Celebrating beauty, self-love with Nabela Noor
A one-of-a-kind meet and greet event held in the capital on Saturday with popular Bangladeshi-American Youtuber Nabela Noor turned into a celebration of positivity.
The beauty activist, who has been challenging beauty standards, urged everyone to have more confidence in themselves.
"I want everyone to feel beautiful in their skin. I'm challenging the mindset that you have to be one size to be beautiful," she said at the event organised by Emerald Events at Hotel Lakeshore.
The event, celebrating beauty, confidence and self-love, drew a large crowd, mostly fans and admirers of Nabela and also industry influencers. It was dubbed a "homecoming" event for Nabela who said she was "really excited to be here" after a decade.
She has 7,25,000 subscribers on YouTube and 1.2 million followers on Instagram. She is also the founder and CEO of Zeba, a lifestyle and clothing brand named after her mother. "It's a movement, first and foremost," she clarified, which changes the way people talk about sizes.
Zeba, for example, ditches traditional words for describing clothing sizes and instead uses terms such 'passionate', 'brave', 'inspiring', 'fearless', 'radiant', 'powerful', 'loved' and 'independent'.
"It's amazing to know yourself as more than your size. Zeba is empowering people to rethink how we think about ourselves," she said.
Bangladesh's leading private news agency United News of Bangladesh (UNB) was the event's media partner while Snapshot was its photography partner.
Brands that participated are - Inglot Cosmetics, Kona by Farnaz Alam, Gala cosmetics, La vie en rose, Sugar Rush Cupcakery, Powder Room, Hair Bar, and Miniso. Mariha Chowdhury, the CEO of Emerald Events, said 75 percent of the companies at the event are owned by women.
The event was divided into two sessions, and the participants got an opportunity to take pictures with Nabela.
Mariha said Nabela is a body positivity advocate fighting to redefine beauty standards.
In a question and answer session in the morning, Nabela said she is trying to teach people that they are beautiful the way they are - with or without makeup.
She suggested women and girls to challenge the existing beauty perceptions and celebrate who they are.
Speaking about beauty, she said in her eyes beauty is kindness. "Beauty is being kind, and warm and lovable and welcoming. Intelligence is beautiful," she told the audience comprising women and girls of all ages.
Self-confidence, she said, is the key. "People do not go to [Indian actor] Aishwarya Rai and ask her how you are so confident. But when they look at me, they say how you are so confident? [I am confident] because I am beautiful. That's how," she said.
For plus-sized girls in Bangladesh, her advice is to "love the skin you are in without apology".
Meanwhile, Emerald Events gave part of the event's proceeds to Jaago Foundation.
"Nabela Noor is not only supporting Bangladeshi beauty brands but also supporting a local NGO. So, for that reason, she is not only changing beauty standards but she is also advocating for changing Bangladesh itself," said Faizah Anika Eerina, representing Jaago.
Nabela reminded everyone to be happy. "I feel successful because I feel happy and grateful. If you are not happy, no amount of success is going to be enough for you," she said, reminding everyone that they have two choices in their short, precious lives - waste time being unhappy or live unapologetically.
"Love yourself without apology. Life is too short and you are beautiful, no matter what size you are," she said.