Beauty and the East- Being Muslim/Middle Eastern in America

Jan. 21st, 2017 – I’ve been getting several messages lately about why I stopped Beauty and the East TV especially what’s going on in the world today. I launched Beauty and the East TV in 2009. It was a blog/vlog that highlighted positive, fun & interesting stories about Middle Eastern/South Asian/Muslims (aka “brown people”) primarily in the entertainment industry. It was a small project I produced and funded out of pocket…it made some headway and received a lot of great grassroots feedback and support … but I found it difficult to continue because of lack of sponsorship. I stopped it for many years and relaunched Beauty and East last year as the name of my personal blog.

But given what is going on in the world now, and the increased misunderstanding/misconceptions/stereotypes, I DO think it’s important that these stories continue to get highlighted. Not for political or religious reasons – but as a bridge of understanding between cultures and people to promote unity and peace, which is important and much needed right now. The media and news outlets only show evil terrorists who commit bad acts to sell their stories and gain clicks, but there are over 1 billion of us in this world who are normal and just want to live in peace. And many more who are doing great things that often go unnoticed.

So, I will now be posting content not only about my own East-West lifestyle and experiences in America (including personal vlogs – fashion/beauty/family/lifestyle) , but I will also go back to featuring interesting stories that show good things “brown” people are doing and positive influences from Eastern culture. Stay tuned for videos I will create that will show Eastern influences in fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle and entertainment in the U.S.

With everything going on these days, we can either move somewhere else and be silent and “safe” …. or we can stand up and be the example that makes change. Whether that means marching on the streets for equal rights, forming a group, writing a letter… or creating our own media – however small that may be – the world needs more positive stories right now and many Americans do need to see the “Beauty of the East” -ern people that live among them – the millions of peaceful, educated, accomplished people who want nothing more than a normal life. If content I post builds one bridge between East and West, and changes someone’s mind, then I will be happy.

Thank you and I hope you will support me by watching, sharing, liking and commenting!!

Samira * Atash

My FIRST Official Fashion & Beauty VLOG

November 30th – 2015 – Here’s my first official VLOG (video blog) of many more to come! I filmed this one quickly today while the boys were taking a nap. Hope it’s not boring! Don’t know why it cut out the way it did at the end, though- sorry!! To get more “Beauty and the East”, subscribe to my YouTube channel: samiraatash and follow me on IG/FB: @samiraatash

A Very Afghan Christmas

Two of my sisters live in New York City and Los Angeles, so once a year, we try to get together for a family portrait. This year, I decided it would be a good idea to have everyone wear traditional Afghan clothes for our pictures, since the red and green colors of Afghan clothes compliment the holiday season nicely. Plus it’s always nice to celebrate your diversity – wearing traditional clothes on Christmas celebrates both cultures. I had the idea last minute on Christmas Day, and within a couple hours, I was able to not only assemble the family together, but also get everyone to go along with the theme! The behind-the-scenes banter of this shoot deserved its own video since after a few minutes, the kids started to get antsy, and the babies kept spitting up their milk on their grandparents. The lighting isn’t perfect or professional quality, but I’m happy with the final results!

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Our family! My sister Zohra sadly couldn’t make it for the shoot since it was so last minute :(. From left to right: my niece Iman in a black/silver Afghan dress, my nephew Amir wearing a striped silk “chapan”, my nephew Cameron wearing a silk eggplant colored scarf, my brother-in-law Jalil wearing a wool Afghan hat, my husband Kaiser wearing a silk Afghan scarf, my nephew Omar wearing a black cotton embroidered top with a wool hat, my niece Sophia in a red Afghan dress, my sister Mariam in a green/silver/purple/pink embroidered traditional Afghan dress, my sons Nik & Zaki wearing a red/black embroidered Afghan top, my father in a black 2pc. cotton top/tumban, my daughter Rumi in a red/green Afghan dress, my mom with a wool scarf, and my sister Alina wearing a red chapan and tribal Uzbek hat.

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I’m joining the pic in a black Afghan dress with red & green embroidery

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Thank you to my friend Mariam Wardak for gifting me with the Afghan dress and Afghan baby clothes for my kids!

1st Annual Rumi Awards in Vegas

Over the past 30 years or so, Afghanistan has been portrayed as a country filled with hateful terrorists, violent men, oppressed women, “Stone Age” infrastructure, poppy production, land mines and war.  People around the world don’t realize that art, music, poetry and entertainment have been an important, and valued, part of Afghan culture for thousands of years. In fact, it was recently discovered that cave paintings discovered in Afghanistan were the first oil paintings in the world!

On November 29th – 20th, I was in Las Vegas for the 1st Annual Rumi Awards, an awards show that featured Afghan artists, singers, musicians, poets, writers, TV/Radio hosts, and high profile celebrities from around the globe.  I was honored to participate as a red carpet host/award presenter and to be part of a historic Afghan event about unity, peace, love.  The founder of the event, Abe Nasser, has a vision of uniting Afghans and educating people about Afghanistan’s beloved poet Rumi. I respect and understand his vision and that is why I wanted to support it.  My goal has also been to unite cultures and people through entertainment & the arts, which I believe is a good way of breaking stereotypes and teaching people about culture. I have done that through PlanetPix Media,  Beauty and the East TV, through my fashion work (a line of t-shirts I designed is called UNITEES, and incorporates the words “peace, love, unity” in unique Farsi motifs.) I even named my daughter Rumi, after the poet.  So when I found out about this event, I was intrigued and excited to be a part of it.

I wish I was brought on to cover the red carpet and awards show fashion as that is what really excited me. The show had some technical glitches, but any live show does. What’s important that the producers and volunteers of the event put together not one -but three – events over two days that put smiles on hundreds of people’s faces. Anyone who has produced events can tell you it is not easy!   Here are some pics I took from the red carpet, performances, presenters and some of the fashions from the event. It was interesting to see so many personalities from around the world come together!

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With Afghan singer/song songwriter Ariana Sayeed

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With popular tv personality Sajia Kamrany

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With Afghan actor Fahim Fazli

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Attorney, sister &  co-host of the show Mariam Atash

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Mariam Atash and businesswoman Neelab Saraabi

 

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Co-founder of Rumi Awards: Mrs. Zabina Nasser in Sharifa’s House of Couture

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Being interviewed on the red carpet

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My mom Guli on the red carpet

 

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With friends Neelab Saraabi (in purple), Salma Essau Nawabi (in black) and Saima Durrani (in white)

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My parents Guli and Nadir Atash along with Mr. Hamid Assil

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Mom and me

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Ms. Zohra Nevin in Tadashi

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TV Host Shaista Sadat Lami in a custom Afghan dress design

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Dad, mom and singers Mr. & Mrs. Ghezal and Hassad Anil

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Ms. Shakila Zadran & Mashal Hamidi in Tadashi

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Fashion blogger Narges Hamidi

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Choreographer & actress Sitara Attaie Essau in a custom design

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Choreographer & actress Sitara Attaie Essau

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Mr. & Mrs. Murtaza, dad & mom

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Award show opening act: Afghan artist Olumi

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Hosts Edris Miskinyar & Mariam Atash

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Singer Mujjy

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Singer Sitara Nawabi

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Musicians Qais Ulfat and Mozhdah Jamalzadah

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Actor Ali Olomi and myself presenting an award on stage

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Classical Indian dance performance by Sitara

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Founder of Rumi Awards, Mr. Abe Nasser

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Afghan soccer team presenting awards to Mr. Abe Nasser and Mrs. Shakila Hamidi

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Ms. Saima Durrani

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Neelab Saraabi, Salma Nawabi, Saima Durrani

 

Meeting a Queen

I met Queen Noor a few years ago at an event in NYC. She loved the concept for Beauty and the East TV, an online blog and video series I created and produced as a way to unite cultures through entertainment. She’s so elegant and classy!

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FUNATICAL Comedy

In 2010, I created and produced FUNATICAL, a multicultural comedy show with the aim of uniting cultures through laughter. Here are some pics from the shows:

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