Hijabi of the Month November - Essra Abdel-Azim
Posted on Nov 02, 2013
Our Hijabi of the Month November was nominated by a friend who had this to say about her, "Essra and I, though both from Michigan, coincidentally met in Turkey this summer and were roommates during our internship. She is hands down the most inspiring person I have ever met. During our time there she literally affected every girl around her, motivating us all to pursue our passions, and of course, dress fabulously. She touched hearts everywhere she went and I was so blessed to get to know her and become close to her. I have no doubt that she will change the world and all those around her wherever she goes."
Essra is a senior at Michigan State University, currently pursuing a bachelors degree in psychology. She was born and raised in Michigan and her dream is to show people that hijabis are just as American and normal as blue jeans! You can follow her on her blog at valessie.weebly.com.
Essra in the Girls Just Want to Have Fun Haute Hijab
1) When did you start wearing hijab?
I started wearing hijab at the age of nine. I remember my mom calling me to come downstairs to go run errands with her. As I was walking out I saw my hijab laying on the chair. At that moment it just felt right to me, so I put the hijab on. When I got to the car, I explained to my mom that I felt the time was right and I was now a hijabi. Alhamdullah at that time I was living in Dubai, which made the adjustment of wearing the hijab easy for me since I was surrounded by many Muslim women that also wore the hijab. Making this adjustment before moving back to the United States allowed me to develop a strong character, understanding and appreciation for not only wearing the hijab but also representing Islam.
2) Tell us about your blog Valessie and how you got started!
Oh Valessie!! Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for fashion. I have always wanted to start my own fashion blog to work my way into the fashion industry. Ultimately, I want to design my own clothing line. I think its crazy how one can express themselves simply by what they wear, not only that but they are able to alter how people perceive them as well. I was super nervous to launch Valessie, my blog, since it was the first stepping stone into the fashion world. But I quickly came to realize that if you never chase your dreams, you will never catch them. Through Valessie, I am able to express my self without using words, allowing me to connect with people from all over to inspire and be inspired by them.
3) What/Who are some positive influences you had growing up?
This might sound so cliché but its true, the most positive influences I had and still have are my parents. Growing up, I saw how hard my parents worked to earn everything they have. They instilled in me the importance of maintaining your identity as a strong Muslim hijabi regardless of the surroundings I lived in. My parents have always been actively involved in the community and now alhamdullah as I have grown up I have become increasingly active in the community.
4) What is your go-to hijabi outfit of the moment?
My go-to-hijabi outfit would be a classic leather jacket paired with a high waisted skirt and a patterned chiffon hijab. I always love throwing a bold statement necklace or jewelry to make my outfit more interesting. One thing I noticed about my outfits is that I don’t like to match colors. I try my best to combine analogous colors to give a harmonious feel to my style.
5) The best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?
I’m always eager to hear what others have to say, however, I think the best advice can come from oneself. That’s why the best advice I’ve gotten was, “zip those negative thoughts and get your act together” from yours truly. It’s always good to listen to what people have to say but at the end of the day you are the only one that knows your limitations and strengths. If you’re able to pick yourself up when you are weak imagine what you can do when you’re strong. The possibilities are endless!
6) What piece of advice would you give to someone struggling with hijab?
To tell you the truth, there isn’t a specific advice. One thing that can help whether it's struggling with hijab or everyday struggles is always staying positive. Don’t let others perceptions or judgments affect you!
Would you like to nominate someone for our next Hijabi of the Month? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!