RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s first beauty YouTuber with Down syndrome, who started sharing her videos on social media platforms this month, has been widely applauded by celebrities and members of the public for overcoming all obstacles to follow her dreams.
Ridda Zahra Naqvi’s first make-up tutorial was uploaded on Instagram by her sister on February 7. The video went viral and has since amassed 12,000 comments, nearly 75,000 likes and about 800,000 views.
Several A-list Pakistani actors, including Zara Noor Abbas, Ayesha Omar and Sana Javed, reacted to the clip by positing encouraging comments to support the 16-year-old emerging celebrity.
“I enjoy the comments the most,” Naqvi told Arab News over the phone from her home in Islamabad. “They make me really happy.”
Within days, her Instagram account had over 40,000 followers, something her sister Alina Naqvi, who manages Ridda’s account, described as a “welcome surprise.”
“I am really happy to see Pakistan’s response because we did not expect it,” Alina told Arab News. “As we saw the video go viral, we wondered what was happening! This is because people in Pakistan do not usually look at special needs children like this.”
Alina said that her sister was motivated to make more videos after receiving positive feedback.
“This is the first time she’s done this,” she continued. “We are really happy to get so much appreciation from people and the media.”
The young make-up artist has also been approached by brands and is beginning to make branded content.
Her mother, Farah Naqvi, told Arab News her daughter’s poise, confidence and visibility — along with her representation of a community virtually absent from mainstream or digital media — was something to celebrate.
According to the World Health Organization, one in every 700 babies is born with Down syndrome.
“I am so proud of her. It feels like there is a lot of appreciation for her talent and how she carries herself,” she said in a phone interview. “Members from Down syndrome communities in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have been reaching out as well to tell us how happy they are.”
Ridda said she liked make-up artistry, though she also wanted to branch out into other fields.
“I like making videos a lot and being a makeup artist,” she said, “but I also plan to be a photographer and go into teaching as well.”