16-year-old Ridda Zahra Naqvi has become Pakistan's first beauty YouTuber with Down syndrome and has proved that an extra chromosome doesn't stop one from pursuing dreams.
A resident of Islamabad, Ridda started sharing her videos on social media platforms earlier this month and has been widely circulated by netizens and recognised by various Pakistani celebrities, including Zara Noor Abbas, Ayesha Omar and Sana Javed.
Her first make-up tutorial was uploaded by her sister Syeda Zainab Naqvi on Instagram on February 7. The video amassed over 12,000 comments, nearly 75,000 likes and about 8,00,000 views.
Within days, Ridda had 40,000 followers, something her sister Alina Naqvi, who manages her account, described as a 'welcome surprise',
"I enjoy the comments the most; they make me really happy," Naqvi told Arab News.
Zainab said that this was a source of encouragement for her sister, and she was motivated to make more videos after receiving positive feedback. Such a massive response was unexpected by them, given that Pakistan has usually overlooked the special needs of such children.
"As we saw the video go viral, we wondered what was happening! This is because people in Pakistan do not usually look at special needs children like this."
This is the first time she's done this," she continued. "We are thrilled to get so much appreciation from people and the media."
The 16-year-old make-up artist has received several brands endorsement projects and is beginning to make branded content.
Speaking to the media, mother Farah Naqvi said her daughter's poise, confidence and visibility were the sole reasons for the success. Ridda's success is also the representation of a community mostly absent from mainstream or digital media and hardly celebrated, she added.
"I am so proud of her. It feels like there is a lot of appreciation for her talent and how she carries herself. Members from Down syndrome communities in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have been reaching out as well to tell us how happy they are."
Ridda likes make-up artistry, though she also wants to branch out into other fields such as photography and teaching.
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