Produced by filmmaker Yossera Bouchtia, who previously worked on the Sundance-winning film Skinningrove, Introducing #BossLady is a five-part series in which Muslim women on the cutting edge of fashion and design share the inspirational stories behind their businesses. I met with Yossera and had the chance to find out more about this new video series:
Q: Each episode of Introducing #BossLady has a its own success story that many viewers can relate to. In just a few minutes, we are able to see how perseverance and faith are the driving forces behind these women’s businesses. May you tell us about this video series and how it came to be?
Muslim women have a lot to offer and the sooner we realize this the sooner we will be successful…Let who you are, what you value, and your uniqueness in perspective be your guiding force. I think the public doesn’t always know what they want until they see something beyond their imagination.
A: The Introducing #BossLady video series was initially inspired by the extraordinary book Arab Women Rising written by Rahilla Zafar and Nafeesa Syeed. In the book, the authors interview several women across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. These women are characterized as fearless, innovative entrepreneurs who are changing the economic and cultural landscape of their countries.
I was so captivated by each woman’s unique story of how they handled the obstacles and challenges of creating a business in a male dominated industry that I wanted to discover the narratives behind Muslim-American female entrepreneurs. Thus, the Introducing #BossLady series was born.
Q: What were these women like in person? How has overcoming their obstacles changed their life?
A: The #BossLady series has distinct stories that explores the ‘why’ behind each lady’s business. That was what was most compelling about the different enterprises they lead. In person, their passion for what they are doing is unmistakable. They embrace their cultural roots and share this sense of pride through their entrepreneurial pursuits.
The first #BossLady video followed Khadija Mouh, a fashion designer and wedding planner from Morocco. Having been in the USA for over 20 years she’s holding on to her Moroccan roots, striving to share Moroccan culture with the American public.
Yasmine El Baggari is another Moroccan native who is passionate about hospitality. Also inspired by her upbringing, her mission is to offer the world the same hospitality she grew up with.
I was so captivated by each woman’s unique story of how they handled the obstacles and challenges of creating a business in a male-dominated industry that I wanted to discover the narratives behind Muslim-American female entrepreneurs.
Sarah Bashir’s movement to celebrate modesty in fashion has already began to open doors for many women.
Eman B Fendi is a fierce #BossLady. As a Fashion Architect, her bold unapologetic style is already making a name for herself in NYC.
Likewise, The Sultanese jewelry by Nafeesa Majid is exquisitely bold. Walking around Herald Square during our video interview as she showed bead stores she frequents, the jewelry she was wearing was intriguing many passersby.
Nafeesa Majid started her jewelry line, The Sultanese, when she and her two-year-old daughter were homeless. Listening to her journey out of that painful situation with her jewelry line now showcased at New York Fashion Week gave me goosebumps.
There is a conviction behind their work that helps them transcend divisions that sets them apart from mainstream society. What drew me to them is the fact that they’re able to carve out a space for other women like them to follow in their footsteps.
Q: What can Muslim women do to be their own #BossLady? After watching the series and becoming inspired, how would you suggest they channel their creativity into something that can be appreciated by the public?
Nafeesa Majid started her jewelry line, The Sultansee, when she and her two-year-old daughter were homeless. Listening to her journey out of that painful situation with her jewelry line now showcased at New York Fashion Week gave me goosebumps.
A: Muslim women have a lot to offer and the sooner we realize this the sooner we will be successful. The women I interviewed for the series were genuine; they realized that being their truest self is the best gift they can offer the world. So for those seeking to create their own company, just trust that your voice matters and that you have a lot to share with the world. Let who you are, what you value, and your uniqueness in perspective be your guiding force. I think the public doesn’t always know what they want until they see something beyond their imagination.
I wish you, the women you interviewed, and the countless artists around the globe seeking to beautify our world the best of luck. I look forward to seeing more Muslim women sharing their success stories and proving that they, too, can be bosses.
It’s been an honor and a pleasure! For any ladies out there who are interested in being part of our next #BossLady series feel free to email me at [email protected]
You can watch one of the Introducing #BossLady videos here.