We're celebrating Women from around the world with our interview series: Top Ten Inspiring Females.
We're onto episode four of six in our Top Ten Inspiring Females Interview Series. At Modern Match we're celebrating women by extending Women's International Day to a full week! That's right, a full week of embracing, loving and featuring inspiring women from near and far. If you're interested in checking out what other inspiring women you need to be following on social media then head back to our Blog!
Let me introduce you to Derya, the Kurdish Queen of Instagram. Now you either know who the Kurds are or you don't, and that's okay. Kurds are an Indigenous group of people in the Middle East, more specifically, stretching from Southern Turkey into Iraq and Iran. Derya, shakes things up, she's not afraid to be loud. When it comes to human rights, spirituality and overall female empowerment, she's a Queen. With that being said, let's get into our interview.
Modern Match (MM): Derya, our Kurdish Queen! You stand up for a lot, you don't shy away from being loud and proud, which is one of the reasons we chose to interview you! What would you say your niche is and how did you know it was something you were passionate about sharing?
Derya: I have always struggled with picking a specific niche when it came to my online influence. One value that would always stand out to me is simply, abundant self expression. My online work first began as an outlet for just myself. I created a platform via YouTube to do just that; say what I want, when I want, however I want. It became a healing path for me in speaking my truth and allowing my voice to be heard. I’m a published author, and storytelling is part of my DNA. I feel with social media I get to use it as opportunity to share my story, and let others know that they aren’t alone in their struggles as well. Overtime, I became super passionate about holistic healing work and psychology, and my goal is to create a platform for just this, as I currently run my therapy practice on the side. My platforms have reached thousands, and when I receive messages from others, that me simply sharing my story has helped change their life, I know I’m doing something right. My passion & inspiration stems from humans and community, and the positive feedback assures me to further build my platform and make a legacy out of it.
MM: Like you said, you've struggled picking a specific niche, which means you're able to advocate for more than one thing on your social platform. Advocating usually means you'll get some heat...what are some of the challenges you've faced in your journey?
Derya: I started my online platform when I was 15 years old, and looking back I can remember most of the backlash and challenges would come from more girls at my school than boys back then, which now reflecting back makes a lot of sense to me. As for presently, it is still the same issue, I receive way more backlash from women than I do from men. Being raised in a misogynistic, patriarchal, capitalistic society it does not surprise me that girl on girl hate still exists. Women have internalized misogynistic beliefs that need to be actively healed and worked on for it to be dismantled, and same for men too. Growing up as teenager, being the most free, happy, expressive person did not sit well with my peers, my friends, and even my high school teachers and principals. There was always this underlying tone of jealousy and insecurity that I would feel from others, because the truth is I had what everyone wanted. Freedom and happiness. My most challenging point I have so far faced on social media was November 2020. After posting my first ever period blood face mask video, the extreme backlash I faced from my own peers and community, I did not expect. I knew there would be concerns, questions, and backlash from the public, but my own peers who I thought respected me? That was quite a shock, yet one of the most spiritually awakening experiences I have ever had. That was when it became clear to me, that when a woman speaks her mind, she will be shunned, labeled a bitch, a c*nt, too intimidating, crazy, psycho, mentally ill, and be treated as so. It is quite astonishing the fear that exists around powerful women. And all of my challenges have only fueled my inspiration so much more.
MM: It's beautiful and truly inspiring to hear you say that despite the negativity you've encountered, you've taken it and used it as fuel to continue on. This actually leads me to my next question, how have you overcome the adversities thrown your way for being a woman on a social platform embracing her wild?
Derya: I continue to overcome my adversities of being a woman online, by honestly doing just that. Overcoming it. Not allowing anything that does not resonate with my truth, to get in the way of my mission in life. I’m super lucky to have a powerful masculine force in my life (my best guy friend) that supports me in all of the work I do, and as a woman, sadly to say, it is so valuable to have feminist men who stand by you with this work. It’s one thing to be supported by all the amazing women in my life, but systematically speaking, you need men in this current society to succeed. I believe it is about balance, truly. I’m also super lucky to have powerful feminine forces in my life, my mother and my best girl friends, who may not always at times understand why I do what I do, but they respect and honour me regardless. Outside of all the support I have in my life and my amazing community of friends and family, it all comes back to myself. I overcome my challenges by staying grounded and aligned with myself and my purpose. If at any point I lose myself and my vision, than I have already lost. And the key to going back to myself, for myself at least, is always healing. Meditation, shadow work, and trauma healing is the therapy I need that allows me to further succeed and stay grounded constantly, in a world that would rather see me destroyed.
MM: Oh my gosh, GIRL. You are seriously SO inspiring, your mind is amazing. Okay, what's one piece of advice you'd give woman who perhaps is shy or scared to find and embrace their voice?
Derya: My advice to any woman or girl who is afraid to speak their truth, is to be courageous. Courage is knowing the fear exists, and you speak up anyways. Courage is being aware that your fear holds locked emotions for you in your body and unconscious mind, and that you tell yourself that you are strong enough to hold your emotions with unconditional love and light, no matter what. Make fear your best friend, she is your true guide & messenger. Remember, fear doesn’t exist in the present moment; fear occurs only when thinking of the past, or future. So if the fear of speaking up is due to the judgement or backlash of others, just remind yourself, their opinion of you, is none of your business. “Those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.”
MM: You're seriously SO fierce! I love it. Why do you think it's important for women to find their voices?
Derya: It’s important for women specifically to find their voices, because we live in a society that says women should not be themselves. And if you’re not being yourself or speaking your truth, then you are not living life for you, and what’s the point of living a life like that anyways? I believe every single human is meant to speak, and live the way they choose and brings them most joy and fulfilment. And even more specifically, for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ women like myself, our world needs our voices more than ever before. Our world is slowly catching up to the true way of being and that is bringing back our divine feminine, for all humans. As a Kurdish bisexual woman who was born on the indigenous land of Kurdistan, me speaking my truth is quite literally the least I could do. Because I am not only speaking for myself; I am speaking for my ancestors, my mother, my grandmother, and so on. Everyone holds 6-7 generations back of their ancestral trauma, so most of your fears and beliefs, really aren’t yours, and it’s our job in this lifetime to dismantle what is and isn’t true for us. It’s important for women to find their voices because their voices are important, period. It’s time for men, and the toxic masculinity, to take a seat back, and listen. The divine feminine has a message for all.
MM: Okay, this is probably my least favourite part of these interviews–wrapping up–but is there anything else you'd like to add?
Follow Derya on Instagram.