*ALL PHOTOS ARE MAKE UP FREE
Photographer: Megan Won
Location: Washington, D.C.
Who is aida?
I’m a social entrepreneur, motivational speaker, artist and work in workforce development at a non-profit called FHI 360.
I’m a woman who refuses to be boxed and am constantly looking for ways to keep myself out of my comfort zone.
My passion in life is to find crazy passionate people pursuing their dream and helping them in achieving it by connecting them to the resources they need, challenging their strategy and expanding their own leadership abilities to succeed in this adventure of life. I especially love it when these people are women (I’m a bit biased).
How do you build self confidence?
Not comparing myself to others because there will always be someone more beautiful
Not being attached to my physical looks
Honoring my body through exercise
Celebrating myself and pampering myself any chance I get (especially with awesome vintage clothes)
What is your ethnicity and how has it affected your idea of beauty?
Being originally Palestinian and growing up in Jordan, I’ve been surrounded by various perceptions of beauty. For some beauty was something frowned upon for women – making them cover their face, wear unflattering clothes; while for others it was necessary for a woman to enter a room looking her best for most likely appearances.
The third perception of beauty in Islamic culture that I’ve seen is the celebration of beauty because it’s a reminder and symbol of Gods beauty. This kind of beauty is celebrated in women with the themes of nobility and grace.
I wasn’t always confident, I was the girl who was too shy to speak and with little self-confidence. Then I realized that life is too short to be lived that way and no one can give you confidence but yourself.
I first found my self-worth in God, knowing that He has created us all perfectly and uniquely – like no other. With that mindset I focus on my inner beauty which is reflected somehow on the outer beauty. I take care of my outer beauty because I find it to be such a blessing to be alive every single day and I want to live to the fullest in every possible way including celebrating my beauty.
The person who has influenced me most is my mother. She’s a woman who can stop you in your tracks with her natural beauty, no makeup just her natural self. I always looked up to her and at times found myself intimidated by her beauty but she taught me how my beauty is unique and how we as women are more beautiful when we celebrate our individual selves while being comfortable in our own skin.
What's a compliment that's stayed with you?
Someone said I had beautiful hands and it melted my heart because for the past three years I have hidden my hands because of my arthritis condition which causes inflammation in different places in my hands.
I just looked at the person and thanked them for helping me see beauty in my pain points and what I categorized as ugly. I haven’t looked at my hands the same since.
Always live for something greater than yourself. Why? Because life is so unpredictable and things will come and go in the blink of an eye. You could one day have good health and the next bad health..same goes with love, money, family..etc. So living for something greater than yourself gives you the strength to not give up when things get tough.
Try to live life with no attachments to things, keep your faith in life so strong because with all its ups and downs it really is a beautiful journey we just have to be thirsty enough to understand it. Invest in amazing people to share this journey with because on the days that you forget that this journey is awesome they will be there to remind you.
Lastly, go enjoy your day. I am sure it is beautiful wherever you are!