Tuesday 23 July 2019

The loves of my life... Riyadh Khalaf


Documentary film-maker Riyadh Khalaf
Documentary film-maker Riyadh Khalaf
Chloe Brennan

Chloe Brennan

The documentary film-maker, YouTuber and BBC Radio 1 podcast host chats about his favourite people, places and things

The person

Josh, my partner. I say partner, not boyfriend, because that's what he is to me. We are a team - stronger together and constantly finding ways to lift each other up. He grounds me, makes me laugh and helps me to simply stop and be in the moment. Can you tell I'm crazy in love?

The memory

Standing in the front row at Dublin Castle the moment it was announced that marriage equality was passed in Ireland.

I was shoulder to shoulder with my incredible parents; all three of us with tears streaming down our faces watching David Norris and others give rousing speeches. History was made that day as the eyes of the world were on Ireland.

The moment of the day

The daily couch debrief I have with my best friend and flatmate, Paudie. Sitting on opposite sides of the room, we will put the world to rights, bitch, tell stories, laugh, and sometimes cry about our day. It's like a free therapy session for us both!

The song

Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens.

The movie

Titanic, of course! I am the biggest fan. Don't believe me? I bought a real first-class blanket, a dinner plate and lifebelt used in the movie at an auction.

The book

The Velvet Rage - Overcoming The Pain Of Growing Up Gay In A Straight Man's World by Alan Downs. An incredible read by Downs, it uncovers much of the lasting effects of shame on gay boys and men.

The person

Senator David Norris. I still get chills thinking about the Norris versus Ireland case, where he bravely took Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights because of the country's criminalisation of homosexual acts. In 1988, he won the case - legend!

The outfit

A loose linen or silk shirt, unbuttoned down almost to my belly button, and tucked into jeans or printed trousers rolled above the ankle. It's my uniform!

The hotel

The W Hotel - any of them. I'm obsessed with the sexy design in these hotels, with their disco balls, leather, mood lighting and dark finishes. The experience as a guest is incredible, too. In a passing conversation, I once mentioned to a member of staff that I'm lactose intolerant. A few hours later, a complimentary tray of dairy-free cakes arrived at my door. I gorged myself.

The friend

Once again, Paudie. He is my rock. We have a bond that has led many people to believe we are in a secret long-term relationship. I can communicate with him with just a simple knowing look. It's a friendship I never had when I was growing up feeling alone and different to everyone else. It's sort of like finding your soul mate without all the romance and sex!

The accessory

The pointed-pendant silver earring hanging from my left ear. It was an experiment that my mother initially hated, but now loves. It makes any look appear that bit more 'fash-hun'.

The gadget

My DJI Mavic Pro Drone! It's my little flying baby, warmly named Bernie after my beloved late grandmother. It fits in my back pocket, and in an instant I can film 4K cinematic-quality aerial shots. The dream for a film-maker.

The pet hate

Incompetent people.

The advice

On the topic of dreams, only your opinion matters. Cut out the external voices, pressures and expectations. Lean into what you know is right for you without 'realistic' limitations. Go wild, think big, think long-term, and enjoy the journey.

The beauty product

ZO Skin Health Smart Tone Broad-Spectrum SPF 50. I wear this incredible stuff every day, no matter the weather. Not only is it sun protection, it also has a light tint, so your skin looks super clear.

The holiday

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. I had the most incredible Christmas and New Year there with my family two years ago. A trip I'll never forget.

The drink

One of those fancy, pretentious G&Ts with loads of berries and twigs hanging out of the glass.

The bar

The George. The place where I found my safe space growing up. Within those walls, I discovered my community, and a licence to simply be me. I will forever be in love with that place and the memories it holds for me.




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