Hegab Rehab: http://hegab-rehab.blogspot.com/Mama I Married a Masri : http://3beeta.blogspot.com/
What cartoon character best describes you?
Oh god. I have no idea. Probably the fat lion from care bears - because he is fat, cool, a redhead and likes to roar.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I had a very boring desk job where I had very little work and a lot of time to stare at the clock. So to kill the boredom I browsed hijab blogs and decided I would start my own because it seemed easy enough and it would occupy my time. I also wanted to start an Australian hijabi source as there were none out there at the time. From there I got bored making fashion sets so I decided to start another one where I could write down my thoughts and tell stories. Then I began writing a book for some unknown reason and began blogging that.
How did you come up with the name of your blog(s)? And could you tell us the story behind each one?
Hegab Rehab: I specifically wanted a catchy title and I could find nothing to rhyme with 'hijab' so my next option was to write it as 'hegab' (which is the Egyptian pronunciation) and the first rhyming word that popped into my head was 'rehab'. I then decided hegab rehab stood for "hijab rehabilitation" and began running with it. It seems to have stuck and is working for me, even though it took a few months to get people reading and for it to get popular.
Mama I Married a Masri: I basically had no idea what to name my second blog. I knew it was basically going to be sort of a personal life-chronicler blogging exercise, so I wanted the title to sum up some part of my life and the only thing that sort of stuck in my mind was the title I have now.
How has blogging affected your life/career?
Well, I’m a teacher so the hijab side really has nothing to do with that - so it hasn’t affected my career in anyway - although the popularity of the hijab blog did push me to open up my own online store. So it did add a little business on the side. I think blogging in a way has opened my eyes up a bit and made me think about things a little more. instead of experiencing or witnessing something simple, I know take time to take it in, reflect over it and if it strikes me as somewhat interesting I blog about it because I have this urge to tell people about what I saw or what happened that day.
What are your favorite blogs? Why?
Oh! I might get killed for saying this - but I don’t really read other people's blogs. I usually scroll through other hijab blogs and a few others but there aren’t any that I read religiously.
Do you have any advice for sisters who are starting a blog?
It takes time to get followers. You might be writing for two months and you still might not get a lot of readers - but write and they will come. At the start I had only a four readers and thought so many times about closing it because I felt I didn’t have an audience, but I stuck with it and watched it grow. So patience is needed!
But more than that - I think it’s important to be real and just be yourself. Write how you want to write and let people see the world through your perspective - not the perspective you think people expect of you just because your Muslim or female or whatever.
What do you find the most difficult/most rewarding part of having a blog?
All the encouragement and the readers saying nice things; how I have somehow helped them or that they love the work I do. Makes me smile. I don’t really find anything difficult about it at all. I do it in my spare time and it’s never really been a hassle.
Other than your blog, where do you promote your creative work?
Nowhere really. I design and make some abayas for myself (most don't make the website), so I guess that counts as promotion. It gives me a chance to promote my business when people come up and ask about the hijab or abaya I am wearing at that moment.
How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Well blogging doesn’t put food on my table and doesn’t keep me warm at night, so its definitely something that is a spare time only activity. It kind of balances itself out once you know your priorities.
What book you’d like to read?
I have about 20 on my list right now. I’m a huge reader - always have my nose in a book. I’m reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol at the moment - but I think I have to get started on Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I have had that damn book sitting on my bookshelf for about two years and have only got about ten pages in. I hate leaving books unfinished. Actually scrap that - next on my list is anything by Bryce Courtenay. Anything by him is fantastic. No one tells a story quite like that guy.
If you knew, you would not fail in any kind of attempt, what would you like to achieve in 114 days?
To secure a place in heaven for myself and my loved ones. I think that would be the most important thing I could attempt at securing. Or winning lotto.
Thank you Ange. Its been a pleasure having you as our first guest.