Q: What is your story of strength? Or something you’ve overcome that defines your strength?
From a young age, I’ve lived between different cultures and different kinds of people. It’s always been a struggle to really feel like you belong somewhere. I grew up partly in the UK and then moved for some years in school to Jordan, then to Dubai and then back to study in the UK for university. I think finding yourself and who you are, as opposed to being driven by culture and people and expectations, was very difficult because it can be hard to decide where you fit in. What are your values, what are your beliefs and what are you going to fight for? There are different things that conflict with each culture that make up my life. In the Middle East, for instance, there are many traditions in society. Sometimes I have had to stand for what I think contradicts those, in a way, because I’ve gained a different perspective through travel and experience. Similarly, when I’ve been abroad with different groups of people, there are many things which I value about my roots, and where I’m from, that I’m proud to stand for.
In sum, it’s about establishing who you are as a person among a whole spectrum of different people and cultures and opinions and being strong in both your beliefs and in who you are.
Q: Can you tell me about a time where you really failed?
I think there was a time where I was very into trying new hobbies and new activities (for example, sky diving, dance lessons, photography, travel etc). I really loved being outgoing and adventurous and meeting new people but I wasn’t communicating to my family enough about doing these new things because I know they are quite protective and worry about my safety. I think it was a failure because I didn’t believe in myself enough to talk about what I’m trying. I was closing myself off from people around me. So I think my failure was communication. I should’ve been stronger in who I am.
Q: Can you tell me about a woman in your life who portrays strength?
My older sister. She has always had her own mind and very high standards in everything she does. She refuses to compromise. If she believes in something she will stick to it firmly and confidently. I’ve always looked up to her for that and over time have tried to learn to be more like that. She’s accomplished a lot without compromising, she is very successful in her career and what she does. She always stands for what she believes is right and that is how I see strength in her.
Q: How can women in Dubai, or in general, support each other?
I feel that sometimes women don’t like to show their vulnerability and their flaws. Maybe showing their vulnerabilities and showing the struggles they’ve been through would allow us to connect with each other more. Women are quite competitive and one of the things that is good about that is it makes us high achievers. But it can also be a weakness because it limits us supporting each other and we would be much stronger if we did things together. So, I think being more vulnerable instead of being competitive with each other.