The Portrait of Dreams

Hajar Brown

Sometimes society places limits on us, sometimes we create them ourselves. We have to learn to be kind to ourselves and patient with everything around us.

1. Bio

Actress with a degree in civil engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, she is famous for playing Amira Naybet in Skam España, the Spanish adaptation of Skam, a Norwegian teen drama broadcast on Netflix. Prior to the role, Hajar had already launched a series of popular social channels, in which she gave an account of her life as a young practising Muslim woman in Madrid. This online activity was the spark that prompted the producers of Skam to contact her for guidance on how to portray one of the characters in the series, Sana Bakkoush, a practising Muslim teenager who regularly encounters and tackles prejudices. This led them then to create the character of Amira and, in the end, assign her the part.

2. The power of a dream

Life has taught me that we should never place a limit on our dreams. I dreamt about TV and the cinema but, as a little Muslim girl in Spain, I never saw anyone on the screens that looked or lived like me. So I never really believed it could become my path. That dream was part of me, but I had always done dance and theatre as a hobby, not as training for a job, and in the meantime I signed up to study civil engineering. Then I discovered social media and suddenly I could be seen, express myself and reach people. This is the power of the dream sometimes: the ability to keep following it, even when we don’t think it will be enough.

3. My journey into real beauty

I’ll tell you about my journey, and it is all about patience, perseverance and kindness. Concepts that may not attract so much attention any more, but milestones on the path that leads to the beauty of the ‘right moment’, the one that reveals the meaning behind every effort made, every test passed and that may even lead you straight into your dream. Almost always, the right moment only arrives once we have understood, truly and deep down, who we are and what we want. And this is what gives us the strength to stay true to our desires with peace of mind, and without anger when we are not understood. I chose to wear the hijab in a non-Muslim country, I certainly know what I am talking about.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

I believe patience is the key. Take your dream seriously and never stop doing small things to make it more real. Freedom starts with your courage to be yourself, with kindness. I see true beauty in that. It is not easy, especially if you opt for a particular choice or path. We cannot always expect to be understood, but that does not mean we have to give up the desire to be seen, to be heard. What I want for women is the knowledge that we deserve to be whatever we want to be and, even if getting there sometimes takes time, perseverance and patience, we must never be the first ones to place limits on ourselves.

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