In a new ad for L'Oréal Paris Elvive Nutri-Gloss, British beauty blogger Amena Khan says, "Whether or not your hair is on display doesn't affect how much you care about it." As a hijab-wearing makeup artist, Amena has made a living doling out beauty advice to women who cover their heads for religious reasons. And now, she's making history with L'Oréal Paris UK as the first hijab-wearing woman to front a hair campaign.
L'Oréal Paris tapped Amena and other UK personalities to rep Elvive, a line that helps refresh damaged hair. (You may recall that Winona Ryder is the US spokeswoman for Elvive and just dropped a gorgeous ad for the products herself.) As Amena told Vogue UK, it's a big effing deal for a brand to cast her in this latest series.
As she told the site, "For me, my hair is an extension of my femininity. I love styling my hair, I love putting products in it, and I love it to smell nice. It's an expression of who I am."
Amena has worn a hijab in public since her early 20s but pointed out that she uncovers her hair when she's at home or with her family. "You have to wonder — why is it presumed that women [who] don't show their hair don't look after it?" she asked Vogue UK. "The opposite of that would be that everyone that does show their hair only looks after it for the sake of showing it to others. And that mindset strips us of our autonomy and our sense of independence. Hair is a big part of self-care."
What's more, Amena hopes that L'Oréal Paris's inclusion of a hijab-wearing model in its campaign will inspire young women who also prefer to cover their heads. Growing up, Amena said, she could never relate to the Eurocentric casting in mainstream media. "I think seeing a campaign like this would have given me more of a sense of belonging," she said.
Congratulations, Amena! (And if you're reading this, please let us know what that gorgeous fuchsia lipstick you're wearing in the ad is.)