Being a Hijabi Actress
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
I’m a mother of three kids who also happens to be a revert to Islam. I have been involved in the Theater Arts since I was very little. I grew up outside of NYC and was introduced to Islam at the tail-end of my college experience and reverted after doing my own research.
It just all seemed like such a logical tradition to me - elhamdulilah.
I ended up graduating college with a degree in Theater. I left the theater world for a bit after my reversion to Islam and my marriage to my husband, imagining I was done with my journey - and then - in the throes of the ever stressful ever consuming (and blessed) experience of motherhood....combined with the misrepresentation of Muslim women I was witnessing in the media -
I realized I felt creatively stunted and sensed this calling that I should contribute my skills and voice to a cause. I suddenly was filled with so much purpose!
I brushed up my talents and returned to the acting world - in full hijab! I arranged to get headshots, brushed up my resume, auditioned for my manager (who has helped me hone my skills and book gigs since!). I also started posting little original skits and poems online (via Instagram/YouTube).
I create pieces I think are clean, beneficial, funny, thoughtful, or up-lifting. I don’t always just confine myself to acting, though. I sort of flit around in the Arts a bit... and I tend not to pin myself down with any one constricting label.
I have been a part of Creative Writing courses throughout college, publishing poems online and most recently, in a book compilation titled 'Woke and Loud'. I have always found myself, especially with heightened emotions...writing poems and lyrics to songs (I play guitar, as well) on my downtime. If I had to label myself, I guess I would call myself an Actress/Writer. The two go hand in hand! As I write any sort of script, I’m simultaneously taking notes on what acting prep would need to occur or what strong characters/voices would complete the story. Recently, I co-wrote a film script and starred in the film, titled 'Nadia' (trailer below) which is currently pending submission in an array of international and national film festivals.
Modeling I do do occasionally - with the intention of supporting small businesses and promoting other women and their companies in giving their products a means to shine - any opportunity to do that - I’m there!
I always saw Acting as a fun tool to channel my characters and voices (enjoying emulating celebrities and voices at times), but I never actually believed it would be a career for me. I wasn’t as eager, nor did I crave to move to NYC to try and make it big like some of my friends in college.
And I actually didn’t become a theater major until halfway through college! It wasn't laziness. While I love doing what I do, I wasn't who I am now, and I probably needed to find myself throughout those years of uncertainty before ultimately committing to the career aspect. I am grateful to have received education from one of the top public high schools in NY state - which had a stellar drama program, and later I joined an equally superb drama program at Binghamton University.
When it comes to starting.. I’ve started over in this career many times...(and that’s ok!). I can’t remember if there was ever a clear start to it all - from childhood on it was simply a continuous part of my life. I would attend summer acting classes, took vocal lessons privately from a trained classical vocal coach....participated in every production at school, joined a musical comedy theater troupe after college.
I definitely wouldn’t be this confident if I didn’t have my faith (which helped me shed the stage fright that had plagued me as a child - I stopped fearing others and started to balance any fear with hope in my Creator).
I also owe so much to a stable family....wonderful professors, directors, and coaches along the way that urged me to improve in the plethora of possibilities ...in this journey of telling a story using my mind, heart, and soul. When I really got back in the game in 2017 - after having my third child; I recognized I needed creative collaborators to motivate me in my journey. I was mostly only filming my own skits on YouTube and Instagram (or writing poetry on my blog at the time). I also had one small role in a PBS film due to a close connection, however -
I decided it was time to double-down and actively audition for film/commercial roles in the DC area. I arranged headshots to