Aseya Nasib was only 16 when she was diagnosed with clinical depression, which runs in her family.
“The teen/early years are when it first manifests itself for many of us who have lifelong mental illness,” says the 36-year-old Emirati.
Over the years, Nasib learned how to treat her depression with medication and therapy. It was after breaking her ankle roller skating that she realized there was more she could do to help other women – and in late 2018, Magic of Being was born.
“I like to say that breaking my ankle was the universe’s way of putting me on the path I needed to be on,” says Nasib.
Her online and real-world platform aims to empower, elevate and unite women and men by promoting mental and physical wellness, self-love, self-care, body confidence and body positivity. Magic of Being aims to bridge the gap between the holistic wellness world and the everyday, to provide a space for women to process and work through these issues and heal. The nexus of it all is the online webzine, which Nasib has dubbed the “self-love hub.”
“The blog gives us an opportunity to share real stories, real experiences and real information,” says Nasib. “We do not monetize it and we aren’t here for the clicks, so, like the podcast, everything is an authentic experience that we have gone through or information that we genuinely believe to be helpful.”
It’s not a business or a social initiative, because, as Nasib explains, “We don’t believe in labeling it or boxing ourselves in.”
They also do their work through a podcast, social media and public events, including healing circles and brunches. There are plans to launch an online boutique and to host week-long retreats in Sri Lanka.
Even though they are more than a decade apart in age, Nasib and 24-year-old Sandy Ramzy, creative director of Magic of Being, have both had issues with the current body positivity movement.
Although It is trendy in influencer circles, they see a lack of diversity in the representation of different cultures.
“We are lucky to have the platform that we do and we choose to use it to promote people who are doing amazing things but might not get the attention they deserve because they don’t have a huge Instagram following or don’t fit into the physical ‘ideal’ of what most publications are looking for,” Nasib explains. “For example, our shoots feature real women, from diverse backgrounds and all sizes. We don’t just pay lip service to inclusivity, diversity or body positivity – we live it.”
While they do hold women-only circles, the Magic of Being events are also open to men, because they also suffer.
“We often have one man or two men attending our circles, and during our bigger events such as panel talks we have about a 20 percent male attendance,” Nasib explains. “We opened up our all genders welcome policy after I noticed that I was being approached by men after giving talks on mental health and body image, and realized how many of them were struggling as well.”