In an interview with social media personality, Fatema Tuz Zohra, about her experience as a Dove ambassador and being a part of their ‘self-esteem’ project, she has given an insight about her life in quarantine and how she believes in the importance of staying positive.
How are you dealing with the quarantine?
There has been a big change in lifestyle for me and everyone else. In order to make sure I am healthy and safe, staying home is important. Getting out would not only harm me but will put all my loved ones at risk. So, I am making sure I stay at home and try to stay as positive as possible.
Social media is full of overwhelming content for the last few months, with news related to COVID, how do you think that can have an impact on our mental health?
Well, there is always news related to COVID-19 and other issues, like the Black Lives Matter movement. Every time, I browse through my social media, I see posts related to Coronavirus which makes me anxious. It does have its toll on our mental health, but there are good things that came out of it, such as posts related to methods of protecting oneself from the virus, teaching us how to maintain basic hygiene and also, more news out there means more people are getting aware of the severity of the situation. And about the news related to things like the Black Lives Matter movement, I feel, even though it does not resonate with the people of our country -- this movement stirred up another important issue which is colourism, and it is very prevalent in our society. I feel this movement has brought this topic in limelight, and the fact that people are becoming more and more aware of this issue, I do think this will bring a positive change among the people of our country.
We saw a video of a campaign (Dove) you were a part of, suggesting tips on how to stay positive. Did you find it difficult to practice any of these yourself?
Some of them were, in fact, very difficult to practice at home. Well, staying positive in this situation isn’t really possible -- like everyone else, I do have personal everyday struggles that I go through. Bullying was something that I had to deal with ever since I was young. Even today, I do receive a lot of negative messages and that does affect my mental health. But I have made peace with it. If my suggestions and tips help at least one person to gain confidence, I would consider that an achievement.
Do you think keeping pets is helpful?
I have three cats myself and I think it does help. For me, spending time with my pets does help release a lot of my anxiety. It’s funny how all my three cats have their own personalities.
How are you dealing with not being able to meet all of your friends and family members?
Interestingly, I am now more connected with my friends than I was in a normal scenario. We now understand the importance of having a healthy life. And I am staying with my family so I am one of the lucky ones, except my elder sister, who lives with her husband. I miss her the most.
We saw many positive things like people picking up different hobbies, or even learning new things they have not had the time to pursue. Ever since the lockdown was prolonged, many may seem to have lost motivation. How do you suggest they stay motivated and productive?
There is no option to lose motivation at this moment. There’s no denying that there will be an economic recession in the post corona period. And people of my age, especially final year students, who supposed to graduate this year, will face difficulties in getting a job. So, I feel people should make the most of this time at home developing certain skills, whatever it might be to improve their chances of getting hired. In order to stand out from the rest of the crowd in this already difficult job market, I feel we need to stay motivated and learn more things so we can add value to ourselves.
Last month, you posted about not believing everything you see on the internet. Have you witnessed a lot of misinformation being passed on recently? How important a role should an influencer play in spreading authentic information?
I think there should be a social media orientation that is practiced at schools, on how to use these social media platforms properly. There is also a lack of empathy when it comes to spreading news, as negative news is more widely spread, I feel. Everyone should check the facts themselves before passing on the information. We should also resonate ourselves with positive people around us in social media. One thing I would like to mention is that social media influencers are not social workers, politicians or news reporters. It is completely his or her own choice if that person wants to talk about a social cause. About sharing authentic news, social media influencers or anybody with a big following, should post responsibly, since any untrue information could have a big impact on many people.
What does it mean to be a Dove ambassador?
I am very grateful for this opportunity, as Dove is a brand very close to my heart. I fell in love with it from a very young age, as they always portrayed the beauty of regular people. And this time, being on the other side of the screen meant a lot for me. Dove’s self-esteem project is about teaching young people about body confidence and self-esteem by going to different schools, this time they wanted to send a message to the young people and the guardians through social media and, that is what I was a part of. It has been a lovely overwhelming experience for me to be a part of this campaign.