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Mina Diesel #forsuccessfulliving

Meet the online activists dismantling beauty standards

In celebration of Diesel’s #forsuccessfulliving project, the online activists talk self-acceptance, the importance of diversity and the radical potential of social media

We might spend our days mindlessly scrolling through animal memes and inspirational quotes but, on some rare occasions, social media can become a tool to promote self-love, showcase alternative beauty and call bullshit on discrimination. Two artists flawlessly tapping into this potential are NY-based Dounia and Mina, both of whom are busy using their respective Instagram accounts to raise awareness of crucial issues such as prison brutality, xenophobia and the insidious beauty standards which continue to plague women worldwide.

It’s fair to say that their values mirror those of Diesel, whose #forsuccessfulliving project (launched in celebration of the brand’s 38th birthday) encourages bravery, self-empowerment and a willingness to voice strong opinions – all of which are qualities flawlessly embodied by the two young talents. We reached out to discuss self-discovery, online activism and the reasons why kindness will never be off-trend. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Dounia: Definitely to disobey because, at the end of the day, nobody knows what they’re talking about. I’ve learned to place less blind trust in people who are deemed to be smarter or higher up than me and to form challenging thoughts and opinions on my own.

Mina: My mom told me when I was young – “Be with someone who loves you more than you love them.” That’s the key to happiness!

What advice would you give to young people discovering their identity?

Dounia: I would say there’s no rush. I think outside influences tend to cloud our personal growth, so definitely make sure to have your alone time so you can retain a strong sense of personal identity.

Mina: If you’re still discovering yourself and you’re not sure what’s next just ride the waves out. Life gets hard, then sweet, then confusing; it can be a long journey, but it’s one you have to take.

Why do you think it’s so important to showcase diversity?

Dounia: Representation is wildly important because it normalises so many types of people that are never placed on a pedestal. The more we showcase different types of beauty, the less of a backlash unconventional people are going to receive just for existing! It’s also highly motivating to see somebody who looks like you doing what you want to do.

Mina: It’s not just important, it’s absolutely necessary to showcase diversity because people of ALL types are consumers.

How do you use social media to communicate your values?

Dounia: I often go on angry tangents about an occurence that went against my values, or I take the time to voice what I’m really thinking in my Instagram posts. It’s such an easy and accessible platform.

Mina: I try to make it known on social media what I believe in, so that no-one’s ever shocked and they know what’s up. I’m really vocal about the things I believe in; I tend to get straight to whatever’s bothering me in that moment.

“I’ve learned to place less blind trust in people who are deemed to be smarter or higher up than me and to form challenging thoughts and opinions on my own” – Dounia

How important is the role of social media in fostering acceptance?

Dounia: Social media has allowed the shift of power from outside sources to the people. WE demanded change and steered the way for it ourselves – it is so, so necessary.

Mina: Social media is so crucial because it gives marginalised people a chance to create their own spaces for themselves. I’ve watched people go through entire soul-searching journeys that I can still look at for motivation, or even just to make sure that my friends are OK sometimes.

The message of Diesel’s #forsuccessfulliving project is kindness and acceptance. Why do you think this is so relevant right now?

Dounia: Kindness will always be on trend. People underestimate how powerful it is to simply be kind to others; exuding positivity simply allows it to find its way back to you.

Mina: Kindness is so needed right now in this wild, wild world. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be angry at everything that’s going on, but be kind to your family, friends, loved ones and good people generally. Check in on the people you love. Things like this take such little time to do, but they mean so much.