These extraordinary women have made it to Muslim Girl’s annual roundup of Muslim Women to Watch in 2023. They’re trailblazers in their respective fields and are united by the common goal of wanting to represent the Muslim woman through their craft. As Muslim women continue making giant strides in both the unconventional and mainstream arenas, we’re putting our hands together to applaud them for all their successes. Our Muslim Women to Watch list this year presents Muslim women who have dominated several industries from fashion creators, artists, travel bloggers, content creators, politicians, and musicians.
These are the Muslim women making our year:
Halima Aden is the first honoree to ever make our list twice. Aden was only 19 years old when she first made waves by representing Islam for the first time in her hometown’s pageant while donning a burkini and the hijab. Following a headline-making exit from the fashion world for the sake of her hijab, her reemergence in the industry has been nothing short of stunning. Ever since, she’s become the fashion icon that has inspired Muslim women to never be afraid of where they come from and to never compromise their religious beliefs. Being transparent with her struggles as a Somali, Muslim woman in the fashion industry, she allowed her narrative to be a source of inspiration and guidance for Muslim women around the world.
Read Halima Aden’s journey of Muslim, female representation in the fashion industry here.
Imagine fleeing your home country on a boat and then the boat’s motor failing, causing the boat to submerge in the water. It was during these testing times, that Yusra Mardini along with her sister pushed the boat to the bay, which took them three hours. For three hours, they were submerged in the water, pushing a boat that carried refugees. In the hopes of attaining freedom, Mardini represented resilience and proved that giving up is never an option.
Read about Yusra Mardini’s journey from refugee to Olympian here.
THE WOMEN OF IRAN
Since the 1960s, women have led protests in Iran. In Iran, the women’s rights movement has worked toward a single, overarching objective: the realization of fundamental human rights. Iranian women are protesting the patriarchal interpretation of Islam that they believed to be at the core of the laws and regulations that oppress and discriminate against them. Human rights are violated by the discriminatory laws and practices that the Iranian government imposes on women.
Read about the quest for freedom from the Women of Iran here.
With Instagram and TikTok platforms adored by over 400,000 followers, Batul Bazzi has made a name for herself by centering her content around aesthetic ‘Get Ready With Me (GRWM)’ videos, Outfit of the Day’s (OOTD), and promoting her own modest apparel brand Batul the Collection. However, Bazzi’s influence does not stop at lifestyle and fashion content.
Recently, she shifted the focus of her Instagram account to a platform where she can further connect with her faith by removing all music from her posts. In addition to this, Bazzi also does not shy away from embracing her Shia identity. Creators like Bazzi encourage young Muslim women that it’s never too late to connect with their faith and that they can always be a catalyst for positive change.
Nora Attal is a British-Moroccan model who was first discovered by Jamie Hawkesworth, a British fashion and documentary photographer, at her school because he was casting for a JW Anderson ad. She was only 14-years-old at the time. From there, Attal had been granted opportunities to walk the runway for multiple designer brands such as Fendi, Chanel, Valentino, Dior, Versace, and Alexander McQueen. This year, Attal has walked the runway for Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Victoria Beckham, Courreges, Paco Robanne, and more.
In January 2019, Attal was ranked as one of the top 50 models in the industry. However, before entering the modeling world, Attal had other plans to study criminology, but she set her mind to modeling and turned it into a success. Like many parents who want their children to grow up and become doctors, lawyers, or engineers, Attal’s parents had the same dream, but she proved that if young Muslim women set their minds on what they’re passionate about, they can definitely achieve it.
Munira Agile is an Indonesian lifestyle and fashion influencer who shares glimpses of her everyday life with her 318,000 followers on Instagram. Alongside being a mother, wife, and influencer, Agile is also the owner of her own modest apparel brand, Mahala, which ships worldwide. The brand sells multiple hijab styles, two-piece pantsuit sets, and even fashion chains for face masks.
Agile’s talents do not stop there: she’s also an artist who creates beautiful sketches, and for those who enjoy K-Pop, Agile has a side business, Paper Dream, where she creates custom photo cards of various K-Pop idols. While Agile’s presence on social media is certainly inspiring for young Muslim women, her drive is also inspirational for young Muslim mothers so that they, too, can follow their dreams and be successful.
Nemah Hasan, or Nemahsis, is a TikToker, fashion model, singer and songwriter. Born in Palestine and raised in Toronto, Canada, Nemahsis joined TikTok in 2020 right when the pandemic started to share a story about the discrimination she faced for being Muslim and wearing a hijab. Since then, she has gained more than 400,000 followers across her social media platforms and shows her followers her fashion and beauty style.
Aside from being a fashion and beauty blogger, Nemahsis is also an incredibly talented singer and songwriter. In 2021, she released her debut single “What If I Took It Off for You,” which speaks about her interaction with a global campaign for a multimillion-dollar makeup corporation and being offered nothing for it other than exposure for her community. Since then, she has released several other singles with stories about her struggles of being a Muslim and coming to terms with her identity and physical appearance. Featured on Muslim Girl’s Spotify global playlist takeover, Nemahsis is proud of her heritage and uses it in her art and is often seen supporting political and social movements on her social media platforms.
With over one million followers on TikTok, Frishta Ghaderi brings pure talent to the feeds of her audience with stunning makeup looks, character transformations, and reviews. Some of her iconic makeup looks have included transforming into the Grinch, Maleficent, Wednesday Adams, Princess Fiona, Chucky, and The Mask. She has worked with multiple brands such as NARS and Huda Beauty, and even got the chance to meet Selena Gomez at a Rare Beauty event last year. She also recently attended Mona Kattan’s newest Kayali fragrance launch.
On her Instagram platform, Ghaderi shares more glimpses into her traveling and fashion looks. As many creators on TikTok explain, taking the leap of faith into social media influence can be daunting, but Ghaderi proves that with consistency, hard work, and immersing yourself into doing what you love, the world will quickly grow to love and appreciate your talents.
The alluring mix of dark colors, flowers, henna, depictions of iconic Bollywood scenes, intersection of South Asian culture with Western elements, and detailed depictions of gentle love — many have been enthralled and are familiar with the recognized work of Hafsa Khan. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Khan migrated with her parents first to Detroit, Michigan, then Columbus, Ohio, and has now found a home in Queens, New York.
She has been an artist for approximately 15 years, and an activist for seven. She obtained degrees in both International Relations and the Arabic language, but as her interest in drawing and her South Asian roots grew, a new gateway opened up for the young artist. Khan continues to make her extraordinary artwork, and has also recently embarked on the blissful and joyous chapter of marriage. She is proudly the featured artist for our 2023 Muslim Women’s Day campaign artwork.
Sara El Messiry, commonly known as Felukah, is an Egyptian rapper. The 24-year-old currently resides in New York and has become a famous presence among rappers, using both the English and Arabic languages to rap. She made her music debut in 2018 with her EP “Yansoon” and uses her music as a way to release herself from the confines of reality to encompass vulnerability with her culture, identity, hopes, and dreams.
With her songs featured on Muslim Girl’s Spotify global playlist takeover and thousands of fans supporting her every move, Felukah has changed the game of Arab hip-hop. She wrote and recorded her entire album Dream 23 during the pandemic and has become a household name in the Arab hip-hop world. Felukah is a featured guest on the newest season of Muslim Girl on Snap Discover.
A Moroccan-Canadian, Pokimane, or Imane Anys, is a Twitch streamer and YouTuber. With over 6 million followers on YouTube, Pokimane is one of the most popular Twitch streamers on the platform, broadcasting her video game content on YouTube and live streams on Twitch. She is the most followed female streamer and was named a featured honoree in the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Born in Morocco, Imane move to Canada with her family when she was four years old. She began her degree in chemical engineering at McMaster University until she dropped out to pursue streaming as a full-time career.
Imane has become a common name among Twitch streamers and has even had sponsorships with big brands such as Fortnite. She’s even partnered with Twitch itself and was selected as one of their 15 ambassadors in 2018 at their TwitchCon event. She has grown an indisputable presence on YouTube and is part of OfflineTV, a YouTube channel made up of content creators.
Azeeza Khan, a Chicago native, is the brand and business owner of Azeeza, a designer fashion label launched in 2013. As a successful woman of color business owner in the highly competitive fashion industry, Khan has made a name for herself with her modern, sophisticated, and creative designs. She has worked with several iconic and high-profile women, such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Sarah Jessica Parker, and designed and styled Barbra Streisand’s tour wardrobe in 2019.
Between juggling her work life and being a mother and wife, Khan is a captivating woman. She has achieved amazing success and uses her love and passion for designer clothing to further her business. Her brand is a combination of accessibility and luxury with sizes ranging further than most regular designer brands. Her brand has been named by Forbes as a top shopping destination in Chicago and she was named by Women’s Wear Daily as an “it designer.”