Hi, selamat datang! My name is Fayra Farinna and I am twenty years old. I am from a small country in South-East Asia that I call my home, Malaysia. Selamat datang means welcome, so here I am welcoming you with open arms and a warm smile; allow me to take you into my world of beauty. I am a woman of colour. I have tanned skin and I love it! I am a woman in hijab, and underneath this scarf there is a girl who perceives the world differently. I am a woman of the orient, where Asians are not just Chinese. We are more than that, we are diverse. We’re tanned Muslim-Asians, and we’re beautiful too.
I am a woman of the orient, where Asians are not just Chinese. We are more than that, we are diverse.
Feeling pretty could be putting your make-up on, getting dressed up, or just smiling brightly. It could be wearing sweatpants and stilettos; being unique, being quirky, being vibrant, but most importantly being confident. Beauty not only enhances your appearance, it improves your self-esteem. Feeling beautiful is like a perfect cup of coffee in the morning, or the first breath you took and you feel grateful. This is what I love about beauty; there are no exact rules to it.
But feeling beautiful and actually being labeled beautiful is subjective because the world seems to have a certain view that says this is beautiful, but this isn’t. We apparently are not. People like us have been discriminated and neglected. Our skin tones have shouted the longest but still go unheard. It’s a shame when beauty is only discovered solely through one medium, and that is the one that is accepted. So, when I have the chance to speak up about beauty, I would like you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Beauty comes from various places, from all different regions. Beauty is eccentric, never the same. I believe that God created us differently because we are supposed to be uniquely beautiful. Hear us roar!
Some people call it oppression when they see us girls in hijab, but all I see is freedom; freedom to wear whatever we want, to cover our skins, to cover our hair. We do it for the sake of our God, our religion. We do it willingly, and some of us girls love to do it with a bit of a twist, a hint of fashion here and there. But at the end of the day, we are not oppressed by it. We love it. We adore this, to be able to have two different looks: one for the world to see what we want them to see and the other “for your eyes only.” You could say we are a mysterious species. Not everyone gets to see it, but that does not mean we wouldn’t appreciate being a part of something important in the eyes of the world. We would love to be acknowledged. We are women of faith that love beautiful things as much as you do!
Honestly, don’t you find it a tad bit boring? We need more multi-coloured people being seen, more variety on the runway and magazine covers. The Asian continents have such an array of Asians: Eurasians, Pan-Asians that consist of Malays, Indians, Punjabis, Chinese, Kadazans, Dayaks, Filipinos, Japanese, Turks, and so many more. We have so many exotic faces because inter-racial relationships are very common in Asia. Hence, our skin tone varies. The shape of our faces, our eyes, our noses, our traits, all differ from each other. You could say we are pretty exotic *wink wink*. Unfortunately, many magazines regarding beauty are often represented by other races, or by females without hijabs, and it is time to break this old school concept. Coming from such a diverse culture, I believe girls in hijabs should be given equal chances to portray the theme of beauty in our way. Being Asian itself is a unique thing to us too because wherever I go, people will recognize my origin.
Unfortunately, many magazines regarding beauty are often represented by other races, or by females without hijabs, and it is time to break this old school concept.
We need more hijabis, Asians, and coloured skins to have the chance to strut their way into the fashion industry. This is a modern era, it is progressive. Let’s change the world and let them see that we’re not so bad. Being beautiful is in our genes too, and I would love to see more colourful people on the runway, people of all cultures shown off to the world. I think it’s time for these combinations of qualities to be discovered by everyone.