Let’s meet somewhere in the middle or at “Kinda Halal”

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COURTESY/ LARA RADWAN

If you have kept up with the Instagram community blog, Kinda Halal then you are surely aware of the stunning woman behind the account Lara Radwan.

Radwan is a Palestinian Canadian social influencer, content creator, and business student. She is originally Palestinian, however, prior to moving to Canada, she lived in Spain, grew up in Dubai, and was born in Saudi Arabia.

Growing up across the world, she vocalized that she felt disconnected from the communities that she was a part of, something common for many people that consider themselves as a third culture kid.

This is what led her to create her now-famous Instagram platform called, Kinda Halal where she decided to make her own community. A platform for others to reinvigorate their own relationship with culture and religion regardless of location. Kinda Halal now has over 130,000 followers and is growing every single day.

Yalla! Let’s Talk sat down with Lara Radwan to chat about her well known platform

Tell us a little about you and what inspired you to start Kinda Halal?

Radwan: Throughout my life, I’ve moved back and forth, within 4 countries and 3 continents, it only made sense when I started to feel disconnected from the communities I was a part of. 

I made my own little online community and finally started talking about social topics addressing different points of views. It has become a place where we discuss about news, education, meme culture, Islamic motivation, and a platform to start social discussions.

It caught quite a lot of attention and I turned it to a community blog and platform for anyone who felt disconnected from their own communities. To represent our cultures and religion without it feeling to people as though they had to fit a certain type of religiosity or demographic to be part of the group. 

Together we have shared and grown together, learning from each other at a global rate while integrating our different religious and cultural journeys at different Islamic (Deen) levels. 

Arab or not, Middle Eastern American/European or not, Muslim or not, it didn’t matter where you were from, if you felt connected to this community, it meant you were a part of it.

What has been one of the best skits you have ever created?

Radwan: It’s always my cheeky humorous content that goes viral. It’s still insane to see some of my videos almost consistently hit 700k, 800k, and even millions of views. 

But I must confess that the most fulfilling content is the content that comes from the heart where I can pass on beneficial information.

Whether this is a video bringing awareness about current events, Islamic motivation or knowledge, or starting a controversial but needed conversation.

Using my platform to get people thinking and interacting with the content and other community members makes it my favourite content - even without the viral rush.

Which is one of the content that gained a lot of criticism?

Radwan: Ironically, it’s the same beneficial content that gets the most criticism. “Why is a non-hijabi talking about Islam” “What a hypocrite” “Wear a hijab before you talk about Islam”.
  
I think it’s quite unfortunate that many can’t see beyond my appearance. But I think with time and persistence, I have found a huge audience who judge my content by the words coming out of my mouth, my actions, and the way I put things instead of what I look like.
  
It’s evident I am a non-hijabi, but I am in no way shape or form using my platform to justify not wearing it. It’s never to say I am better than anyone or to say anyone is better than me. I believe we are all going through our Islamic journey’s and I am aware of my shortcomings and I have spoken about it from time to time.
  
I think the point is that I am not speaking from a pedestal, but instead going through my own journey and taking people with me wherever they might be on theirs. Since I have made that clear, I have been able to talk about Islam and social topics from a motivational and psychological standpoint and change thousands of people’s perspectives over the past 4 years and also learn so much in the process from others as well, and for that, I am humbled and eternally grateful.
  
I have been blessed with an upbringing that shined a beautiful perspective on both religion and culture while still acknowledging some of the setbacks we might face, I think acknowledging both sides and being transparent about my own struggles is what really appealed to the now Kinda Halal community.
   

What is your one tip to young Arab women that want to have an influence on social media like you and be an influencer?

Radwan: Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and make sure you’re ready for everything it comes with. 

I think a lot of people get into it because it looks like the grass is greener on the other side. "Influencers" they see them as online tend of making things look better than they actually are, and it’s only human nature to think perhaps becoming like them might make our lives just as happy. When in reality it’s not typically how it works. 

Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of responsibility, thought & mental energy, and negative comments & backlash that we deal with that you don’t necessarily see on camera.

While the influence and community work fill my heart and brings me joy like no other, I would most definitely insist that it’s not a job that anyone might be up for. But if you are, please try to be yourself as much as possible and create the things that you want to create instead of turning into a slave for the number game. And hopefully, you can create content that is sincere, factual, and influential, InshAllah.

We at Yalla! Let’s Talk, are over the moon excited for the success that Lara Radwan has gained and the great example she is setting for many young Muslims around the world.

Radwan and her brand, Kinda Halal have a lot of directions they want to take next. Whether it means adding more on the KindaHalal.com website, providing others with opportunities to share their stories, or we might even just see more content on her Youtube channel coming soon.

On her long-term bucket list, she really wants to create a film integrating both sides of the Western and Eastern culture because she loves video production and creating. There is a lot going for her at the moment, and in the future, so we are all rooting for her, and excited to see where life takes her next.

by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff
@marr_2000

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