Muse: Life lessons from Instagram sensation Amena Khan

Amena Khan is making a name for herself on Instagram. (Images supplied)
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.


Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

Updated 13 November 2018
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Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

  • Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the Michael Kors campaign
  • The special-edition Whitney bag will be unveiled on Nov. 14

DUBAI: Fashion powerhouse Michael Kors (MK) has enlisted the region’s style icons to unveil an exclusive Middle East design of a limited-edition shoulder bag.

Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the elite portrait series showcasing a special-edition of the Whitney bag, set to be unveiled at an exclusive event in Dubai on Nov. 14.

The beauty queen took to Instagram to announce the stint, where she posted a picture of herself along with other Arab fashion icons strutting the newly redesigned Whitney bag, including Dubai-based influencer Leena Al Ghouti, fashion blogger Ola Faharat, and filmmaker Lana Al Beik..

“So honored to be fronting this @michaelkors campaign for their new Whitney bag. My MK family is here in Dubai all the way from New York for the celebration this week and I couldn’t think of more powerful ladies to share this photograph with,” Kahawaty wrote.

Dubbed as the Whitney, the compact bag is one of the newest additions to the fashion label’s exclusive accessory collection. The bag is crafted in panel-quilted lambskin, accompanied by a sleek chain strap.

“We were able to incorporate a very subtle M-shaped outline, something I’ve been sketching since I was in middle school,” American designer Michael Kors himself said.

The Middle East edition will be released in a rich blue, which Kors described as “the perfect blend of sophistication and luxury for our customers” in the region.

Kors has expressed how the Middle East is an important region for his fashion label, saying “our customers in the Middle East truly love fashion and glamour, which makes it a fun and exciting place to be as a designer.”

MK, widely known for its premium leather handbags, recently bought luxury designer Versace for $2.05 billion, bolstering its position against its larger European rivals.

“With the acquisition of Versace we have created one of the world’s leading fashion and luxury groups,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors Holdings.

This came a year after it also acquired British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion.