who taught him a thing or two about their job, and eventually he was given the chance to sit at his own radio show. He knew it was what he was meant to do.

Kris Fade on ‘starting from nothing’

Kris, whose real name is Kristan Fahd, shared that he “really did start from nothing” when he moved to Dubai in 2008. Just as his radio career in Sydney was about to plateau, he was offered a stint in a Dubai startup. He hopped on the plane with “a little bit more than Dh300” in his pocket, and the rest, as they say, is history. He thrives in Dubai with his wife and his two daughters.

Kris has also branched out to become a businessman. As well as his media engagements, he founded health snack brand Fade Fit in 2018, which has expanded into Saudi Arabia and Australia. His team is exploring business opportunities in the US next.

Kris Fade and Fade Fit

He stumbled on the idea of creating Fade Fit brand after one of his radio shows. “It came naturally. I was obese, I was anxious. I wasn’t feeling great and I went on a big health kick. When I started to get fit, started to train, started to eat healthier, I lost a bunch weight. I went from 128 kilos to about 95-90 kilos and people were asking me how I did it,” he said.

He started with health snacks for children, before branching out to adult health snacks. Fade Fit products are now available in Starbucks stores across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“Now we’re one of largest snack companies here, locally made in the UAE. We’re rapidly growing across all GCC countries. We’ve signed distribution into Australia and we’re heading to America soon,” Kris said.

Kris Fade and Dubai Bling

Then came the offer to star in Netflix show, Dubai Bling. Kris revealed that he almost turned it down. “Initially I said no. Then, learning more and more about it, I thought, let’s give this a go,” he said.

Kris said shooting Dubai Bling was a lot of fun, but also a lot of hard work. “I’m up at 4am every morning and my days are pretty much filled. To allow access to certain cameras and have teams follow you around, it takes a lot out of your day but the end results are fantastic. It’s one of the largest productions out of the Middle East. And to be part of a creation in the Middle East, I was very happy about,” Kris said.

“Thousands of people have messaged me to say after watching Dubai Bling they want to move to Dubai. It’s crazy,” he added.

The show, about the glamorous lives of Dubai’s millionaires, gives a peek into the high-rolling life of Dubai’s A-listers, but the Dubai Bling star says he actually saves more than he spends.

“I’m not a guy who wants to wear every brand under the sun and have $2,000 t-shirts,” he said. “I’m smart with my money. I’m a saver. I’m an investor.”

But Kris does spend on things that “bring memories”. “I love spending on holidays. I work pretty hard, pretty intensely for the rest of the year. I get up at that 4am mark every day. But when I go on holidays with my wife and kids I’m all out. I want to hire the nice house, I want to get us those nice flights, I want to spend everywhere because for those three weeks that we’re on vacation for, they make memories with my kids that sometimes I don’t get to make during the year because I’m working so much,” he said.

Kris Fade of Virgin Radio Dubai

He will also splurge on cars. “I have a gorgeous Jeep that I drive, I got a Tesla that I brought for my wife. I bought a McLaren. I’ve got an old-style Corvette,” he said. “They make me happy, you know? These are things I worked really hard for. But I also make sure I’m saving, I’m investing. I’m doing the right things with my money.”

Kris says he wants to continue working with “drive and passion” in the years to come. When asked about his secret to success, he says: “I know I work hard. I’m dedicated, I’m persistent, I’m consistent. I’m patient.”

He’s even got the word “patience” tattooed on his arm. “Because I need to remind myself. A lot of people want everything yesterday. They expect to start and something’s going to happen in three months. I realize as an entrepreneur, especially in this industry, you may have an idea, it could take you 16 months before you see it. Go with that journey. Be persistent with it,” he advised. PIA/Expat Media

Kris Fade is the cover story of the Expat Media Special Edition Magazine.


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