Meet Raafiahm, a beauty icon that has taken Botswana by storm with her modest, chic and trendy panache. She has developed her blog and style in less than a year as a name to be watched all over the world. It is definitely no surprise that she has appealed to over thousands of followers on Instagram. Deriving from the developing country of Botswana, Raafiahm stands out as a top influence as she has been featured in an assortment of local newspapers and advertisements. Having lived in an African country her whole life, it will be interesting to see how her upcoming move to London for her undergraduate studies will influence her blog. I had the opportunity to sit down with the beauty biomedical student, as she shared a little bit about herself and her Botswana based blog (how’s that for alliteration?!).
Hi Raafiahm tell us about yourself?
Hi! My name is Raafiah Mussa and I am just your average 20-year-old girl from Botswana. I love makeup and fashion but not as much as every one thinks I do. I was introduced to makeup by my oldest sister, who was really into makeup, she taught me the basics on makeup so majority of the time I would learn from her. I was always watching YouTube videos with my friends – such as Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan. They were the original beauty vloggers and I used to continuously watch them wishing I could do makeup like that but I couldn’t. However, over the years I sort of improved and seven years later I have got to where I am.
So since that is Raafiah, tell us about Raafiahm.
Raafiahm is a little different to who I really am as a person, in fact I think there is a lot more to me than people might perceive. I am really into the sciences and I used to be a tomboy as a kid. I do a lot of other things as opposed to makeup and I am not into buying the latest products when they are released, I use what I have and love to experiment with my products. I am also working as a teacher aid at the moment aside from blogging.
So what motivated you in to becoming a blogger?
I tell this to a lot of people, but I don’t actually know what lead me to blogging specifically. Last year during my exams, I had a long gap between two exams so I got really bored and I decided to make a blog. I had no pictures and I didn’t give it much thought because I just went onto WordPress, made a free blog and wrote a few posts. Once I did that, I sent it to my sisters and my friends for their feedback, and they encouraged me to keep the post so I carried on blogging from that point.
What has been the highlight and most fulfilling part of blogging as Raafiahm?
When people come up to me and acknowledge my blog. People will say they’ve read my blog and it motivates me to keep posting especially when people want to be featured on your blog! It is a sign that my hard work is paying off.
As a blogger, what has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is keeping my posts consistent because I always have to bring a new idea to the post and it can be challenging. It is one of the main reasons I appreciate feedback from people to tell me what they want to see me blog about. I think being a modest fashion blogger is also very difficult because you don’t want to portray the wrong image as a modest fashion blogger and there can be a lot of judgment from people…
What are those people called again?
HARAAM POLICE! (laughs). I guess, writing a good post also requires a lot of motivation and I, personally, prefer to write at night. So I think time is also a big factor because I work during the day and it can be difficult to blog if I have had a tiring day. So it can definitely get difficult.
I agree 100% even though you make it look so easy! What would you say is your favourite beauty item that you can’t live without regardless of whether you are dressing up or not?
I don’t have a staple product that I HAVE to use everyday but I think a product that I tend to reapply throughout the day would have to be moisturiser. It is so important for me to maintain skin care and so I am always applying moisturiser. Whenever I wash my face I am applying moisturiser shortly after so definitely moisturiser – I don’t have a particular favourite because I am always experimenting with new moisturisers.
Isn’t that a bit risky though?
It definitely is, thankfully my skin doesn’t react too badly to new products because my skin is not so sensitive. I have had one moisturiser that lead me to break out, which was disappointing but it happens. I still love trying new things!
What is one thing that you think people misunderstand about you, as a blogger?
People often look at my Instagram or blog page and think I am exactly like that person every day – which I am not! If you had to see me on a normal day, I would be wearing glasses, comfy clothes and I would have a minimal amount of makeup on. I usually fill my brows and concealer on a daily basis. My posts revolve around my experimental looks based on what people want to see. Another misconception I think that people have, is the size of my make up collection. I honestly don’t have all the latest must haves! In fact, all my makeup was passed down to me by my sisters, I literally have only bought one eye shadow palette and one makeup brush. I make do with what I have and try to make it work.
You’ve mentioned that you’re moving to the UK soon, what is one thing about blogging in Botswana that you will miss?
One thing that will definitely be different and what I will miss most is the free time. Once I start University it will be difficult to find time to blog. Another thing I will miss a lot is having to adjust to a new blogging style. It will be different adjusting to another country so blogging in another country would be an even bigger adjustment. It will be hard to make a name there because there are so many influential and popular bloggers there!
As someone so successful, in such a short period of time, what advice would you give to other aspiring bloggers?
Well first of all, I don’t think I am THAT successful but I would definitely advise bloggers to keep the consistency and keep uploading as much as possible. I, personally, find it hard to keep uploading throughout the week but I pick days when I can. People find it annoying if you’re only posting once a month so keep posting to put yourself out there. Another thing I would recommend is to put your best quality into your images and posts because that is what grabs people’s attention. Finally, put as much hard work into blogging as you can because it will be rewarded and noticed!
On a final note, what more can us followers expect from Raafiahm and what more is to come?
Well, I just filmed a hijab tutorial and I put it on my Instagram so maybe you might see more of those. I still feel very awkward filming, however, I may just upload vlogs! To my followers, I just wanted to say that I am thankful that you guys follow me and that this blog is really for you guys so thank you for the support!
Look at you sounding like a successful vlogger already! Ok so here comes the rapid round. I am going to ask you a series five quick questions revolving around which item you can’t go without. It is definitely quick thinking so let it be your first thought!
(laughs) ok let’s do it!
Here we go! Raafiah which can’t you go without?
Lipstick or Concealer?
Summer or Winter?
Cream or Powder?
Baking or Cooking?
Makeup or Food?
That was great thank you so much for your time and I just wanted to wish you all the best. I think I can speak for all your followers when I say we look forward to seeing all your future posts soon!
Check out @raafiahm on Instagram and wordpress here. Give her a follow and be sure to check out her latest posts!