“I am a nerd by day, a content creator by night, and a mother full-time”, this is how Yousra Mokhtar describes herself. Yousra Mokhtar studied architecture and fell in love with the field, which resulted in her doing her master’s and working as a teaching assistant at Cairo University. Moreover, Yousra Mokhtar is a content creator. She walks us through her life through her videos on Youtube, reviews products to help people out, and tries out fun and new challenges for everyone to see. Yousra is also an outspoken figure when it comes to the body positivity talk in Egypt. She’s always been open about her journey with being a plus-size woman. She’s also always been a supporter of plus-size fashion in Egypt. As a result, she encourages every woman to feel confident in her own skin without really caring about what people are going to say.
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Yousra says she’s on an “ongoing journey of searching for art in everything she does” as oil painting and makeup has always had a special place in her heart. We sat down with Yousra Mokhtar to know more about her multifaceted life and her body positive journey!
How do you manage everything you do and what are the challenges you face practicing the things you love?
I went through one of the toughest phases of my life when I once naively thought that the perfect equation to balance everything exists. Honestly, there is so much humbling humane relief that comes with that acceptance. Don’t get me wrong, I do have my bad days and weeks, but I power through them with gratitude and self-compassion, or at least I try. For instance, I keep reminding myself that these three aspects are blessings, not chores. I remind myself when I work or study that I am privileged to have safe spaces to practice my passion. I also remind myself every day that I am blessed to be a mother and a friend to my beautiful daughter.
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How do you define body positivity?
I like to think of body positivity as a never-ending journey with unique milestones for each one of us. I think a common lesson on that journey is how crucial it is for all of us to free ourselves from all the prototypes that society poses on us.
We should let go of the toxic comparison culture and try to connect with how our bodies feel from the inside instead.
Body image is a huge topic for everyone, can you share with us your experience, the negative comments, and how you got through that phase?
I have been bullied since elementary school for how my body looked, I hate how painful the school experience was for me as a kid. It was SO triggering and frustrating when I had to read all the hateful and body-shaming comments after my pregnancy.
I was shocked at how some “grown-ups” out there willingly inflict so much pain on others with such terrible comments. Honestly, without my husband’s support, I think they could’ve destroyed me. I was so vulnerable. This topic already retriggers so many traumas. After regaining some inner strength, I decided to be the change I want to see in the world. In august 2020 I started a social media campaign called “#امسك متنمر” to spread awareness about bullying by sharing my full story on YouTube. I just wanted to spread the word and to build a safe online community for me and my followers. I noticed a real change. People now reply to shut down the bullies in my comments section before I even address them. I am genuinely grateful for my beloved online family.
What are some of your favorite body-positive platforms that personally encourage you?
I am a firm believer that we are in full control of whom we follow and what we absorb online. My Instagram is filled with other plus-size queens or influencers from all over the world who speak about body positivity all the time. Of course, I can also never stop recommending my amazing friend and influencer Nariman Farouk, who is a source of body positivity to so many people, both online and offline.
How do you think we can pass down the body positivity talk to our kids?
Awareness. Integrating body positivity awareness in everything we do and in all school phases. Parents should start by teaching their children how to protect themselves against bullies and how to be kind to others. Everyone should be proactive and start by breaking down the body toxicity taboos they have in their own inner circles.
Let’s be the change we want to see!
I personally always try to cultivate this sense of friendship in my relationship with my daughter because I think it is the base of everything else. We need to keep reminding them that they are safe. I always remind her that all God’s creations are beautiful in their own unique way. It is also my duty as a mother to protect my young child from the environment and to teach her by example how to navigate life. This is why I don’t tolerate any comments about her body even from close family members.
What are your favorite things about being a content creator? And what messages do you hope to send through it?
One of my biggest blessings as a content creator is the immense amount of “friends” I have gained. I love to call them friends not followers because that is what they mean to me. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends because I faced bullying and body shaming wherever I went as a kid. Today, I can feel the child in me grateful for all the love she receives from our online friends and for the safe community we get to contribute to building.
This is why I always try to be my authentic self online, as a constant reminder for me and my friends that everyone deserves to feel loved and proud of who they really are.
What advice would you give to rising content creators? Also, girls who still feel like they should hide themselves because of the lack of body positivity around them?
Content creation reflects the message you want to contribute with to society. So, think wisely and constantly about what you want to create or share with your followers.
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I also want to say, to all the girls and ladies who are still suffering from society’s toxic ideology about bodies and looks, please remember that you are free. You are free, and only you can break yourself loose from all these toxic beliefs. Your life, decisions, looks, and body are owned by you!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, to all the ladies out there:
If you are still scared of starting your OWN journey, please remember that we all have our own insecurities. It was never about erasing those insecurities, it is about cultivating the courage of overcoming those insecurities. Trust me you are capable of so much more than what you think! I will be waiting for you, friend!