Meet Layla Shakily, the awesome Muslim woman who created the Mipsterz video

What is so beautiful about the concept of success is that there are no limits: surmounting against what is expected of you is an art and the artist of that painting is you. The truth of the matter is that we paint our own futures, section by section in whatever way we wish. Being a woman doesn’t undermine our ability to draw a masterpiece. A great example of an artist of her future is a dedicated #STEMinist and a true believer of #constructivedefience, a women I hold as a figure of great paragon of success: Layla Shaikley.

Layla Shaikley

Layla Shaikley, professionally an architect, is a 30-year-old woman who has achieved some unimaginably versatile goals stretching from co-founding a real-time delivery system called “Wise Systems” to trending #MIPSTERZ virally across the web.

Her success is beyond phenomenal as is her ambition to cradle every small talent of hers into a success. Despite being an architect, she’s nurtured her enjoyment of photography and art beyond her architectural storyboard to understanding the people and the culture around her.

What I really find inspiring about the work of Shaikley is her depth of versatility and experience: a character that every woman should adopt. The ability to be a master of all trades opens up a range of opportunities in the future, a door of aspiration, choice, and most importantly: freedom. Islam doesn’t restrict women on any ground but rather encourages them to nurture their potential to benefit themselves and the world around them. Shaikley uses her enormous talent to contribute in charity work and branches beyond what is expected of her.

And to make a statement: her #MIPSTERZ made a viral presence across the net yet despite its backlash from some individuals, the essence of her trend and former video portrays a strong message of individuality, modality and self confidence in one’s talents and character: Just be who you are and be the best at being it.

On the topic of statement what we can discuss is her religious statement. She wears a hijab. Overall: different. It is undeniable that her hijab excludes her from religious anonymity especially when she is busy working alongside business giants and walking in the corridors of NASA research centres but that in itself builds a whole new perspective to those who would normally see her as violently oppressed, voicelessly submissive, pitifully lacking agency, and naively desexualized to actually being much more than that. Overall: quite naturally unique.

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With success we drown ourselves into living up to the expectations of it, being just like those who hold it. What really interests me about Shaikley is how she maintains such great contact with the people around her: her family, her friends and quite caringly those who contact her in admiration. We do not always need success to be a platform where we have to change ourselves and quite truthfully, success is not something we have to live up to. Success adopts to you and not the other way round.

It’s quite enough to list her achievements but what I feel stands out and makes Shaikley an inspirational woman is what we learn from her achievements. What she teaches us is how to be the best you that you can possibly be, by culturally defying all stereotypes and expectations and exhibiting the best of your potential and really making most of everything that interests you. Actions speak so much louder than words. Making a difference with them is an undeniable achievement. Despite her great success, she is just as normal as all of us yet quite characteristic all at the same time. As she describes herself: “I am delusionally optimistic, painstakingly curious, confidently athletic, entertainingly awkward, imprudently adventurous, and irrationally proper when not uncomfortably loud

Written by Maariyaah Shaheen

Maariyaah Shaheen

Maariyaah Shaheen is an academic and islamic studies student. She is the Founder of SisterHoodUK and runs Youth activities in her spare time. Aspiring to make a change, she's currently looking out for ways of improving her chocolate cake recipe and aiding the Ummah but not simultaneously. A dedicated #STEMinist (like a feminist but cooler).

  • Maryam

    This is my new favourite video.