Hear Her Roar – Influencer Doc Nafia Opens Up

Influencer Doctor Nafia speaks on becoming an influencer, how to set boundaries in South Asian communities and being a plus and proud mother and wife.

Influencer, Nafia started dancing to Bollywood tunes on Instagram, and since her fans have grown in awe and support.

From encouraging them to love their body, no matter the size and to fight for what they believe in, regardless of whether ‘society’ accepts it, Nafia has created an inclusive space for South Asian women.

We speak to Nafia about starting her Instagram journey, her family life and being a proud plus-size mother and wife.

‘How I started my Instagram’
I started my Instagram page during lockdown. I had cabin fever being at home and I decided to put my first dance post up. The support I got from that one video was so unexpected and kind.

After that I just received a crazy amount of following, with people saying it represented something more than just dance for them.

It was empowering for women to see somebody from the same South Asian, Muslim background who is proudly putting herself out there, and not thinking twice about what people would have said.

People were saying all kinds of things like my work encouraged them to stand up to their husbands who have been abusive, and it’s just crazy for me to think that, something as small as a dance video would make women to actually change something in their own lives. That’s when it became an outlet for me, and I decided to take that responsibility of representing my community.

‘How I balanced being a Doctor, Mother and Influencer’
My husband has always been supportive of myself and my work. If I want to go for my goals, he’ll happily encourage and uplift me.

For any South Asian women looking for advice in their relationship I would say be yourself from day one. Early on in our relationship, I made sure he knew who I was in terms of my expectations and goals in life. I am willing to sacrifice on certain things, but if I ever feel oppressed or disrespected, I will put my foot down. This pre-emptive talk with partners before marriage, in my experience, is extremely important for a healthy relationship.

‘How I empowered my daughter’
I am very aware of my daughters’ surroundings being a South Asian mother. Especially because one daughter is darker than the other. I made it clear that there will be no mention of colour around my daughters, not even as a joke.

I believe if they haven’t dealt with things like colourism from a younger age, they will be more defensive instead of developing insecurities in the future.  I give them affirmations every night like ‘I love your curly hair’ and ‘I love your beautiful skin’ and I know this works because their eyes light up when I do. These are ways I can enforce confidence in them and dampen any insecurities.

‘My journey to Plus and Proud’
As a child, I wasn’t really ‘big.’ When I look back at pictures, I ask myself why a small child who hardly weights that much, was told she was big and was constantly compared to sisters, cousins and family members. These comparisons were never meant to empower, but always to put others down.

I would constantly get comments like, “You shouldn’t be eating too much.”

Even on occasions I had cleaned the whole house and sat down for five minutes an Aunty would comment, “Are you being lazy again?”

When I had enough, people stopped commenting on my weight.

I started med school and truly started valuing myself more and seeing my own worth whilst being confident in my skin.

I realised people having a problem with me being fat, was their problem and not mine. I explained to those making the comments that it wasn’t nice, and they would apologise and refrain.

‘How to help South Asian women speak up’
It still surprises me that my work as an influencer is considered ‘empowering.’ I believe more South Asian women should put themselves out there and go for their dreams, to the point it’s normalised. Women can fix each other’s crowns, to uplift one another.

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