SANTA ANA BOTANICAL GARDENS
"This year is about being fearless in your pursuit of happiness because life is too short to be stressed about things that you have the ability to control."
How did we meet?
We met at UC Riverside. We both worked as “interns” (LOL did that really count as an internship though?) but we were on a team together! Anuja was the Social Media and Marketing Intern, and I was in events.
We took a stroll through the Santa Ana Gardens today. What did you think of it?
It was beautiful! It was a bit dry due to the season we are in, but it made for the perfect Fall/Winter shoot, even though California weather didn't allow it to feel that way. I loved being able to create in the midst of nature, it was even more amazing to see how a photo brought so much life to a dried up tree shrub.
First things first, congrats on the engagement! Walk us through your love story - How did you know he was the right one?
Thank you! Well to cut a long story short, Bryan and I, also met at UC Riverside. He was on the track team and I was the track manager. I would say I wanted to be track manager for the priority registration, however Bryan might have been a very convincing incentive for me as well. The first time we met, we literally caught each others’ eyes, we were about 35 ft away from each other, and we couldn't stop glancing at one another. As cheesy as it sounds it was truly love at first sight.
Did you expect being engaged so young? Has that changed your trajectory in life?
I did not expect to be engaged at 21 years old, but at the same time it has made me realized how much of an impact society has on us. Everyone is different, and is raised differently, and experiences life differently. So for everyone, every milestone will occur differently, at different times, and no one but yourself will know when the time is right. When you are engaged to the right person not much in your life will change. Bryan and I share the same ambitions and goals for each other, he knows exactly what I want in life, and what I want to achieve as well as vice versa; so we live our lives making sure we support one another in those things. Therefore, it hasn't changed my trajectory in life dramatically, besides sharing the spaces and getting used to farting in front of each other, I feel like having a partner in this journey of life has made me a different person a better way.
"Everyone is different, and is raised differently, and experiences life differently. So for everyone, every milestone will occur differently, at different times, and no one but yourself will know when the time is right."
What is your favorite part about modeling?
My favorite part about modeling is the feeling I get being in front of a camera. When I step in front of the camera, I let myself go. I become less concerned with the outside world and I just enjoy myself. When I'm modeling, I'm not stressed, or anxious, or worried about anything besides getting the perfect shot. I almost get this boost of confidence (the pictures could be crap) but when the lens is on me I don't feel any pressure to be something I'm not. I let myself just be and it happens naturally, it's almost like modeling is my escape from comparing myself to others on social media, and being upset with myself for not fully achieving my goals and losing confidence in myself (ironic huh?). I think that with modeling I've always been able to be my authentic self, and prove to myself that I don't have to be skin and bones, 6 ft tall, have a huge butt and big boobs to be considered a “model”.
Who is your favorite model/ what is your favorite photoshoot you’ve seen?
My favorite model, well she's technically an actress but does model, is Shay Mitchell. I love how authentic and genuine her beauty is. Her personality really reflects through her pictures and doesn't ever come off as artificial to me. My favorite photoshoot that I've seen this year has been Kim Kardashians Bazaar shoot where she recreated Cher’s photoshoot.
What would you consider your personal style to be?
I believe my personal style is more on the modern side but with a lot of fluctuations between luxury and streetwear.
You’ve started vlogging with your boyfriend-turned-fiancée. How has the experience been so far?
It has been fun, but it has also been stressful. People really underestimate how much time and effort goes into producing a Youtube video, even though the video could be as simple as going to the grocery store and getting something to eat. The time is takes to edit a video, or to come up with interesting content, and even just staying consistent has been a challenge. However, no matter how challenging it has become we don't see ourselves giving up. We both have fallen in love with the Youtube world and although some days it becomes more difficult than others it has taught us to be patient. Success doesn't come overnight but we are striving for it!
Thoughts on vlogging as a first-timer? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
Vlogging becomes a lifestyle in a sense. You literally have to carry a camera with you and document your entire day and soon you’ll realize, “Wow, I have a pretty boring life”, and that's where the challenge comes in. You have to be able to make something out of nothing, but that's the point of being a creator. I honestly didn't know what a vlog was until just a few years ago when I started watching Youtube. I got pretty invested in this idea of being able to make a living being your absolute complete self. I always struggled with what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be growing up, and for some reason I always found myself thinking of Youtube, thinking of video ideas that would be cool before we even started a Youtube channel, and that was the one thing that kept me comfort in times where I stressed out about what my calling in life was.
What is your favorite vlog you've produced so far?
My favorite vlog so far is our visit to the Ice Cream Museum. It was such a fun day and to me there was endless content to film so it was easy to keep the video intriguing.
Thoughts on what you want your channel to evolve into?
We are hoping to evolve our channel into a food, fashion, and lifestyle channel. We like to try out new food spots, love shopping and live in sunny SoCal so that would define out channel perfectly!
Who are some vloggers that you watch on the daily?
I'm really into beauty gurus, who aside from their main channel happen to vlog. For example, Desi Perkins, Nicole Gurreiro, Lydia Elise Millen, MakeupShayla and soooo many more, I don't even watch T.V. anymore lol.
How has being Egyptian and your culture shaped who you are today?
Being Egyptian I grew up learning a very specific set of values and morals. Ones that aren't really prominent in American culture. So I am definitely thankful for my culture because more than anything it has taught me to be humble, giving, and selfless in a materialistic world where very little of such things have become hard to find.
What do you love about your culture?
I love the MUSIC! Oh my gosh, if I'm ever in a bad mood, I just play some Arabic music and my hips will automatically start shaking.
Is there a woman that you strive to be like?
I strive to be like my mother. She moved to the states when she was just barely 20 years old and recreated a whole new life for herself. She faced adversity and many struggles, but despite all those things she made sure to make the best of her life in America not only for her sake but for her kids sake as well.
Overall, where has life taken you physically/mentally after you graduated? Is it what you had hoped?
Like most college graduates I was physically and mentally exhausted after graduation, but that exhaustion has forced me to take a deeper look into myself and truly discover who I am as an individual. After graduation, you feel an immense amount of pressure on you, but as Bryan has always shared with me “ With no pressure, there's no diamond.” And I truly feel that way, I finally feel like I'm evolving into the person I want to be.
If you had to drop everything and pursue one thing, what would it be?
This has to be the easiest question for me! I want to INFLUENCE. Today this word is defined and executed through social media. I have always been passionate about fashion and sharing my opinions, thoughts, and experiences with others in order to help shape their views, or to one day have them see me as a motivating figure in their life. I feel this way about many social media influencers and I strive to be like that for others. So whether it's modeling a brand I like or sharing my personal twist on a style, reviewing a product, or even sharing my life experiences good or bad as a form of saying “You're not alone.” I want to be able to express my authentic personality on things in hopes that it helps others who have the same interests as me.
Hopes, dreams, fears for the New Year?
My hopes and dreams for the New Year are all centered around being a go-getter. For chasing every single dream and not giving up. For not doubting myself and not letting how many followers I have make me feel like I'm not able. For not comparing my success to others and to solely do what I want to do because it makes ME happy. This year is about being FEARLESS in your pursuit of happiness because life is too short to be stressed about things that you have the ability to control. This year I am taking control of my life and setting up my own personal path of success completely based off what I have always dreamed of doing. Less hoping and more becoming.
I remember thinking damn, this girl has her life together. You seem effortless in your pursuit to follow your dreams. You have this beautiful relationship with your fiancee. And you never let anyone walk all over you.
Having spent just a couple of days with you has made me realize the importance of surrounding yourself with people that inspire you. Especially women who build other women up. You are the definition of girl boss. I am so inspired by the way you carry yourself, your self-worth is contagious, and your beauty comes from within. So grateful to have a woman like you in my life. I only see great things for you ahead.
// xoxo, nuj