Shape Diversity: Munah Bagharib

From The Infinite Wardrobe: JADA PANTSUIT MUSTARD by FINDERS KEEPERS

Diversity comes in many forms and is unique to your experiences and environment. In a nutshell, what is diversity to you? 

Diversity to me means being able to be open to understanding and accepting every part of you and the people around you. 

You do a lot of content and campaigns about racial diversity in Singapore. What was the motivation behind the Youtube channel and campaigns, and what are you most proud of? 

Hirzi and I focused on more than racial diversity because it’s important to look at people as people and not by their race. Our channel stood for anyone who ever felt like they were pushed aside for being different and our channel was inspired by people who were champions in their own right.

One video I am most proud of is our parody of Beyonce’s Formation where we featured everyday heroes of Singapore who were fighting and standing up for themselves and their beliefs. It was an anthem to remember that we are strong individuals but are also stronger when we come together as a community. 

What are your future plans since the HirziMunah series has ended?

I’m focusing a lot more on acting at the moment, for TV and theatre. At the same time, I’m also going into producing for theatre, with Teater Ekamatra, a company I’ve worked with (as an actor) for a long time. I recently joined them as an Associate Artist and they’ve given me the platform to learn and be mentored to go into producing! 🙂 It’s been a real crazy ride after MunahHirziOfficial but it’s nothing short of fun and exciting. 

We want to celebrate you. What is your body shape and what are your favourite features of yourself? 

You know, I’m actually not sure what my body shape is! I also don’t have a favourite feature, but I know which I am obsessed with, and that will be my teeth! I am super super super OCD about my teeth and how I take care of them. 

What does embracing body individuality mean to you? And how did you come to embrace your body shape? 

I think it’s about appreciating and listening to your body. The thing I focus on is how my body feels, physically and mentally. When you begin with wanting to take care of your well-being, everything else will flow along. 

How do you dress for your body type? What styles do you embrace or avoid in order to flatter your body shape?

So I know, I’ve got curves here and there and I’m not blessed with height. Hehe. But I love being fun-sized! So I avoid wearing pieces that will look heavy on my body – like big bold frills, things that are heavily printed. Plus, my style has always been a little flirty, a little sexy and all-round fun. So I like going for something fitting, or something light and flowy. 

What are your thoughts on the idea of the “ideal body shape”? 

It’s definitely ok if you have your own ideal body shape. Then that’s your goal and that’s what you want from yourself. But always remember to not let someone else dictate how you should look or dress. Do things that make YOU happy and proud. 

What would you describe your personal style to be like? Who do you look to as a muse for your style?

Like I mentioned before, my style is more sexy, flirty and fun. I like to experiment with different looks but that’s the basis I always keep too. Style icons for me would be Ariana Grande (because I am her), Shay Mitchell and Nicole Sherzinger. I also love Zendaya’s style, so she’s been added to my list recently. Their styles are very sensual but at the same time, exciting and very interesting. 

How do you find a balance between acting, being a host, and your own personal life?

It’s always really tough because my life is so fast paced. And I am sure this is the case for lots of people trying to juggle work and personal life. Life in Singapore is so, so, so fast! It’s been getting faster and faster, and over the years, I’ve learned that it is up to YOU to stop yourself, to take a breather, to prioritise your mind and well-being. As crazy as my schedule and days are, I make sure to find pockets of time where I can recollect, renegotiate, and recentre before I move forward again. 

They say being a host and actor requires one have multiple traits like being an extrovert. Which personality traits complement you at the workplace?

I think it’s the fact that I love meeting new people and experiencing new things, and I’m always excited by many things. Hahaha! I think it doesn’t necessarily require you to be a complete extrovert, but it does need you to be able to understand and connect with people. That is the very core of performing – that you have a heart and soul that will drive you. 

Being in this line of work, who do you look to for inspiration?

My father. When I was young, I always thought, “Wow, he is a workaholic, he needs to rest. He needs to give me attention! :(” Hehe, I was a brat, okay. But when I started to work, I understood this passion for striving to be the best person for yourself and for the people you love. To create this world for yourself where you are happy finding new challenges to better yourself. And it doesn’t matter who tries to stop you, as long as you don’t stop yourself. 

What are some things you miss about being a youth?

I’m still a youth, okay! Haha, okay fine, who am I kidding! I guess one thing I miss would be… being carefree, as cliche as it may sound. But, as you grow older, life comes at you. There’s no running away from that. But that’s how you grow right, and that’s how you gain your strength. By surviving every little downer that’s thrown at you. It’s tough – sometimes really, really tough, and it feels like you can’t stand anymore. But what I’ve learned is that you are always stronger than you think you are and most importantly, never ever feel like you are alone in this. There is always someone you can reach out to. 

If you had one thing to share with people who are still exploring, what would that be?

Do things that scare you – the scarier, the better. Haha, at least that’s what I live by. I think challenging yourself, even in the smallest ways, helps you understand yourself better, helps your learn and helps you connect with the world around you. So don’t be afraid to try new things. And if you are still apprehensive, drag someone along to try it with you or guide you!

Beat the stereotypes and embraces the differences. Find out more about our celebration about diversity in our community from our interview series:

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