Let This Beauty Blogger Explain What Arranged Marriage Is Really Like
Sharifa Easmin is a Bangladeshi-American beauty vlogger who’s slaying the Youtube and Instagram game.
With over 55,000 subscribers, her channel features makeup tutorials, skincare hacks, and often her three year old son. She stands out because of the diverse beauty looks she shows, but she also knows a thing or two about love and pursuing your dreams.
Sharifa sat down with Galore to talk about how she got started, had an arranged marriage when she was eighteen, and her unexpected beauty secrets.
Can you tell us how you got started on YouTube?
My obsession with YouTube started after college, so when my son was one. I’d graduated and I had nothing to do. I actually started a channel just for skits and that did not go well. I was just working up the courage to do makeup, but I didn’t know how to do makeup at the time, like I could barely do a winged eyeliner.
So the summer before I started my channel, I started posting looks on Instagram, just really simple stuff, kind of learning from watching other YouTube videos. That’s when I got a repost from one company here and another there. I remember getting like, my first twenty followers and being so excited. After that, people started requesting I do looks and tutorials. I was really nervous because I still thought I sucked.
How did you get comfortable putting yourself out there? Do you ever struggle with being so open with people online?
It’s not as difficult when you try not to think of people watching you. Obviously, in my first videos, I was not relaxed. It was really weird at first and I was really nervous because I was thinking too much, I was too much in my head. But now, I feel like I’m just talking to a friend. And I feel like even though I don’t really know my followers, I know them as a whole, so I feel like I’m a lot more myself.
In the last couple months, I’ve gotten even more open about some very personal things and it’s scary because you don’t know how people are gonna react to you. The internet is crazy, there are some really mean people out there, but they’re not getting to know all of you so they see these certain parts of you and immediately try to judge. And there’s nothing you can do, you can only be as honest and as good as you possibly can. You can’t control what people think of you.
You did a video about your arranged marriage. What was getting married at 18 like?
At the time, it seemed really exciting. Now, it’s scary to think of getting married at such a young age and I don’t recommend anyone get married at such a young age. But I’m 100% for arranged marriage. A lot of people have this weird idea of it, but it’s not as crazy as it’s made out to be. The age part was the crazy part, I was so young, I was so naive, I had no idea what marriage really meant, so it was definitely a risk. That was such a huge step for such a young person.
What would you say to educate people on the reality of arranged marriages, since there are so many stereotypes surrounding them?
It’s not as crazy as people think. Think of it as if a friend were to set you up or a relative were ever to be like, “Hey I know this great guy, do you want to meet them?” Literally, it can be as simple as that. Instead of thinking about it as an arranged marriage, think of it as a setup. You get to meet this person, you get to talk to them, and if it works out, it works out. It’s not like you meet them and marry them the next day. A couple of years ago people had really weird ideas about online dating, everyone was like, “who are you really meeting online?” And now it’s such a thing, so you just have to be open-minded. There’s no one way to meet someone.
Do you think dating apps & our hookup culture have caused people to be too picky with relationships?
I mean, I have no experience with dating apps at all, but I feel like, why waste your time? Swipe right culture is an attraction thing and that’s really important. Some people might think it’s superficial, but honestly if you don’t have an attraction with someone, it’s hard to keep going. You shouldn’t cancel someone out completely if you’re not immediately attracted, but if you’re not looking to waste your time, if you’re someone who thinks looks are important, then that’s you. I don’t think it’s too picky.
What has your experience taught you about love? What advice on making a relationship work do you think every woman needs to hear?
Love is not like in the movies. It’s a lot more complicated. It can start off like a movie with those intense feelings and butterflies, but that gets replaced with a safer feeling. So it can change, but it doesn’t mean the love is gone, it just means it has a new face. It’s more work than it’s made out to be. I think some people can give up too easily.
You have to communicate and compromise, and know what’s worth compromising on. If you feel something, tell it to your partner and be open. And it’s totally okay if there are some things you’re not willing to compromise on, but it’s also okay to give up on some things. And you have to talk about it. You can’t shut down.
What beauty advice do you believe is valuable for anyone of any age?
Honestly, it’s so corny, but if you don’t feel beautiful with no makeup, no matter what you put on, it’s always gonna feel off. Everything is better when you’re confident. Young girls will reach out and ask me, “How do you love yourself? How do you feel confident?” And it’s definitely a journey, but once you feel that way, you can put anything on your face and feel good.
When I first started, I was so safe with my looks. But now that I’m confident as just me, I can put on anything and feel confident and it doesn’t matter what anyone says. I get comments like, “Oh you pulled this off so well.” but if you saw me two years ago, nobody would be saying that. If you don’t carry it with confidence, it shows.
In what ways do you want to inspire others, especially other Bengali women?
I just want them to see me and relate to me. I’m a Bengali girl who grew up in Brooklyn and didn’t have a fancy upbringing. My parents barely spoke English and they wanted my family to be doctors and engineers, and I get that. They grew up really poor and they don’t want the same things for their kids. But I want to show people that you can go into photography, you can go into the arts, and still be happy. You don’t have to sacrifice that.
I want them to be more fearless and more selfish. Like, it’s okay to be selfish. We grow up learning how to sacrifice our own happiness for our parents, but it’s okay to pursue what we want, we can be successful at that. When I was starting with makeup, nobody really got it. Nobody really understood my vision and that’s okay also. It’s okay if you’re the only person who supports you. It’s okay to push yourself. Don’t be afraid.