Going Beyond The Filtered Face With Miriam Abadi

  • Publish date: Monday، 08 November 2021
Going Beyond The Filtered Face With Miriam Abadi
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Founder of Middle East’s first-ever dedicated beauty and wellness platform TRU & Beauty, Miriam Abadi is on a mission to strip away boundaries, stereotypes, filters and stigmas to unveil an inclusive new definition of beauty. Speaking exclusively to L’Officiel, the glamourous executive-turned-influencer-turned-beauty visionary speaks candidly about her transformative journey, her new platform and the importance of introducing empowering beauty standards that radiate from within.

There's so much pressure on young girls today. What are your thoughts on the unrealistic beauty standards that we're seeing emerging from the filter culture and beyond?

I genuinely think that this is a real problem. Young girls today are being bombarded with so many beauty stereotypes, face-altering filters and unattainable images all the time. They are vulnerable and are tying their self-worth to what they are seeing on social media – and this is extremely damaging to their self-confidence. Nobody has the edited skin or bodies you see on Instagram but it is so easy to forget that. When I speak to young girls on social media, I can sense just how much they obsess over their looks. I try to address this as much as possible on my platforms and remove filters when addressing important topics. There needs to be more honest conversation around this because if you don’t feel good on the inside, it’s almost impossible to truly be beautiful on the outside.

While we're on this topic, what does beauty means to you?

I’ve asked a lot of professionals this question and, without a doubt, beauty comes from within. If you are happy and complete from the inside, you will radiate an irresistible magnetic energy. Looks fade, but a good energy can positively impact people on a daily basis. What could be more beautiful than that?

You left a 13-year corporate career to create TRU & Beyond, which is the Middle East’s first-ever dedicated wellness and beauty platform with a global reach. What inspired that move?

I started my Instagram page whilst I was still in my corporate career as a means of being able to have fun and explore the realm of fashion. As I started to get immersed into the world of social media, I realized just how difficult it was to find genuine recommendations you could count on. My feed was a constant bombardment of often contradictory products and “advice”, and it was really difficult to sift out what was real and what wasn’t. I remember thinking, ‘how can anyone make a decision from all this?’

It was only after I left my corporate career that I had the downtime to think about how I could use my reach to offer something with depth and value. People in the Middle East are usually too polite to give straightforward feedback and that’s where I found my niche. I created TRU & Beyond to fill that gap, bringing in leading global beauty and wellness experts to give honest advice and feedback. I’m not a dermatologist, nor am I a plastic surgeon, or a nutritionist. I'm just someone who brings exclusive, vetted information together on a platform with the intention of cutting through the clutter so that people are able to get the solid advice they need and deserve.

Why did you choose the name TRU & Beyond? What does it stand for?

It took me a long time to decide on a name because I wanted something that really represented what I intended to create. I wanted a name that conveyed honesty and authenticity; that went beyond the filtered space to deliver content that was transparent in its motives. “TRU” stands for transparent, real, unveiled whilst “Beyond” goes one step further than the rest to give a truthful perspective that takes a holistic, wellness-focused approach to beauty.

You say you're not an expert but the people and topics you feature are not mainstream, which sets TRU & Beyond apart from the typical run-of-the-mill beauty publication. It is very curated. Where does this knowledge of the industry stem from?

Passion. I'm just very passionate about this subject. I also feel that when someone gets featured in a publication, there tends to be a bit of a snowball effect, which is fine, but what about the others? There are so many innovative, talented and dedicated experts making waves in the industry that deserve to shine. I look for these likeminded people who truly committed to adding value to people’s lives – that is my only goal.

It's obvious, your passion dates back way before TRU & Beyond. Can you tell us what spurred this interest?

I had horrible acne when I was young which really impacted my self-esteem. There were days when I didn’t want to go out because I hated having to cover it up. I’ve always been a very straightforward person; hiding behind a veil of makeup just didn’t align with my personality. I was only when my aunt took me to see a dermatologist that I found a regimen which transformed my skin and, quite literally, changed my life. I saw firsthand the impact that these changes had on my confidence and I became hooked on finding transformative beauty solutions ever since.

You may have started your Instagram journey for fun, but today you have hundreds of thousands of followers which makes you a proper fashion influencer. What is the world of influencers really like?

To be honest, I didn’t fit in at the beginning because I started out in it whilst still being a part of the corporate world, which is a totally different arena from the fashion influencer world. Corporate is tough, but if you are good, you make your way through . Fashion is a completely different ball game, and I didn’t get that fulfilment that others did from running from show to show, changing outfits in between. I just didn’t love it. And if you don’t love what you do, there is no flow, and everything seems harder. Once I found my footing, everything changed. I started to focus on what made me happy and that was the turning point. Things got easier and I found my groove.

Do you think that the pursuit of your own happiness as opposed to approval from others is something that comes with age?

Absolutely. It comes from learning to tune into to your natural instincts which comes with age. I always tell young girls to listen to their inner voice and find their own path instead of doing what others expect of them. That is the only way to find your superpowers, and your superpowers are the keys to your success, in whichever arena you choose to unleash them.

There are a lot of influencer stereotypes. Did you ever feel judged for going down that path?

Yes, all the time, and even today I feel it often. The world of influencers is unique and not everyone understands it. And just like any other profession, you have influencers who are incredible to work with, and others, not so much. Being an influencer, a good one, is hard work and I think people get blinded by what they see on social media. The outfits, the trips, the events…it seems like a beautiful, easy life and yes, it is wonderful, but it takes a lot of work to create content that resonates. Also, you are left very exposed to people judging and criticising you on social media which requires a lot of mental strength to deal with. But on the other hand, it offers a world of opportunity and you meet amazing people as well. Just recently, someone I look up to told me that I’m not an influencer, but instead an impact entrepreneur, and that gave me goosebumps. So, there will be people around you that understand and support you and there will always be people that don't. But that’s life, right?

How do you balance everything with being a mother?

There is no balance. Someone once told me that when you succeed in anything, there will be shortcomings on the other side. So, some days I focus on work, other days I focus on my family and home, I’ve never known a balanced day.

What about time for yourself?

Time for myself has always been priority for me. Sometimes this means massages and sometimes it is simply sitting somewhere quiet and reflecting on my own. I’m so glad you brought this up because making time for yourself is the single most important thing you can do for your wellbeing.

You’ve always been really open about plastic surgery and any work you have had done. Why do you think there is so much stigma and prejudice around something that so many people choose to get done today?

Firstly, I think people judge because I don't think they're not being totally honest with themselves. And second, because it's still a bit of a taboo topic. Do you remember how 30 years ago, it used to be such a big deal if someone got their nose done? Now, no one cares! It will take time, but people will learn to accept other forms of plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures too. It’s kind of why I started TRU & Beyond, to de-stigmatise talking about these kinds of things and create a safe, non-judgmental space where everyone from a monk to supermodel feels welcomed and accepted.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I envision a big office, filled with people and buzz. It would be crazy busy, and everyone would work together to come up with groundbreaking ideas for TRU & Beyond, as well as for gamechanging products for my own skincare brand. I love coaching and I love having big teams and I love creating and doing things. So, this is how I envision my future.

What is one thing you would like to say to the young girls of today?

Just be yourselves. Cut through all of the clutter that you see every day. Listen to your heart and do whatever ignites the spark in you because once you realise what your superpowers are, the world will flow. There will be obstacles, but it will flow. You will find your place.