Rahan Alemi is a 19-year-old creator, mannequin, and pupil based mostly in California.
She began sporting the hijab in 2021 and earned 5 figures this 12 months by means of social media.
This is Rahan’s story, as advised to reporter Shriya Bhattacharya.
This as-told-to essay relies on a dialog with Rahan Alemi, a 19-year-old content material creator with 200,000 Instagram followers and 385,000 TikTok followers. It has been edited for size and readability. Insider verified Alemi’s earnings with documentation she supplied.I began modeling after I was about 16 years outdated in Orange County, California. I had seen my older sister mannequin when she began highschool, and I wished to be like her. She was my inspiration for stepping into trend. I began going along with her to picture shoots after which began doing runway reveals. My household is Muslim, so I actually preferred doing something with South Asian or Middle Eastern vibes.I began getting a lot of consideration from my modeling, in order that’s after I began posting a lot on social media.I’ve had Instagram since center faculty, and I really like trend, so I’d simply type myself and take pictures. I additionally posted pictures from my runway reveals and shoots with Revolve and Lulu’s.My first TikTok wasn’t till 2019. It began off as enjoyable, like a form of non-public story time the place I’d do dwell interviews on Rodeo Drive the place I’d ask individuals random questions like “curly hair or straight hair?” Those movies would blow up — a few of them had 5 million views. Then, it turned to trend when I discovered that is the kind of content material my followers actually wished.Everything modified after I placed on the hijab. My content material grew to become extra about modest trend, my viewers was extra numerous, and my collaborations have been about type garments with the hijab. I’ve made round $15,300 since 2022 began, with 385,000 followers on TikTok and 200,000 followers on Instagram. I’m nonetheless modeling too, and finding out for my Bachelor’s diploma on the University of California, Irvine. Ever since I grew to become a hijabi, I really feel extra at peace with myself and with what I’m creating on-line.I began sporting the hijab due to TikTok, and it is now making me cash.I’d by no means thought of sporting the hijab till I used to be in highschool. Even although my household is Muslim, nobody in my rapid household wore one.TikTok helped me make that call. I noticed so many different Muslim girls on social media speaking about their journey, and I received a lot of assist from the web neighborhood I had constructed. I made a decision to go for it on August 13, 2021, after I was 18, and it is now been a 12 months since I began sporting it.In the start, I used to be anxious about how it might impression my social media profession, particularly as a result of I needed to archive all Instagram posts and movies on TikTok earlier than I began sporting the hijab. I had round 400 posts on Instagram with out the hijab, so these cannot be seen anymore. I needed to change all of my movies on TikTok to non-public.The great factor about being a hijabi and posting content material is that so a lot of my followers really feel seen. My following actually grew from final 12 months, and extra individuals who establish as Muslim began following me. I additionally began incomes cash by means of the TikTok creator fund.Since January, I’ve made $693 by means of the TikTok Creator Fund and $507 by means of Instagram’s affiliate internet marketing program. Most of my earnings this 12 months has been from paid partnerships, the place trend manufacturers, eating places, and even Muslim courting apps like Salams pay me to publish content material.Brands primarily attain out to me as a result of they need illustration. Right after I placed on the hijab and began posting content material, a lot of manufacturers reached out to me and shared that they wished to be a a part of my journey and work collectively. Some like Truly Beauty and SexiMi Tea actually wished hijabi illustration, whereas Muslim-facing manufacturers like Veiled Collection and Nominal wished so as to add me to their roster. Some of the businesses I labored with earlier than I wore the hijab additionally wished to proceed their partnership.From what I’ve seen, there aren’t many hijabis who give attention to trend when creating content material. People like to see the outfits I put collectively sporting the hijab, so it is secure to say that making this resolution has introduced me much more alternatives.I get a lot of hate on-line, however it helps my content material do even betterOnce I switched to hijab dealing with content material, I did get a lot of hate on-line. Before August 2021, most of my followers did not know I used to be Muslim as a result of I did not speak about it, and my pictures and movies targeted on trend. Now, it is fairly apparent what my religion is and the way I exploit it to type my appears.It took me a whereas to comprehend that there are all the time going to be individuals who do not approve of what you are doing. The method I give it some thought now could be: If you do not have haters, you are not doing one thing proper. They’re really my largest followers, as a result of they watch the whole lot and remark, so it helps engagement. It’s all a part of the creator fund on TikTok, and likewise has some followers coming to my protection, so the feedback part is all the time fascinating. The criticism helps me. It additionally permits me to have a look at particular elements of my content material that might possibly be a bit higher, and enhance it. I stay optimistic and let the hate be motivation to do higher and show them improper.