Now on to releasing their second issue, AZEEMA mag is creating a big buzz in the self-publishing world. Jameela Elfaki, Founding Editor, created AZEEMA mag to expand the borders of fashion for Women of Colour, teaching core values of self-love, diversity and empowerment. Not waiting around for high-profile fashion magazines to do their job, Jameela started her own magazine - photographing everyday girls and working with friends.
We are excited to showcase AZEEMA on our platform, as these are also the values we share: to promote the 'real' world that we live in today, inspire women all around the world to do great things together, and build resilliance, independancy and strength.
What are the messages that you are trying to share through AZEEMA?
The messages I'm trying to share through AZEEMA are positive ones. They are of strength, togetherness and self acceptance. The aim is to empower, not to offend.
Why did you create AZEEMA?
I created AZEEMA after realising there were many young women like myself who felt they weren’t being properly represented in fashion and fashion magazines. Current news outlets project mostly fearful and negative representations of the Middle East/North Africa and I feel these women and their voices aren’t properly represented in fashion. I wanted AZEEMA to celebrate Women of Colour, heritage, beauty and strength.
Tell me about the power of self-publishing?
There is power in self publishing and DIY publishing as it is uncensored. You can make anything you want, you can project your views and your art in your own way. By self publishing you are taking control and creating the voices you want to hear for yourselves.
Tell me about the women you have photographed and why you think it is important to photograph them.
The women in the first issue are all incredible and so inspiring. They are all so different, so strong and each have different stories to share. It's important to photograph them to capture and share their voices so that others can feel inspired.
What is your opinion on the way Arab women are portrayed in mainstream
media? How are you combating this?
I think a very narrow minded view of Arab women is portrayed in the media and it's often very incorrect and out dated. AZEEMA combats this with positivity and the energy of youth. It is a contemporary magazine for contemporary women. It's a reaction to the negativity in the media.
I love how AZEEMA aims to give self-assurance to girls who might have struggles with their own identity and culture. Have you learned anything about your own identity by creating AZEEMA?
Yes, I have definitely learned more about myself, my heritage and my identity through the creation of the magazine. I think the magazine has helped me come to terms with my identity and helped me to understand that it's okay to feel disconnected and connected at the same time. It's okay to be many things and have multiple cultures, there's no right or wrong identity. It would be amazing if the magazine helps other girls feel more at ease with their own identities and cultures.
What were the reactions from the release of the first issue?
The magazine has received the warmest of reactions and positive messages from girls who can relate to the content and imagery. I couldn't be happier that it's been received so well.
What are you going to explore in the next issue? What will you do differently this time?
The next issue is a continuation of our core values and a further exploration of identity, strength and beauty. The AZEEMA Team has expanded and we have some amazing things to share with everyone soon. We are very excited about the growth of the magazine!
Why do you think it’s important to raise these issues in our time today?
We are a different generation to our elders, we are a generation of diverse creatives and free thinkers. We are doing more things for ourselves, starting things up and striving higher. It's important to raise these issues now because it's the perfect time. This generation want to do things authentically and differently and make a difference. Because no one else will do it for us!
SUPPORT AZEEMA MAG FOR THEIR 2nd ISSUE
interviewed by Sara Safwan