THE TWENTY-SEVENTH INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES
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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves. Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are. Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.
Could you give us an introduction to yourself?
My name is Fathima Shazna. Call me Shazna. My parents are from Sri Lanka and I was born in Switzerland. I am 24 years old now and working in a pharmaceutical chemical company. I got married at 18 when my mum got diagnosed with breast cancer which spread to her blood, lungs, liver and backbone. When I was 8, my parents had many surgeries because of kidney failure and some other illnesses. And one surgery of my mum failed. That changed her life completely. Her backbone was so damaged that she couldn’t walk or run properly and slept on a wood board for 10 years. Unfortunately two years later she got cancer and passed away.
My mum and I had the same interests. One is colours.
I was one of the best students in the class for colouring/drawing. And I love to do makeup. That’s why I love doing eyes because I can play with so many colours and be creative.
Since my mum passed away I understood how short life is. That’s why I started practising my passion. Because my entire childhood was taking care of my parents and then a baby.
At the same time, I wanted to represent my religion and my culture. That’s why I wear a headscarf. I have a wonderful husband who supports me in this. A baby who replaces my mum’s place. Of course, the pain of not having a mum is immense. But while doing my passion I forget all the pain around me
Living in Northern Europe did you face any discrimination or were people accepting of your nationality and religion?
At schooldays, they made fun of my language. Tamil. They made fun of all Srilankans because they smell very bad like Curry. That disturbed me a lot. Every time when my mom cooked I closed all the doors, put all my jackets in the cupboard and sprayed dozen of room sprays all over.
Most of our Tamil people were an outsider at schooldays. Even me. I was too silent and never said my opinion. I changed my character to get some friends. Most of the time I was someone else and not myself, just to not lose my few friends and be an outsider again. At the same time, they made fun of my nationality. I couldn’t say proudly that I am a Sri Lankan because of getting bullied. But thank god as much as they grow up they stopped hurting me because of my nationality.
And now I can proudly say I am a Sri Lankan, the pearl of Indian Ocean.
Religion was never an issue at school days because I didn’t wear a headscarf. Wearing a headscarf in Europe country is not easy. You need so much confidence and guts to deal with negative comments. I am still not ready for that. But I love my religion and culture. That’s why I represent it on Instagram. You see me with and without a headscarf. Both are me.
Coming from a conservative community I was always been criticized by our elderly people for everything that I was doing and was under constant pressure.
Nowadays I don’t care about the unwanted people around me. I saw through my mom how short life is!! I am really happy that I am on social media where all kind of religions and nationalities people show me love and support.
How did becoming a mother change you as a person?
Patience. I have more patience than before.
I cant just think whats best for me. I always have to think what the best for us. At the beginning of being a mum (honestly said) I was a bit depressed. I was 20 years old. Waking up middle of the night and changing her nappy 4-5 times and feeding while others are sleeping, depressed me a lot. I thought my whole life will be like this forever. But exactly from these hard things I learnt to be more patient. I cant show my depression on a baby. So I have to calm down and accept that stress. 50% of me changed after becoming a mum.
I learnt how to love unconditionally without any expectation. How to be grateful to have such small things in life. I have more responsibility than before.
I became more soft-hearted but at the same time so strong to handle any situation. And I finally started to cook lol. I became matured because of a baby.
Were you always comfortable with your skin colour or did this change over time?
No. I hated my skin colour for years. And that’s because of most of the aunties around me. My mum and I were very soft-hearted people that we couldn’t talk back if someone hurts us. There was a time when everyone wanted to look fair as much as possible. They spent money on whitening creams. And I am one of them. I used many whitening creams when I was a youngster.
Nothing worked. I compared my skin colour with movie heroines because they all were fair. When I got married to a fair husband I heard here and there those aunties’ talks that my husband doesn’t deserve such a dark skin wife.’
The value of a fair person was much higher than a dark person. It hurt me a lot. I had always doubt if I am good enough for my husband. When I got a baby they started to compare her skin colour with recent newborns.
This made me mad. I started to love my skin tone because of Instagram. Yes, because of social media! Because of influencers who started to love their skin tone and share it with others. This got me inspired.
Everyone who loves their skin tone and share with the world to inspire others… BLESS THEM ALL!! I am sure in the future there will be no bullying because of skin colour and we all will have equal value.
What has been the best piece of advice given to you and why?
Don’t compare yourself with others.
I always compared myself with others since I got bullied. I never had self-confidence. If you are on social media, you constantly compare yourself with other accounts. That’s what happened to me. This made my life difficult. I was under pressure to keep my followers entertained.
But one day my husband advised me to not only watch others living their happy life and making your life unhappy. Make your life happy as well and stop comparing.
That moment made me realize the real life. I started to unfollow accounts which made me feel to compare. I started to accept myself for who I am. I started to like myself. I stopped comparing. I live my real life at the same time I share it with my social media with a limit. Life is very short then we think.
And this short life we should enjoy and be happy as much as we can. Be happy. Don’t compare because there is only one YOU and you are unique.
What are your beauty staples?
I have very thick eyebrows. I use Anastasia Beverley Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony to fill in the gaps. This is my all-time favourite brow product!!
A little goes a long way. I still use one pot almost 2 years now (every day). It’s creamy but it gives you a powder finish. And some other favourite beauty products are: Fenty beauty pro filter foundation in 310 (I am NC 42), Estee Lauder double wear foundation in Cashew, Tarte cosmetics shape tape concealer in medium, Sigma Beauty brushes are THE BEST, Beauty Blender gives you an even foundation application, Kat von D tattoo eyeliner, HudaBeauty lipliners and bronze sand highlighter
How would you describe your style?
Growing up with strict religious family, showing much skin was not allowed. But to be honest, I feel so comfortable to not show much skin. I never wear sleeveless cloth or mini dresses. Or V neck with cleavage.
I rarely show my arms, so I figured out which fabric/material is suitable for long sleeves in hot summer. I mostly wear black and grey. Since my husband and friends are pushing me to wear more colours I am trying (hard) to wear all kind of colours and patches.
I don’t have a specific style. But I love to wear loose and cosy clothes.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
My current wish is that my family should be always happy and healthy, especially my dad. As I do a full-time job it is sometimes hard to spend enough time with my family. This gives me a guilty feeling.
So I really hope to be a freelancer one day. This can be well balanced with family and work. I have so many dreams, which some of them seem not to be realistic.
But just dreaming doesn’t enough. We have to try and work hard first before giving up.
My hopes for the world are, less war and more kindness, equality and no bullying, NO RAPES!
END OF INTERVIEW
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