I was raised Christian, I went to church, I went to Sunday School me and my 3 brothers.
I had normal family life, my parents divorced when I was 8 and I lived with my mom, that’s when things sort of started getting a bit weird… everyone in the family left Christianity, but I didn’t… I sort of wanted to keep going to church.
So I’d get my mom to drop me off at church by myself and I’d sit in the church listening, learning things and then she picked me up.
When I was 13, I started to rebel a bit and I pretty much lost my religion… I’d tell everyone I was Christian but I wasn’t Christian!
When I was almost 16, I moved out on my own because I felt like mom and her new partner had their life and I wasn’t really involved in and I felt like I didn’t belong to any family.
I started modeling when I was 16 and they keep telling me “you’re going to go to Milan, you’re going to do this…but all you have to do is wear bikini and lose 4 inches of your butts!”
At the beginning, I’d say “Yeah I can do that!”. Then when they started saying that I was sort of overweight and I needed to lose weight and to continue on as a model, I thought like something is wrong.
I remember my last interview as a model, there were about 20 other girls in there, and I just remember thinking like these girls have not eaten anything in a long time like they are really skinny… and they’ve going on about it saying “eat salads…you shouldn’t eat this, you should eat that…”
It’s like all I was thinking I just ate Dunkin donuts and now I’m here! I was like I don’t belong here, I want to go home! Obviously I didn’t get that job because they were whole lot of skinny minis around me…
So I quit modeling, I don’t think it was because of Islam, I think it was because of me as a woman knowing my limit because there was no limit with modeling.
Models will do anything like they’d take all of their clothes, they’d say anything, they’d be anyone, they’d starve themselves just to look good, just to have that one photo shoot…
I said my shahadah quietly, not like a big gathering because I thought I didn’t want a whole of strangers there for like a big thing in my life.
My parents didn’t support me being Muslim. My mom puts up with it, she tries to put me down, she tells her like, if she sees someone that we used to know that didn’t know I was Muslim, she want to tell them I’m Muslim to get a reaction out of them to laugh or for them to say something insulting.
When I was in my last year of high school I made new friends that year because I saw that my old friends like going downhill a bit. They’d been partying and not studying… so their life was leading nowhere and I didn’t really want to be part of it.
I made new friends, a few of them were Muslims and I didn’t know that. I remember asking one time when I was texting my friend and he said, “I can’t text, I’m at mosque!” I was like “what’s this magical place you can’t text in?”
I just thought it was so opposite to what you hear about Muslims on TV because I grew up in western country, in New Zealand, and I automatically had this negative view on Muslims.
I was so wrong. I thought they were all bad people, I thought they all hated everyone… but they really don’t. I liked how when Muslims talk they say “Salam brother, salam sister!” It’s really nice. It’s out of respect…
I looked more into it, I kept looking into it… I had some ups and downs, sometime you wake up and you’re like “that’s a dumb culture or dumb religion!” and then other days you wake up and you’re like “why did I think that?”
It’s just like sometimes it’s too much change. You just think this is happening too fast… But I’ve changed, I’ve accepted myself and I like this so much better than I was before.
I started wearing hijab. I always found up sort of hard and still do a bit, how I wake up in them morning I sort of have to tell myself that I’m Muslim… I don’t wake up and just know it… I have to remind myself.
If I see myself in the mirror without a hijab on, I don’t automatically think I’m Muslim… I almost have to wear this to tell myself that I’m Muslim. And I don’t know when it’s going to go away but I hope it does.
My dad hates it. Every time I see him, he always reminds me that I’m going to hell. He’s always telling me that unless I do it this way, I’m going to hell.
He’s Christian but he’s his own Christian, he’s not Baptist, he doesn’t go to church, he reads a book that tells him how to read the Bible, which I don’t think it’s a good way, because some guy wrote that book on how to read the Bible… that’s what I like about the Quran, it’s just one way. Muslims believe the same thing, they don’t interpret it differently. You read the Quran and that’s what it is.