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How a Muslim-American glamour girl became the new face of CoverGirl

July 5, 2017 at 6:15 PM EDT
In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, Nura Afia went from watching YouTube videos as a young mother, to becoming a fashion video blogger with an international following, to being named CoverGirl's first Muslim brand ambassador.

NewsHour shares web small logoIn our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to a NewsHour Shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

Just five years ago, Nura Afia was a young mother in Denver who enjoyed watching YouTube videos while taking care of her daughter. It turns out it was time well spent. She began producing her own videos on how to apply makeup. And now she’s a sensation, becoming the first Muslim brand ambassador for CoverGirl.

Mary MacCarthy from Colorado Politics brings us her story from Denver.

NURA AFIA, Model: CoverGirl was the big break for me that I never thought I would get. That was a national beauty campaign that I never thought I would see anyone that looks like me featured in or anyone that dresses like me.

MARY MACCARTHY, Colorado Politics: From this humble home studio, with her daughter’s toys at her feet, Nura Afia has built an international following.

With 340,000 followers on Instagram and over 200,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, the 25-year-old makes a very good living with these tutorials on the art of applying makeup, the benefits of skin care, and how to wear the Muslim hijab.

NURA AFIA: I line the edge up to my scarf.

I posted I was in the “Glamour” magazine today. And someone said, “Congratulations, paving the way for Muslim women everywhere.”

MARY MACCARTHY: It was after Afia built up her own following online that makeup brands started reaching out to her.

Even though her career has taken off, Afia admits it’s a complicated time to be a visible Muslim in the U.S. The atmosphere caused by the election has made her more cautious, while, at the same time, some in her community have been reaching out.

NURA AFIA: More people, I feel like, go out of their way to smile and are nicer. So, I feel like that those few people that are very angry or, you know, scared of Muslims, they are still few and far between.

MARY MACCARTHY: The wider fashion world has begun embracing the hijab, with retail giant H&M featuring a veiled model, and Nike recently launching a hijab sports line.

NURA AFIA: Hijab isn’t just how you dress. It’s supposed to be how you act.

If someone that has never met a Muslim and they meet me, and that’s their first experience, I’m hoping that it’s the best experience, and that wearing the hijab reminds me that it needs to be the best experience for everyone that comes across me.

MARY MACCARTHY: Afia hopes the greater exposure of Islam in the fashion world will help reduce negative stereotypes of Muslim Americans.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Mary MacCarthy in Denver.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And you could even ask what took us so long.