Interview with influencer Nemah Hassan



Tell us a little about your recent trips, I know you just came back from LA, New York, and Palestine. How was it?
Palestine, I was there for a long period of time, I was taking a break from western civilization. I was with my family it was kind of like a breath of fresh air…  except minus the fresh air, because you know, gunpowder, suffocated air, tobacco pollution… all that fun stuff. But honestly on a real note, it was so great, I wish I was back again. 
LA, I went there to work on some original music, and to meet up with a few close friends. I was surrounded by good food, good people, and good vibes. Couldn’t have asked for more.
New York, I was there for a shoot, for a luxury makeup line launching this summer. This trip was more business, and less pleasure. It was really just go, go, go, you know? Long shoots, long nights, but still, good food.
Who would you say is your number one fashion inspiration, in terms of the way you dress?
I get fashion inspiration from everything. It could just be an object or a colour combination I see in an advertisement, so to kind of narrow it down to one person is kind of hard to do. It comes from everything, in every form. I could kind of just listen to a song and be like “this inspires me” even though I just hear it, I kind of visualize it into the other senses. My style is extremely versatile, which means anything can inspire it.
 What made you decide to do what you’re doing? To become an influencer?
 I just felt like everybody that was doing it, that represented hijabis, was extremely basic and like bland, and just wasn’t pushing the boundaries, I feel like there wasn’t room for hijabis in the industry because no one was breaking those boundaries. So, that’s where I come in, I took high fashion, and I put a hijab on it, and I showed people that they can be fashionable while still being modest. The main point I try to get across is that there’s no line between modesty and fashion. And that’s why I do what I do.
What’s something you feel like anyone entering the industry needs to know?
The main thing I would say is, if you want something done, do it yourself. Because you really need to understand that no one’s gonna believe in you the way that you do. If you want something you have to go get it yourself, you can’t expect it to come to you. You have to be persistent but also don’t be annoying with it. Know what you want, and go out there and get it. That’s really all there is to it.  
What’s one thing you would do differently, with everything you know now, if you were just now entering the industry?
Stop doubting myself. I doubted myself for a long period of time. I wish I could kinda kick that to the curb and just go for it. Because I took a break for a really long time, almost a year,  and I was kind of like what’s the point?  But I’m so glad I picked myself up from it because it can easily go away if you don’t have a lot to hold on to. So yeah, I wish I doubted myself a lot less. That would have made all of this a lot easier.  
 What do you want your legacy to be, or like how do you wanna be remembered
I wanna be the best at what I do. I wanna make a difference, not for hijabis or modest fashion, but for women in general. I feel like there’s still a lot that needs to be worked on and a lot to be broken. I want to be the one that does that breaking. These boundaries shouldn’t even be there in the first place but they are there and they’re challenging me so I’m gonna do whatever I can to make that difference and break those barriers.
What kind of influence has Toronto had on your work?
 I think the people are really supportive and proud of a Torontonian making it. Like think about it things like the events that I perform at. Yeah, sure I have a lot of fans or whatever, but a huge majority is all the support I get from my friends. People in Toronto are so supportive that those that were my followers, or fans, have kind of become my friends now because they’ve showed up to so many of my events and shows and supported me all the way through, so now we’re all kind of at that same level, you know?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and would like to pass on to everyone reading this? 
I don’t know the actual quote or anything but “don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl unless you know they have enough to eat” it’s like, don’t look over at someone else’s likes or comments unless you know for sure that they’re doing fine. You can’t let that shit get to you. It’ll eat you inside. Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re doing good, they’re doing good. That’s all that matters. Comparing yourself to other people is just gonna bring you down and make you feel like crap. What’s the point in that?
Sara Albach