We’re not gonna lie to you guys. If we had a penny of every minute we’ve spent watching Project Runway we would have literally zero pennies. We would be able to purchase nothing. Not even a Freddo. In fact, if we actually tried to buy an item using the non-existent funds accumulated through not watching Project Runway, the shopkeeper would probably give it to us out of sheer disgust, if only to make us leave quicker.
Anyways, our point is that we haven’t watched it. But that may change during this current season, as one of the contestants is Ayana Ife, a hijabi from Salt Lake City, Utah, who’s on the show in an effort to A) win and B) promote her range of slay-mongering modest wear.
In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, the 27-year-old explained how she went on the fashion design show for one simple reason: to win. To her surprise, she’s gone on to become something of a role model for Muslim women who watch Project Runway, as well as for those who don’t.
On social media, Ayana is hearing from ‘a lot of Muslim women saying, “Wow, you’re representing us so well. We really feel inspired. We feel like you’re normalising Muslims – especially in our current political climate.”’
Whether you think Muslims need ‘normalising’ or not (bit of an odd word tbh), one thing is clear: Ayana is funny, engaging and a downright good person on the show. If her popularity is making other hijabis feel more comfortable in their home country, we are down with her newfound influence 100%.
She also makes some super chic modest fashion. Check it.
Ayana’s family hail from Trinidad and Tobago, but she was born in Brooklyn and she grew up in a small town in New York state. She moved to Salt Lake City two years ago because, she told the Tribune, she ‘kind of needed a fresh start’ after a divorce. Although you don’t hear of many Muslims from Utah, Ayana says she’s grown fond of her new home.
It’s one of a few surprises that have creeped up on the Project Runway contestant in recent times. While she may be finding her newfound position as a Muslim representative in the media a little strange, she’s working to make the best of it.
‘Of course, I want to inspire my little sisters and tell them, “Yay! Live your dreams”,’ she explained to the Tribune. ‘But this kind of ended up being a little bigger than maybe I had initially planned. And so it’s a little scary. That’s a lot of weight on my shoulders.
‘But at the same time, I think it’s such a positive thing that I’m going to do my best to continue representing in the best light.’
We’re sure she’ll have no problems with this, and we wish her all the best in making further strides in the world of fashion design.