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The New Arab Staff

Saudi influencer under fire from conservatives for TikTok dancing video

The model has nearly 12 million followers on Instagram [TikTok]

Date of publication: 16 June, 2020

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A Saudi model is facing a backlash for defying ultraconservative norms by dancing in a TikTok video.
A Saudi model has condemned a "harassment" campaign leveled against her after she was featured dancing in a TikTok video.

Followers from the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom were outraged to see Rawan Abdullah Abuzaid, who goes by the name Model Roz, twerking in a video uploaded by American actor Paul Butcher.

In the video, Model Roz is pictured dancing on a beach alongside Butcher, who starred in the Nickelodeon series "Zoey 101", and Australian-German singer Katja Glieson.

Each takes a turn to come to the center of the video and perform a set of dance moves, with Abuzaid throwing back her hips and shaking her rear - a move commonly referred to as twerking. Critics of the Saudi influencer have decried the move as "pornographic".

TikTok's 800 million active users often take part in dance challenges coordinated to pop songs. 

In videos shared on her own TikTok account, the US-based model can be seen regularly taking part in such dance challenges alongside friends, including Butcher and Glieson.

In a Snapchat post, the model denounced the "harassment" she has faced over the video. "They will be exposed one day. Indeed, God will take revenge on them," she said.

Abuzaid describes herself as Saudi Arabia's first ever professional model. She has worked with fashion label GUESS, lingerie label Victoria's Secret and social media company Snapchat, and amassed nearly 12 million followers on Instagram.

Model Roz attracted attention last year after filing a lawsuit against fellow Saudi expat Danah Almayouf. 

Dancing Dustin 😂😎🕺@katjaglieson @modelroz

♬ original sound - livy.divy

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