Amina Shabani – Woman of Interest and Author of the Coup de Coeur blog
TGIF! I hope everyone had a great week so far, and that the week-end will be even better…Today I am starting a Woman of Interest Series, which I’m super excited about! We all know these women, apparently ordinary women around us, who are soing so many extraordinary things, have traveled the world and are just endless sources of inspiration for us. Yes, those women we often don’t think about, yet they are right there in our backyards, on our Facebooks friends list, a phone call away…We all know at least one that makes us smile and hope and laugh, I know I do many…So I decided to show their beautiful faces and smiles and actions, and enjoy them telling their stories for us to hear…
My girl and fellow blogger Amina Shabani is one of them. I met Amina at Suffolk University where we both were college students. I was immediately attracted to Amina’s smile, her singing voice, and her incredible kindness. Amina is a true globalista, having traveled the world over, speaking numerous languages from Swahili, to French, English and Spanish, and having interests are varied as crochet and knitting to the world of beauty… Check out her fabulous beauty blog Coup de Coeur at www.mwatum.com. But enough of my ranting, here we go, mic check 1,2….
1. Amina, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
This is always a tough question for me as I am never too sure where to start. Well, I am Amina J I was born in Belgium and lived there for six years. My father was doing his PhD and once he finished, he decided to move back to Burundi. We stayed there for five years then moved to Ghana for four years, Kenya for a year and back to West Africa. I lived in Senegal for three years and came to the US to pursue my undergraduate studies. Meanwhile my parents stayed in Dakar for 5 years then relocated to Zimbabwe for 7 years and now they are in Mali. “Where are you from?” is such a complicated question for me. I have multiple homes but I am also aware that I am a foreigner wherever I go. I’ve been living in the US since 2000. I spent 5 years in Boston and I’ve been living in Southern Indiana for the past 7 years.
I am a PhD student majoring in Hispanic Literatures and minoring in African Studies and Portuguese. I teach a variety of Spanish courses at the college level, from elementary to conversation, culture and introduction to Literature. I am also a knitter, I crochet, I love gardening and baking among other hobbies.
2. Why Coup de Coeur? How did you come up with the idea? What made you want to blog?
I’ve always enjoyed beauty products especially hair and bath &body products. I started wearing makeup when I turned 21. It was actually an intervention! Slowly, I found myself spending hours on Specktra admiring FOTD looks (Face Of the Day) and reading about makeup.
I never planned to blog as I didn’t trust my voice for a long time. Coup de Coeur was started on an impulse. Initially, it was meant to be hair journal where I document my journey to growing an afro.
I was inspired by Eva to start blogging about makeup.
When she started her makeup blog in 2008, I was reading it every single day and simply loved her passion. She was so encouraging, positive and really happy for me when I started my own blog. She also introduced me to her own readers and that meant so much to me! She believes that there is room for everyone to shine and that is not often the norm in the beauty world.
The name “Coup de coeur” reflected my own spontaneity when it comes to purchasing beauty products in general. I also couldn’t come up with an English name. Even though I’ve been living in English Speaking countries since I was 11, I express myself better in French.
3. What do you love about blogging?
I love the conversations that I have with fellow bloggers and readers. In my every day life, I don’t talk about makeup at all, it is very rare. I also enjoy learning about new techniques, product development and simply sharing what I love. For the past year, I haven’t been blogging much about beauty products due to work, school, new interests and also evolving as a person. Nonetheless, readers have been so supportive and still want to follow my blog. I am very grateful for that!
Blogging has also allowed me to go outside of my comfort zone too. A few years ago, I used to do Youtube videos and as someone who is shy and reserved, it was very difficult at first. It all started with a reader request.
I have also met wonderful bloggers who are now great friends and inspire me in different ways. Last but not least, blogging proved to be a stepping stone to thrilling experiences. Two years ago, I participated in Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful Compaign and I was among the top 3 finalists. I was completely speechless. The same year, I attended the makeup show in New York for the first time and met makeup artists whom I admire so much. Coup de Coeur has taken a life of its own and I never imagined any of this J
4. What is your life mantra as a woman?
My mantra right now is doing something creative every day. When I wake up, I knit or spin yarn for a few minutes. I need that transition before looking at my to-do-list.
I can be quite a workaholic (thank you Dad) to the point where I forget that there is a life outside of work. By being creative, I slow down and enjoy the process. By working with my hands, I am kinder to myself and stop chasing perfection. I embrace mistakes J
Most importantly by prioritizing creativity, I remember that everyone has their own outlook on life and there are no right answers. The one-size-fits-all formula doesn’t exist and that’s important for me as it is often tempting to compare myself to others and feel unfulfilled. Creativity nurtures me and helps me keep things in perspective.
5. What words of advice or inspiration do you have for the global woman reading you?
Please, try to do something completely out of your comfort zone. Just once. You might hate it or it might open doors to enriching experiences. For instance, I’ve always wanted to learn how to play piano. I didn’t have access to that opportunity but I played the recorder in my teens. For some silly reasons, I thought that you had to learn piano as a child, at 4- 8 years old or it was too late.
The year before my big 3-0, I decided to enroll in piano classes. I regret not doing it sooner! I am happier and piano has completely changed my life. Of course, it is a journey full of frustrations, tears (I spent one year…yes one full year learning a Schumann piece) and several moments when I almost gave up. However, there is also so much joy and beauty. I am currently learning “A River Flows” by Yurima. I’ve been on the first page for the past 4 months but I am determined to learn it!
So yes, my word of advice is doing something completely out of your comfort zone. You will definitely learn more about yourself.
My second advice is to give back to your community in any way you can. My father is one of the most generous men that I know and he has always taught us to be humble, grateful and giving. You don’t have to do anything extreme, small is good.
Last but not least, be kind to yourself. I think many of us (including myself) tend to be too hard with ourselves especially when we face deadlines.
Those advices are also on my vision board!
Thank you so much for having me Solange and the opportunity to be featured in your wonderful blog! You are such a talented writer, an inspiration to remain true to ourselves and I can relate to most of your posts! Merci!
Thank you so much, Amina! Your words are true inspiration. Any questions for Amina? Please don’t forget to check out her blog Coup de Coeur.
On this inspirational note, have yourself a schnazzy Friday!