A candid conversation on identity and passion with the body positive model and creator behind Sincerely Tahiry.
– KEYS SOULCARE
As a Muslim model, blogger, book lover, and fashion content creator, Tahirah, aka Sincerely Tahiry is creating a narrative on her own terms. This cross-section of her values, upbringing, talents, and calling are displayed through stunning visuals on her Instagram feed, insightful YouTube posts, and an online community via book reviews and recommendations. Her digital presence reaches across communities and demographics to create a uniquely three-dimensional story.
You’re a model, blogger, thrift store owner, and beauty influencer. You also review books. Which is your favorite role?
I would say probably reading, even though I love all of these things pretty much equally, but reading has been with me the longest. I’ve always just been that kid in the corner, and I still carry around books to this day.
There are experienced readers, [people] who just like the overall experience. And then there are critical readers who will go into writing and the chart and the plot. I’m a mix of both.
I just like being able to talk about books in whatever way that I want, or even choose to not talk about them. Reading is freedom.
What is the name of your book club?
The Unfriendly Black Hotties, which is from Mean Girls. We’re all just really like the sweetest group of people you’ll ever meet.
How has your approach to the modeling industry been shaped by your identity as a Black Muslim woman?
I would say that it’s a very unique thing to not only be a Black model, but to be Black and plus-size and Muslim. There have definitely been times when I felt like I wasn’t what people wanted.
I started modeling [for] a lot of Black-owned Muslim businesses, which was really great because it was a community thing. I think that’s how I’ve gotten more comfortable [in] my own skin.
How have you developed boundaries working in the fashion industry?
I feel like Black women are taught that you have to just accept any opportunity coming your way, because you don’t know when the next one is going to be and there’s all this tokenism going on. I’m like, “No, it’s fine.” When I was starting out, I probably said yes more than I should have — [times when] I felt uncomfortable, or it wasn’t authentic to me. It took a really long time for me to establish boundaries and say this is what’s okay with me, and this is what I’m going to do.
I find the shoot and the overall modeling experience is just a lot more enjoyable when I’m true to myself. I feel like that shows up in the pictures. It took being in situations of feeling discomfort to realize that I have more power and autonomy than I thought I did.
How do you deal with anxiety that may come up in difficult situations?
The simplest thing I can say is breathe. Sometimes I will find myself experiencing anxiety and tension in my body, and I try to tell myself, “You’re fine.” I’ll feel like my shoulders are hunched, my jaw is locked, and I’m not really taking deep breaths. I just have to stop and think, “Okay, breathe, relax, shake it out. You’re fine. You’ll be fine.” Eventually I believe it, because I am.
How do you set intentions for yourself?
I think intention, for me, starts from a spiritual point. I am very deeply spiritual. It’s about making sure that my intentions are aligned with what feels right and what I feel like the plans are that God has in store for me.
It always comes from an internal place. Having those moments like praying and meditating and really being in solitude — it’s just me and God. Whether it’s a shoot or an interview or whatever, I always have that one to two seconds of just breathing and making sure that there’s something that feels right.
I always remember, it’s not just me and the things I do. The things I speak about, they impact so many different people and it’s larger than just my own experiences.