We’ve all been there: It’s late at night, you should be asleep—or working on any number of projects, all swiftly approaching their deadlines—but you’re not. Instead, you’re scrolling through Instagram, admiring one flawless #OOTD post after another, and vowing to go shopping this weekend.

That’s largely thanks to lifestyle bloggers—you know the ones, with their artfully curated feeds full of beauty and outfit inspiration. Fatima Aqil is one such Houston influencer, but her story is different from most: Her Pakistani-Muslim background meant overcoming some serious stereotypes and even Islamophobia. 

Aqil was born in London and raised in the U.S. She helps her father with the family business, a jewelry store, and she particularly loves the food and fashion of her Pakistani culture. After graduating from UTSA, Aqil got a human resources job in the medical field but continued to focus on her blog, which she says began to really flourish post-grad.

Now, she’s transitioned to full-time blogging, devoting her working hours to partnerships with brands that share her vision and passion for style. Aqil uses her platform to promote modest fashion and reach a more diverse audience. Houstonia spoke with her about her journey and what she’s loving right now.

What’s the best thing about being an influencer?

I love being able to introduce new brands and things I discover to my audience. When people like it, it’s the best feeling, knowing you’re representing brands that actually hold value.

Where do you find inspiration?

I get my inspiration from my fellow fashion bloggers; through Pinterest, Instagram, Fashion Week, and just everywhere! 

What are your favorite brands?

My favorite brands are the more affordable ones like Shein, Amazon Fashion, H&M, Nordstrom Rack, and of course Zara. I love pieces that you can style a couple of different ways, and you can find those pieces in all of these brand collections.

What are some favorite projects you’ve worked on?

Reebok, YSL Beauty and Shein: affordable, chic and on trend, and great to work with! I’ve traveled to Chicago and absolutely loved meeting other bloggers and expanding my reach. 

What’s it like working with other influencers?

It always feels like you’re meeting a long-time friend. We always have so much in common, and it’s always such a great time together. We learn so much about what we’ve experienced in the industry, whether it’s companies to work with or style tips. It’s just so much fun gaining a different perspective. And, of course, making a friend is never a bad thing.

What did you set out to achieve with your blog?

When I first started I just did it for fun, because I loved to share my style and love for all things fashion and beauty. But it’s grown into really being able to influence people in a positive way, add value to people’s lives, or help someone feel good and share my knowledge with the world. 

What are your top style and beauty tips? 

Simplicity is key, and minimalism goes a long way. Establish your routine and your favorite products, stick to those, and do what suits you. Skincare is the foundation of your beauty routine, so invest in skincare more than anything else, but have fun with whatever you do.

I love trying new things and switching up ways I can wear items. Never be scared to step out of your comfort zone, but always stay true to who you are, whether that’s with your faith or with what you’re comfortable in—always stay genuine and be who you are. Style is a way of expressing yourself, so feel confident in what you wear. 

What are your future plans?

There really are none. Just keep doing what I love and see where it takes me.

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