Cliché sat down with Khaled Mazeedi to garner insight into his writing style, experiences and to learn more about the sophisticated, creative and controversial celebrity writer. This is one interview you’ll definitely want to read.
“What you are about to read will change your life. Proceed with caution.”
The ominous warning from author Khaled Mazeedi ends with the catchphrase, “you will understand one day.” Of all the celebrity writers out there, Khaled Mazeedi is one of the most resplendent, and certainly one of the most controversial. A man of many facades, Mazeedi does not define who he is by what people have labeled him as. Defacto CEO, business mogul, style icon – or not, his plumage is outrageous, fearless, and full of contradictions; mad but coordinated, crazy but cool.
After all, it takes something unique, almost bizarre, to be lionized – and polarized – by everyone, and there is no doubt that Mazeedi seems to enjoy the attention. A man who came into a role of influence within an unbelievably short time frame -began posting on social media in 2017. Mazeedi says “ A lion does not fear, he is effective, strikes when he needs, that is his truth, and soon, I shall reveal my truth.” Some consider his sartorial ensembles to be nothing more than plumage for the sake of plumage, that his dandyism and persona are utterly out of control and verging on the vulgar and the fictitious. Yet Mazeedi still pulls off a style reference and public image reminiscent of many vintage icons that we have admired in the past – luminaries such as Cary Grant and Howard Hughes, to name but a few.
It will be unsurprising to learn that Mazeedi considers the rules of life, to which we all subscribe – the rules of business, of influence, of dress, and anything else – are simply a construct of societal reality. In his world, these rules can be bent, influenced, and if needed, manipulated.
In his latest chameleonic incarnation, Mazeedi is an author, publishing one of the most controversial books of the decade, The Glitch, a contrarian playbook to the game of life, and how to cheat a rigged world to become successful.
Mazeedi considers avoiding exaggeration to be one of the most important things about style, but he exaggerates in everything else. Mazeedi says, through performances, we constantly negotiate and renegotiate our identity. Fashion is, without a doubt, one of those performances whereby individuals can do such a thing. Take, for example, an article quoted by Fashion Week Daily, a prominent New York-based fashion magazine, that said Mazeedi “is a man who, by all accounts, somehow exceeds the impossible reputation that precedes him.”
The two-year-old brand Swipemint is his mastermind. A man who has an eye for luxury, he has democratized access to premium metal credit cards. His perfume powerhouse, Long Story Short, stems from his olfactory sense, as the creative director and expert nose designing and producing bespoke fragrances. Rather than conforming to statements, Mazeedi makes statements, a polarising figure redefining the meaning and relevance of luxury in the modern world. With a voice this powerful, opinions about Mazeedi greatly vary.
To some, he is a brash charlatan, a publicity-seeking fop with all the bravery of influence and eloquent dress but none of the elegance of restraint. He earned his colossal wealth, not from the traditional route of a rent-seeking aristocracy, but a massive early bet on the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. Fame soon followed, making his life public to a bevy of loyal followers on YouTube, and amassing over 3.4 million subscribers.
His antics made him a recipient of multiple digital media awards that include; Arab Creator of the Year, Mr. Aficionado, and Influencer of the Year from several award organizations.
When opinions about him are this diverse, this polarizing, some might refer to Mazeedi as a modern icon, but he could perhaps be called a renegade or a maverick; an arabesque Evander Wall. Nothing to him is off-limits, and nothing about him is predictable or conventional. His book, The Glitch, is simply the manifestation of everything Mazeedi has learned in a most unconventional life. An experimental book that Mazeedi asserts will be a wake-up call to every one of its readers. We had to know more.
Cliche: Strangely, this interview has been postponed several times. That made us want to do it even more.
Mazeedi: “Indeed. Very appropriate, might you say?”
Cliche: I was surprised when I heard you are publishing [The Glitch], that in addition to being a sort of how-to manual to glitch life, could this be a kind of a Khaled Mazeedi coming-of-age story?
Mazeedi: “Yes, the project has been brewing for quite some time.”
Cliche: If I read it right, you start with nothing after a short-lived football career, you learn that the societal construct in which all of us take part is an illusion, you teach yourself all of these techniques to improve your life and become successful, and then, you decide you want to share it with the world. Is that a fair summary?
Mazeedi: “Yes, that sums it up precisely. I think more people will hear about The Glitch when released, and it will change the way they approach their life. It is a book that is also very philosophical. Many of the ideas – and ideologies – are a modern and western form of ancient stoic philosophies. The best way I can explain it is with an example. When you see roasted meat and other dishes in front of you, if you look more deeply, you realize that it is the charred flesh of a dead fish, a dead bird, and a dead cow; that purple robes are sheep wool dyed with shellfish blood. Once we strip everything down into its essence, it becomes pointless. As humans, we have this need to imbue everything with meaning. The same goes for identity as well; Countries, borders, race, and people. Identification is human nature, and the feeling or thought of belonging to something or being a part of a tribe is a genetic predisposition, a human need. We must think about why our parents name us, and we name our cities, rivers, and even brands, so we can identify with these things, places, and people that give us a sense of belonging.”
“Part of what the book talks about is why we latch onto things, and that if you pierce through them, to see things for what they are, you can understand our need to identify and find meaning in everything. Armed with this knowledge, you can reinvent yourself and your identity into whatever you want when you realize that all identities are manufactured from nothing. It is more sincere to remanufacture your own identity than have someone else impose your identity. That is what we need to do—all through our lives when things lay claim to our trust—to lay them bare and see how meaningless they are, to cast away the legend that encircles them.”
Cliche: What is the biggest takeaway in your book?
Mazeedi: “The biggest takeaway is that there is always a way to get where you want to if you are willing to make a sacrifice to get there. If you have been dealt a tough hand in life, it is even more of a reason to make sacrifices- as long as you know how to find the cracks. In the book, I also reveal several of these, what I refer to as glitches.”
“The world has this idea, that power is something that only involves world leaders and influential people, and that power is some unattainable realm of human endeavor. However, every person is angling for power and influence, even in the simplest things they do in life. We have immense individual power as human beings. The outcomes of our lives are the cumulative results of all the decisions we have made over time. The only thing stopping you from success is your limiting beliefs. Your brain can be re-wired to have fewer limiting beliefs, and as a result, have fewer fears and more confidence in pushing boundaries, achieving success.”
“There is a reason why the cover of the book is a reflection of a broken mirror. The idea is that you can reinvent yourself, what you think about yourself, your identity, your limitations, breaking the shackles that hinder and restrain, so that you can achieve incredible things in your life. Constructs like power, fame, and seduction can be understood, deconstructed, and repurposed for your benefit. But in doing so, you will figure out that all of these changes are irrelevant within the bigger picture of life, which is that we will leave this world behind and our identities with it.”
Cliche: How can The Glitch be used in the course of life today, and what is the philosophy behind it?
Mazeedi: “The philosophy is about helping people in their daily lives, overcoming the fear of death, understanding your purpose, and finding an appropriate path to follow in life. We often think about how to maintain our dignity, reputation and still achieve great things. It’s a tough ball to juggle. The core principle is understanding that we follow a genetic code and protocol, that we live our lives answering our DNA. We are, in a way, predestined. What if you can scientifically understand that your nature is what drives you to do the things you do and that you can trick your DNA to do something entirely different.”
“Ultimately, we are deeply rooted with a desire and need to be respected and loved, and we want to identify ourselves with things that give us these emotions/reference points. The people of this world are so attached to fame, money, power, and respect. Each of us has had our beliefs, outlook, and perception molded by our individual experiences, upbringing, and social conditioning. The beautiful part is that, yes, we are all unique, but we are not bound to these characteristics, beliefs, and ideas.”
“What if I told you that it’s possible to reprogram your beliefs and start a whole new perception from scratch. I describe the world we live in as almost like The Matrix. I believe we are vessels, a complex computer with physical and mental capabilities that are limited; physical limits in what our bodies are capable of doing, and computing limitations in how much our brains can process. The mind-boggling part is that if we are vessels or players, then there has to be a stage to play and that the world and life have to be a game. I believe that anything that has limitations is a temporary state of being.”
“Indeed, one fact that is a certainty is that we all must die. That is a universal understanding. But what happens after makes me believe that we are in some matrix or game. On a metaphysical level, the law of conservation states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Our physical matter indeed dies, but our spirit and soul cannot be diminished and has to go somewhere. Perhaps, the next level?”
Cliche: Wow, those words have deep meaning and philosophy. What do some chapters cover, and how do you show people how to glitch certain parts of life?
Mazeedi: “Good question. In the book, some chapters show you how to become famous. Other chapters show how to make a sizable income from launching a business. I prefer not to go into details, but I must say people have this misconception that you need to be lucky, have a team, or have lots of help to do great things. The funny part is you don’t even need to leave your bedroom. With the power of the Internet, everything you need is already in your hands.”
Cliche: Thank you for taking the time, Khaled.
Mazeedi: “The pleasure, I assure you, has been mine.”