Mia Khalifa: I spent years feeling uncomfortable in my own skin

Lebanon-born influencer Mia Khalifa says she spent years feeling uncomfortable in her own skin as she didn't fit the "dominant beauty standards".



Mia Khalifa spent years feeling uncomfortable in her own skin
Mia Khalifa spent years feeling uncomfortable in her own skin

Mia Khalifa “spent years feeling uncomfortable” in her own skin.

The Middle Eastern beauty, who moved from Lebanon to Washington D.C. in 2001, said growing up was a struggle because she didn’t “fit the dominant beauty standards” at school which made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin.

She told Vogue: “I grew up in Lebanon until I was eight, after which my family moved to Washington DC in 2001. It was a very confusing time for me, especially with the inherent racism towards Middle Eastern people that came after 9/11. Anyone who looked Middle Eastern was viewed as a threat.

“So not only did I not fit the dominant beauty standards at my new American school – which were all to do with being skinny, blonde and having blue eyes – how I looked actually made people uncomfortable, which was very difficult to reconcile as a young girl.”

She added: “At the same time, I didn’t fit in with Lebanese beauty ideals either, as I was very overweight. As a result, my relationship with beauty has been extremely difficult, and I’ve often struggled with issues around self-esteem.”

Recently, the 30-year-old influencer has been collaborating with a number of brands in order to reclaim her image through fashion which she says feels empowering.

She said: “Fashion has given me the opportunity to express myself creatively. Recently, I have been lucky enough to work with a number of brands and publications who have been keen to collaborate with me, which I’ve found really empowering.

“Fashion has also given me a sense of freedom and confidence, which has allowed me to embrace dressing for the female rather than the male gaze. It’s given me a louder voice, and helped me to embrace who I am.

“I’ve stopped trying to dress like a white girl, I’ve stopped trying to do my make-up like a white girl. It’s only for a short time that I’ve felt comfortable in my skin.”