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“I Don’t Consider Myself a Hijabi,” Says Ascia Al Faraj

She is an icon of the modest fashion realm – but Ascia Al Faraj doesn’t want to be defined by what she wears. The half-Kuwaiti, half-American style influencer, who rose to fame after launching a blog in 2012 with her husband, addressed her faith and her fashion this week in an insightful new video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times on Instagram alone. In the clip, which was uploaded on Tuesday, the 28-year-old gave viewers a no-holds-barred dissection of how she views her faith and her modesty, revealing she “does not consider myself in hijab”.

“When I first start blogging, yes, I considered myself a hijabi,” said Al Faraj, adding that over time, her opinion has changed. “I do not consider myself to be a hijabi because I don’t feel that it is in line with the viewpoint that I have now approaching 30. It’s not the viewpoint that I think is representative of me as a person.” Stating that she respects women who wear the veil wholeheartedly, the blogger revealed that she believed it would be “disrespectful” to call herself a hijabi. “I consider myself in the modest fashion space,” she added. “I don’t think there’s a take it or leave it when it comes to the modest space, or when it comes to just being a woman in the 21st century. It’s unfair to get comments of ‘you either do it right or you don’t do it at all.'”

The influencer urged her fans to feel comfortable in finding their middle ground, whatever that may be, revealing her channel is a safe space for those who “don’t necessarily confirm to ideas of what a woman’s body should have on display”. “I’m tired of being told to take something off because it doesn’t agree with your version of what modesty is,” said Al Faraj. “That takes away the autonomy that I have to cover my body in whichever way I see fit. Women have fought for years and years, and we are still fighting, and will continue fight for years to come to against people telling us what we can and cannot wear, and should and should not expose. If this is what makes me comfortable, and this is what I’ve chosen to expose to the world, I think that should be OK.”

The style star, who boasts 2.3 million followers on Instagram, uploaded a 15-minute video on her YouTube channel, outlining her views and encouraging anyone who wanted to talk to message her directly.  “I am not meant to be your Muslim role model, that was not what I set out to be, ever,” Al Faraj said. “I was raised to truly not judge people based on what they choose to put on display and what they don’t. I know the kindness I show to people, I think that should be my defining factor, I don’t think it should be anything that’s on my head.”

Now Read: How Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser are Championing a Body Revolution

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