After Donald Trump, a candidate whose arguably most defining moment in his campaign called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the country, became president-elect of the United States, many American Muslim women expressed a fear of wearing the hijab, thinking they may be the target of hate crimes.
My mom literally just texted me "don't wear the Hijab please" and she's the most religious person in our family....— nishaㅤ (@harryonmen) November 9, 2016
But Nura Afia, who was named CoverGirl's first Muslim beauty ambassador in November, doesn't feel afraid for her life after Trump's win.
In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, the 24-year-old beauty blogger discussed her public role during a time when Muslims are facing discrimination.
"It's a breath of fresh air for everyone," the Denver-based beauty told Cosmo of the reaction to her new role with CoverGirl. "As long as I've been alive, I don't think I've seen a hijabi in any type of commercial on U.S. television."
"A lot of people were intimidated and scared when Trump was elected and the response I saw to the campaign was very positive... everyone is happy that we're getting represented in a positive way instead of just bad all the time," she continued.
Afia is one of the faces of CoverGirl's #LashEquality mascara campaign alongside the brand's fist male ambassador, 17-year-old James Charles.
"I [grew] up being insecure about wearing the hijab, [and] I never thought I would see Muslim women represented on such a large scale," Afia told Refinery29 of her new ambassadorship. "I hope [this campaign] will show Muslim women that brands care about us as consumers and we're important, especially hijabis. [We] can be featured on TV, [we] can be featured on billboards in Times Square. [We] can be represented."
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Afia believes Muslims have to "work harder on showing a different side" of their religion.
"Any time I hear someone saying something bad about Islam, I think that you just never know what experience they went through to get to that point," she said. "In my religion, we're taught to give people 70 excuses. I think that needs to be practiced a bit more. I feel sorry for them. I also feel like more people are going out of their way to be even nicer."
Right here in Canada, women wearing hijabs received flowers as they waited at an Edmonton light-rail transit station last week. The gesture came after two Muslim women were targeted in what police said was a hate crime.
The CoverGirl ambassador said since the election, more people are smiling at her and telling her she's beautiful. This makes her not afraid of what's to come when Donald Trump becomes President of the United States come January.
"Maybe I don't know enough about what Trump plans on doing," she noted. "I also feel like it's a waiting process to see what he does. I don't feel afraid. My husband doesn't really either. We were scared of the unknown at first but we're not anymore."
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