Having just celebrated Eid and survived Ramadan, Alhumdulilah, many brides are now planning their weddings! Many are also familiar with Canada´s first ever hijabi reality-TV star, Rania Qureshi. She is one of the experienced shop assistants from TLC´s “Say Yes to the Dress” Canada. Living in Stockholm, Sweden, I am a fan of TLC so when I first watched Rania on this reality show, I was dumbstruck and in a way, relieved. Finally, it´sabouttime! I thought to myself. It is about time someone represented Muslims in a positive light against the odds of negative media portrayal. Being a fan, I thought I had to get to know Rania Qureshi so I contacted her and have had the pleasure of an exclusive interview. Meet celebrity wedding expert, Rania Mohsin, and find out what she wore at her own wedding!
R.How long have you worked for “Say Yes to the Dress Canada?”
Ra.I have worked at Amanda-Lina’s Sposa boutique, home of Say Yes to The Dress Canada since June, 2003. 13 years exactly. Our store got picked to film Say Yes To The Dress Canada in May, 2014.
R.Tell us a little bit about your background in education.
Ra.It´s actually funny. Everybody assumes I studied fashion. As a matter of fact, I actually studied Psychology.
R.How were you approached about the show? Did you feel any uncertainty or hesitation about it for any reason? How did your family react to your decision?
Ra.I had worked for the bridal boutique Amanda-lina’s for quite some time. When I had my twins, I had taken the decision to stay at home with them until they started school. As fate would have it, Amanda-lina’s won the contract to host the show and my previous boss called me up to see if I was interested in doing the show. Initially, I was very hesitant. I was torn between wanting to represent Muslim women on mainstream television versus fear of being ridiculed and being pressured to conform to more ‘liberal’ views.
My family was very supportive and gave me the strength to push aside my fear of being on the spotlight and to go with the flow. After I had participated in a couple of shootings, I realized that my fear was completely unfounded. The production team and film crew were absolutely amazing! They welcomed me with open arms and treated me like I was a celebrity – they allowed me to unshackle myself from my fears and openly express my personality and I’m forever grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to represent Muslim women on television. I hope I didn’t disappoint!
R.How long have you known you wanted to do this? What makes you want to help women find their dream wedding dresses? What inspires you?
Ra.I actually hadn’t set out to work in Bridal when I was a kid. I wanted to be a child psychologist! However, like many things in life, I came to discover my love for Bridal after I had taken up a part-time job at the Boutique. As I began to work with Brides and with dress manufacturers, I came to realize the sheer variety, depth, and flair that make each dress unique. Most of all, I loved the fact that a Bridal dress was an intensely personal choice for almost every bride – as people and their viewpoints are unique, so are Bridal dresses. Matching that feeling, that emotion that a Bride is feeling around ‘her day’ to a dress is an immensely rewarding experience. It feels like you’ve made a small difference in the life of a person – you’ve helped them realize a lifelong dream, and that feeling is magical. I absolutely love that feeling.
When you get the dress right, that is!
R.How did your wedding dress look?
Ra.Yes, Alhamdulillah I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 8 years. This will sound a bit weird, but even though I help countless women pick out their dream wedding dress, I didn’t actually pick mine! I have quite a bit of family and friends back in Pakistan, and unfortunately they were not able to attend my wedding in Canada. So in order to include them in a small part of my ceremony, I had actually told them that I would be okay with anything that they chose! Luckily for me, I loved it (after seeing pictures, of course.
Raniasmiled at the comment.
R.What advice do you have for Hijabi Muslim women about pursuing their dreams in fashion?
Ra.My advice is simple. It’s basically to have fun! If you enjoy working in fashion and it makes you excited to do it everyday, then there is no reason why you should consider anything else. I always have the awareness that our religion has set out boundaries that keep us grounded, not shackles that keep us oppressed. Just because we dress modestly and wear the hijab, doesn’t mean we can’t contribute to fashion and style!
R.What is your motto/quote for life?
Ra.You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
R.Where can we watch the show and at what times, in which country?
Ra.Im not exactly sure what times the show airs, but it can be watched on TLC in following countries:
R.Thank you, Rania. You are truly an inspiration.
Ra.Good luck to all of you ladies who are wedding shopping this season and do not forget to tune into “Say Yes to the Dress!”