Eileen Lahi ( AKA Eslimah) is an Estonian Modest Fashion Blogger that reverted to Islam in 2011. She has shared her story on her youtube channel, where she has over 86K subscribers. She started her journey from the very beginning when there was no such thing as "influencer". Luckily, she was able to find herself on Instagram and connect with others like her!
She started wearing her hijab later in the year 2014 and she was happy to share her honest experience with discrimination:
"I was born and raised in Europe, so I am very well aware of how the hijab is perceived in many countries and cultures, but - for me personally - it was only after I emigrated that I started wearing the headscarf. I converted to Islam in 2011, and I think I started covering my hair around 2014. I knew it would be difficult, and I did not have the strength to commit to it when I was still living in Estonia. It is a very big step. So…now that I think of it - I feel like fought to navigate life in a way that would somehow shelter me from this. "
Later on, Eileen relocated to Qatar after she got a teaching job there, but not too late before she has given it up to work as a full-time content creator and influencer.
"I used to teach grade 1 - so the best part is all the love and cuddles you get from your students. They treat you like their mother. (after class, of course - not during, lol). I also really did see that I am also helping to shape their values - which was very rewarding. Worst : trying to get 28 hot-tempered five-year-olds to listen to you. Especially when it’s time for Science and you have to go on and on about amphibians. Lol. Did I say 28? Yes. 28. Also the 6AM wake up call is not super fantastic. School here starts 7AM."
For ten years now, she has been communicating with others globally and sharing her journey with her amazing followers on Instagram. "We’ve grown together, laughed together, and cried together!". She always finds the time to share what she loves with the community she has built.
After getting married, she was exposed to different jobs and passions that helped her grow even more. However, Eileen and her husband have recently suffered from a personal loss that reminded her of how grateful she is for all the people surrounding and supporting her. She has used the COVID-19 lockdown time to heal and find herself again. "I think I actually really needed this time off, and I feel like I really benefited from the COVID lockdown. For the past couple of months, I have been distancing myself from social media, so it is quite hard for me to say how much COVID actually played a role in the business side of it all," she said.
Eileen has always fought for what she believes in and let's not forget that she has won Qatar's Influencer of the Year 2018, which she considers one of her biggest achievements. Due to her being a successful influencer, many teenagers look up to Eileen and wish to become as successful as her, in fact, she said:
"There is definitely a space out there for everyone. But it is a very saturated market - so find what makes you unique, what are you passionate about, what do you want to share with the world - and take that step! Put yourself and your content out there. You don’t need to invest a lot into equipment these days - even your phone can take amazing photos and videos! Also, put in the work! I know everyone says this - but really, consistency is key. "
When asked about her future goals, her answer was completely relatable! "I cannot list the amount of times I’ve had concrete 5-year-plans for my future… and… you know what happened to those plans? Literally nothing went the way I expected them to!". She enjoys going with the flow and seeing where life takes her, but if there's one thing she wishes to accomplish: it is owning a business.
As usual, hate comes with any success, especially on social media. However, Eileen is lucky enough that she doesn't receive much hate, but when she does, here's how she usually deals with it:
"I usually read it to my husband. Then we discuss it. I feel better. The bitterness that stems hate - has all to do with them, and nothing with you. So I try to remember that, and try to respond with kindness if it it is something I feel that requires a response from me. Otherwise - limit their access to me and my life. Saves them and saves me! "
If you follow her, then you must already know that her favorite travel destination is THE MALDIVES! She really enjoys traveling and documenting everything with her. As a matter of fact, she has discovered a cute place in a small-town called Sintra in Portugal and decided that if she ever has a wedding or celebration, it will definitely be there!
Last but not least, I proceeded by asking Eileen some fun questions that I'm sure all of us want to know!
What is one thing nobody knows about you?
That I am actually only social, outgoing, and bubbly when I am in my comfort zone. I feel sometimes when people meet me, they expect me to be the same goofy self who I am online. Which is a valid assumption. But if you think about it - when I am recording my stories and content - I am usually either alone or with my husband… aka Comfort Zone! I don’t feel there are hundreds of thousands of people watching. It feels like I am just hanging out with my friends. But actually in reality, if you put me in the middle of people I have never met before = shy!
What is your biggest fear? (other than Phil the cricket, lol)
Losing loved ones.
Since you love cooking, what’s your biggest screw up in the kitchen?
I asked my husband this one. He says he has suffered from soggy rice for 4 years. I never understood what he is going on about. LOL. This Ramadan I nailed the perfect rice recipe and I agree. I don’t know what on earth I was doing before. Why was the rice wet?
How long do your “TAP TAP” stories usually take?
Depends! Today I did a TAP TAP for some ‘amazing’ laundry folding. It took me an hour and a half.
(Not only is she cool, but she has the coolest story highlights as well !!)
What part of your culture are you most proud of?
The Potato. And Sour Cream.
What random stranger has had the biggest impact on your life?
I think I will never know who they are. It is the loyal, beautiful, supportive, amazing women who keep up with me day to day and follow me along my journey. They know me, but I don’t know them. And I am so grateful to them. During this sensitive time in my life - I have received hundreds, maybe thousands of prayers from women all around the globe - I have never met them, I don’t know who they are - but I am certain - they have aided me in healing, in finding strength and in becoming who I am meant to become. I pray for them.
You can broadcast one sentence to every TV channel and radio in the world and have it translated to each country’s language. What sentence would you say?
Love and kindness are never wasted - they always make a difference.
That's it! The Teen Magazine had so much fun interviewing her and getting to know her a bit more! If you haven't already, go give her a follow on her Instagram account, and don't forget to subscribe to her Youtube channel.