These unique looks consist of numerous skin and hair colors and textures. However, until recently, this wasn’t something that the citizens of Sudan celebrated. They were to conform to Arabic standards of beauty and were involved in activities that included bleaching their skin to look fairer. They even using chemicals to straighten their naturally curly hair. Recent movements and social media have now diverted their course to develop their own unique identities, and 22-year-old Mayada Kamal aims to do precisely that.
Based in Egypt, Mayada Kamal, a marketing student, model, and social media blogger aims to create a platform where girls in Sudan feel comfortable wearing their natural hair and caring for them rather than conforming to societal pressure. In her effort to make this become a reality, Mayada, in 2020, created a Facebook group, “Your Natural Hair Journey,” a place where girls could share their tips and tricks regarding their hair and make a community out of something that once was considered taboo.
Born in Omdurman in 1998, today, Mayada Kamal is a curly-haired model working in Egypt after moving in 2017. Her career started back when she was taking her IELTS exam, and in the process had to get her picture taken. The photographer responsible for the job approached her with the idea, and at that moment, Mayada realized it was what she wanted to do. When it didn’t work out at first, Mayada wasn’t one to give up. Later, she was approached by another photographer on Instagram and carried out her very first photoshoot in the business. And thus, it opened up opportunities and introduced Mayada to the whole industry and people who wanted to work with her.
However, Mayada isn’t a full-time model; she’s an independent part-time model. In the process of spreading awareness for her cause, she not only models but makes content while working hard in school as well, focusing on her marketing degree and career.
Since her first photoshoot in 2019, Mayada took to Instagram to work as a blogger and present her work to a more diverse audience. Using Instagram as her portfolio, Mayada continued to engage with an audience while posing content to attract brands. Her Instagram eventually became a more interactive platform than just her portfolio as she communicated with an audience and posted content regarding natural hair.
Mayada Kamal, like multiple other Sudanese women, went through the stereotype that forced her to view her natural curl negatively and opted for straightened hair instead. While working for her Instagram account, Mayada went on to create a YouTube page as well. Here, she was provided with a platform where she could share her journey of falling in love with her natural hair and caring for it. This page provided women from all over with curly or textured hair, especially fellow Sudanese women, with a platform where she could share her knowledge, experience, and journey with her naturally curly hair. Through this, she allowed these women to let go of their insecurities and fall in love with their identities. It made them realize they weren’t alone in this journey.
Mayada also went on to create a Facebook group, “Your Natural Hair Journey.” Whereas Instagram and YouTube were an effective way to communicate her experiences with an audience, Mayada realized there needs to be a platform where women could interact with each other. She had her own story, experiences, and knowledge-based of her life; similarly, many other women might have them too. Hence, “she created your Natural Hair Journey,” a place where women with curly and textured hair from the entire world could come together and share their knowledge, experiences, tip, and tricks. They could share their concerns and make a community that once felt alone.
Mayada Kamal, through her journey and her hard work, became the brand ambassador of “The Hair Addict”. A brand whose designer and the photographer had been ones Mayada wanted to work for since she started modeling. And with her hard work and complete dedication, Mayada became the brand ambassador of a brand that had been one of her favorites amidst her hair journey. Mayada had worked for the brand before in 2019. As time went on in 2020, she started collaborating more and more with the brand and eventually named the brand ambassador in 2021.
As her popularity increased, Mayada Kamal had the chance to work with various talented designers, stylists, and photographers, getting her more involved in the industry. Mayada Kamal got her first commercial with the ultra fair; she went on to model for Kojak studio. Through her time, she also worked with one of her favorite brands, t.n.t. Her favorite feature, however, was the revival editorial for KALTBLUT magazine wearing chl_maison. The editorial boasts some of Egypt’s most buzz-worthy brands.
Mayada Kamal plans to have her product line one day, but for now, she focuses on her marketing degree.
Mayada Kamal is a woman that believes in individuality. She advocates that women should embrace their natural hair, its texture, and its curly characteristics. Hence, she continues to work for this cause to further her aim: a model known for her curly hair that continues to inspire similar curly and textured hair women worldwide.