She jumps on a motorbike and races down the street. She leans against a wall, full of confidence. She spins sunlight, laughing to the camera. These are just some of the scenes in celebrity makeup artist Hala Ajam’s video, celebrating Middle Eastern women in their glory. Highlighting the freedom and independent spirit, Ajam’s work is powerful and inspiring, reminding us of joy de vivre, power and potential of women throughout the region. Here we talk with Ajam about this fantastic tribute to the Arab woman and her vision on celebrating Mother’s day.
Empowering Middle Eastern women is important to you. How are you expressing this through Mother’s Day?
This Mother’s day, we will not only be celebrating moms. We will be celebrating all women. I want to inspire women to embrace who they really are and to remind them that beauty is not only physical, but also that real beauty is from within. To deliver my message, I approached two iconic Lebanese female figures, Norma Naoum and Clemence Ashkar, who are authentic, credible, successful and inspiring.
Take us back to the video you launched a while ago?
To show the importance of women’s choices in life. We are used to seeing women that are oppressed by their father, brother and husband, bosses and coworkers. My aim was to show that we have a choice to be who we want to be … we have freedom of choice. The only word used was ‘khalass’, enough. We have had enough of being dominated by culture or by default … we were given a role that we did not choose.
Tell us more…
We launched the First Arab Women Empowerment Campaign in 2016 the hashtag #celebratingarabwomen to celebrate the individuality of each women and to respect the choice of women to decide their own future. I used social media to reach all kinds of women in a simple way. The campaign features over twenty different Arab women from different social classes, occupations, religions, and walks of life, who are all share a strong independence and freedom and it aims to shed light on the diversity and solid individuality of Arab women.
How does your position as a celebrity influence help you play a role in this issue?
Being a makeup artist and in contact with different types of women all the time made me think about doing something. I have been listening to women with different opinions about their roles in life and I found that many did not understand their rights. They think that this is the way it should be … you hear them say, “She can take a decision like a man, or is strong, like a man”. They don’t know that we all can be strong and decision makers.
Do you think things are changing?
For the past 5 years I have seen the power grow in the women I meet, there are more young women with great positions in big companies and mature women, working all over the GCC in all kind of jobs while being a mom at the same time, it’s something great. Women are helping the new generation by teaching them how to say no to abuse. How to reach their dreams. How to succeed in life. We need more NGOs to work in different societies, to reach women and educate them about their rights.
Stay tuned to Hala Ajam’s continues her work in empowering women…