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People

Sahar Arrayeh

People October 5, 2019

Fashion model, blogger, raising awareness about mental health

“Be a little bit selfish, love myself a little more, so I can fully love others and life.”

Having stepped away from her medical career in the UK, Sahar has returned to her first love of fashion, and her homeland, Sudan. There she combines being a model and fashion photographer with blogging, which enables her to express herself and tackle the taboo of mental health.

She is also following in the footsteps of empowered Sudanese women. “The Sudanese woman has always been ahead of her time. They have been influential in paving the course of the nation, have always thrived and will continue to do so.”

Please introduce yourself to our readers
I am a Sudanese-British fashion and beauty blogger, photographer, art director, and fashion designer. I used to live in London, but two years ago, I made a move to my homeland, Sudan.

Tell us about your education
Funnily enough, I studied medicine and was a practising orthopaedic surgeon in the UK for seven years before finally making a massive career shift to fashion and visual arts. While I was practising medicine, I completed courses in photography and art direction. And in 2017, I finally left the medical field..

Your childhood memories
I have always been obsessed with fashion. My earliest childhood memories were watching my mom sewing Eid dresses for my sister and I. My mom was also a doctor, but she always made time to make us dresses from scratch every Eid.
I learned to sew from my mother, and she learned from her mother. It was a skill passed down the family, and I treasured it.
I was also a very odd child in that instead of watching cartoons, I was pinned in front of the TV, watching the fashion channel. This was very influential in teaching me about the freedom of self-expression. I mean, these designers asked models to wear such ridiculous things! Still, it was how they felt, and they needed to show it. I loved that.

When did you start blogging, and why?
I started in 2016 but only took it up late-2017. It was fun, I could be myself, and I wanted to share myself, my love for fashion, and my art with the world. I also found it provided a platform for me to talk about mental illness, which I suffer from. Sharing and being open helps me cope with depression. I want other people to feel the same – that it’s ok to experience mental illness, and it’s no longer a taboo topic.

What do you blog about?
Fashion and personal style, coupled with self-insight and exploration.

Do you think being a blogger has any negative perceptions? If so, why?
It depends on your background: it can be difficult for families from certain cultures to understand what blogging is and how anyone could make it into a career. But times are changing, and more people accept it.

What challenges do you face being a female blogger in Khartoum?
For me, it’s the looks I get for my choice of wardrobe. I tend to go over the top sometimes with my outfits and hair. It was uncomfortable with people staring at first, but I’m more used to it now.

What are your hobbies?
I love travelling, exploring, cooking, trying new foods, and I enjoy painting and playing tennis.

What motivates you every day?
Waking up and feeling excited about a photoshoot I’m either modeling in, art directing, or shooting myself. I love visual art, and creating is what motivates me every day.
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What is your passion and are you pursuing your passion?
Other than creating, I’m very passionate about documentation and culture preservation; I’m working on a brand inspired by Sudan’s cultural diversity. It will both celebrate and preserve the richness of the Sudanese culture.

Do you think Sudanese women are empowered enough?
Yes, The Sudanese woman has always been empowered and ahead of her time. Starting from the first woman in parliament in an Arab country to being leaders of the revolution, Sudanese women have been influential in paving the course of the nation. The current transitional government led by PM Dr Abdulla Hamadok contains four women with impressive track records. Sudanese women have always thrived and will continue to do so.

What is the change you want to see in yourself, and why?
I want to be more active when it comes to improving myself. I tend to neglect my own needs and put my dreams aside for later. I believe this comes from a place of self-deprecation. I want to be a little bit selfish and love myself a little more so I can fully love others and life.

What are your favorite fashion items that you can’t live without?
Oooh, that’s a hard one! Definitely a choker, a bold lip color, a silk scarf, and a denim jacket.

How do you prioritise your social time?
We all know how busy diaries can get!
I plan ahead, but sometimes I just let the moment take me, and I’ll randomly decide to go out to meet friends!

How do you find your inspiration – for work, and play?
It just happens I think, I can be watching movies or talking to a friend, or even just looking at a wall, and I start thinking “I know what I wanna do!” and it happens!

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
Always be kind, stay humble, and never lose yourself to please a crowd. You may be weird and different, and you may think you’re alone, and no one would be interested, but there is always a crowd that needs you to be their voice!

What are your favourite/best social media tools?
Instagram, planoly for Instagram, and VSCO!

Your message for us at CiiN magazine.
I love your magazine, and I’d love to see you get bigger than life, and it has nothing to do with your name being the first letter of my name.

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