I think I lost count of how many incredible women I’m surrounded with, no for real, how did I get so damn lucky? Oh there it is, luck. I’m fortunate enough to know of these women, to interact with some of them, to watch them punch through outdated social expectations and nail their damn dreams. Our generation is brimming with powerful badass women, this list is only a tiny piece of appreciation to the more vocal of these women. Y’all seriously need to give ‘em a follow, I guarantee life changes, for real.
1- Sherien Shatta @SherienShatta
Sherien is – basically – what girlboss dreams are made of. Her father is entrepreneur extraordinaire Mohammed Shatta, founder and chairman of Shatta Fabrics, he is also the man who encouraged Sherien to be everything she wanted to be. She is a shareholder and board member of Shatta Fabrics and founder and CEO of Sherry’s, an as-of-now still small (but incredibly successful) company that mostly produces home decor.
The 20 year old is a whirlwind of absolute power, in fact, she runs around in circles in order to achieve and maintain a balanced life. The business major’s day – somehow – includes going to university to attend classes, working out, eating nourishing food, studying and working on assignments, going to the office, and occasionally visiting the factory.
Sherien manages to fit in time for her family and friends, she actually leads a very active social life, she also has time to travel and satiate her wanderlust, oh, and time for conferences and meetings too.
You’d think she’d be miserable, but Sherien is actually brimming with confidence and positivity, I would know, she constantly throws positive affirmations at my miserable self. She also happens to be a brilliant photographer and a gorgeous singer. Badass just doesn’t cut it when it comes to Sherien.
2- Zeinab Shafei @ConsciousCairene
Woman of the hour, literally. Zeinab has been vegan for three years now, she’s an avid yoga practitioner, and is constantly promoting wellness. She currently writes for Egypt’s leading wellness online magazine The Daily Crisp, with a new piece coming out every Thursday, it’s honestly one of the things I await at the end of each week.
Zeinab also helps her mother – founder of Glow – in managing the brand. Effective posts on transitioning into a healthier and more zero waste lifestyle are her speciality, it is especially more powerful since so many people struggle to transition into a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in Egypt and a zero waste existence in general.
She is the expert on all the ins and outs of finding everything you need to help you transition, including tips, local products, and so much more. Honestly, if you are someone who cares about holistic health and the environment, then you need to follow Zeinab ASAP.
3- Jeena El Hussiny @JeenaElhussiny
This generation’s most well-hidden gem, Jeena is one of the most brilliant girls I know. The current 21 year-old started out as in intern at Flare 3 years ago, she then proceeded to start her own PR Management agency MNGMNT6 (@mngmnt6), intern at the illustrious Okhtein, and is now interning at Maison Pyramide. In simpler terms, she interned at this country’s top two PR agencies and a local-now- international brand.
Jeena is an Integrated Marketing Communications major in her junior year, she manages her own agency as well as her MP internship, a 5 year long relationship, and an incredible dedication to the gym. Unlike many other girlbosses, Jeena likes to maintain her privacy, hence why I called her a hidden gem, she is not necessarily hiding, but she’ll never put herself out there on social media.
How she does it all I will never know, Jeena is not just an expert on the local fashion scene but the local media scene as well. She also happens to be a super-talented makeup artist (@makeupwithjeena) and manages quite a few local brands. PR guru just doesn’t make Jeena justice, don’t you think?
4- Farida Bustani @FaridaBustani
I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Farida a year and a bit ago, her photography inspires my writing, she’s quite literally my muse, if you follow me you know that. Farida is not just a travel blogger, she’s also a gifted photographer and an electrifying visionary.
Her wanderlust knows no bounds and she actually has no qualms about going out and following it, she’s lived in Gouna for most of her life and is currently attending university in Lyon, France. I have yet to see someone who does portraits better than Farida.
The 21 year old’s juggling act is difficult to maintain, but she’s got the talent, the patience, the passion, and the curiosity to always do better than even she herself expects. She understands the risks, but she takes them anyway, because she wants the world to see how beautiful “her world” is. This girl is – literally – going places.
5- Hana Helal @offiziellehelal
The most kickass girl on Earth right now. I’ve known Hana since I was in eighth grade and she was in sixth, so I literally watched her grow. Imagine our surprise when during Hayah’s Annual Talent Show ‘18, Hana comes out, music vibrates through the walls, and she starts dancing like her life depends on it. It was the most epic reveal in the history of all reveals, she was still self-taught then, and it was brilliant.
Here she is a year later, teaching her own class at Adam’s Dance Studio, winning dance competitions left, right, and center, making appearances on TV, and dancing alongside fucking Assala in her latest music video. Hana was born in 2003, she’s 16. I’ve got no comments. The hiphop dancer’s life mission is to make it internationally, she’s hellbent on encouraging girls to take this step, thoroughly screwing up the outdated culture stigmas surrounding dance.
You can find countless videos of Hana’s own choreography or covers of international choreographers’ all over her account – even Jojo Gomez knows who Hana is, it’s insane. Pride and joy, for real.
6- Kholoud ElMahdy @KholoudElmahdy
Kholoud is all the art you need in life. The 21 year old is a Fine Arts student studying painting, she’s a huge hit as a photographer, and the most dedicated coffee lover in all of Cairo. Kholoud’s feed is a mix of coffee, her brilliant photography work, paintings, dogs, and the occasional – if you’re lucky – snippet of her mystifying voice.
I fell in love with her the moment I saw her feed, having followed Kholoud for a couple of years now, I can confidently say she is the most relatable soul on Instagram. She’s brutally honest, she’s got incredible taste, doesn’t take shit from anyone, and is so talented in all the artistic fields it makes me want to cry.
There’s also the healthy dose of sad quotes that sober you up with a counterbalance of just the right amount of positivity to balance it all out. For lack of better term, she’s an old soul. Kholoud did work for some of the most notorious and popular local jewelry and bags brands and occasionally gives talks/workshops on Photography.
7- Sohaila Kandil @SohailaKandil
If I could describe Sohaila in one word it’d be goddess. That’s what Sohaila is, an absolute goddess. She’s bold, intense, and powerful and she’s not afraid to show it. The 19 year old supermodel left for Paris last year to pursue her college degree.
She’s serious about her health, her studies, her modeling career, and the environment – she is not about petty bullshit, she actually knows her shit. The long-time pescatarian admitted last night to having been vegan for a week so far, she’s always sharing not just her successes but her struggles too, it’s always real with her, even through social media.
For years she juggled her French diploma, modeling for the region’s leading fashion brands, and taking care of herself, adding in time for family and friends. She’s one of this generation’s most badass women, not just because she is doing something or is fighting for something, but because this gorgeous human being does both. Role model goals.
8- Farida Bassiouni @FaridaK_
The stunning 19 year old graduated high school last year and kicked off to Florida to pursue her dream, nope not college, she hit aviation school, and you know what? 6 months later, she’s got her private pilot license.
The aviation field in Egypt is competitive enough as is, it is also predominantly male, and its not till you gain years and years of experience do you actually get a chance, but did that stop Farida? Never. Actually, from the quick convo we had a while back, this only strengthened her resolve.
This is not just a girl breaking glass ceilings, this is a teen girl with extreme guts going after what sets her alive with an incredible amount of passion. So if you don’t want to go to college and want to go do aviation or culinary or beauty therapy, instead? Don’t let anyone stop you.
9- Taya Bakhoum @DressedByTaya
Taya started her styling account almost exactly a year ago, in that year, she styled editorial shoots, ads, and even celebrities – including Sara El Shamy, Hedy Karam, and Asmaa Galal. Taya also did a couple of styling episodes on ElWasfa Beauty where she walks you through styling different items, and she was part of the styling team for VogueArabia x Tiffany & Co’s “Ball of Arabia”.
Should I repeat that she did that in a year? The almost 18 year old is graduating high school this year. She is ridiculously adorable and passionate, she’s always pushing herself, and I’m just beyond impressed.
Taya’s dedication is admirable, she has proven herself time and again, inspirational is too small a word for everything Taya is and has done at such an age in this tiny time-span. This may not mean much, but I cannot help but brim with pride that this girl is GenZ, she gives us all a good name.
10- Mariam Meghres @MariamMeghres
Our favorite taboo wrecker, the 18 year old pole dancing powerhouse is unbelievable, between attending pole classes, teaching her own at her private pole studio, and graduating high school, Mariam is one busy girl.
She’s kickass and she knows it, she’s also not afraid to help other young girls feel that way, there’s a certain rush of heady power that comes with feeling good about yourself. Also, have any of you tried pole? That shit is hard, man, but she makes it look graceful and so utterly effortless you cannot help but be in awe of her. It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to openly practice something that is so taboo, just goes to show you how much of a backbone Mariam’s got.
In her quest for freedom, she found herself, she found her calling, and she relentlessly pursues it. You should too, even if the whole world is against you, even if they shout at you from the rooftops, draw courage and strength from Mariam and follow your damn dreams.
Well, if these supergirls don’t make you want to get up and do something for yourself, if they don’t make you feel like breaking the chains this society has you wrapped in, then honestly I do not know what could. Your age doesn’t matter, your sex doesn’t matter, your experience doesn’t matter, all it takes is the decision to try, the passion to keep going, and the tenacity to help you survive. Let these women inspire you, they are no different to you. Remember, you are never “too young” and your dreams are never “too big”.