From A Refugee To The First Hijab-wearing Editor At Vogue, Say Hello To Rawdah Mohamed

Rawdah Mohamed
Image Source: Anne of Carversville

Rawdah Mohamed, a 29-year-old model, who was born in Somalia, grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya till the age of nine, as that is when she migrated to Norway with her family. After moving to Europe, the Somalian model faced a lot of discrimination on the basis of her religion. She said she faced continuous bullying by wearing a headscarf.

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However, Mohamed, who is a trained behavior analyst and a mother, was made the fashion editor for VOGUE’s Scandinavian issue in the earlier part of the year 2021. And this establishment has certainly set a precedent in the fashion world.

Rawdah Mohamed a fashion editor at VOGUE
Image Source: Express Tribune

The fashion shared that her experience at the refugee camps piqued her interest in fashion. She’d always despised being told what to do, and when she experienced bullying at the camps, she was confident that she wasn’t giving up her hijab at all. Moreover, there were many other Muslim women at the camps who were creative with their headscarves, so she was inspired to style it up in trendy ways.

“In the refugee camp in Kenya, only the teenage girls would wear the hijab. I loved copying what they were wearing and how they spoke and walked. They would put accessories on their hijab and it was very stylish. I really wanted to look like them,”she said.

the somalian fashion editor at VOGUE
Image Source: Geo News

Even though Rawdah Mohamed loved playing around with different styles, yet she did not ever think of pursuing a career in as a model but she was passionate about fashion. Her friend (who was in the fashion industry), however, linked her up with her manager, while she pursued a degree in behavioral analysis and healthcare.

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“I went to a fashion show in Oslo at the end of 2018 where I met my manager. He told me about what they were doing and I went to his office for a meeting and I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a model but I wanted to work in fashion,” Mohamed said.

Mohamed shared that at the beginning of her career she was devastated to see people’s attitudes.

“There’s a lot of tokenism in fashion – you’re hired because you tick, say, the Asian box. But one of the things that made me comfortable in this interview process was they knew how I styled and what fashion meant to me and the things that I tried to express through my clothing.”

She added, “It wasn’t just like, ‘Oh yay, she’s hijabi and black!’ It was one of the first times I felt I wasn’t there just for decoration, but for what I had to say.”

After being selected for the position, the fashion editor expressed her delight saying, “Vogue Scandinavia has taken the diversity issue to the next step, meaning creating [a] work environment where people of different backgrounds are being valued.”

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