Model: Nawaal Akram
Muscular Dystrophy, Born and raised in Qatar
I always had something different about myself from my peers. But growing up being a bit different isn’t seen as a good thing. Many don’t like growing out of their comfort zone. When I was ten, I was taken out of school due to my disability and never accepted again into schools — this shaped my personality on how disability was seen by adults.
I started using a wheelchair when I was 12 years old which turned my world upside down. I had to start looking at life through a whole new lens and being very dependent on others which made me have a lot of patience. I wondered how a person in a wheelchair did a lot of things and now I know. I had two options; either sit at home or do new activities that I can do. It’s been a new journey of self-discovery and patience getting to live life from a new perspective. Every year I learn something new about muscular dystrophy. I love using art to express myself; it shows beauty even in the pain. I believe my wheelchair actually made me more confident and strong headed.
Beauty is perceived differently by everyone, as soon as women learn that and care about seeing beauty in themselves regardless of anyone’s standards the happier they’ll be. I had made a life ‘plan’ but it didn’t happen the way I envisioned. Quite the opposite happened, but I can’t stay bitter. I focus on the life I currently have and will figure it out.
Art provides a freedom to express your feelings and thoughts without limits. I love using social media to hopefully help others who may be in the same situation feel less confused about life. I have begun to accept myself now. I discovered make up, art and becoming Qatar’s first wheelchair model and comedian. I love using media to raise awareness about important issues. As a young woman with a disability I feel like it’s my duty to be involved in society to break negative stereotypes and showcase representation. I feel that the Bold Beauty Project is giving hope for the future generation of girls to love and see them as beautiful just the way they are. When I was younger I would have loved to see role models; it would have made everything less confusing. It is a pleasure to be involved since it gives me a chance to represent myself as a Pakistani born and brought up in Qatar young woman. I showcase the modern yet traditional side I have been brought up in.
Photographed by Aparna Jayakumar