Thanks to the digital world, we have been exposed to brilliant talents that wonderfully serenade us with their staggering vocals. Nada Ayoub, aka NäP, is definitely on top of the list. This amazingly talented Egyptian/Hungarian singer and choreographer got her big breakthrough with Cinemania on “Sahibet Al-Saada” TV program. She continues to surprise us with innovative music that adds a rusty and edgy unique element to her performance. Being the bundle of talent that she is, we had to sit with her and talk about music and what is it like being a curvy woman in Egypt.
How long have you been singing, and what made you start a career in music?
I have been singing since I was fourteen; but on a professional level it has been about two years. I started off with school choirs, singing at different dance camps, little venues in Hungary –until I got my big shot on“Sahibet Al-Saada” TV show. My parents always cultivated a love for music in me; whether it is my father teaching me to appreciate Frank Sinatra, UB40 or Michael Jackson; and my mother playing The Cranberries and Pink Floyd in the car on the way to school. I am working on an album, but the segment of people who listen to English music in Cairo is very limited; and if they do listen then the music they’re exposed to is very commercial.
Who are some of your music influences?
Locally, I love Ramy DJunkie he really pushes the envelope and doesn’t try to just play whatever the crowed wants, Nesma Mahgoub is one of the craziest people with work ethic she taught me almost everything I know when it comes to music, Hany Mustafa is a musical genius his technique is so on point, and Doaa El Sebaii is my favorite female vocal she’s really growing into learning who she is as an artist. Internationally, Jorja Smith, Hans Zimmer, Guns N’ Roses, Evanescence, FKA Twigs, Beyoncé, Eurythmics and Whitney Houston. It’s a really diverse mix, but they all stand out to me for many reasons. If I go into detail the article will be 400 pages long.
You’re not only a singer but also a dancer, were there any challenges you faced being a curvy dancer in Egypt?
I don’t believe in the concept of being slim; I believe in the concept of being fit. Our bodies are the strongest vessels that carry us through life; however, media pressures us to look at things otherwise. An international company decided to cut all my scenes out of a small project I was supposed to be in, because I was curvy. It was a soda beverage company, but they’d rather make people overweight and unhealthy discretely instead of showcasing it. Being a curvy dancer never stopped me; if anything it gave me more strength to work and fight harder. It helped me build stamina and fitness, which made me receive compliments about how lightweight I seem in comparison to my body mass when I dance.
What is it really like to be a curvy woman living in Egypt? How does society see her?
A lot more accepted than it is in other countries. As a Hungarian, I really feel there’s more judgment placed on a woman that isn’t fit in European countries versus Egypt. However, it’s sometimes tough because there is such a big impact on what beauty should look like, and we Egyptians never focus on internal beauty. That’s why many girls conform to many looks and styles that may not suit them just to fit in.
Why do you think people in Egypt lack the mentality of body positivity?
We lack the mentality of accepting differences because anything that is unconventional to us seems threatening. Just like curly hair is now the biggest trend –when a few years ago it was considered to be unconditioned, ugly-looking hair. Body positivity shouldn’t be based on appearance. Accepting your body in its current state is something I firmly believe in. Striving to be fit is what actually matters.
When did you learn to accept your curves, or have you always?
I would lie to say I always have. I always knew I was a big girl. I lost weight because I don’t allow anything to restrict me in life –not an institution, a rule or a barrier. When my weight became an obstacle between me and my activities, I chose to find ways to get healthier. I’m a strong personality and strength to me is just being fit and being the best shape that I can be based on my body type and biology. Whether that is 200 kilos or 40 is not what matters.
What advice would you give to curvy women?
An essential aspect of self-respect is to love yourself. You need to respect every curve that bulges, or protrudes, from your body. The more kindness you show yourself physically, the more internal love you’ll feel. Celebrate your body because it has been through –and withstood– so much throughout your whole life. It is the physical entity that contains the glorious woman that you are, so you should celebrate it regardless of what state it is in. Make sure you don’t fall into the mistake of body shaming other women. Don’t make a woman feel like she is less to make you feel more worthy.
What do women want?
Women don’t want; they go out and get.
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