UK blogger Amena Khan joins viral campaign celebrating strong women

Amena Khan made headlines earlier this year when she stepped down from a L’Oreal campaign due to tweets she posted in 2014. (@amenaofficial)
Updated 03 March 2018
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UK blogger Amena Khan joins viral campaign celebrating strong women

DUBAI: Hijab-wearing British fashion blogger Amena Khan is taking part in a campaign celebrating women with The Body Shop, she announced on her Instagram page on Friday.
Dubbed the #FORSTRONGWOMEN campaign, the drive encourages women to nominate a women who has “guided, empowered and inspired” them by uploading a picture and a brief description of the nominee to The Body Shop’s website. Nominations end on March 11 and the lucky winners will receive a weekend break away and beauty hampers.
The Muslim beauty blogger is taking part in the campaign and nominated make-up artist Paula Durance in a heart-warming video sponsored by The Body Shop.
Leicester-based make-up specialist Durance overcame a childhood of bullying over her hearing disability to build her own business.
In the video spotlighting Durance and her achievements, Khan explains why she is taking part in the campaign.
“This Mother’s Day, I’m working with The Body Shop to celebrate all the strong women who have inspired us.”
Of Durance, she said: “She’s positive, supportive, fierce and fabulous.”
“Having strong, supportive, authentic friends in your circle is a blessing. Today I’m celebrating strong women everywhere with @thebodyshop,” she added on her Instagram page, before encouraging other women to upload their own nominations.
Khan made headlines earlier this year when she became the first woman wearing a headscarf to feature in a major mainstream hair campaign for L’Oreal.
However, controversy ensued when just a couple of days after the announcement Khan stepped down due to anti-Israel tweets she made in 2014 during the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Taking to Instagram Jan. 21, the British beauty blogger said: “I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologize for the upset and hurt they have caused.

Making a reference to the L’Oreal campaign, she added: “I recently took part in a campaign, which excited me because it celebrated inclusivity.

“With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment it set out to deliver.”


Muse: Life lessons from Instagram sensation Amena Khan

Updated 24 September 2018
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Muse: Life lessons from Instagram sensation Amena Khan

  • Amena Khan is making a name for herself on Instagram
  • She talks candidly about her struggle to the top as a hijab-wearing influencer

DUBAI: The British blogger talks candidly about her struggle to the top as one of the first hijab-wearing influencers in the UK.

As a child, I was inspired by the arts and entertainment — it was a form of escapism for me. Somewhere around my teens, the penny dropped, and I realized there weren’t very many brown faces on TV, so it probably wouldn’t be financially smart for me to study journalism, or media or acting.

When I started out, I heard insiders in the beauty industry say there was no place for a hijabi, that it was too divisive of a symbol and that I should just give it up. But I didn’t – I’m proud of being the first woman of color in a hijab to be in mainstream beauty campaigns across television, magazines and billboards. Seeing my dream materialize was like seeing the power of passion, perseverance, struggle, creativity and positive thinking.

I think that there are a lot of misconceptions tied to the hijab as it makes you visibly Muslim, and because most of the media representation is negative, it rubs off on people.

The cause that I believe in – which is freedom of choice for everyone — benefits everyone because we are all objectified. It’s this journey that all women are on and it’s this journey that binds us, so we have to find a way to accept people for who they are instead of trying to control, manipulate and force women into being what we want them to be.

My focus has become more inclusive. I personally have become more inclined toward fostering an environment where women feel safe to express themselves however they want.

In regards to online negativity, I think dealing with it, you need a really strong support system, and really thick skin and you have to really know who you are and stick to it.

I once got a doll that looked like a voodoo doll and I don’t think it was, but I was too afraid to even touch it.

For me, simply existing within a sphere where beauty is currency as a woman of color who is identifiably Muslim is groundbreaking, it’s revolutionary. For me, to thrive in this space and make the relationships that I’ve made with big brands is testament to the fact that there is a space for us. This is not just a space where I have fun with make-up. I want my presence to stand for something.