Tell me about yourself.
Sumaya: My name is Sumaya and I am Somali (East African). I was raised in Canada so I don't really have a connection to back home. I am currently a university student completing my B. Ed. I am a work in progress. I don't really know how to define myself. I am still in the process of finding myself. As a Muslim woman with everything going on in the media, the biggest defining factor about me is my hijab. The world has one idea of people who wear hijabs and that is that we are oppressed and we are subservient to men and we are really closed off people. When people get to know us they realize that we are everyday people; we just look a little different. On top of that, I am a black woman. When people see my hijab, they don't think I'm African they think I'm Arab. In a sense, my blackness gets erased. Now with social media, Muslim women of color have platforms to show our diversity and our identities. I'm starting to get a sense of who I am. I used to follow what every Muslim girl was doing, but now I'm starting to see more women of color Muslims speaking up and using their voice to raise awareness. When Muslim women are showcased, they only show lighter skinned and southeast Asians, but there a lot of African Muslims as well.
What are your beauty struggles?
Sumaya: I've always found it hard to find makeup that suits my skin. I've always struggled to find foundation. I just recently started wearing foundation because in the last year more shades were available. Before that, I just wore basics because a lot of products would just come off really ashy. A lot of beauty companies are really bad at diversity and inclusion.
Also in the Muslim community, you get a side eye when you try to look nice and wear makeup. People say it's not modest especially men. They say things like, "Yeah she's covered, but why is she wearing makeup?" I struggled with that, but now people online are showing that we can be beautiful too as covered women. It's changing the way people see Muslim women. The changes are so fast and recent and now people are noticing me and Muslim women are being represented on tv shows like Quantico. People are starting to recognize us. I've always looked up to non-hijabi beauty bloggers because they have been the only ones I've been exposed to for a very long time. There are a lot of issues in the Muslim beauty community because of the way they view black women. I'm still in the process of finding myself and still trying to connect with people who are in to the same things I'm in to.
Whats the best piece of advice you have received?
Sumaya: Always stay true to yourself and hold on to your faith. Some people lose themselves and their faith when bad things happen. We have to remain sane and believe that there is good and that good will eventually prosper in the world. My mom always tells me, "Don't lose faith and be strong."
Do you struggle to find beauty products that work for you?
Sumaya: There's always that afterthought of "will this look good on my skin, is this pigmented enough, will this show up on my skin?" I'm so used to asking those questions when I'm shopping for makeup. Most nude colors aren't nude on people of color's skin. It's so ingrained in the black beauty experience to never have good options. Trial and error and reviews on Youtube have helped because now I know the brands that are not suitable for women of color. Although my hair is covered I still search for curly hair tutorials and wash and gos. As a black woman, I am different but the same as other women of color.
What is your self-care routine?
Sumaya: Just staying in my room and watching inspirational talks on Youtube with a face mask on. Logging off of social media sites. I find when a bad thing happens, it festers on social media and becomes a bigger thing with comments and reposts. Sometimes, it's good to disconnect from Snapchat and Instagram. That's how I keep my sanity by not reading too much news or taking too much in. I just focus on myself and shut everything else down. When you see other women getting all of these praises on social media, you’re like why isn't that me so sometimes you have to disconnect. My favorite song right now is Normal Girl by Sza. It speaks to me because I just turned 23 and I'm not where I want to be yet.
Keep up with Sumaya on her journey:
YouTube: Just Two Hijabi