About a year ago, I attended a Blogger’s Conference in Doha and was intrigued to see the blogger behind the blog www.CreativityWithKay.com, that I had been following in Doha for a while. She was one of the speakers at the conference and was covered head to toe in a veil. For some reason, I didn’t feel intimidated by her (I usually do and am an introvert) and went up to her after the conference and introduced myself. We had a lil chat and her kindness stayed with me.Since I was new to blogging world, I sent her a couple of questions about how things work etc. and found her to be extremely kind and helpful. She shared more than I ever expected a blogger to share with another blogger (who she barely knew). Since then she has become my go-to person for any blog related help and she has never turned any of my queries down.I obviously HAD to interview her for the blog. My only fear was if she would be willing to be photographed. She NEVER put any pictures of herself nor has done a shoot like this before and I was honored that she she trusted me to take that leap. So read on, not just for the interview but some exclusive shots of Khansa – for the VERY FIRST TIME!
Q: Everyone wants to know who is Khansa, since no one has ever seen your face. Who is this amazingly talented mystery girl behind the veil? You ‘sound’ so young!
Khansa: How do I start? And, where do I start from? I am the fifth child to my parents, and wife to my husband Mr. M (the name I call him by on the internet)
To people older than me, of course I am young. And to people younger than me, I am old. Let’s just put it that way – I am in my 20’s 🙂
I graduated as a Computer Engineer from Qatar University. Never really worked in the field because I realized I couldn’t do anything I didn’t have the passion for.
Q: How did you enter the blogosphere? Tell us about the blog’s journey?
Khansa: I never started my blog to build a business out of it. I never thought that there would be a time like this where a blog can have so much impact in Doha and around the world. I wrote about what I liked as a girl. It was free to dream. It was free to share what I liked. What was in my head and dreams belonged to me whether I could own it in real life or not – it didn’t matter. Whatever I shared on the blog, I owned it. I used to keep diaries and make diary entries as a kid and that kind of changed into blogging. Which eventually led me here, having people I never knew or met and wouldn’t have met without the blog.
Q: What inspired you to take up blogging as a career and not pursue Engineering (in which you acquired a degree)?
Khansa: I started blogging when I was in University. Blogging lead me to Haute Elan based in London. I worked so hard behind the scene, helping out a startup for people I didn’t know, in a land I never went to! I literally worked on building a platform where there were no designers to almost 40 designers within a short time (it has 250+ brands on board now). This taught me how very powerful and impactful building up my own little space on the internet would turn out to be. And, then more things happened. People started reaching out to me. And I learnt I wasn’t cut out for engineering – I had to blog!
Q: What challenges have you faced while bringing up your blog game especially being a veiled blogger? Was there a time that you almost gave up? How you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
I have faced a lot of challenges being a veiled blogger. Sadly, even though I am in a country where being veiled is a norm, there are people who have looked at me like I was ignorant. Like I didn’t deserve a say in places. There have been people who have told me at fashion events, ‘Why do you care about fashion?’ or ‘Why are you here?’. They look at me like I committed a crime! They can’t seem to comprehend what could a veiled blogger possibly do for a fashion brand.
Well, I can definitely say this that there are a lot of times people get depressed following certain fashion brands because they feel they will never look like those models. Many a times women feel miserable because of the ads made with these perfect models, who they can’t relate to. I share my story and my love for fashion for those ladies – who can’t relate to a fashion blogger or a fashion model. There’s so many like that, and for people like me – covered not because we are ignorant but because we have a deeper understanding of why we choose to cover. There are so many people like me out there who still care and want to know about fashion trends but want to see it in a way they can relate to.
I have been through a lot of challenges. And, if there’s something I haven’t done throughout my blogging journey is that I NEVER gave up. Even when such thoughts came to my mind, I would shrug them off because I needed to do this! The number of people who have reached out to me saying ‘You give us hope that we can do anything as a Muslim, anything in a veil’ has been one of many reasons why I could never give up!
Q: Can you walk us through a typical day for you?
Khansa: I wish I was one of those organized people with a typical daily routine – I am not! I am more of an artist sort of person -very moody! So my life very much revolves around how I feel every morning. I really enjoy creating and have always something to do with my blog every day. Other than the prayers 5 times, my daily routine is different every single day. The unpredictability around me helps me have lesser expectations, and hence find lesser reasons to be depressed for things not happening on time, or not falling into place.
Q: What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog? What’s been your proudest achievement?
Khansa: I write from my heart, and I put my whole self into sharing my content. For me, it isn’t always about, “Oh, I need to schedule this today and that tomorrow”. It’s more about “Today I feel like this, so I need to share this”.
And, every time I really do that – it helps! I do a lot of research and try to improve my skills every day – there is no shortcut for traffic or success other than creating good content and knowing how the social media platform strategy works.
Being the only Qatar based blogger to represent Qatar at the launch of Batiste Dry Shampoo in the Middle East (despite being a veiled blogger) is something I am proud of. Also what gives me pride as a veiled blogger is that I have been invited to visit Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Philippines, Maldives, Macedonia, Turkey and many other countries. Despite the fact that I wasn’t able to go to some of these places but the fact that it came my way as a veiled blogger gives me hope to continue what I do and to do it better every day!
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received? Any advice for newbie bloggers like me?
Khansa: It has been from my dad – “When people try to make you upset, don’t get angry. Instead, smile back at them and be kind. And, that will always leave you more content.”
For a newbie blogger, you need to understand and know the people you want to hang out with. Not everyone you meet has good intentions. You can’t trust everyone! The social media circle here in Qatar is very small and the word gets around too quickly. Be very selective of who you deal with and who you keep around you as it will make a huge difference in your blogging journey. Keep your ideas to yourself, and make sure you have a contract/ agreement in place because there are far too many people who steal your ideas and make it look like their own. I learnt this the hard way!
Q: What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Khansa: There’s so many things that I would love to learn. For instance, “How to be a millionaire?” Haha, just kidding. I love learning new things, and I try and learn something new everyday. Something I would really love to learn is how to utilize a camera to its fullest.
Q: Who is the most important person in your life? What would she/he say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally love about you, and the one that drives them insane?’
Khansa: It has to be my family – my parents, siblings, and my husband. My dad means the world to me.
I am a caring person, is what they would probably say is the best characteristic in me. The fact that I am stubborn could be the most annoying thing about me.
Q: What’s next for you?
Khansa: I keep sharing my journey, and see where life takes me. Definitely more travel is what I want to do insha Allah. For now, I think I will be having some down time in Doha.
TV Show/Movie: The Heirs (Korean)
Book/Novel: Philip Pullman Trilogy – Northern Lights, The Golden Compass, The subtle Knife
Daily Wear Attire: Palazzo pants, Long Shirts – My abaya and veil too (when I am outside)
Perfume: Memo Marfa Paris
Activity with Family: Dining Together
Travel Destination: South Korea
Coffee Shop: Fy cafe
Comfort Food: Ravioli
Hair Stylist/Salon: Noon Beauty Center
Designer: Elie Saab
High Street Store: Charles and Keith
Furniture/ Interior store: Maison Du Monde
Thank you Khansa for taking the time out for doing this for my blog.
You can follow Khansa on