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.


Destiny’s designers: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé don Arab gowns at charity event

Kelly Rowland wearing Yousef Al-Jasmi. (AFP)
Updated 15 October 2018
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Destiny’s designers: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé don Arab gowns at charity event

DUBAI: Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé both chose Middle East-based designers for their trip down the red carpet at a charity event last week.

The superstars attended the City of Hope Gala in Santa Monica, California, wearing floor-length gowns by designers from Kuwait and Lebanon.

For her part, Rowland chose a glittering, rose gold gown by Kuwaiti designer Yousef Al-Jasmi, with a high collar and slit at the back. She accented the figure-hugging dress with a pair of dazzling earrings and slicked-back hair.

Meanwhile, Beyoncé chose a black velvet jacket by Lebanese label Elie Saab. The belted piece featured embellishments on the shoulder and a plunging neckline and is from the label’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection.

Beyoncé paid homage to a high-profile music executive being honored at a charity event to raise money for cancer research, The Associated Press reported.

The singer’s vocals soared as she performed three ballads including her 2009 smash hit “Halo” and “Ava Maria” after saluting the character of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing CEO Jon Platt at the City of Hope gala near Los Angeles on Thursday night. She took the stage following her husband, Jay Z, who presented Platt with the Spirit of Life award during a charity event that raised more than $6 million.

“Most people lead with their ego, but you lead with your heart,” Beyoncé said Platt, who will soon be leaving his position at Warner/Chappell to take on the top role at Sony/ATV, the top publishing company in the music business.

“You have touched so many lives, mine included,” she added.

Jay Z called Platt the “Obama of the music industry.” The music executive is known for signing publishing deals with Jay Z, Usher, Kanye West and Snoop Dogg. His roster of songwriters at Warner/Chappell includes Lil Wayne, Bruno Mars and Timbaland.

Both Beyoncé and Jay Z appeared at the black-tie charity event after the couple wrapped up their On The Run II tour about a week ago.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than my brother, Jon Platt,” Jay Z told more than 1,000 attendees. “He’s known as ‘Big Jon’ and he has a beautiful soul.”

City of Hope is a treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases as the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group has raised more than $118 million in 45 years. The award is the group’s highest honor recognizing those that have helped further music, film and entertainment.

Previous Spirit of Life award recipients include Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Irving Azoff and Mo Ostin.

Music mogul Diddy, singer Usher, former NBA player Chauncey Billups and some of Platt’s family members took part in a video dedicated to the music executive. Platt’s oldest son, Jonathan Platt, was diagnosed with diabetes.