How Sahar Ghorishi is Challenging Iranian Beauty Standards

In this issue, we’re talking to Sahar Ghorishi, the young Iranian creative who believes that every creative gift has a purpose, and that hers is to influence. Sahar’s aim is to show the world what influencing actually means. She creates artwork on self-love and diaspora, and recently directed and produced a two-part series on Western standards of beauty and the Iranian nose.

Q: What is Journey of/to Dawn? What inspired you to create it?

A: Journey of/to Dawn is a platform that I created to make content and put on events for young Iranians. It’s also the name I’ve used for my own personal blog, and is derived from my own name. Over time, I realized that the name “dawn” is beautiful, meaningful and hopeful, that isn’t just a name, but a feeling and journey everyone can relate to. Thus, I’ve decided to use it in the name of the platform. 

I always felt like Iranians living outside of Iran feel separated and grow apart from it, and I also noticed that many Iranians outside and inside Iran are very influenced by Western standards of beauty. Therefore, I wanted to bring Iranians together and inspire them to think and love others and themselves. 

Q: What is the platform’s current focus? Why have you chosen this as your focus?

A: The platform’s overall focus is to make people think and to inspire them. We wanted to talk about topics that are usually brushed under the carpet within the Iranian culture. And I believe the platform can change the way people think.

Q: Who is the platform aimed towards? How can people get involved?

A: I started the platform to inspire young Iranians, however, that is definitely not to say we aren’t trying to inspire others from different cultural and ethnicities. Our team for our recent project weren’t just Iranians, so we inspire and involve others too. We are open to collaborations, so please do email and DM us!

Q: The film you created around the Iranian nose is unbelievably beautiful. Tell us more about the film, how the idea for it came about, the individuals who worked together to bring it to life, and what message you hoped it would get across?

A: So the idea came around during/after I went back home to Iran. I remember on my first day I visited my cousin’s salon. I was getting my hair and nails done and I felt happy to get a little pamper day. I usually don’t treat myself, so it felt good.

As I was getting my hair done, I had so many different people approach me about a common topic: nose jobs. Comments like, “You would look so pretty with a nose job,” and,  “You have a beautiful face, and a nose job would make you even more beautiful,” really made me feel less than I was. 

Two years ago, I was genuinely considering a nose job due to my insecurities created by beauty standards and rude comments about my nose. It was only last year when I decided that I was beautiful and canceled my consultation.

When I left the salon, I felt insecure again, but the day after I reassured myself that not everyone can see the beauty of an Iranian nose.

I also came to the conclusion that even those who have a nose jobs are judged and talked about. My belief that nose jobs are a personal choice and should not be influenced by the interference of others inspired me to create this film.

However, I could have never created this film without my amazing team! I really owe it to my editor and videographer Qasim, photographer Judith and stylist  Kourosh for bringing my visuals to life. All of the team felt passionate about the topic, which allowed to get our points across. I am so proud of our team and all the work that was put in.

The two part series highlights the topic of personal choice and the problem with Western standards of beauty. 

Q: What impact would you like the platform to have?

A: An impact on the mind and soul. The mind is powerful and sometimes it can trick us into thinking we are less. I hope that our platform gets people thinking and realizing that self-love, self-belief and respect for ourselves and others is beautiful, and that we are worthy in every way, shape and form.

Q: What are your plans for the future? What can people expect from Journey of/to Dawn? 

A: I’m very excited for everyone to see part two of our first project (The fall of the standard of beauty). We at Journey of/to Dawn just want to keep inspiring, and we hope to do a summer project so keep an eye out for that! 

You can find and support Journey of/to Dawn on Instagram here.

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