22 November 2014

MISS WORLD MUSLIMAH 2014 GRAN FINAL: MY EXPERIENCE (PART 1)

"The success of one woman is an inspiration to another."


I had such a wonderful experience representing my country at the Miss World Muslimah Award 2014. I know I will forever treasure the memories I have of being a part of the WMF organisation. In fact, I will still continue to be involved in the activities of WMF. I am thankful that they gave me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and that in itself has been the most meaningful aspect of my experience. There is a purpose for having the title of Miss World Muslimah. There is the glamourous side of it, but the bigger part of it is the charitable work that the organisation does all over the world. It can be overwhelming at first, but each winner and finalist have some form of advocacy or charity that they support. Unfortunately, most people don't know how hard the WMF team works to carry out their activities, they'd rather speak negatively about the foundation, but more than anything else, the WMF is a positive entity for the Hijabi Muslim woman. May Allah reward the CEO, Ms Eka Shanty for creating wonderful opportunities for the young Muslimah.

There was a lot of stress preparing for this momentous opportunity, but indeed after hardship comes ease. The event took place in two beautiful cities in Indonesia: initially Jakarta and then moving to Yogyakarta. For two unforgettable weeks the finalists were involved in enriching social activities, visiting, communities, old age homes, the orphanage, visiting palaces, temples and a breath taking lava tour. There were a lot of meetings, phone calls, interviews, media appearances, and photo shoots. Thank god, for my communication skills, they were truly an asset in these situations. The best part of my role as a finalists was my ability to directly impact the people around me. I have been given so many opportunities to speak about issues that matter to me as a individual. With these events and appearances I get to meet so many incredible people!  


My biggest challenge as a finalist was asking for support. Many of us find it so hard to ask for help and so we become self-reliant  to create success, but having support is so important and powerful. I have received an amazing amount of feedback. Interviewed by international journalists and the local media made me realize that my story and  my purpose is more meaningful than I think. To be a brand ambassador for a cause, representing your country outside in the world is a lot of hard work but not many can understand it or accomplish it. Having support makes it possible as being a part of a community allows us the luxury of relying on one another. Where I may lack, others have something to offer and when they need help I will have something to give. I believe communication skills are a huge asset for anyone in a community spotlight role. Being able to speak to those around you in a way everyone can understand and relate to is pivotal in being an ambassador of any kind with a message to send. A desire to relate to and understand the people around you is also important. As a finalist representing Trinidad and Tobago, a country of immense diversity, I need to be able to and have the desire to listen and understand my countrymen to best represent them, as well as their needs. 

My biggest fear when competing was feeling inadequate. I was with so many amazing women with astonishing accomplishments. I feared that after hearing their stories mine would be dull in comparison. I think this is a fear for everyone when entering a competition. During my time as a finalist, however, I realized that each person’s accomplishments are important. Even during competition, win or no win those accomplishments are great things. While they may not bring me a crown, or an award, they continue to fuel my ambitions and allow me to better myself as an individual.  


I believe that a diverse skill set is an asset for any finalist and generally speaking, everyone. I have proud moments academically, socially and occupationally. To choose just one is very hard because each area of my life is important in its own way and to say one is better than another is impossible. The basis of all of my accomplishments however is the support I have at home with my family. So perhaps my proudest accomplishment is having a supportive family, especially my mom. She is a strong determined woman and I think I have inherited those traits from her. She's always there to catch me when I fall. 


One of the goals of the WMF is female empowerment, in particular for Muslim women. I believe the greatest challenge faced by women today is feeling inadequacy due to gender roles. Each person has a skill set unique to their individuality. It has nothing to do with gender. Social causes that focus on equality are the most important to me because I grew up having experienced a lot of racism. Even within my own religion I have experienced racism. I believe the single most important message any titleholder can convey is one of openness and acceptance; an appreciation for the people they represent and the opinions they hold and value. 

While all of the moments leading up to the Gran Final night were important perhaps the most meaningful were the times I got to know the other finalists one on one, listening to their individual stories in our hotel rooms. These were the moments I most value and prize when I look back. I was exposed to opinions and perspectives that opened my mind to new experiences. This was such an important lesson for me and I feel it is important for the world. The lesson is that each person in every country, every culture, has a valid view of the world that should be respected and considered. 

I was fortunate to be amongst the top ten finalists. That moment made me realize one thing: that life is unpredictable...as I did not expect it. Of course there's the hope deep down inside that you advance as the night progresses, but some how it comes as a surprise when your name is called. In the final moments a wonderful young lady named Fatma from Tunisia seized the crown and the title of Miss World Muslimah 2014. As if one of us had won it ourselves, we all were happy for her achievement and wished her all the best. There were many individual prizes for those who excelled in various areas. Honestly, I am so proud of us. I think we all represented our countries well and the overall experience has molded us into better Muslimahs. The hardest part of it all was saying our goodbyes as we all became so close during our short but undeniably, unforgettable two weeks. 

This experience brightened my eye to the world that I have never seen and I am grateful for that. I met these orphan kids, who are a lot less fortunate then we are. These children treated me as if I were a superstar. They are so respectful, full of happiness and humble. I saw things I never thought I would see. Indonesian people are by far the kindest people I have ever met in all my life. Subhanallah, one thing I never forget in life is how people make me feel and I will never forget how awesome and relaxed they made me feel. I was privileged to see the things I saw and do the things I got to do. The most important part was our group of finalists became a family instead of just a group vying for a title. This entire experience reminded me of what else is out there in the world and how others live. It's something in my life that I would never take back, despite the obstacles I had to overcome to get to Indonesia. It's something that made me grow stronger as a person both spiritually and mentally. Experience is something that has the ability to reshape a person mentally and physically causing them to alter the course of their lives.

 My advice to future World Muslimah finalists is to focus on the journey and building your character.  Preparing as a finalist is a learning and growing experience and it needs to be focused on. Not only will it better prepare you as a candidate for the Miss World Muslimah Award, but it will increase your skill set for the long successful life that you are entering into. Most of all have fun! Whether you capture the title or not we are all winners and the experience is one to be enjoyed and relished upon. I am forever thankful. Cheers to grrrrreatttttttt times and great new friends!  

Special thanks to my Laision Officer/ Assistant Mar'atus Salihah for taking all my photos. Wouldn't have been able to capture this wonderful experience without your help. Love you girl! Muahhh!

Malaysian finalist, Ainur and I take a photo with Malaysian designer, who designed the dresses we wore.


Fellow finalist from Malaysia, Ainur. Her skin is everything...its just glowing!!! 

Chit chatting with fellow finalists before the show.

Assisting Tasnima, with her number.


The beautiful Bilquis Adebayo from Nigeria, and I pose for a photo before showtime.

My African sisters: In the dressing room with Aisha from Nigeria (Miss World Muslimah 2013) and Bilquis.



Dina and Aisha are all smiles ;)


Aisha and Fatma.

Dina Torkia and I pose for a photo in the dressing room (BBC in the background)

Aisha, Fatma and I.


These ladies are absolutely gorgggg!!!!



Nazreen and I, love her to death, such a sweet lady muah!


Gracing the stage...


Standing proudly, but humbled by everything and everyone.





All 17 finalists on stage.

A cross section of the finalists, soothed by beautiful Indonesian music.


:D


Indonesian artists rocking the house...


:) Wearing a beautiful dress designed by Dian Pelangi


Proud to be representing our respective nations.

Awww will miss these ladies :'(



Yours truly ;) strutting on stage.

Miss Biquis of Nigeria making her entrance.





Introducing myself and my dreams for Miss World Muslimah...in 60 seconds.



"Introducing ourselves" segment...60 seconds were given for us to do this.

The amazing hosts...they did a great job...Kudos!

The judges....inclusive of Dian Pelangi and Miss USA-Somalia 2014.

Dina Torkia, one of the top six at World Muslimah 2014, answers a question.



Meeting Dian Pelangi, one of my favourite designers :)

28 October 2014

NABALLAH CHI FOR MISS WORLD MUSLIMAH 2014


Happy Tuesday folks.

I have really exciting news for you guys!!!! 

I have been selected to be in the final round of The 4th Annual World Muslimah Awards 2014 that will be held in Jakarta & Yogyakarta, Indonesia on November 09-22, 2014.

With the theme “Reshaping The World in Harmony” WMA 2014 conveys a message of universality & the role of women in promoting peace, sisterhood gathering & community development. 

One of highlight of World Muslimah Awards program this year is The World Muslimah Forum (WMForum). It is an international platform looking at major social, culture and economic issues from Muslim woman’s perspectives. The Forum seeks to give voice to leading women to share the views & topics to bring more understanding how to redefining the key role model of women in Muslimah’s (Muslim women) perspective. 

WMForum highlight practical actions & projects that range from women’s social business entrepreneurship & youth movement through education, social culture, Islamic parenting & family affairs and better representation of Muslim women in the media.
In the conjunction of World Muslimah Award 2014, WMForum will be held for the first time on November 19th 2014 at Grand Ballroom East Parc Hotel Yogyakarta.

I am so excited. I cannot wait to be a part of this life changing experience and to share my amazing journey with you all!!!! Stay tuned..

Here are some important links you should check out:

25 Finalists World Muslimah Awards 2014 Announced.

View Profiles of the 25 Finalists.

Miss World Muslimah Award.


The winner of Special Online Category is determined by the number of voters in an online polling conducted during the auditions to the grand final. The award is given to the winner of The Most Inspiring Video  (already awarded) and The Most Favorite World Muslimah ( you have until 21st November, 2014 to vote :D).


HOW DO I CAST MY VOTE?

If you're feeling generous and would like for me to be Favourite World Muslimah you can vote for me by click on the "heart" icon under my photo HERE.

VOTE FOR ME FOR FAVOURITE MISS WORLD MUSLIMAH 2014.

26 October 2014

MY GRADUATION DAY- HIGHLIGHTS &TIPS!



I've battled through lengthy assignments, examinations, those dreaded group assignments (urgh!) and finally the best part is here: GRADUATION! One of the most important and most memorable days of my life. Saturday October 25th, 2014 marked my official graduation day from The University of the West Indies. I'd be trollIng if I didn't say that there were definitely times when I wondered if this day would ever come.  But for the most part, this past year has flown by! Alhamdulilah I've done it. 

 I woke up early and got myself ready for the big day. Reaching to the top of my wall, I pulled down my saved-for-graduation-day blue gown, still tightly wrapped in the plastic. Putting on the stiff, starchy, and perfectly blue robe...wow...I felt so proud of myself. My graduation ceremony took place at the Sports and Physical Education Centre at the U.W.I. All in all, there were hundreds of students graduating on Saturday. The best part was that the ceremony wasn't as long as I though It'd be. Sometimes it's best to experience things for yourself rather than go with people's opinions. The weather was fantastic and despite a few minor hiccups ( you know they always pop up on those big special days...lordd why???), I loved everything about the day. Soon enough, we were entering the auditorium to the harmonious music of a live band...Kudos you guys were awesome!
 Of course all the important individuals presented on stage and sooner than I thought my name was  called, I stepped up onto the stage, (not shaking the hands of the Chancellor) but a bowing with respect and YESSSS receiving my diploma!
Alhamdulilah, I was able to have my family there to celebrate with me!  They have given me so much support this past year and it is very much appreciated.This entire experience wouldn’t have been the same without them. They pushed me to do my best and I truly appreciate everything they have done for me, as well as my friends, over the past years. I especially have to thank my husband for his unwavering support of me this past year. Whether he was nursing me back to health, encouraging me to keep up with the blog (and fulfilling my goal of writing almost every.single.week), or simply going out to the restaurant to buy me OK's Watermelon juice—my favourite drink ever—on those hot Belizean days. MEIN.

 The rest of the day involved spending the day at the movies and mall and promptly falling asleep on my bed as I got home. Funnily enough that simple act could probably sum up the past year in a nutshell—thrilling, but exhausting! Lastly, I want to thank you all for reading along and supporting me over the past year.  I have loved sharing this journey with you and can’t wait to share what’s ahead!


WHAT TO WEAR??? The dilemma many face... 
Graduation is of course a wonderful celebration. Not only does it mark an entirely new chapter of life, it’s a ceremony that recognizes your hard work and achievements throughout the years of university. It’s a special occasion, so it’s a good idea to put a little extra effort into your look. There’s always pre-graduation anxieties and nerves, the thought of walking on stage in front of a crowd, you will want to look your best. I thought it'd be a great idea to offer some tips to help all of you upcoming graduates put your best foot forward in front of your professors, classmates, family and friends. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

OUTFIT:You will of course want to look cute in photos with friends on the big day, but also keep in mind that graduation is a ceremony for people’s parents, grandparents, and professors. That said, don’t reach for the trendiest, tightest dress in your closet. Instead, opt for an elegant and conservative style that will look appropriate in front of friends and family alike. As a Muslim I'm always covered up so I choose to go for a light, cool fabric under my jacket. Those robes can get a little toasty, so fabric choice has to be sensible.

SHOES: Being comfortable on graduation day is a must. You will be walking, standing, sitting, posing and more! If you don’t want to go the flats route, I suggest finding a pair of wedges that is comfortable to walk in. They will give you support and make your look more dressed-up than flats. It’s also important to remember that when you’re wearing your gown, the only thing people will see are your shoes, making them equally as important (if not more!) as your graduation dress. Find a pair that is classy, cute and comfortable. I think wedges are the best as they’re a good balance between heels and flats. They are comfier than heels but still very flattering. I wore a thick-heeled pump shoe, I'm not a fan of those anorexic heels, they have a habit of betraying us sometimes...and can be uncomfortable although they are pretty. If you like flats fine, I wouldn't do flats on graduation though, I think heels are more flattering and it is a special day after all!

JEWELRY: I wouldn't say that your jewelry has to be simple to the extreme, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Stick to one staple bauble—whether that means rocking a statement necklace or having an arm party. Then keep the rest of your jewelry simple—a ladylike ring, pearl earrings. Try to avoid anything that jingles around as you will probably be shaking hands, waving, and giving hugs all day. 

MAKEUP: Go for a natural, fresh beauty look. You want your makeup to give you a natural glow so that you will look radiant. You don't want to pile it on an then feel as though you're melting. Keep it light and choose a feminine lip color. I went for a natural pink lip. 

I hope these tips have helped to prepare you for graduation day! As long as you dress to flatter your figure and channel your true personal style, I’m sure you will look great! Toodles... xoxo.



Standing out from the crowd..... :D


Waiting for my name to be called.....so exciting!!!


Bowing to the Chancellor....


Ahhhh.....finally :D










Hijabi power!!!!





My outfit...




My pre-school teacher and I...so amazing...I couldn't believe it!






I love love love these beautiful flowers <3