Arfa Shahid, a TV journalist by profession, a fashion blogger and a plus size modest hijabi model just got featured on BBC Minute and we are ecstatic! Arfa started blogging about 10 years ago and has zeroed on modest blogging in the past few years. We caught up with her to talk to us about her journey.
Watch her minute of glory!
Always been a bigger girl and expressive of her opinions, she often blogged on different mediums, “I would blog about everything and then people started appreciating my confidence. That’s when my niche became plus size beauty and fashion, encouraging women to feel beautiful and confident at any size.”
Plus size modest fashion became her main focus, “People have always been very supportive of my blogging, every time I talk about issues related to plus size women people ask me for self-esteem advice. I think they like seeing someone who isn’t perfect, a model who doesn’t have the “model figure” and is a real person just like them. People can really connect with me,” says Pakistan’s pioneer plus-size hijabi modest model while exclusively talking to Parhlo Pink.
Arfa was bullied for her weight when she was as young as 4 years old, “I asked for low-fat milk when we went to get candies in Pakistan, I was so concerned about my weight even at that point. I think after being bullied for so long at 16 I realized I have to do things my way. Because if I don’t do it for myself no one will do it for me; when you feel empowered yourself you don’t want others to go through the same,” she explains.
She hit the gym when she was 10 years old, “It wasn’t-effective because my heart wasn’t into it, I was doing it to please other people. But during university in my 3rd year, I started eating healthy for myself, to go down the right path and at that point, I lost about 15 kgs. This happened because I was doing it to please myself and that helped me more”.
الحب • This #internationalwomensday, I want to express my love and gratitude to every single one of you. With all the shoutouts being passed around, I can’t simply choose a handful of women who inspire me because every single one of YOU inspires me in one way or the other. Some of you with your kindness, others with their courage, selfless love, beauty, creativity?✨ • I would also like to mention my girls over at @meplussizefashionbloggers who i met this year and who have become my family (@nounzie1711). This collective is proof that we are stronger when we are united?? • I know ya’ll might think I don’t notice, but I notice all the love, all the comments, all the words of support you guys give me every single moment and I can’t thank you enough for it. You guys are the real MVP. Thank you for being the best vibe tribe there is around 🙂 ????? • ? @hisalman @raheelsahotraphotographer . . . . . . . . #hijabiwomen #pakistani #modestfashionpakistan #internationalwomensday2018 #pakistanifashion #divamagazine #pakistanistreetstyle #streetstylepakistan #dubaifashionbloggers #fashionbloggersdubai #igerspakistan #dubaigram #igersdubai #dubaifashionbloggers #plussizehijabi #hijabifashion #hijabiblogger #modestfashionblogger #plussizefashionista #womensrights #streetstyledubai #bastakiya #olddubai #hijabae #muslimwomen #goodvibesonly #empoweredwomen #goodvibetribe #confidentwomen #journalist #dubaiinfluencers #dubaistylebloggers #dubaifashionista
One of the many reasons Arfa really wanted to raise awareness about plus size women is the fact that the fashion industry ignores them due to which there is a lack of plus size clothing stores in the region, “Be it desi or western clothing lines. There are so many plus size desi women but the mainstream stores do not cater to them, these are older and younger women of all shapes and sizes.”
Born and raised in the UAE, Arfa says she has noticed a wave of change in the Middle East but Pakistan is still the same when it comes to inclusion of plus size women, “If you want to be a fashionista you have to be a certain size. (Your size) is kind of looked down upon, they think if you are overweight you have to hide in clothes and feel shameful about it.”
Stepping out the pages of a Pakistani fashion spread with my girls @hebaqr @famyglamy @makeuppbyalyy ????????? This is what Pakistani fashion magazines need to look more like, tbh #internationalwomensday2018 ____________________________________________________________ In this hyperliberalized environment that the fashion industry and media thrives on, I believe our own magazines and media agencies in Pakistan have overlooked representation of hijabi women ????? ____________________________________________________________ This is why the #modestfashionrevolution campaign initiated by @modestseamstress at @modestfashionpakistan is so important – so that ALL Pakistani women can feel included and recognize themselves in the images that are presented to them as “Pakistani” in the media and fashion industries ????✨??? #womensday #auratmarch #womeninpower #womenempowerment #modestfashionrevolution ____________________________________________________________ ?: @raheelsahotraphotographer @hisalman ____________________________________________________________ Check out the photoshoots of these other Pakistani hijabis who were part of this campaign: @Fizzah.rajput @Haadiya_n @trend.hijab_ @faiza.logs @mahnoor_tahsin @joikhtiar @legit_hijabi_ @mahnoorslounge @dotpakistani @hayanaama @faizamuradphotography @hisalman @raheelsahotraphotographer . . . . . . . . . . . . . #hijabiwomen #modestfashionpakistan #pakistanifashion #divamagazine #pakistanistreetstyle #streetstylepakistan #dubaifashionbloggers #fashionbloggersdubai #igerspakistan #dubaigram #igersdubai #dubaifashionbloggers #plussizehijabi #hijabifashion #hijabiblogger #representation #pakistanimodels #streetstyledubai #bastakiya #olddubai #muslimwomen #divamagazine #sundaytimespakistan #hellopakistan #faisalqureshi #sanamjung
Though the mindset of the society may be changing, it hasn’t yet manifested into the mainstream fashion industry for which Arfa is struggling, “We see curvy models around the world but not yet in Pakistan. The current culture isn’t very accepting but secretly I think they want to see that change (in the fashion industry) that is for the layman”.
As a blogger, her aim is to get women to love themselves and change for the better, “I want all the women to love themselves the way they are, only to change because she wants to do it for herself. I want to empower women so that they appreciate themselves and give oneself the same respect which they give to others.”
Happy Republic Day to all the Pakistanis around the world ??✌?? The only way we as a nation can move forward is if we as individuals contribute, in whatever way we can to the best of our abilities, towards our people and our communities. • Let’s resolve to lead by example in our communities, to work hard and be trailblazers in our fields. But most of all, let’s encourage our fellow Pakistanis and SUPPORT THEM towards achieving success and their goals collectively. Are you with me? ?????? #bleedgreen #pakistanzindabad #23rdmarch . . . . . . . . . . #pakistani #pakistanipride #pakistan #pakgram #igerspakistan #dubaigram #igersdubai #overseaspakistanis #pakistanibloggers #pakistanifashionblogger #dubaiinfluencers #journolife #pakistaniyouth #breakstereotypes #trailblazers #hijabinspiration #quaideazam #nayapakistan #republicday #mydubai
Her message to everyone is simple, “First and foremost, love yourself!” She says that it is definitely a process and a long journey but “embrace yourself with all your flaws and be confident about your personality because that really determines who you are as a person. If you aren’t a happy person inside it will harm you. If you aren’t happy about yourself the world will use it against you.”