The Deletion of the Perfect Instagram Hijabi

I was invited to Columbia University in New York last week by the Muslim Protag Student Organization to speak on a panel about how body-positivity and fashion related to authenticity in today’s times. Although very nervous – as I always get with speaking engagements – I felt right at home as the mainly student filled…


Muslim Women Are Trending But Some of Us Are Still Invisible

Muslims have become a hot commodity since 9/11—for better and worse. Our rise to “fame” started off rocky when a few bad men committed heinous acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. And some good ol’ Americans tore hijabs from women’s heads, beat and spat on Muslims, vandalized mosques and left pig heads on porches—all in the name of…

MUA: Madinah Muhammad

I Was Called a Whore Because of This Photo

All day, I’ve been blocking Muslims on Instagram. Men, women and children, most of them from the Middle-East. Why? Because a modest instablog, Modestroute, that showcases Muslim women around the world, decided to repost one of my photos (above). In the photo, I am fully clothed in all black–a faux leather jacket because I’m poor,  a…


Watch as Leah V. Challenges Eurocentric Beauty Standards

I talk a lot about the representation of real bodies and faces in the media, especially in beauty advertisements. I challenge you to open a magazine or check out the Instagram feed of your favorite makeup or beauty line and tell me what you see… Thin white women and, at most, racially ambiguous models. Fat…


Mistaking a Woman’s Trauma as Bitterness

It’s been nineteen years since I witnessed the first physical altercation between a man and a woman. Mom and my brother’s dad. Fifteen years since I saw my brother choke one of Mom’s temporary husbands because of yet another domestic dispute. Five years since I, myself, was incarcerated for domestic violence because that boy I…


Why Quitting Ain’t an Option for the Muslimah Rebel

(Image/Remus Roman)  I almost allowed them to stop me. Even the most stubborn of people will crack. They will allow that seed of doubt to fester and they will stop. Quit. The ones that do quit will become bitter. Always wonder why they didn’t finish a project or travel the world or not have as…

Photo: Eric Puschak

Inclusion and the Perception of Perfection in Islam

(Photo/Eric Puschak) Recently, I’ve been politely shunned because of the kinds of videos I make and the kinds of things I say that aren’t “halal” enough for Muslim audiences. I’ve also been outright told by another Islamic organization that I “don’t meet the needs for their current student body” and was denied a speaking engagement….

Photo: Jessica Gail Photography + Location: Los Angeles, CA

Stop Calling Women Selfish For Choosing Birth Control

It really kills me how Muslims can be so judgmental. And I’m not saying that ‘other’ people aren’t. Trust me, they are, but because I’m very much so Muslim, we’re going to speak about that demographic right now. Do you know how I know that the “haram police” is so judgy? I used to be…

Photo: Velvet D'Amour (Paris, France)

When I Finally Noticed That My Uniqueness Was an Asset

I was an odd child. A child going through an identity crisis trying to see how white I could act or deciphering what percentage of black I was. In between all that, I was Muslim. During those times, who knew what that was supposed to mean… I was heavy into makeup way before the makeup boom…

Photos Courtesy of Blackbirds Photography

The Pitfalls of Being on Social Media and Other Inadequacies

It’s so hard to maintain individuality, a sense of uniqueness, in a world that’s created for individuals to follow trends. Sometimes I feel as though I’m not enough. But, why should I? With all the body-positive campaigns and fat women on runways and the first hijab supermodel gracing Fenty Beauty, I should be more than…

Photos Courtesy of Madinah Muhammad

Leah V. On the Realities of Being a Broke Artist

Too many bloggers, writers, models like to pump fake. They don’t want to tell the truth about the “process” out of fear of looking bad or not fitting in with the elites of social media. Lookie, I’ve been flown out to this fancy place. I have a fancy ass doughnut in front of a colored…


Watch This Muslim Girl Dance in Her Fierce #BodyPROJECT

In the spring, I had this wild idea to make a solo dance video, including the elements of spoken word, model walking and a bit of voguing. As usual, the creative budget was zero dollars. LOL. But, I believed that a fat girl dancing — a Muslim girl dancing in the streets of Detroit —…

Photo: Velvet D'Amour + MUA: Janet Doman

Why I Am Not Represented or Visible as a Muslim

I use this word a lot. Visibility. Then I always add “proper representation” to that. Not only do I want to be visible, but I want to be properly represented in the world I live in. “Leah V., you’re always complaining,” a troll on Instagram said underneath a photo. “So, I’m unfollowing you.” And, sweetheart,…

Photos Courtesy of Moon Reflections Photography (Detroit, MI)

Why Can’t We Be #BodyGoals?

My birthday is in t-minus 2 days. 48 hours. Leo season. I’m freaking out. I have no plans. I’m more tired than ever before. I think I may have witnessed a bag forming under my eye. Not sure. I’m eating healthier than ever before. I go to the gym. I even have one of those…