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This Burn Survivor Is Using Permanent Tattoos To Change The Lives Of Women Everywhere

Human Interest

When Basma Hameed was just two years old, a horrific kitchen oil accident resulted in 3rd degree burns that covered 40% of her face.


That one tragic day changed Basma's life forever, causing pain, bullying, and torment in the years to come. While some would've viewed this as the end of life as they knew it, the dedication and perseverance of Basma said otherwise, and she quickly realized this incident could be a blessing in disguise.

This Iraq native hasn't had it easy and her struggles started off quite early in life. Months after the traumatic burn, Basma would soon begin a number of surgeries throughout her life, in which she now has undergone over 100 in total. With the severe burn deforming fractures of her facial features, Basma tried a number of things to gain her face back. However, no topical make-up was effective enough to make a difference.

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If the burn incident wasn't traumatic enough, the reactions from her peers didn't make the experience any better, leaving Basma with little hope and fewer options.

"I did over 100 surgeries and I was still constantly bullied. At 16, I went to my plastic surgeon. He said I should take my money and go on a vacation, [and] that was the end of the road for me," she shared.

Somehow, Basma knew this wasn't the end of the road for her. Instead, it was actually the beginning of a new life for her, one with a newfound purpose.

After several surgeries and attempted augmentations in hopes of changing her appearance, Basma decided to permanently tattoo her eyebrows. Little did she know this one procedure would spark an idea for a new business venture that would help thousands of burn victims who experienced the same difficulties she had gone through.

"I was so happy [with the results of the permanent eyebrows] that I thought to myself — why not do the same procedure except use skin tone pigments on scar tissue to camouflage the discoloration?"

From there, Basma went to school for medical aesthetics, where she learned everything she needed to know about the skin industry. Soon after, she apprenticed with a permanent makeup artist where she would learn hands-on all the things needed for her new career.

"[While learning] I started working on my own face and after just a few treatments, I started to see a huge improvement. Then I started working on all types of birthmarks, surgical scars, areola reconstruction, and all kinds of skin discoloration and saw that it worked as well," Basma shared.

While at the time it was an unheard of procedure, causing many to be skeptical, Basma's dedication still brought her vision to life, not only for her, but for burn victims everywhere.

Now with over 15 years of serving her community internationally, Basma's skin restoration procedure continues to change the lives of thousands of people. With her unique technique, Basma is able to camouflage skin discoloration brought on by burns, medical conditions, and accidents. Basma is a healer, pioneer, and survivor who used her own pain to create an empire that caters to victims just like her.

When asked what she wants her story to represent when it's all said and done, her answer was simple:

"My story is a story about not giving up. I took a negative situation and turned it into a positive. This procedure has given me confidence and my story gave my clients hope. I love seeing my clients' transformation. Most of the time, the client would be shy and won't want to make eye contact during their first visit. By the 3rd visit, they walk into the clinic with so much confidence. It's so rewarding to be a part of their healing journey," Basma said.

"My story is a story about not giving up. I took a negative situation and turned it into a positive."

Basma now has offices in both Toronto and Beverly Hills and aims to continue her work as a skin pigmentation specialist. She also started a training academy to teach other technicians her unique procedure in hopes of changing lives worldwide.

For more information, visit her website at www.basmahameed.com and be sure to follow her @BasmaHameedClinic.

We all know what it is to love, be loved, or be in love – or at least we think we do. But what would you say if I were to tell you that so much of the love that you thought you’d been in was actually a little thing called limerence? No, it doesn’t sound as romantic – and it’s not – unless you’re into the whole Obsessed-type of love. But one might say at least one side of that dynamic might be…thrilling.

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Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre Elba are gearing up for the second season of their podcast Coupledom where they interview partners in business and/or romance. The stunning couple has been married for three years but they have been together for a total of six years. During that time, they have developed many partnerships but quickly learned that working together isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

Today is Malcolm X’s birthday. As an icon of Black liberation movements, his words are often rallying cries and guideposts in struggle. In 2020, after the officers who executed Breonna Taylor were not charged with her murder, my timeline was flooded with people reposting Malcolm’s famous quote: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”

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