By Lojain El Shawaf
Ascia Al Faraj is a Kuwaiti blogger, fashion designer and model. She has chosen to wear the headscarf ”Hijab” for over 11 years now, and has been representing the Muslim hijabi women fashion since then, but now a change is taking place.
Ascia uploaded a video on her vlogging channel called ”To New Beginnings” where she appears without the headscarf. She divided the nine minute-long video into three parts; anxiety, identity and community.
She initiated this part by saying, ”my anxiety has reached an all-time high where I feel this cloud of sadness that’s constantly around me.” She continued to say, ”I have come to the realization that this was because so much of my online life is spent on making everyone believe that they could live authentically and be themselves, and I no longer feel like I represented that well.” Ascia’s anxiety, as she mentioned, was because wearing the Hijab, recently, made her feel like she wasn’t portraying herself anymore and which led her to take the decision of taking off her headscarf.
Ascia talked about when she first started wearing the Hijab and the mixture of feelings it brought her. She started off by saying that she took the decision of wearing the headscarf at the age of 19 and at this time, it felt mentally and spiritually correct. However, as she grew older she didn’t feel the same anymore. Al Faraj said, ”The disconnect of my identity, how I really feel, and the identity that I continually portray online, caused me so much sadness, I just wasn’t being 100 percent honest with who I was to myself and to a degree with you guys.” She summed up by saying how she felt her identity was fading over time and she had to go on a search for her true self.
In this part Ascia doesn’t only speak for herself but she speaks for the all the Arab women including her Hijabi mates in the fashion field stating, ”After years and years of fighting for our right to be shown in media and the right for proper representation of Muslims and especially Muslim women who wear the scarf I feel like we’re finally starting to receive the media’s attention and the media representation that we deserve.” She continued to applaud her peers who represent Muslim women every day, but she can no longer be a part of this community anymore. She announced that she won’t be taking spots in campaigns or in the media wearing a headscarf anymore.
At last she mentioned how excited she is for this new image of herself saying, ”I’m really excited for this new era of myself through the internet, I’m excited for the community that I’m hoping to build off of being your authentic self despite the hardships that might come along. I’m really excited for a new beginning.”