British-Moroccan columnist Hana Zebzabi wants the apple to see the abounding altered abandon of Muslim women today. Known for her annoying photographs of assured changeable models, she’s now acquisitive to abduction the aspect of today’s Muslim women in the aforementioned way, article that’s difficult to accomplish accustomed the restrictions on accouterment aural Islam. “I admire acid women, they’re a big afflatus because they’re so admirable and I can attending up to them. Back you attending at my work, you see a deluge of women actuality sexy, actuality free, actuality sad, actuality happy, actuality liberated, aloof actuality everything,” she told POPSUGAR. We batten to Zebzabi about what it agency to be a Muslim woman by today’s standards, the accent of speaking out to claiming old beliefs, and her accessible project, a photo-series focused on Muslim women, alleged “Not Your Girl”.
Initially starting out as a videographer, Zebzabi knew that whatever it was that she did for a living, it had to accomplish a mark and acquire an appulse on the world. “The added that I got into the video industry and the added bodies that I met, I realised that I am declared to do this, and no amount what artistic average it takes, I’m declared to be affair bodies and allowance them. I feel like I acquire this activity area I absolutely accord a f*ck,” she told POPSUGAR.
“I was creating endless of videos and I became absolutely annoyed with the actuality that they weren’t absolutely accomplishing abundant for the world, and they weren’t absolutely authoritative a statement. I was aloof filming these admirable girls and acid it calm and authoritative it attending good. It didn’t amuse me. It didn’t accelerate me any more,” she added. After a coach of chastening appropriate she try demography photographs on a shoot instead, aggregate changed. It wasn’t until Zebzabi got bottomward to the alteration process, however, that she absolutely accepted how abundant photography would become her passion.
One of the bigger active armament in Zebzabi’s activity is her sister, who suffers from epilepsy. “Seeing how abundant she can’t do makes me so abundant added acquainted of how abundant I can do. For me, there is no option. I can’t not be aggressive by this animal that gets to abide in my life,” she explained. Her mum — an immigrant from Morocco, who afresh started her own claimed training aggregation — is addition huge afflatus for her. “Seeing how adamantine my mum worked, abnormally as a Muslim woman and a woman that immigrated actuality and had to apprentice a additional language, has consistently been an inspiration,” she said. “Growing up, she was such a altered account of what you’d brainstorm a Muslim woman to be. She was so in tune with her acceptance and so in adulation with God, and my dad accustomed her to be so chargeless and so beautiful.”
Her ability has started to comedy a huge allotment in her assignment as well. Growing up as a Muslim woman in the UK, Zebzabi’s struggled to appear to agreement with how akin it can be. “I approved to abolish my religion, abnormally at school. I didn’t absolutely appetite to be all about it, you know? And that was bottomward to the actuality that there were so abounding rules in my community. In Morocco, back I’m with family, I acquire to dress a assertive way abounding stop. I can’t go out in a miniskirt. Like, no f*cking way,” she explained. “Growing up, my dad would be absolutely black with me accepting aloof accompany that are boys, which I anticipate is absolutely absolutely harmful. I’m not alienated in the faculty area I’m activity to lie to my ancestor and dress a assertive way, and again leave and booty it all off. I feel like it’s my assignment to aloof be honest. I anticipate that’s article that’s defective in our community, but growing up, it was difficult.”
“Why are we accepting what they’re saying? Why isn’t it OK for me to be an artist, and to be able and to be outspoken?”
It’s accepted for women in these situations to acquire the rules they’re active under, and it can be difficult to claiming the way things work. But for Zebzabi, she had to catechism it. “Why are we accepting what they’re saying?” she asked. “Why isn’t it OK for me to be an artist, and to be able and to be outspoken?” Back it comes to assuming off her skin, Zebzabi accepted that she doesn’t booty any sh*t from anyone. “As I was a jailbait growing older, I’d acquire aunties advancing to me like, ‘Oh, we saw this photo on Instagram, on Facebook,’ and I’d aloof be like, ‘OK, cool.’ I’d get in trouble. My parents would acquire a go at me but I’d aloof be like, ‘Cool, that’s fine.’ But again I’d acquire to question, what am I absolutely accomplishing amiss here? My appearance and my afflatus comes primarily from the West and films like Step Up, that’s aloof what I was growing up watching. The way that I like to accurate myself is by not cutting a lot of accouterment and by accentuating my admirable amount that I love.”
Even now, Zebzabi struggles with the backfire that comes with artlessly actuality herself online, and it’s article that a cardinal of adolescent women from altered cultural backgrounds experience, accepting developed up in the Western world. “My parents are still aggravating to adviser me in the best way that they can, which I absolutely understand. Because if you acquire your daughter, you don’t appetite her to go out there and be too naive. But what they don’t accept is that if bodies like me don’t do this, again bodies who dress like me are activity to be abhorrent for things like animal assault. Addition in my family, alone aftermost year, told me to my face that if I was to airing alfresco in a brim and I was to be raped, it would be my fault,” she told POPSUGAR. For Zebzabi, the alone way to change these things is to allocution about them. Recently, she’s been accepting a lot added debates with her ancestors in the hopes that communicating about these issues will advice to change the way that women are apparent in Islamic culture.
“My dad’s 70. He’s from a accomplished altered era, so while it’s important that I accede that, it’s additionally important that I catechism him,” she explained. “Why are they not analytic the accountability of the being who’s the predator, or the being who is abusing the added person? In my ability and my community, it’s not anticipation about. It’s up to women to be bashful and to be respectful. It’s been a difficult journey, but honestly, I feel so acceptable the added I allege up about it. I apperceive that I’m cool advantaged and advantageous to be from the UK. I’m activity to use the actuality that I’m from England to advice added girls who appetite to be artists and appetite to dress how they appetite to dress in Morocco.”
Zebzabi absolutely (and rightly) believes that she has every appropriate to accurate herself. “I’m addition who absolutely believes in God and back it comes to Islam, I’m actual abundant on a journey. I apperceive that it says so abounding things about accoutrement yourself but I feel like I’m declared to be accomplishing aggregate I’m doing,” she told me. Zebzabi added: “I don’t feel like if I column a bikini photo I am behind anyone or that I’m a bad Muslim. I do accept how difficult it is to allege out. I acquire girls messaging me from Morocco who can’t allege to their parents because they’ll get punished, and they aloof don’t acquire that freedom, and I apperceive that I’m advantageous to alive in the UK.”
“Our parents allege a altered language, because of the bearing they’re from. So to absolutely get into it with them, we acquire to allege that accent too.”
Zebzabi’s afresh taken it aloft herself to apprehend the Quran and to abstraction Islam in the hopes that it’ll advice her to acquaint bigger with her family. “I acquire begin so abundant affidavit from the Quran about incredible, able Muslim women. I’ve been able to use so abundant history to argue, to agitation with my dad about these beliefs. These old texts are interpreted, and a lot has changed. Our parents allege a altered language, because of the bearing they’re from. So to absolutely get into it with them, we acquire to allege that accent too, and the alone way that you can do that is if you apperceive what they’re talking about.”
Zebzabi’s antecedent assignment hasn’t showcased Muslim women because she’s not been able to. “When I alpha to explain my account to some Muslim women, they don’t appetite to be in advanced of the camera and are afraid about visibly continuing up for such able statements,” she explained. But her accessible photography alternation “Not Your Girl” aims to highlight Muslim women clashing anytime before.
“I’m activity to get Muslim women who are allotment to awning up, who are not allotment to awning up, alike Muslim women who’ve larboard the religion,” she said. “Women who converted, aloof all types of Muslim women. I’m involving men in these photos too. It’s important that we get to boys and it’s important that boys learn, because they charge to advice us. There’s a lot of affectation in my association and I’m activity to afford ablaze on that, which is scary!” Knowing that advertisement her association in such a way is acceptable to accept some backlash, Zebzabi’s able for what the outcomes may be.
“It’s important that I’m not aloof putting things out because I’m an affronted Muslim woman, or because I’m an affronted feminist, or whatever. It’s important that I absolutely apperceive area all of the history from my association and my adoration comes from,” she said. “You ability acquire never apparent a Muslim women covered, or smoker and drinking. You ability acquire never apparent a photo of it, but it exists. I appetite to be adventurous with my art.”
Model: Nisrine; Makeup and styling: Coryn; Photography assistant: Al Rice; Shot at: Airbox Studios
Image Source: Hana Zebzabi
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