This Entrepreneur’s Story Is A Master Class In Confidence

Fate has a way of finding you, even when you’re busy making other plans. Growing up, Nadia Azmy knew art and design were her true loves, but she believed they were meant to be her passions, not her career. In fact, she was this close to taking the LSAT, until a good friend advised her to pursue her dreams instead. So, Nadia took a leap of faith — and it brought her all the way from the North Coast of Egypt to the bustling streets of NYC, where she’s now an art director and budding entrepreneur.
In partnership with ALDO, we spoke with Nadia about the milestones that brought her here, the even more exciting places she’s headed next, and the power pieces she wore along the way. Read on for a truly inspirational story of how one woman transformed her passion into purpose.
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You have this incredible story of taking a leap to move to NYC and pursue your passion.
“In 2015, I was working as a receptionist in rural Michigan, and I decided to use my paycheck to apply to Parsons’ graphic design program. I've always been passionate about design, but growing up in a traditional Middle Eastern community, I was expected to pursue a more traditional career like medicine, law, or engineering. I was studying for the LSAT after completing my undergrad studies, but I had a friend who’d become a lawyer instead of pursuing his love of music, and he advised me to follow my passion instead.”
So when did you learn your leap of faith paid off?
“That summer, I was in Egypt visiting family on the North Coast, and I can vividly remember the moment I received the email from Parsons saying I was accepted. I was so thrilled but also panicked. The program started in two weeks, and I was still on the beach! Within a day, I booked a one-way ticket to New York City and never looked back. That was a defining moment in my life — I knew I had to do something that made me uncomfortable to be truly happy.”
Where did your passion for design come from?
“Growing up, I went to a private school where some years we had art class and some years we didn't; the years we didn't, I disliked school with a passion. Art and design were my escape. I always knew this is what I was meant to do.”
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Did you know you were destined for New York, too?
“I fell in love with NYC when I was a kid through listening to my dad tell me about his years in the city. His passion and drive, all of it was multiplied here. I knew this was the place I needed to be. I’d outgrown Michigan and was ready to take on a bigger challenge.”
Did New York change your style?
“The way I dressed in the Midwest was pretty safe compared to my adventurous looks now! It was the nature of the place and the job I had, too. You couldn’t be too wild, but I was good at slipping in a personal touch — jewelry or a great pair of boots. I used to shy away from being different, but now I dress in a way that feels like me. I love that in New York you can wear whatever you want, do whatever you want, and, most importantly, be whomever you want to be.”
What’s your style like now?
“Now I work at a digital marketing agency. I always assumed once I worked in a professional setting, I’d have to dress in, frankly, boring clothes! But luckily, the culture is super laid-back and I can wear looks that define me.”
So what defines your style now?
“I'm always running around the city for meetings, so I can't be bothered with anything high-maintenance. I like outfits that are effortless, unpredictable, and a reflection of my mood. I’ll wear a dress with architectural details and a cool pair of sneakers. Or an oversized tee, mom jeans, and my gold chains on the weekend. In this moment, I feel care-free, like I don't owe anyone an explanation; I can be myself and I can be comfortable in my skin.”
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What’s next for you?
“I want to continue to work on projects I'm passionate about and ensure that I have a positive social impact. I want everything I do to lead to a greater good and to help develop meaningful concepts, ideas, projects, and brands.”
What project are you most excited about developing in the future?
“I recently cofounded MINAAZINE — a digital platform that highlights art and design in the Middle East, North Africa, and their diasporas. It was something I always wished I had growing up in terms of community, having a space that celebrates who you are, and encouraging less-traditional career paths like art and design. So it’s a really meaningful project that I can’t wait to develop more.”
That’s awesome. When you picture yourself in five or 10 years, what do you see?
“Style-wise, I see myself maintaining the playful and unapologetic element I'm so comfortable with now. I never want to be one of those people that dresses or acts a certain way because it's 'expected,' rather it's about what makes me happy and comfortable in that moment. In general, I see myself living my life, making art, empowering others to accept and love themselves, providing honest insight into my culture, and collaborating on projects that I'm passionate about. Just being happy — that's a big one!”
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