Naña Ferrer was born in San Tomé, in the state of Anzoátegui and has lived in the Qatari capital for six years. She is the only Latin DJ in the country hosting the World Cup.
Venezuelan DJ in Qatar Hosting World Cup
Although she had many doubts and fears before moving because of the cultural differences, when she arrived she realized that not everything they say is true. She says she feels safer as a woman in the emirate than anywhere else. “There is no street harassment here,” she says.
Ñaña Ferrer did not believe in destiny, but it had something in store for her. She never imagined that she would become a DJ, let alone that this career would lead her to live in Qatar and work with great artists like Jason Derulo or Enrique Iglesias.
Ferrer, who was born and raised in Santo Tomé, a small town in the state of Anzoátegui, became interested in becoming a DJ. She had a lot of friends who were DJs. And her boyfriend at the time was dedicated to making music. Little by little, he taught her what he knew, because he wanted her to open his events.
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Before becoming a DJ, Ñaña studied advertising and marketing but was unable to continue her studies.
“Since I couldn’t pay for college, I started working as a manager for a yacht company in Puerto La Cruz and then I became a DJ,“ she says with a laugh. Among her idols at the time was the American DJ Diplo, whom she still admires.
Unlike others, the first event in which Ñaña performed as a DJ was big, in front of 2,000 people. “I felt like throwing a child into a pool and telling him to swim. Fortunately, everything went well and it was a wonderful experience,” says the 36-year-old.
From that moment on, she began playing in more places and making her way in a male-dominated environment. It was not an obstacle for her. “It never limited me, I always believed in myself and in what I was, regardless of the opinion of others, because talent is seen and those who have light shine with their light”.
Between 2012 and 2014, she decided to emigrate to Barbados, where she continued her career as a resident DJ in four of the island’s most important nightclubs. An experience that the Venezuelan describes as enriching.
“In addition to improving my English, I learned other musical genres, I met other cultures. Barbados opened doors for me,“ she said gratefully.
Ñaña’s Life-Changing Opportunity To Become a DJ in Doha, Qatar
In 2016, just as she was feeling established, an opportunity came along that would radically change her life. One day, while checking her social networks, the Venezuelan saw a message on Facebook from a talent agency that caught her attention.
It was an offer to work as a DJ in Doha, Qatar, with all expenses paid. “At first, I was suspicious,” admits Ñaña, who immediately investigated those who contacted her to make sure it was something real and, above all, safe.
“I was able to talk to two people who had worked with them and I decided to accept because it was a good job opportunity. At first, the contract was only for three months, but everything went so well that I’d been there for six years.”
Like many, Ñaña was afraid and hesitant because of the cultural differences. So much so that she did not pack shorts or low-cut blouses in her suitcase and for the first few days she wore loose clothes that covered her entire body, but as time went on she realized that she could dress as easily as in any country in the world.
“When I arrived, I realized that everything was different from what was depicted. Since Qatar is a country where 80% of the population is foreign, there is a lot of diversity.”
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She can dress as she would anywhere in the world, but she recognizes that there are places where there are restrictions.
“There are places where you can’t be uncovered, like temples, but on the beach and in the streets you can dress normally,” says the Venezuelan, who is ranked 51st in DJane Mag’s Top 100 of the best DJanes in Latin America.
And she added: “It’s true, Qatar is a country that has its restrictions, but they are not as strong as many people think. For example, if you want to buy a bottle of wine, you can’t buy it in the supermarket, but there are certain places where you can buy it, but it’s not like you can’t buy a bottle of wine. I also feel that people exaggerate a lot”.
What surprised her most about Qatar was its security.
“Everything is very safe. I’m the kind of person who puts my wallet in the shopping cart at the supermarket and leaves it there to walk down other aisles. When I come back, everything is there. Last year a friend came over and we talked and walked until dawn. He was surprised that nothing had happened to us. I told him, ‘Welcome to Qatar’.”
As for nightlife in the emirate, Ñaña assures that it is the same as in any other country. “It’s a lot of fun because there’s a lot of variety. It’s great, especially when I play Latin music, reggaeton, or salsa because you see all these people who are not Latinos singing and dancing. Even though they don’t speak Spanish, you can see them singing the lyrics,” says Ñaña, who says she enjoys mixing all kinds of music, especially Latin, which is what she feels most connected to.
Woman in Qatar is Like Anywhere Else – Ñaña Ferrer’s Experience as the Only Latina DJ in Doha
In her experience, being a woman in Qatar is like being a woman anywhere in the world.
“To be honest, it doesn’t feel much different. I think it’s even better because there’s no street harassment like there is in other places in the world, you don’t get yelled at on the street like ‘Hey, mamita,'” says Ferrer, so far the only Latina DJ in Doha.
In the days leading up to and following the start of the World Cup in Qatar, Ñaña says the streets feel happier because of the number of tourists. She also says she has seen how the city has grown since he arrived.
“For example, where I live now didn’t exist when I moved in 2016 and the city of Lusail didn’t exist either. What impressed me the most was the speed with which everything was done.“
Although she misses Venezuela, especially the food, Ñaña Ferrer has no plans to return soon. “I would like to, but there is always the fear. Next year I hope to bring my mother,” she says. In the future, she sees herself living in Qatar, but she is not ruling out other possibilities.
She is also a radio host. She and two companions recently started a Spanish-language radio show called “El Despertador”, in which they talk about music and sports and in which she has guests.
“I have never felt so Latina. I say yes to everything that has to do with Latinos. When they ask me which team I support in the World Cup, I say yes to all Latinos.