Fitness influencer in Dubai defends trip as she sees business boom abroad - 'You need to be in places where you are going to make money'
A fitness influencer who escaped the third lockdown to work in Dubai has hit back at those who have slammed other social media stars for doing the same.
Personal trainer Sheridan Mordew, 24, arrived in Dubai on January 2, which was just a few days before the third national lockdown, and planned to film live workouts to inspire her clients back home in the UK.
Since then, the social media star, who runs Sunderland-based business ‘Shape Up With Sher,’ has been sharing glamorous, sunshine-filled content with her 12,000 plus Instagram followers as she enjoys the relaxed restrictions in the United Arab Emirates.
Sheridan, from Hebburn who usually runs classes in Sunderland, flew from Manchester with initial plans to stay for two weeks but now plans on staying until the end of March in the hope that things will be better when she returns.
She said: "I was doing classes in my garden during the first lockdown. I was doing the live workouts but then when the second lockdown hit, I couldn't do anything other than the live stuff.
"So I just thought; 'Why not go to Dubai?'
"I was already doing the live workouts from home but I knew I could do it from Dubai. It didn't matter where in the world I was.”
Sharidan initially travelled to Dubai in December for eight days and returned home before travelling back out in January.
She is currently staying in an apartment where she is filming regular live workouts for clients back home and says she has funded the trip herself.
"Other personal trainers might not necessarily jump on a plane to Dubai to promote themselves,” she said.
"They might do things in the house and take photos in the mirror. There is not much you can do.
"So I thought: 'How can I get clients in my area that will benefit myself by getting business?' Mental health and physical things aside, booking a trip to Dubai is business.
"That is how I can increase my clientele so when I come back at the end of March, when gyms start to reopen, I am pretty confident in knowing that I can carry on the online stuff when I am back in the UK."
Since then the fitness star has seen her number of clients increase and believes being in Dubai has helped to motivate and inspire those who take part.
"Because I am in Dubai, it motivates them as well,” she said.
"A lot of the girls are like, ‘Oh my god! You are such an inspiration being in the sun when everyone else is stuck in the house’.
"Sometimes, I feel guilty and feel like I shouldn't really be out here because it is unfair on everyone else but then, at the end of the day, they could have gone out as well.
"I would say just do what makes you happy.
"I was going through a tough time during the lockdown - my business was declining and I wasn’t making as much money during the start of the year because of the classes shutdown.
"The only way that I was going to be happy was to do what I was doing but to be in the sun, to get fresh air, to exercise, to go to the gym.
"That made me mentally happy and physically happy. Therefore, I make everyone happy because I motivate people.
"So I would just say do what makes you happy – no one can judge what makes you happy.”
With gyms, bars, restaurants and clubs remaining open, Dubai has attracted a number of British influencers wanting to escape the national lockdown and take advantage of its opportunities to sell products in places that remain closed back home.
‘Essential work trips’ have enabled people to travel from the UK, but social media stars using that as justification for their trip have attracted some backlash from those in lockdown.
But Sheridan says that those who criticise may not understand the industry and the need to be in such locations to sell products.
She said:"A lot of people sitting in the house watching the posts – it might be a little bit of jealousy, I don't know - but I think a lot of the time they don't understand the business side of things.
"They just look at it as a lifestyle.
"Influencers get paid per post. So if they need to promote products like bikinis, they need to promote certain clothes, certain items to get paid.
"They are not going to make that money sitting in the house.
"They need to be on a beach to promote the bikini, they need to be in the nightclubs to promote the clothes. That is how they get their money.
"The person saying, ‘Don't do this, don't do that'...they are still making money where they are, but that influencer needs to make money doing what they are doing. No one has got the right to judge.
"A lot of influencers don't have anything else to fall back on.
"Personal trainers are their own business, being what they look like.
"So if you are not in shape being a personal trainer and you are not taking photos on the beach and getting good content then you are not going to make money.
"You need to be in places where you are going to make money – which is not sitting in the house on the sofa watching Netflix."