Farah Aly, a 21-year-old college student and up and coming makeup artist based in Cairo, is truly an inspiration. Not only are her makeup skills impressive, but her social media presence is a reminder to young women everywhere to work hard, be confident, embrace their own unique features, and practice radical self-love. Check out our exclusive interview with Farah below!
Q: When did your interest in makeup begin?
A: When I was 7! I remember the exact day and situation: It was my birthday actually, and all I asked for was makeup (surprise, things haven’t changed!) But I didn’t want any makeup, I wanted the grown-up stuff, the real deal! I didn’t get a Barbie kit or some generic makeup from the toy store. My aunt got me this cute little sparkly pink bag FILLED with grown-up makeup! Everything from eyeliner to eyeshadow to lipstick! I remember this pink L’Oréal lip gloss, I loved it so much. Since that day my life hasn’t been the same!
Q: When did you start trying to establish an online presence?
A: It was in 2016, barely two years ago! I was in a very depressed state. I got rejected from a bunch of universities and I had absolutely nothing going for me, and the only thing I had was makeup. I just started experimenting and posting I guess! It was just a way to express what I was feeling and get away from the real world for a bit. I didn’t take it too seriously at first, really it was just my getaway from life. But it turned into something way more than that, and I’m super grateful for it.
Q: What were some fears you had about putting yourself out there online?
A: I was actually super self-conscious at first. I blocked everyone I know in real life from all my social accounts. I’ve always been a very shy and introverted person, and putting myself out there was a huge deal for me. I was so scared about being judged and made fun of, but I got over that real quick!
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Q: Who are some MUAs you admire and why?
A: Currently, I love Patrick Ta, Hung Vanno, Mario Dedivanovic, Hindash, and Jordan Liberty. I’m very into the “no makeup” makeup, but I also love editorial looks so much and I think they do both so beautifully! I think finding a balance between creativity and minimalism is important, but that’s just a personal preference. Everyone should embrace what they feel is right for them!
Q: Your shoots are beautiful. Can you talk a little about what goes into a shoot?
A: Thank you so much! These shoots are usually a reflection of whatever mood I’m in, or which aesthetic I’m feeling at the time. I’m not someone who likes to stay constant; I love changing it up and trying new things. My sister actually plays a big role in this, she’s only 16 but she’s my photographer! She’s extremely talented and we’re able to bounce ideas off each other with ease! Most of these shoots are actually done on our roof with very little budget. I don’t feel like you need a lot of expense to create what you love, you’ll always find a way. This shoot for example was actually just a bunch of my home decorations strategically placed in a corner to make it look like a set. Even the background is just a bed sheet.
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Q: How do you feel being a MUA here in Egypt may differ from being one in the Western world? Do you feel there are differences between the online makeup communities of each region or differences in the responses you receive?
A: I have to say I don’t feel like I’m really accepted in the Egyptian makeup community. Most of my following is from the West. I think it’s really about talent in the west, and more about connections in Egypt. But, I could be very wrong. I am trying to enter further into the local industry! I really believe that talent always comes through in the end. Also, I don’t feel like most people are willing to pay creatives in Egypt, which can be tricky. But, I definitely know I will make it one day.
Q: One thing I’ve noticed while following you on social media is that you exude a great deal of confidence. How do you think more young women can develop this same trait?
A: Hahahahahaha! Confidence is a really tricky subject. I wasn’t the most confident person until recently. I’ve always struggled with how I look/act/my weight, everything really. But recently, I’ve started putting my needs above other people’s wants, and trying to pay attention to myself rather than try to please everyone else, because it was taking a toll on my mental health. There’s also the fact that people think confident women are arrogant which really isn’t the case! I think women need to start living for themselves rather than for society. It’s a constant battle; I can’t say I’m confident every single day but I can tell you it’s a journey that’ll be worth it in the end. Self-love is the most important form of love.
Q: In what ways do you feel your work is inspiring for other young women?
A: I really want women, especially Middle Eastern women, to embrace their beauty. I don’t want to feel like we’re not represented anymore. I want to be a face for us. I want everyone to know the bumps on our noses are okay and we don’t need to contour them away, and our rounded cheeks are also okay! Contouring is great, but we need to make sure we don’t use it to give into European beauty standards. Also, if anything, I hope women can see my Twitter and understand that it’s okay to be loud and opinionated, and it’s okay to be vulnerable and real! It still might be tough for me sometimes, but we’re all here to learn and help each other out.
Q: What tips/advice do you have for others who want to make themselves known in the online makeup community?
A: Two important things to learn: be yourself, and learn how to blend!
Q: What are your goals/plans for the future?
A: I would love to start working on big shoots and on set! That’s my current goal for the upcoming few years. I want to focus on building a name for myself that focuses a lot more on my work than on my actual face and just posting selfies. I’m just building my portfolio as we speak.