Hijabi of the Month January - Hanan Tehaili
Posted on Jan 03, 2014
I am a 23 year old Canadian, Lebanese born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Law and Business major, Human Resources minor. Currently I am pursuing a Graduate diploma in Conflict Resolution at Carleton University. I am a Hijab Stylist at Hijabs by Hanan. I enjoy assisting every Hijabi for any occasion, whether new to hijab, getting married, attending a party etc., feel beautiful in her hijab.
1) When did you start wearing hijab?
I wore the hijab in Canada at the age of 11. I wore it by choice because I had the right influence around me. Every Saturday at a young age, I would go to Arabic and Religion studies where I would be surrounded by many Muslims and learn the teachings of Islam. My greatest influence wearing it was one teacher who specifically favoured me and would always tell me I would look beautiful in hijab. Also, Emma Haidar, a good friend of over 10 years, who had already worn the hijab since the age of 9. I told my mom I wanted to wear the hijab and she was surprised because I was the first among my older and younger sister. She was proud but afraid I would later take it off after realizing the difficulties of wearing it in Canada. However, she encouraged me further and threw me a hijab party. Since then, it was the best decision of my life.
2) Tell us about Hijabs by Hanan and how you got started!
Hijabs by Hanan is a hijab stylist, hijab design and head piece creator. It is based out of Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario, but also ships ready-made hijabs internationally. Hijab styling has been my passion since I first started wearing hijab. I would wear sunglasses and a hat on top of my hijab everywhere I went! =P Then I discovered I can wear my hijab in different stylish ways. About 2 years ago, my sister Nora Tehaili, a makeup artist, and I started Tehaili Fashion. After my move to Ottawa, ON, I branched out as Hijabs by Hanan specializing my brand. There is a hijab style for every occasion and I love to help every girl wear it. As my motto says: “Look fab and style your hijab!”
3) What/who are some positive influences you had growing up?
Most of my positive influence growing up came from my dear parents who raised me to be who I am today. They taught me ethics and respect and these two traits will forever be engraved in me. A lot of influence comes from outside the home as well as many people were great influences to me for different reasons. In high school, being a part of the basketball team was a great positive influence. I was social, active and disciplined. I also had my first experience being spoken out against the hijab. A gym teacher remarked about hijab being a hazard playing on the team. I fought against it with support from my teammates and my coach. This taught me how to stand up for myself and prepared me for future criticism. In university, Brenda Glover, my Conflict Resolution professor and lawyer, was definitely an inspiration proving that as a woman you can conquer anything you put your mind to. Lastly, my soul mate and husband, Moe, has always been a positive influence in my life because of his sincere, genuine and caring character. His character teaches you to help others even if you think they may not deserve it. To be good means to do good, no matter what.
4) What is your go to hijabi outfit at the moment?
My go to hijabi outfit would definitely be jeans, which I wear a lot, with a cute blouse. Being stylish is my comfort. Even on casual days I add a jewelry piece to my outfit or pair of heels. It’s what makes me, me. I often choose my outfits by color depending on my mood. I portray how I feel through my fashion sense!
5) What would you say is the biggest problem facing Muslim women today?
The biggest problem facing Muslim women today would be the renowned problem women have been facing for years, for equal recognition as men. Yet, as a Muslim woman, we have an additional struggle attached. Women have always been marginalized and perceived differently in the workforce, at home and in public. Men believe women cannot be equalized with them. Thankfully this has been slowly changing in certain parts of the world. However, being a Muslim woman, it is made much more difficult to be successful, recognized, and given respect. We struggle with being discriminated against not only our gender, but our religion and physical head dress. Before we can even speak we are being judged.
6) If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with hijab what would it be?
There are many reasons why one may struggle with hijab, whether it be a personal struggle within, family and friend’s discouragement, or perception at work etc. Following my commentary on the biggest problem Muslim women face today, my advice would be to change how you present yourself. Presentation is very important because it is what people see and judge you by prior to knowing who you are. We cannot entirely inhibit judgement from occurring but give people less to judge by changing the way, we dress, walk and act, in accordance with Islamic guidelines. Show confidence and respect in your physical movements and dress modestly but in a fashionable way. Luckily there is a rising in Hijab Fashion to learn from and make it your own. Many inspiring women are showing you that you can still look beautiful with hijab. Looking presentable will give others a different outlook of you as a Muslim woman.
Hanan in the Parisian Getaway Scarf tied as a neckscarf!
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