You may have heard of Dubai-based influencer @Sohamt
and may even follow her for modest fashion inspiration. But for the more than 800K people who know her face and name, they probably don’t know her story or why she is truly motivated to do and share what she does.
I met with Soha (over Zoom), who has built up an impressive body of work and who we were honored to have as the face of our latest “A Journey Through Time
” Woven Print hijab campaign, which is inspired by Islamic architecture and art. She shared that although she favors solid-colors and neutrals for her hijab style, she fell in love with the prints in this hijab collection. We designed this collection as an homage to the beauty and strength of Islamic architecture, art and Muslim women themselves.
Soha’s work also draws on beauty and elegance in all aspects of life. I asked her why it’s important to put beauty out into the world, why Muslim women must take time to nurture themselves and how the goal shouldn’t be to emulate the life of any particular influencer or person on social media, but to take inspiration from what you like and apply it to your own life.
What are your favorite hijabs to wear and why? What hijab style do you most frequently wear?
I’m known for wearing solid, dark-color hijabs and neutrals. Always solid neutral colors. That is what I like. I rarely wear prints, maybe never. So when I posted the pictures of myself [wearing the Woven Prints from the “A Journey Through Time
” collection], my DM’s were filled with, “Oooh finally! You’re wearing prints!” And, “That’s amazing, please post more, please post more colors, more prints!”
Even my sisters snatched two of them already! I tend not to wear prints; it’s just personal style – but these prints in particular, I love them. Maybe that’s because I’m in a Muslim country, the prints are very familiar, and I can relate to them.
What drew you to want to participate in this campaign with Haute Hijab?
I admire [Melanie’s] work so much, and I always love to support her. When [the team] reached out to me about these hijabs and the new drop and the story behind it all
, I loved it. [They] sent me private photos before the hijabs dropped, and I just loved [them] so much. Even though I never wear [bright] color hijabs or hijabs with prints, I truly loved the prints and the colors. I loved the ideas behind them.
What was your favorite print from this collection?
Soha is wearing her favorite hijab from the collection, Mogul Empress.
The pink one – Mogul Empress
. My colors are always pastel colors, so the pink with the light pink [flower motif] and a little beige inside – I fell in love with it.
We designed the collection to draw inspiration from Islamic art and heritage and highlight the beauty of our faith – your work also draws on beauty and elegance in all aspects of your life. Why is this important to you?
The whole idea of me coming out to the social media world and dressing up and wearing nice makeup and wearing nice clothes is to prove to the world that modesty is not an ugly thing. Modesty does not mean the opposite of beauty. In my beginnings on social media, my close friends would ask why I keep posting? Why do I keep posting photos to the world?
And I told them that you know how many people get inspired, how many people feel like they can do the same [as me], how many people send me messages saying, “Because of you, I started to wear hijab.”
This is why I continue [doing] social media. I started because I love fashion, and it inspired me. But I continued it because I found that I do inspire some people. The fact that some people tell me that they wear hijab because [how I show people how they can wear it, how they can dress modestly and feel good about themselves], that is the biggest motivation.
So beauty is important because it’s everywhere. It’s in yourself, and if you’re beautiful inside, it [shows on the outside]. If your house is filled with beauty – not beautiful stuff – but filled with love, it’s a vibe that draws people [in].
Why do you think it’s important for us, as Muslim women, to take time for ourselves, to pay attention to our hijab and how we present ourselves (for ourselves and in public)?
Finally there’s some spotlight on the women who wear hijab in the fashion [world]. It was never there before; we were always in the back. But right now we’re on the frontlines with celebrities, with A-list influencers and bloggers, and [the fashion industry is] finally treating hijab as everything else because to them, to non-Muslims, hijab right now is their biggest income.
[Designers and people who work in fashion] know right now that Muslim countries or Muslims who wear hijabs – they have money. And as they shed light on those countries, they found out that Muslim women are also interested in fashion and new trends and whatever is happening in the world. We don’t live in a bubble, and it’s about time that we all know each other. How we, as women who wear hijab, present ourselves does matter – first to ourselves, so that we feel good about ourselves and proud of ourselves. If we feel good about ourselves, that can be seen and felt wherever we go, whatever our hijab and clothing style is.
Many people, many women follow your work on Instagram and see it as aspirational. What is your advice for how we can bring some of that beauty into our own lives?
I just posted a [story card] on Instagram to ask me questions, and the amount of girls who said, “I love you and I want to be [an influencer] like you – how do I do that? Do you have advice for me?” Sometimes I do not answer because I don’t want to give the wrong answer. There’s no right answer. I don’t want to give false advice or something that may not work for them.
First of all, don’t believe anything on social media – social media is not real. If you want to embrace your beauty on social media, don’t make your brand [to impress] other people. Don’t try to make your brand on social media be about your audience. First of all, embrace yourself. Embrace your own style if you’re into fashion, embrace your own talents for yourself. Make it for you. You have to be authentic, because being authentic is the only way to reach people’s hearts.
I’m in the middle of discovering myself again. I’m changing, maybe changing my aesthetic, my style. I’m right now very confused, and this is maybe why I’m not putting 100 percent effort into the same content. But I will get there. There are times where I just need to sit with myself, and [figure] out where I want to go, who I want to be. This is part of growing.
The work you do is hard. People who follow influencers may not realize it. How do you keep your creative juices flowing?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. I have to always keep up with what’s new, what’s trending. Before I shoot anything, I go through Pinterest; I get some ideas, some inspirations, and I’m like –ok, I’m going to do this in a modest way. And then I work on that. And you have to get inspired by everyone around you. Sometimes I get inspired by Kim Kardashian – don’t ask me how! You can get inspired by someone who is far away from your style, but you can get inspired by this one thing and then make it your own.
Pinterest is my main source of inspiration and then keeping up with the trends. I love fashion week so much, and so when fashion week is on, I check out street style – New York street style or Paris fashion week street style. I get inspired a lot by it.
What do you love most about being a Muslim woman?
Everything! I don’t wear hijab because I have to. I always have a choice of taking it off, but I wear it because I love wearing it. I love being [visibly] Muslim. I love everything about it. The first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning is that Alhamdullilah, I am Muslim – I thank God for being me, for being Muslim.
I give myself five minutes of gratitude when I wake up – give yourself five minutes to think about the things that you are thankful for. When you do that, just say Alhamdullilah for this, Alhamdullilah for that … just like that.
Trust me your whole day will go differently than usual!
Check out Soha on Instagram here, read more about our “A Journey Through Time” collection here and check out the collection itself here! Do you have any of the hijabs from this gorgeous collection? Which are your favorite(s)? Share with us in the comments below!