For Rida Ali, creating a strong Muslim identity in America is a passion of hers, one that she nurtures through her work as the president of New York University’s Muslim Students Association. We were thrilled she brought that passion and energy to her work with us on the Positive Threads campaignas part of the launch of our new Bamboo Woven Print hijabs and our Fine Pleat Hijab collection!
Rida is studying global studies with a concentration on Politics, Human Rights and Development with a minor in South Asian studies at NYU. She loves travelling, reading, exploring and engaging in new experiences. And when she’s not at school, you can find Rida exploring New York, making TikToks, reading poetry, or travelling to a new place. Follow Rida on all social media platforms @freespiritrida.
I spoke with Rida about how her choice to be visibly Muslim has shaped various facets of her life, how it helps create an authentic relationship between her and her Creator, and how pursuing her passions helps her feel her happiest!
Tell us about being a visible Muslim woman – is it something you think about when putting on your hijab and entering the world, what it means to be visible?
By choosing to wear a hijab, I am constantly reminded to rethink and reimagine what I am capable of. As a hijab-wearing woman, I defy and break boundaries and expectations that are set by myself and society. Being visible means challenging perceptions and pushing myself to be stronger every day. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t chosen to be a visibly Muslim woman.
Why do you choose to be “visible” (meaning identifiably) Muslim with your hijab?
In a world where there are so many misconceptions about Islam, I chose to show others that Muslims are not a monolith. Muslims are your classmates, bloggers, doctors, lawyers, changemakers and so much more. By wearing hijab, I am a “hijabi,” but I am also simply my most authentic self – Rida.
What do you love about wearing hijab? Or what is your struggle/challenge (if you have one) in wearing it?
Something I love about wearing hijab is the authenticity of it. I am unapologetically myself, despite what society pressures me or any other Muslim woman to be. This allows me to care less about validation from the world, and more about internal validation and my own relationship with my Creator. The struggle of being a Muslim woman are the constant negative perceptions that are assumed of me. But that in itself is also a blessing, because it is an opportunity for me to educate people and defy their expectations.
What do you want our Haute Hijab community and Muslim women everywhere to know about you?
Although I am a hijabi, that isn’t my whole identity. It is part of every other identity I hold. I am a student, woman, daughter, sister, community organizer and so much more. Being a hijab-wearing woman is incorporated into every one of those parts of me. It is an ever changing and growing part of myself that I learn more about every day!
Fine Pleat Hijab - Tea Rose
Our Fine Pleat Hijabs elevate your everyday style with a luxurious micropleat on sturdy crepe fabric expertly created to last. A chic gold metal plate adds an extra touch of sophistication to complement the lush drape and elegant design of this special collection. Versatile and completely opaque for easy styling, it comes in a staple black hue you’ll reach for time and time again.
Fine Pleat Hijab - Tea Rose
When are you at your happiest, content, or really feeling yourself?
I am happiest when I am doing what I am passionate about – helping people, exploring new places, having new experiences and learning.
What do you do or how do you manage when you’re feeling low or down?
I turn to Allah (S), or I take a walk to remind myself of the beauty of the world I have been gifted by Him!
When you heard about our call out for everyday women for this photoshoot, what motivated you to take part?
Haute Hijab has always been a brand by and for women, and I really think it is a great representation for us rather than brands that don’t cater to our needs.
How important is it for Muslim women to see themselves represented in these types of campaigns?
It is so incredibly important, because it reaffirms the notion that Muslim women are to be seen and heard, and not silenced by any societal limitations.
Source: Haute Hijab