YouTube series AYA aims to empower women - GulfToday

YouTube series AYA aims to empower women

series AYA 2

AYA: ‘As You Are’ is a YouTube series whose episodes cover regular content such as fashion and beauty.

Manjula Ramakrishnan

AYA: ‘As You Are’ is a YouTube series produced for Gen Z viewers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East. AYA’s episodes will cover a spectrum of themes, from regular content such as fashion and beauty and as the series USP will focus on sublime issues such as self-improvement, entrepreneurialism and empowerment.

AYA presenter Marwa Hashemi explains how the series has helped her and her team grow as empowered professionals.

What is the basic essence of AYA that inspires you?

AYA stands for As You Are and it is the title of the show that initially aroused my curiosity! It is a platform that empowers women to take pride in who we are, no matter where we come from, our physical appearance or our position in society. AYA has given my creativity more definition, not only in the field of fashion, but also about issues that women face such as self-acceptance, body-image and similar. 


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How does AYA help women in GCC follow their dreams?

The content that AYA platform presents is driven from the aspirations of Gen Z, which is a generation that is born to achieve. AYA provides the knowledge, the inspiration, and the tools to help every Gen Z female find her ultimate dream and achieve it. I believe it's a good way to inspire both younger and older women to be more confident and expressive of what they truly want to be. AYA platform provides them with the freedom of expression where their ideas are nurtured and produced into something great and amazing. 

What is your personal message through AYA?

I am passionate about fashion and beauty. I believe the two are not just physical attributes but also represent self-empowerment, especially for women. As women, we are quite often judged by our physical appearance, hence I decided at a young age to use fashion as a tool to empower and stand up for myself in a discerning world. And AYA provides me with the opportunity to show my fashion style and express my ideas. The series is therefore an expression of me and portraying empowered women like me through this show. It is not just about clothes or fashion; it is about how I feel about myself and how people perceive me and I hope to inspire them through my work in the series.

series AYA 1 The AYA platform provides women with freedom of expression where their ideas are nurtured and produced into something great.

How has AYA helped you evolve as a professional?

The journey with AYA has inspired me to be fearless and more expressive when it comes to my ideas and thoughts. I am now open to constructive criticism which I believe is important in every learning aspect of life. AYA has helped me be who I truly want to be and I'm still revisiting the things I learnt from AYA to grow more and be proud of myself.

What is the influence your cultural background has on your work?

Coming from a strong cultural background does place considerable responsibility on me; but it also presents an opportunity to help me improve my confidence so I can represent myself and my culture in the best way possible. However, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between cultural and individual expectations and not compromise one for the other.

What is the current focus of the show amidst the pandemic?

We are proud to be a platform made in UAE and how this nation has handled the pandemic. Now that the lock-down is over, we will focus more on sending out positive messages across to people about the Dubai community through our coverage on fashion, entertainment, hospitality and cultural destinations...the list is merely indicative, for AYA platform will feature all contemporary issues that need addressing.

How can chic complement modesty in attire?

I believe the way one dresses depicts how and what people think of them. I dress in a way that brings out my inner personality and respects my religion at the same time. Therefore I try to find pieces which will compliment my style, yet be very edgy and bold…something that will serve as my signature fashion style.

What are the current trends in the GCC region?

We are seeing a lot of Dad Sandals, which are the chunky sandals sometimes being worn with socks! Sheer looks and strappy shoes over trousers are also making a huge buzz among the fashionistas.

What would you recall as your favourite moments in AYA?

 The LIVE show has been very special to me; we enjoyed experimenting and chatting with fashion and beauty experts. We learnt a lot about being who you really want to be, what we aspire to be and we hope to influence women in our society to do so too. I hope our viewers will enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed putting it all together.

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