Hijabi Muslim women have been working tirelessly to tear down barriers in their communities, partaking in different events and using various techniques.
Taking a step forward along this line, a Birmingham beauty vlogger is using her hijab in cosplay to reach out to youth and educate them about her faith and religious attire.
Saima Chowdhury, who runs two YouTube channels, with each having more than 90,000 subscribers, vlogs about everything from mental health to creating iconic makeup looks.
“I started vlogging when I was in secondary school when YouTube had just started taking off,” she told Birmingham Live.
“I was just posting videos on my Facebook that only my friends could see. They really enjoyed them and suggested I give YouTube a go.
“My subscriber count built up over time but I try not to focus too much on the numbers. I do this because it’s fun, I enjoy it. Sometimes my friends join me on my channel, even though they don’t want to be YouTubers themselves. They still enjoy it.
“I brought cosplay on to my channel because I’ve always been into anime, it’s something my friends and I, both enjoy. My subscribers were all really positive about it.
“They seemed to think it was pretty cool to see a hijabi cosplayer. It can be seen a bit of a cultural barrier but the way of getting past that if by not caring about what other people think as much.”
Cosplay, or costume play, is a hobby where participants dress up as their favorite characters from movies, books, or video games.
The activity is most commonly associated with Japan but has become popular all over the world, especially at fan conventions.
Hijab cosplay, however, is a more recent phenomenon having only become popular in the last few years
Part of the appeal of cosplay, after all, is coming up with clever and functional costumes.
With this remarkable gesture, Birmingham’s Chowdhury is following in the footsteps of other Muslims who have used this technique before, showing that Hijab cosplaying is gradually growing in popularity all over the world.
For instance, Malaysian Muslim cosplayer Saakira Izumi grabbed attention in 2018 with her stylish incorporation of hijab into her cosplay outfits.