By Bilal Kuchay
An aspiring makeup artist once forced to cover her face with a veil for six hours a day at school so she didn’t ‘scare’ students with her facial birthmark is now fighting beauty standards.
Hamna Usmani, 20, from Islamabad, Pakistan, was born with a birthmark covering half of her ‘misshapen’ face.
The red birthmark , believed to be a port wine stain, changes colours in different weather conditions.
But Hamna said since childhood she has been castigated for her birthmark – forcing her desperate parents to take her to several doctors and seeing the girl undergo painful laser treatments aged just five.
When she grew older, she was asked by teachers to cover her face with a Nikab – a veil worn by some Muslim women in public, covering all of the face apart from the eyes – at school so as not to not scare her classmates.
However, Hamna never let the condition deter her confidence and now uses it as a weapon to fight standard beauty norms – by filming beauty tutorials online.
Hamna says: “Almost a decade we moved from Karachi to Islamabad so I went to a school for admission. I passed the test.
“The school principal called my parents to his office and told them ‘we would really like if your daughter would cover her face because we don’t want to scare other kids’.
“It was happening in front of me. That time I wanted to dig a hole and hide there.
“Though I never wanted to hide my face from anyone but for years, I was forced to wear the Nikab for six hours a day.
“That was the time when I felt I was different. I had to wear the Nikab six-hours a day and that was the point when my confidence was zero.
“I just reached the very down point of my life that I did not want to face people and go out of my house to answer people’s questions.”
However, it was Hamna’s family, who stood by her thick and thin, who gave her the confidence she required.
In 2016, after passing her exams, Hamna underwent two back to back surgeries. Doctors levelled the left side of her face and extracted several of her teeth as well.
Post surgeries Hamna was on bed rest for months. She had to quit her studies but that was the time when she got interested into makeup.
She said: “My family stood by me. They gave me confidence.
“Today, I’m confident because I feel I was raised and brought up like that.
“My family always told me ‘be who you are, never be ashamed of yourself’.
“After my back to back surgeries I was on bed rest.
“My brother gifted me a smartphone and I started watching makeup tutorials. I liked them and started doing them on myself.
“It gave me a lot of confidence.”
Hamna started making videos of doing makeup on her face and on her cousins and posting them on her Instagram account, https://www.instagram.com/makeupbyhamnah/, where she has got over 4000 followers.
Her fans like her self-taught skills and she no wants to start up her own YouTube channel.
She added: “Makeup is my passion now. You can be anyone with makeup, so many people do not realise it but makeup is so powerful.
“Although i think people shouldn’t be insecure of themselves but there are people who are insecure and if makeup is making you secure then it’s the best thing.”