It was two years ago that beauty blogger Shahd Batal made the decision to start wearing her hijab. With that choice, she found a deeper connection to her spirituality, while also discovering a stronger sense of self-identity. "I was going through a lot," says the Sudanese-American. "I was really confused at the time, and I really turned to my religion."
Although she had to rework her YouTube channel, which primarily focused on natural hair tutorials, Batal has continued releasing videos. Now she covers everything from skin-care routines, makeup tutorials, and lifestyle vlogs. With the support of her fans and over 200K Instagram followers, she has also been able to work with prominent brands — all while wearing her hijab.
After a recent move from Minnesota to Los Angeles, Batal has faced battles of prejudice, which she feels come from a place of misunderstanding. "I feel like people just refuse to believe that I'm a normal girl," she says. "It's really sad to know that people might judge me because of my religion. And I think that comes from a lack of knowledge and a lack of empathy."
To learn more about the experiences of Muslim women living in L.A., Batal takes us on a adventure through the city. First stop, a halal manicure from Olive & June, then a henna application. Finally, a deep conversation with the founder of a hijab company, who shares how she dealt with religious discrimination.
Watch the video above to see what it's really like to be a Muslim woman in America.