A textbook multi-hyphenate, Nadia Azmy is a New York-based Art Director at Maison MRKT and Co-founder of MINAAZINE, an NYC-based quarterly publication that explores the cultural aesthetic and lifestyles of Middle Eastern and North African cultures.
Nadia “MINAAZINE is a cross-cultural platform that is meant to be a safe space for honest storytelling, providing raw insight into Middle Eastern and North African culture. It’s for those with open hearts and minds that want to learn more about the reality of the underground culture within the MENA region and its descendants abroad. There’s a booming prevalence, within our society, of individuals seeking to live unapologetically and on their own terms, and we’re seeing the same thing happen in the MENA region.”
NADIA“Growing up, I didn’t have a safe space like that to express myself until the internet. The internet has allowed us to connect with like-minded people within our communities, but also places our eyes have never seen before. Although there may be a geographical difference, the experiences are almost identical!”
Started in 2016, MINAAZINE aims to cultivate those virtual and local communities through the sharing of visual stories, personal profiles, imagery, and events, breaking down societal cliches prevalent in the US and abroad.
“People are desperately seeking spaces where they don’t owe an explanation and can candidly be themselves. That’s why MINAAZINE is important.”
NADIA “There are a ton of stereotypes about kids from the Middle Eastern and North African regions. The stereotypes aren’t exclusive to a Western context, but also an internal context where kids are competing with these outrageous expectations from their own societies. People are desperately seeking spaces where they don’t owe an explanation and can candidly be themselves. That’s why MINAAZINE is important. MINAAZINE highlights such a wide range of stories and backgrounds—it’s a comfortable home to pour your heart out. We’re that sounding board.”
Nadia’s home and personal style are an extension of that MINAAZINE ethos: a bridge between Middle Eastern and Western sensibilities.
“What if I just want to dress however I’m feeling that day without society telling me how I should dress…”
“I grew up feeling a little conflicted about my identity, because I definitely identify with both Middle East and Western cultures fully and equally—and most of the time, they are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum. For example, on one side, you’re expected to cover everything, and on the other side, you’re expected to take everything off. What if I just want to dress however I’m feeling that day without society telling me how I should dress, how I should act, and how I should feel for choosing who I want to be? When it comes to the way I dress, honestly, it’s about how I’m feeling and what makes me comfortable in that moment.”
With flowing mono-coloured looks filling her Instagram, we asked her about her favourite pieces, both for fashion and home.
“Growing up in a predominantly Western community, I used to shy away from my Middle Eastern heritage. My home-cooked meals always made my classmates uneasy at lunch. Honestly, I wasn’t confident about my identity up until my mid-twenties. After years, I have gotten to a point where I love everything about my multi-hyphenated identity. I love my Midwestern accent. I love my Egyptian nose that is identical to my grandfather’s. My Nefertiti necklace (pictured above) shamelessly represents who I am. It’s a great conversation starter for those who might feel intimidated to spark up a conversation with me. I want people to see it, and feel comfortable to ask me about myself and my identity.”
“After years, I have gotten to a point where I love everything about my multi-hyphenated identity.”
“My favorite piece in my wardrobe, however… definitely my oversized GAP denim shirt from Goodwill. It was my first thrifted piece and I’ve had it for years! I mean, I wear this piece at least a handful of times a month. I imagine some old guy was wearing it for decades before he gave it up. It’s definitely lived in, but so comfortable.”
Shared with her husband, Husam, and their two cats, Nadia’s Brooklyn Park Slope apartment is an amalgamation of travel memorabilia and artistic influences.
“My favorite thing about our apartment is that it feels like home. We’ve finally cultivated a space that represents my husband and I, between his Muhammad Ali poster and my art books—it’s a space that represents who we are as individuals. Many of the things in our space have been collected during our travels. The Arabic alphabet poster, for example, is a hand-written piece I had made in Egypt. I even remember the calligraphist being like, “You really want the alphabets written out?” and I was like, “Yes! It’s so cool!” I love looking around my space and recalling special moments in life. Every piece represents an experience, or a story.”