In 2015, pioneering Saudi vlogger Juju Sajer revealed her face on YouTube after three years of performing in relative invisibility. She used her beauty vlog for small family dramas as well as beauty advice, translating the global genre to stage Saudi womanhood in modest and modern ways. This article analyses Juju’s use of digital frames as material for building a representational apparatus for young Saudi women. It takes a posthumanist approach to media roles as materially entangled with apparatuses of production, attending to the performer’s construction of networks and her onscreen performances. Juju’s evolving role from beauty vlogger to proto-talk show host, accompanied her increasing control over means of digital production after she gained corporate sponsorship and put her face on her brand. In contrast to theorists of communicative capitalism, I examine Juju’s self-branding as a networked performance of self, which enlivened and extended representational repertoires for young Saudi women. As a niche YouTube channel, it shows the potential of digital performance repertoires to develop within a framework of gendered modesty.
- Arab women
- digital performance