A hijab-wearing beauty blogger has joined the ranks of supermodels and pop stars as the latest person to be named as a brand ambassador for Cover Girl cosmetics.
Nura Afia, a practicing Muslim, will appear in commercials and on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square wearing a hijab while promoting one of the largest cosmetics companies in the US.
Afia is one of the only women to appear in an advertising campaign for a major cosmetics or fashion brand in the US while wearing a hijab.
“I grew up being insecure about wearing the hijab, and I never thought I would see Muslim women represented on such a large scale,” Afia told Refinery29.
But Afia on her own has increased representation by acquiring more than 200,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, which is filled with videos that showcase her make-up techniques using drugstore and high-end products.
“I hope [this campaign] will show Muslim women that brands care about us as consumers and we’re important, especially hijabis,” Afia said. “We can be featured on TV, can be featured on billboards in Times Square, can be represented.”
Her appointment comes as more brands increase diversity in advertising campaigns — weeks before Afia was announced as a brand ambassador Cover Girl hired its first cover boy, 17-year-old makeup artist James Charles.
The hijab has become more visible in the US and Europe in the past two years. Designer Anniesa Hasibuan held the first runway show where every model wore a hijab in September, and in 2015 model Mariah Idrissi wore a hijab in a video campaign for H&M.
Afia is part of a wave of Muslim beauty bloggers who have large followings on Instagram and YouTube.
Her video posts routinely get tens of thousands of views, including a soft smoky eye tutorial with more than 320,000 views and a guide to how she gets ready for date night, which has more than 300,800 views.
She also post video blogs from vacations and from events with her family.
Afia started watching YouTube videos while trying to pass the time while breastfeeding her daughter. She started making her own videos because she was disappointed that few of the videos featured women in hijabs. Afia told Refinery29 in December 2015: “I wanted to show people that I can still be married and a mum and do whatever the hell I want — my scarf isn’t going to stop me.”