Talking modesty & style @withloveleena
“I started wearing hijab & I wanted to continue dressing stylishly so that I could feel confident in myself"
With an impressive 767k followers on Instagram and one of the most popular modest fashion blogs on the internet www.withloveleena.com. Muslim American/Palestinian Leena Snoubar is one of the most respected and well-loved faces at the forefront of the modest fashion revolution.
Refreshingly down to earth, Leena resides in Texas with her husband Omar. Also working as a part-time labour and delivery nurse. Let's just say Leena is seriously bossing it between inspiring women around the world of all faiths and beliefs and helping to bring new life into the world!
We caught up with Leena this Ramadan to find out a little more about her incredible journey. Also about her views on modesty and what she's planning for Eid.
We'd love to know, how did you become a blogger?
I have always been into fashion! After I graduated high school, I started wearing hijab. I wanted to continue dressing stylishly so that I could feel confident in myself with my new look. At the time there were not many modest bloggers on Instagram. I started posting my daily outfits while I was in nursing school and it was so much fun! I would come home from school, do my makeup and have either my mom, sisters, or my husband take my photos in our neighbourhood or outside the front door! It was my creative outlet while I was in school. I always hoped that it would become something bigger! I was so passionate about it and I worked really hard to keep improving and making my content better and better!
You also work incredibly hard as a labour and delivery nurse, how do you balance such different roles?
As a nurse, I work 12-hour shifts, which means I can work full time with only 3 days a week! This made it much easier to have a side hustle after I started working! When I am home I am in blogger mode and when I'm at the hospital I am nurse Leena. It feels a little bit like I have a double life sometimes lol! Now that blogging has become my full-time job, balancing it all isn't always easy. I work as a nurse on the weekends and spend my weekdays shooting and editing content. Sometimes I feel like I don't have any days off! But since I enjoy blogging so much it really doesn't feel like work to me!
Have you found it challenging at times being in the public eye?
Yes! I am actually a very shy and reserved person so the hardest thing for me is opening up and showing my personality! I also have a tendency to want to please everyone, and I'm slowly learning that it's not possible and that the best thing is just to be myself!
Do you think the fashion industry is moving towards being more inclusive of women who choose to dress modestly?
I do! ASOS just created a "modest" category on their website, Macy's now carries hijab brand, H&M launched a Modesty Collection for Ramadan. I think the industry is finally realizing that we exist and there are a LOT of women who like to dress modestly across all religions!
What does modesty mean to you
Modesty to me is behaving and dressing in a humble way.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I would describe my style as feminine, minimal, elegant and sophisticated!
Talk us through your journey towards wearing hijab...
Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to wear hijab one day, but I would push the thought to the back of my mind. I always pictured myself wearing it when I was old and grey. Definitely after my wedding so that I could have photos with my hair! When I was a senior in high school, I started strengthening my personal connection to God. I had this overwhelming desire to wear hijab. I knew that God preferred modesty. I wanted to please Him in every way that I could. I was really scared because no one in my family wears hijab. My family was super supportive of my decision. I truly believe God put that desire in my heart for a reason.
What advice can you give to someone who is considering wearing hijab?
Baby steps. Set the intention to please God. Start by wearing longer sleeves, longer pants, looser clothing. Try practising wearing a headscarf to the mosque or even in a public place where no one knows you. You are never going to feel ready to start covering your hair and it will feel weird and different, but that feeling goes away with time. I was so self-conscious and always thought people were staring at me when I was a new hijabi, and now I forget that I am wearing it sometimes. It will become more natural for you with time!
Tell us something that most people won't know about Leena...
I was such a tomboy when I was younger! I loved video games, riding my bike, and finding different bugs and lizards outside! I am the complete opposite now lol!
What's next on the horizon?
For now, I am really trying to be consistent and continue to grow on YouTube and Instagram! I would absolutely LOVE the opportunity to have my own modest brand one day.
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