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← Beyond beauty | Layla Al Siyabi | TEDxYouth@DPSMIS

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Showing Revision 35 created 09/26/2020 by David DeRuwe.

  1. Hi guys. How are you all doing?
  2. I literally just flew from Muscat
    to be here for you guys today.
  3. Thank you for having me.
  4. (Applause) (Cheers)
  5. So I want to start off
    by asking you all a question.

  6. Do you guys have
    a hard time being true to yourself?
  7. Think about that for a minute,
    and we will revisit this.
  8. So over the years, I've had
    a very hard time being myself.
  9. To answer the question myself,
    it would be a big "yes."
  10. Because first of all,
    I'm not your conventional Muslim woman.
  11. Second of all, growing up, I didn't go
    through anything that was conventional.
  12. I came from a divorced family,
  13. multicultural,
  14. lived in a different country
    than I was born in.
  15. So all of these aspects set me apart
    from the groups that I would usually see.
  16. My name is Layla Al Siyabi,

  17. and today, I would like to talk
    to you guys about being beyond labels.
  18. Let me take you guys back
    to where I really felt very vulnerable
  19. and very afraid of being myself.
  20. It was the time when I first gave birth
    to my first-born child.
  21. I was twenty years old, and we had
    other plans - me and my husband.
  22. We said we'd travel together,
  23. we'd do things together
    before we really settled down with a kid,
  24. but that was not the case.
  25. So we had this baby,
    and the first time I looked at her -
  26. I know what they say,
    you feel this ecstatic feeling
  27. when you look at your child,
    and you feel overwhelmed,
  28. and they show you in movies -
    it's like a dream come true,
  29. but it was nothing like that for me.
  30. It was nothing like that for me
    when I looked at her.
  31. (Applause)
  32. There I was, a 20-year-old, young woman
  33. looking down at this baby,
    looking up at me crying,
  34. and I was like, "What did
    I just get myself into?
  35. Am I going to be a good mother?
  36. How am I going to balance out,
    you know, having a -
  37. am I even going to have a career?
  38. Forget finishing my education."
  39. I had all these dreams for myself,
    which I felt like they were crumbling
  40. because I just had this card dealt
    in my life that I had no clue of.
  41. So a couple of months went by,
    I settled into being a mom,
  42. with the help of my family,
    of course, and my husband.
  43. I was still searching for answers;
    I was still looking around.
  44. I was still thinking, "Okay,
    I need to get my education done
  45. while I have this baby at home."
  46. Of course, I didn't go
    the conventional way

  47. and go to university with my friends.
  48. They were having so much fun -
    I would see it on Facebook -
  49. and I would be like,
    "Oh my God, are you serious?
  50. You went partying here,
    and then you went traveling there?"
  51. And there I was, at home
    with a baby, and I was feeling terrible,
  52. and I didn't know who I was.
  53. I didn't know at all, if I'm still
    the Layla that I was before my twenties,
  54. or what is happening to me right now.
  55. So it took me a while to figure out
    all these questions I had.
  56. But one day I just stopped
    scrolling through Facebook,
  57. which is so bad for your health
    when you're going through things,
  58. and you're looking at other people
    and other people's timelines.
  59. I said, "I'm not going
    to do this to myself.
  60. I'm going to stop asking myself
    all these questions,
  61. and start doing things
    before it's too late."
  62. So I went on to get my business
    and marketing degree, with a baby,

  63. which was really, really hard.
  64. I stayed awake at night, doing my work,
  65. my essays, while in the morning,
  66. I had to wake up with a baby
    as my alarm clock.
  67. Four years went on, I got my BBA,
  68. and then I finally decided
    that I should look into doing other things
  69. because the corporate world
    wasn't really fitting
  70. into my picture with the mom life,
  71. and I wasn't really keeping up
    with all the timings,
  72. and I had a hard time finding a maid.
  73. So I was like, "I'm just going
    to try to do things my way

  74. because I've been doing that
    for the past four years of my life,
  75. and it has been working out great."
  76. So I decided I'm going to try out
    my love for photography.
  77. I'm going to touch base with makeup
    because I loved doing all of these things
  78. before I had the baby,
    so let's get back into the game.
  79. And then finally, I decided
    to come across fashion,
  80. where I did some courses
    on fashion design.
  81. And then I went on ahead
    and started styling people,
  82. my friends, my cousins.
  83. And people liked it, the women loved it,
  84. because I wasn't dressing
    the conventional women or the models.
  85. I was dressing everyday women
    that are like me.
  86. We're not a size zero,
    we're not tall, we're not blond,
  87. and we're just everyday women with a job,
    and it was going pretty well.
  88. So I said, "You know what, it's about time
    I take it to the next level."
  89. And I looked into opening
    my own styling studio,
  90. but things weren't looking very great
    with having a baby
  91. and still no proper help,
    and being here with no extended family.
  92. So I decided I'm going
    to do something from home.
  93. So I started doing things from home,
    which worked out in my favor
  94. because most of my friends
    would be comfortable coming over,
  95. and I would start styling them.
  96. Couple of years went on,
    and I started feeling pressured

  97. in the fashion industry.
  98. I looked around.
  99. Even though this is in Doha,
    but we have like a lot of cattiness
  100. going on in the fashion industry -
    it's just like anywhere else.
  101. I looked around and I felt completely odd.
  102. I felt different, and I said,
    "You know what?"
  103. And there was always a competition
    between the people and the models,
  104. and they always want to push
    people off, even as an adult.
  105. They want to push people off
    that are different,
  106. so that the more -
  107. the more generic version
    of the industry can go on.
  108. So that is when I looked deep into myself,
    and I said, "I'm not going to take this,
  109. I'm going to put myself
    on a broader platform
  110. where I can connect with women
    just like myself.
  111. I'm pretty sure that there are many women
    like myself that I can reach out to."
  112. So I decided to put myself online.

  113. And that is when I started
    my platform "BeingLayla_A."
  114. It is completely
    about being true to myself
  115. and talking about fashion,
    beauty, lifestyle,
  116. along with the realness
    that comes with being a mom
  117. and being an entrepreneur.
  118. It's not all happy, golden days.
  119. There are days
    that I'm terribly off of plan.
  120. Like today, I missed my flight
    because my son, in the morning,
  121. had a really bad tummy ache,
    and he was vomiting, and I said,
  122. "You know what, I can't go like this
    without knowing he's going to be okay."
  123. So I had to push my flight,
    and then come here,
  124. and I informed them
    that I cannot go on for the first bit.
  125. So you see, I kept customizing
    my life until I'm here today.
  126. And of course, along the way,
    I realized my daughter was the best thing

  127. that ever happened to me
    because she made me see life -
  128. (Applause)
  129. She made me see life
    in a completely different way.
  130. She gave me a second chance to finding
    this Layla in front of you today.
  131. If I denied myself the right
    to feel vulnerable, feel pressured,
  132. or to ask those questions, then
    I wouldn't be here in front of you today.
  133. My advice to anyone that feels
    like they're out-of-the-box,
  134. I would say, being yourself doesn't mean
    you can just do one thing.

  135. It means being different,
    and sticking to the decisions you make.
  136. If you're on a journey
    on finding yourself,
  137. let me just tell you
    it's not going to happen overnight,
  138. it's not going to happen
    maybe even in a year,
  139. but the key is - major key alert:
  140. the key is to stay true to yourself
    and stick to those decisions
  141. because eventually,
  142. you're going to practice,
    and you're going to make it through,
  143. and you're going to have a habit
    of not giving a damn
  144. about what people say in the process.
  145. (Applause)
  146. I'm sorry I forgot to change my slides.
  147. I think I'm not going to go
    with the slides now.
  148. So the other thing
    about finding yourself in this world

  149. is also the fact that you always
    have to have a vision for yourself,
  150. set goals for yourself, and stick to them.
  151. Don't let anything
    or anyone push you aside.
  152. You can always fall off the wagon,
    but then you can always get back on
  153. because there are circumstances
    that you cannot -
  154. that's beyond your control.
  155. There are higher powers out there,
    so you better be aware of that.
  156. Just always make plan A, B, C, D, E, F,
    go up until Z, if you have to,
  157. and that's going to help you
    through your journey.
  158. And some of the questions
    that I asked myself when I got started
  159. was, "Am I being true to myself?"
  160. Being yourself doesn't mean that -
  161. Everybody hears the term,
    "be yourself," these days,
  162. but what does it really mean
    to be yourself in this day and age.
  163. I don't think there is one way to do it.
  164. And also, the way to look at it
    is to say, "being true to yourself,"
  165. because each time
    you go through this journey,
  166. you're just going
    to be put against decisions
  167. that are going to be -
  168. either you're comfortable with
    or uncomfortable with.
  169. If you decide to take
    the comfortable bits,
  170. then know that it's not going to be easy.
  171. You're going to feel vulnerable,
    you're going to feel out-of-the-box,
  172. you're going to feel like
    people just don't get you.
  173. And that's okay
    because at the end of the day,
  174. the price you pay is nothing
    compared to what you gained.
  175. And lastly, I would like to leave you
    with the questions that I asked myself

  176. when I got started:
  177. "What am I doing to contribute to myself,
    the world around me?"
  178. "Am I being true to myself,
    genuinely because of my happiness,
  179. or is it to please others?"
  180. "Am I living my life to the full potential
    for myself and my family,
  181. or is it for others?"
  182. These are some of the questions
    that I asked when I got started,
  183. and I would love
    for you guys to get started.
  184. It's important that you get started
    as soon as possible.
  185. Do not doubt yourself,
    do not wait around for the right time.
  186. There are always going to be haters.
  187. It comes with a big load
    where people don't understand you.
  188. They just don't get what you're doing.
  189. Some people are going to be
    against what you do, against what you say,
  190. but that doesn't mean
    you stop because of them.
  191. You keep on going.
  192. You build yourself up as you go along,
    and you become brave.
  193. So that's about it.
  194. Thank you so much.
  195. (Applause) (Cheers)