Thursday, September 28, 2023

Danish-Somali Insta Star Talks on Wearing a Hijab & Repping Women of Colour

As we gear up for our talk at Social Media Week Lagos, Instagram star Amaal Said – a 20-year-old Danish-Somali talent with 14k followers – has been spied sharing insight on what it’s like to wear a hijab; a prominent feature in her popular digital feed.

In an interview with Vogue, the creative sensation – known best for her striking self-portraits – reveals;

“Wrapping my hijab is about both the mood I’m in and the look I’m going for. I always have some new obsession with a colour. …It’s also about the fabric and what style I think will suit it.


I wear my mother’s bigger scarves around my head and shoulders because that’s how Somali women usually wear them to weddings. It’s loose and they tend to have incredible detail.”

Amaal’s selfies are taken with such an elegance that they manage to amass a good 1,000+ likes, and often exude a sense of modernity alongside the tradtional feature of the Hijab, with Ms Said partial to a pillar box red lip and saying;

“I didn’t realise I was putting so much thought into the selfie until recently. I describe it as a performance in my head.

…I’ll have a scarf in mind and then I do my makeup accordingly. The head wrap and makeup come off after the selfie session is done.”


The topic of ‘religion-ready’ fashion has been under the spotlight recently, with brands like H&M seeking to reflect a more diverse community of consumers, recently featuring Moroccan-Pakistani model Mariah Idrissi wearing her hijab for their “Close the Loop” campaign, and others like DKNY choosing to create Ramadan-specifc range that cater to Middle Eastern consumers.


A portrait by Amaal Said
A portrait by Amaal Said

For this Insta-famous talent though, who also captures friends’ portraits and writes poetry, it’s not about looking stylish or being ‘on-trend’ – Amaal explaining;

“I didn’t ever think about ‘hijab fashion.’ I love colour and I also happen to wear the hijab.

I’ve worn the hijab since the age of 9. It’s all I’ve known, which isn’t to say it’s been an easy journey. There have been so many occasions when it’s been hard to keep it on.


I wear it for religious purposes, so I noticed that it became harder to wear it when my faith was becoming weaker. I wear it because I want to please God.

Most of the scarves and head wraps I wear are from my mother’s closet. She gets really excited when she sees me in one of her scarves.”

A portrait taken in Mombasa, by Amaal Said
A portrait taken in Mombasa, by Amaal Said


The star also reveals that it’s not been easy to merge her creative or personal style inclinations and her dedication to her faith, saying;

“I’m still teaching myself how to overcome restrictions and how to be as open as I want. There are, of course, things I knew I couldn’t do from a very early age, such as wearing tight clothes.

I didn’t think I was allowed any sort of style when I was younger because of these restrictions, which I don’t believe anymore.

I had to widen my understanding of beauty so that I could fit into it.”


Asides style and dishing on her favourite head piece (“from a little store in Mombasa, Kenya”), Amaal explains her photographic work, and on striving to shoot women of colour, saying;

“I’m most comfortable shooting women because I feel like I’m better able to connect. There’s also warmth.

But I also mainly photograph women of colour because I’m interested in how I can use the work I do to widen representation in any way that I can.”

A portrait by Amaal Said
A portrait by Amaal Said

Team SPICE have been obsessed for a little while already and so congratulate the talent on her Vogue feature, and wish Amaal Said further success as she continues to widen the perception of beauty online, one hijab, lipstick and perfect portrait at a time.

Image source: @Amaalsaid,

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