1. Let us start with your age. How Old are you?
I am 22 years old.
2. “That_muslim bossette” is a pretty good name. How did you come with it?
It came when I was back in High School, Form 3, Third Term. At that time, Facebook was dying, and everyone was talking about Instagram. Instagram this, Instagram that. So before I went home, I sat down to pick a name so that when I went home, I would sign up, but I didn’t want to choose a common name like Zeinab because you wouldn’t attract anybody. So that’s when that-Muslim-bossette came. A bossette is a boss lady: I stand for myself, independent, and it covers me being a Muslim modesty.
3. Share with us about your fashion journey. For example, are you a model, Influencer, or stylist? What exactly do you do?
I am a student; I can say that I am a student, so I do fashion because I love style. The technique that I use is not to show people that I am a stylist or a model. I show people that I love fashion and I can dress like anybody but maintaining modesty. It started back, long time ago, probably, I’d say, when I finished High School. You know, when you are in High School, you’re primarily in boarding, at school, so you don’t get the exposure to see everything. Once I finished Hig School, that’s when I started getting exposure. I’d see how modest girls dressed back in social media. I started getting the interest: If they can, lemme also explore and see. So I started exploring one by one. Because I am from a Muslim Somali family, my mom back then was a bit strict such that I wouldn’t leave the house without fully covering myself with the abaya and everything.
My hideout zone, where my imagination would pop up well, was when I would sit on my bed and watch Pinterest. I’d see how the Influencers, the non-Muslim influencers, how they’d pieced their stuff out and style without showing their body, and I’d be like, “this is so amazing!”. So in my head, I’m like, “I can also wear this” because everything is covered. They don’t have the Hijab, so if I add on the Hijab and pair it with something, it would be modesty. So that is where my creativity started coming up, yeah, so it was mostly watching Pinterest and some K-drama movies.
K-Drama movies have Fashion Inspiration?
Vey, remarkably, they are the best. They have the best fashion sense and also China, so basically the Asians: The Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. When you get time, go to Pinterest and look at Korean style, you’d be amazed.
4. How would you describe your personal style?
I don’t know (giggles) because, as I said, I’m still exploring, and I wouldn’t say I’m more of this or that. I want to explore all the aesthetics possible, but so far, I have seen that I am more of streetwear and a Vintage type of person (the old School vintage vibes). I feel confident and creative while putting things together.
I have gone through your profile, and I have seen that you are incorporating dull colors?
Yeah (laughs), I am more of modern vintage. I don’t want to do things the way people have done back then; I want to come up with something unique when people see they’d think, yeah, that’s that_muslim_bossette.
How does your background Culture and Religion Influenced It?
I can say that my background and religion have influenced my style a lot. It has helped me and guide me always to remember where I come from and accept the way I am because I have seen most Muslim, so-called models or Influencers get into this. Along the way, they get lost, and then you see some of them start removing the Hijab and doing other stuff. But for me, I first accepted that my Hijab is a part of me, so if I want to do this and go public, I have to ensure that my Hijab stays. So I’d usually sit down, style, and ensure that what I’m styling goes by me and my Hijab has to stay, and whatever I am piecing up keeps me covered and maintain modesty.
5. Would you say that you pick your daily outfits based on the mood you are in?
Yes, but not when I am going to school. I school in Rongai and live along Ngong’ road. I can’t start piecing out. I take whatever is in the wardrobe and go. It usually doesn’t matter, so I piece whatever I see in front of me and rush out. Whoever has seen me in school and functions, hang-outs, and Instagram has seen like two totally different people.
Do you have different outfits for different Occasions? Yes, I have. I keep it lowkey for school and wear something casual because I feel like I just go and come back home, so I don’t feel the need to piecing out. I feel like I’d be wasting outfits.
6. Aside from fashion, what else are you passionate about?
Kids, I love kids. I am passionate about kids (giggles), and I love spending time with kids. Most significantly, from the age of birth to 6yrs. What I like most about them is that they are innocent and super creative; they have ideas. Once you sit with kids, you will see how their ideas come out, and you will be super amazed. That is one reason I am doing the course that I am doing right now: Early Childhood Education Development, an Arts Programme.
7. How do you juggle school, social life, and social media?
It’s not easy. I usually stick to content creation because modeling depends on whether I would have to do a collaboration, and I would have to avail myself. In content creation, I choose one specific day that I do 3 or 5 videos, and then from there, I know that I am set. Even if I am caught up with exams or when I don’t feel like doing anything, I know that I have backup videos that I can just post. I am one person when the pressure is too much, I sit back, and I will be like, “I am not ready for that audience.”
8. How do you manage social media reactions and the pressure that comes with them?
I’d be honest. I usually don’t feel that media reactions easily pressure me. It is because, at the end of the day, it is my life, and I get to choose what I want to do. In life, you get people who love what you are doing in life and some who don’t. In my case, most people have been super encouraging. They tell me what you are doing is nice because you being a Hijabi and still you can style is amazing… Most of the negative comments come from my Muslim people who say that “Oh, you’re not a Muslim because of what you are doing ….”, “Don’t call yourself a Muslim.” but at the end of the day, you who you are, and you understand what you are doing. You don’t post just anything on Instagram, so you know yourself. Some even come to my DM and tell me how I do not fit into my religion. But what I know is whatever I do is between my God and me.
Because you are a lady and you do fashion-related stuff, you unintentionally attract people for hookups and dates. Does that happen to you?
It does happen most of the time. People telling me “Shout me out,” “hook me up to modeling,” you know those kinds of stuff, and when I tell people that I am also in the journey of becoming something. If they’d want to grow and become something, they should start with themselves like having your brand, brand yourself, be your own reason to do something.
9. Do you experience creativity blocks? If you do, how do you deal with them?
Yes, I do, most of the time. To deal with them, I watch movies. I’m more of a K-Drama person. I love how each character is portrayed with how they dress, like how the mean girls dress differently and how the bad guys do so. I also get ideas on the different types of looks I can do: I can do a nerd look, soft girl look. From there, I go to Pinterest and look at pose ideas and make them visual.
10. I’ve gone through your feed, and I must say, you have quite an exquisite taste of fashion.
(a) Where do you buy your clothes?
Most of my clothes are thrift clothes. I’m mostly online at thrift shops and toy markets because I live near those places. I don’t have a specific plug. I usually just walk and when I see something nice or unique, I take it. However, I do not occasionally go physically. I’m more of an online shopping person. One of the places I have shopped is get_thrifty2.
(b) How often do you go clothes shopping?
Before the recent Covid-19 lockdown, when the campus was still open, I would shop twice or thrice a week. I got a place in town called Budget Wear. They also sell nice stuff at Ksh. 500 and below. Once one of my friends had plugged me there, I got super obsessed with the place. I’d connect to town from class for thrifting—I thrift a lot. Even my mom is like, “that is too much, too much what you are doing.” I’d say I’m super obsessed with clothes; there are some clothes that I have never worn. In my mind, I tell myself that I will get one day, style it and wear it.
11.What are some of the trends you’ve embraced?
I have been obsessed with leather jackets. I find them so easy to style. Also cropped cardigan, multicolored jeans. Mostly I try what I see trending on TikTok.
12.What challenges do you face as a Muslim fashion enthusiast?
I have answered this before, but to add to what I have said, I feel like it is hard to get a space in Kenya to do Content creation. One thing that hinders us is the venue. It is super expensive to find a venue to shoot content. I remember the last shoot that I did in town, we started shooting it, and the police came and started taking the photographers and asking for money. It was just a messed-up thing, and it was on a Sunday.
13. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In a better position than I am right now, I’d say that. In terms of my fashion sense, I see myself all grown and developed. I see myself out of Kenya. We have seen that most of the content creators who have made it big in Kenya had first to go out.
14. What’s one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your fashion journey?
I wish someone told me not to rush or overwork, and it’s a long journey; it needs patience.
15. What would advice to your younger self entail?
If things are meant for me, they are just meant for me, and they will just definitely come even if it takes 10years. Back then, I would strain myself. If I see something, I will push myself, and I’d drain myself.