The discourse around beauty is only now unfolding. What had always been understood as ‘conventionally beautiful’ is now multifaceted and complex, and influencers like Mina Hasan have had an important role to play in its evolution.
Mina Hasan was born as a first-generation American to immigrant parents who had relocated from Pakistan not long before her birth. Growing up was already difficult, with financial instability and a global recession in full bloom, and her father’s aggravated back injury only made matters worse. This is when she saw her mother take responsibility and go from being a housewife to getting a degree in biology, and earning for their family. This instilled a great sense of responsibility and hard work in her.
As a young girl, Hasan did not have many South Asian influences outside of her household as a child. Social media had not yet hit its height and the little representation seen on television was insufficient. As a result, she grew up with anxiety and developed unhealthy habits that harmed her health. She joined Instagram to talk about her life and struggles in hopes of feeling a little less lonely. The next thing she knew, she had an organic following of individuals that not only celebrated her presence but also looked up to her as the brown girl influencer that she never had.
Hasan is now an Instagram wellness and beauty influencer with over 100,000 followers and an average reach of 800,000 users. Her content focuses primarily on her South Asian identity and quintessential Pakistani roots, brown beauty, and moderate fashion. She also discusses mental health and mindfulness along with healthy dietary and weight loss hacks. She publishes YouTube Shorts about current fashion trends and how-tos. In addition to her creative endeavors, she also curates simple and easy-to-follow content with a strong social and political message as an artist. Her works have addressed a variety of socio-political problems such as the Palestinian genocide and body dysmorphia in young people.
Because Hasan’s objective primarily is to teach young girls of color that brown is beautiful, she constantly debunks beauty stereotypes and calls out corporations for discriminatory behavior, ensuring that young individuals do not start fixating on perceived flaws or defects. The usual features of her vlogs and videos are make-up products that work for her, including foundation colors and concealers, types of looks that go best with brown skin color, and hacks for curly hair. She also sheds light on issues that are typically ignored by the media, such as hyperpigmentation, which is a problem which is prevalent among South Asian individuals. Her creative pathos lies in her authenticity and honesty about her struggles and life. On the other hand, she discusses toxic mindsets and habits typical in South Asian households, such as casual violation of privacy and conditional affection, which can have a long-term influence on the minds of children.
The ripple effect of influencers like Mina Hasan is apparent in the flux of confident brown individuals that are taking up media spaces today. Her work inspires and empowers individuals that have been made to believe that their differences are flaws and struggles are secondary.