By McKenzie Schwark, Ladyboss Midwest
Dr. Wasifa Ahmad Hasan certainly did not take the usual road to becoming a beauty influence (if there even is such a thing?) She spoke with us about the switch from dentistry to blogging, the importance of being patient with people living with chronic illness and why women should team up in 2021.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.
A. I am a dentist turned full-time blogger/ influencer sharing tips on how to live a beautiful and happy life with a chronic illness. I feature and review skincare, hair care and makeup products and have been bringing the best options to my audience for the last 10 years. Currently, I am writing for Area Woman Magazine, Fargo Mom and consulting for the winners of the North Dakota International Pageant. I also represent North Dakota as an Ulta Beauty Collective Influencer.
Q. How did you get involved in your work?
A.It started without any plan or direction 10 years ago. I was diagnosed with my chronic illness when I was a dentistry student. I needed an outlet to share my frustrations and fears, and gather support. So I started blogging. At first, it was more about sharing my personal experience about this illness, my mental health and my struggles. Gradually I received positive feedback and people were starting to share their stories and relate to my stories. I became an online voice for people, especially for women with chronic illnesses. I started learning about beauty and makeup from experts, and looked for ways to make a beauty-related process easier for my audience. It just grew naturally and the blog became a complete female lifestyle website.
Brands started to notice my work and approached me to work with them. It was at that time I realized that I could be a full-time blogger and leave my job as a dentist. So after moving to North Dakota six years ago, I focused completely on building my brand and work as a social media influencer.
Q. What do you wish people understood better about chronic illness?
A. Chronic illness comes with a stigma. Lack of knowledge, communication, and failure to sympathize can cause misunderstanding and a negative mindset. First of all, we need to educate ourselves about the disease, we or our loved ones are fighting. Sometimes people just need to talk, without the fear of judgment. When we talk and open a dialogue, it enlightens us and removes the stigma.
For those suffering from chronic illness — I understand that it’s difficult and takes a huge toll on mental health, but it’s not the end of the world. You can and will live a seemingly normal life, regardless of the pain, shortcomings and heartbreaks. You just need to find your normal and have a positive mindset. It took me 15+ years to come to terms with my illness, if I can do it, you can too!
For those who are caring for someone with chronic illness or would like to know more about it, please be patient with us! We have our normal days, bad days and very bad days and we are already struggling. Is something bothering you? Talk to us, share your feelings.
Q. And what about mental health?
A. From my personal experience, mental health and physical health are interrelated. After my diagnosis and in the initial years of the illness, my mental health was suffering, and I became distant, quiet, and full of self-destructive thoughts. I struggled with my peers, my relationships, my career, but gradually time and positive encouragement from my family helped me out of the situation.
Am I out of that depression period? I would say 70% because there are days when my illness casts a black net over my positivity, and all I want to do is give up. But my family is always there to pull me back. And I believe everyone should have that special someone who can be their light in the darkness.
Q. What does self-care mean to you?
A. Self-care means talking to someone who understands me, using my favorite perfume without any reason, taking a shower or bath for more than 10 minutes, listening to the songs of my teenage years and singing them out loud, indulging in my favorite dish without thinking about the weight.
Q. How can women take better care of themselves in 2021?
A. Stop criticizing and start loving yourself. The flaws you can see in the mirror make you unique and beautiful. Go out for a walk, invest in good skincare products, use a face mask every week and use a silk pillowcase. It may sound unrelated but it’s worth it!
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve heard recently?
A. We don’t know what the other person is going through, so stop lashing out, calm yourself and listen. Can you relate to what that person is saying? If yes, then start having a constructive conversation. If you can not relate, then move away.
Q. What do you think women need right now?
A. Women need to believe in themselves and stop competing with each other. We can only go ahead one or two steps by ourselves, but if we team up and help each other in a meaningful way, we can grow and thrive.
For more from Wasifa, check out sifascorner.com and @sifascorner on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.