Unapologetic Style: Miski Muse's Body Image Revolution
by Abigail Best
Photography by Sophie Hur
For Miski Muse, model and street style maven, posting photos publicly is more than self-promotion or a pleasant pastime; it’s a form of revolution. Somali Kenyan by way of Maine, Miski has been making waves, both as a model and in her fearless dedication to being herself. “I have all the reasons in the world to not put myself out there,” she told me, citing hateful comments she receives regarding everything from her body to the way she wears the hijab. “If you take into consideration all that ‘feedback’ or whatever they want to frame it as, then I would probably not exist. I think me just continuing to live my life unapologetically, despite all the reasons to not do that, is revolutionary.”
Miski’s style revolution has not gone unnoticed; she was recently appointed fashion director for 1991, an up-and-coming zine by and for the Somali diaspora (the project is headed by writer Safy-Hallan Farah). Scattered across the globe by the Somali Civil War that broke out in the early 90s, Miski told me the artists and writers of the diaspora have found a way to come together as a community over the internet. “There is a huge following, there are so many talented artists, so many talented people, but there is just a lack of representation,” she said. “There is no single place where you can find all the talent.” Rather than trying to latch onto a pre-existing platform to showcase this talent, the creators of 1991 are developing their own by collaborating with artists such as Yasin Osman and Amaal Nuux to bring their project to life. In the few weeks since 1991 went live on social media, its following has grown exponentially—an indication of the excitement and need for this project in Somali communities worldwide.
While she may be preparing to dress others for 1991, Miski will be drawing from her wealth of personal styling expertise. Growing up in small town Maine, Miski did not always have the space to explore her style, but said her recent move to NYC has given her the freedom to truly express herself. When it comes to her personal style, Miski is all about comfort: “I want to wear pieces that make me feel good about myself,” she said, noting that you will probably never catch her wearing heels, although walkability isn’t the only reason for that. “I’m a sneakerhead,” she confessed, “I’d love to work with Nike...I think it would be awesome to just bring the hijab and maybe a skirt or a dress and some cute sneakers. I’d love to do a shoot along the lines of that.”
Having such a large following has not just attracted haters; most of Miski’s feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “I get so many girls reaching out to me telling me how I have given them the confidence to rock their body and love themselves,” she explained, “it is a feeling that is unmatched.” Body positivity is just a part of why Miski feels she has been able to find such a passionate audience. It is rare to find a model who is both plus-sized and a hijabi. “Being a curvy woman is hard enough, point blank, period,” she said. “All of society is constantly judging you, trying to police your body, and then you go and add a religion aspect to it and now you have all these other people who feel like they have a say in what you should be doing.” In spite of any struggle to be who she is in front of the world, Miski feels passionate about talking openly about who she is, finding a sense of purpose in simply reminding people, “Yes, people like me exist.”
You can follow Miski for more style inspiration: @musegold