Chatting with Neda about Pole Dancing & Identity!

Neda Hijabiluscious

“I thought I was just gonna try it as a joke, because what is someone who looks like me doing a Pole class?” Said Neda (aka Hijabiluscious) when we asked her about the start of her Pole dancing journey. 

It all started with Neda in August of 2019 when she wanted to try something new. Hooked to the welcoming and loving environment of the Pole class, Neda decided to stay and try it out for a while. Neda has been documenting her love for pole on Instagram, simultaneously calling out the hate because of her Hijab and making women feel more comfortable in their skin. 

We sat down with Neda to know more about her!  

Neda Hijabiluscious

In what ways did pole dancing affect your relationship with yourself and your body? 

I did not know how much I was missing in the relationship with my body until I started pole. Pole dance can be dangerous sometimes. It requires you to have a lot of bodily awareness and patience with your body. From Pole, I learned how important that patience is, and how much of it was missing from me.

I learned how to listen to my body and be aware of what it needs.

The biggest thing I have learned in this whole journey is that you learn amazing things about yourself. You learn what you are truly capable of even if you just step outside of your comfort zone for one day. Thanks to pole dance, I have a much healthier relationship with my body and an appreciation of what I am capable of. 


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A post shared by Neda (@hijabiluscious)

What were some of the challenges you faced when you first decided to try out Pole dancing?

Pole is physically very challenging, but I had an advantage because I was already an athlete before starting, so my challenges in the physical aspect were something I already expected. The real challenges happened when I decided to go public with my journey on Instagram. I was not expecting my videos to go viral and end up being widely criticized. Dealing with hate mail was daunting, as I was not expecting that much attention. But I also got so much support and recognition that far outweighed any hate that I got. 

Sharing your journey with pole dancing on Instagram made a lot of people feel represented and inspired. How important is it for you to document your journey on social media, and why?

Initially, I wanted to share my journey because Pole is hard. I was really proud of the progress I made and all of these cool tricks I can do. But now I see how much it means to other people to be public with my journey, because they see that if I can do it, then they can. Whether that means actually getting on the pole, or standing up to hate. Continuing to do it makes me happy and strong. 


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A post shared by Neda (@hijabiluscious)

How does the hate affect you and how do you maintain your mental health amidst all that?

I think I am fortunate in being a little bit older. I know who I am and I have already faced my fair share of hate growing up. My identity has been tested so many times. Even years before, I have been in environments where I am not welcomed. Getting hate messages like that does not really impact my mental health.


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A post shared by Neda (@hijabiluscious)

However, I know there are women who are much younger than me that get messages that are very similar to the ones I receive. So, I reply back and post them publicly so others learn how to not be intimidated by these kinds of messages and they learn how to respond if needed. 

You’re also a nurse practitioner, in what ways did pole dancing help you cope during the pandemic?

Pole dance absolutely helped me cope because I had a Home Pole and I was able to take classes on FaceTime. I don’t know what I would’ve done without my Pole. I was only a few months experienced in Pole at the beginning of the pandemic, I learned most of my skills at home. So, I saw my biggest gains because Pole was my coping mechanism and my outlet. Especially being a healthcare provider in a pandemic, I absolutely needed Pole to look forward to upon coming home. 


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A post shared by Neda (@hijabiluscious)

What is your favorite thing about Pole dancing?

I love the people in my studio. I think this is one of the most supportive environments I can be in. Everyone’s so encouraging and kind from the instructors to the students. It is just a very happy place to be in. 

Are you a pole dancing instructor? If not, is that something you’d like to try?

I am not yet qualified to be an instructor as I am still an amateur myself, but one day I would love to open a Pole studio and teach.

Teaching and Pole are two of my biggest passions and I hope to combine them one day. 

What would you say to encourage women who might be scared to take the step to try out Pole dancing?

You have nothing to lose. You are going to be in one of the most open-minded spaces with a lot of other women who are there for the first time as well. 

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