Aqeelah Harron Ally
The Storyteller Series
Aqeelah Harron Ally
Our interviewee for the second instalment of our Storyteller series, is a woman who needs no introduction. Aqeelah burst onto our computer screens in 2010 in the form of “Fashion Breed Blog”, where she shares with us her thoughts, inspirations and enviable fashion sense. Through hard work and determination, Aqeelah has grown Fashion Breed into what can no longer be considered as “just another fashion blog”.
She has pioneered and cemented her brand as one of SA’s top fashion and beauty influencers. Over the years and after working with many, many brands, she has always remained true to herself and her values. In this digital age, where it so easy to be deluded by the glitz and glam, it is a quality of hers that we admire tremendously. What we also admire about her is her free spirit and sense of adventure. Who else could just decide to pack up and move to the desert without researching every last detail about it!
We hope you enjoy the interview!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a bubbly, full-time digital content creator (AKA ‘influencer’ or blogger) full-time wife and Muslim, and generally a jack of all trades.
2. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Driven, passionate, fair.
3. What do you do for a living?
I run my fashion and beauty blog, creating both organic and sponsored content. That can mean anything from guest writing for other media, collaborative posts with fashion and beauty brands, video content, being behind the camera or in front of it. No two days are ever the same! Where I can, I squeeze in work as a make-up artist.
4. What do you do on a “normal day”
Everything from running my business to running on a treadmill to running my household!
5. Where was the first place you travelled to?
I went to London in 2001 when I was 12. That was my first time overseas. Then ten years later (to the exact date!) I travelled by myself to London again.
6. What inspired you to take that trip?
I had a few friends living there and going there on holiday at the same time, and my aunt lived there, so I had free accommodation. I’ve probably been there around 8 times now and it will always have a special place in my heart. I don’t even know why!
7. How many countries have you visited?
Not sure about countries but around 35+ cities.
8. What was the most memorable trip for you?
That first solo grown up trip to London. I grew up so much on that trip but in the best ways possible. Then in the month that I was there my aunt took me to Rome for a few days as a belated 21st gift . It was the most incredible city, the most amazing feeling. I was so lame, I think I cried a few times seeing things like the Colosseum and my favourite sculpture of all time, Michelangelo’s Piêta. It was overall one of the most special experiences in my life, and five years later it still is!
9. The funniest thing that happened on a trip?
Making up our own version of the Italian language, which was essentially Afrikaans with an Italian accent. A woman actually called me out on it and told me I sound terrible haha!
10. The worst thing to have happened on a trip?
I was caught in a storm on a really old wooden boat in the Maldives and genuinely thought I was going to die. We couldn’t find our way back to shore, couldn’t see land anywhere and it was nearly night time. Alhamdulilah we found our way back though!
11. Why do you travel? What about it do you enjoy?
Everything. It’s the most freeing, liberating thing ever. You literally feel happiness running through your veins, it’s the most bizarre thing. It just makes me so happy. I literally measure money by comparing it to the price of plane tickets.
12. Why do you think it is important to travel?
It can often make you realise how lucky you are. It’s like getting an education through experience that nothing else compares to. It opens your mind. For me I can’t imagine feeling like I’ve lived a full life unless I’ve seen the world and learnt from people who are different to me.
13. Is there a place/people/culture that really resonated with you? Why?
The Japanese. I really admire their discipline and grace.
14. What are your travel essentials?
Money and passport of course! My camera, comfy shoes and an open mind.
15. Clothing essentials?
Dresses always because they’re easy to style and pack.
16. Which is your favourite country or city and why?
London, I think for the sentimental value. Italy because everything about it is magic. Thailand feels strangely homely because I’ve been so many times and New York is just dreamy and like being in a movie.
17. Where would like to travel to next and why?
Tulum in Mexico. It looks out of this world and goodness knows I could do with a break!
18. Favourite treasures/purchases from your travels?
An applique leather and mesh jacket from Istanbul. Also, my wedding dress.
19. What home comfort do you miss the most when travelling?
All Gold tomato sauce.
20. What has been the most interesting item of food you've tasted?
I’m not an adventurous eater. I’ll go somewhere and look for a halal burger!
21. Which country has the friendliest people?
22. Who is the most interesting person you've met so far?
My husband. His mind surprises me every day.
23. What's the best piece of travel advice you've received?
Travel as much as you can when you’re young!
24. What's the worst piece of travel advice you've received?
Save your money and don’t travel now.
25. What's been the weirdest thing you've seen?
I went to a 7 floor spa in China. You can watch movies on a big screen while people clean your ears, and there was an arcade there. Did I mention it was open 24 hours and it was packed when we went at 2am on a weekday!?
26. What's the most interesting thing you've learnt?
South Africans don’t realise just how cool they are on a global scale.
27. What has surprised you about yourself?
My willingness to rough it out and sleep in the occasional dodgy place. Although I don’t know if I can do that anymore!
28. What's your top travel tip?
Go with an open mind!
29. How much stuff have you lost?
Not much aside from my bank card in Thailand.
30. What's the most reliable source of travel advice?
Trip advisor. Do lots of research before you go somewhere!
31. What's been the best street food you've had?
Gourmet Waffle run by the Turkish guys in Oxford Street in London.
32. What destination have you found to be overrated?
PHUKET. Never again!
33. A place that most lived up to the hype?
New York and Rome.
34. What was the most challenging thing you've done?
Moved overseas to a country I didn’t even bother to research or look at on a map. I woke up crying the next day. But my husband was already there living as an expat too, and we went on our first date that same day! So I got over the hardship in 24 hours.
35. Would you rather see a lot of places or get to know one really well?
Would rather see lots of places for sure.
36. What is your dream travelling experience?
Going on umrah with my husband future little kids, family and in laws. I want a big Brady Bunch trip with everyone stunting in their ikhraam and praising the Most High together insha’Allah! (Everyone say "Ameen"!)
Thank you Aqeelah!
Aqeelah wears the Keffiyeh Dress in the pink/black/white colourway (currently out of stock)
Photography: Abdul Malick Ally c/o Fashion Breed.