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Success story: Maybelline NY “Born To Be”

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It is difficult to break into the fashion and beauty industry. That’s a fact, and it’s general knowledge. So, it is quite commendable to see the likes of Maybelline NY reach out to promising young talents and help them find their spot in this tough world.

With the third season on its way, the Maybelline NY ‘Born to Be’ has become a driver for making dreams come true. Last year’s ‘Cosmetic Couture’ winner Afifa Moin won a 10,000 dollar grant from Maybelline NY, one-year supply of Maybelline NY makeup, and a job offer after a three-month apprenticeship with DAS Collection’s designer sisters, Reem and Hind Beljafla.

A fresh graduate of Fashion Design, Afifa has indeed come a long way from her student days in Preston University in Ajman. Here’s an exclusive interview she granted us, sharing how Maybelline NY’s “Born to be” programme has changed her life.

What influenced you to join the Maybelline competition? How did you prepare for it?

I first saw the details of the competition at my university. I had never taken part in any competition before nor had I ever designed an abaya.

I was challenged by the idea of designing an abaya that should be inspired by a makeup collection, while keeping in mind fashion of New York and the traditional aspects of the abaya.

I started researching more within these aspects, started picking the cut lines, drapes, flares accordingly and began the design development. Eventually I picked four of my best designs and just entered the competition.

I am extremely thankful to my teachers in my university (Preston – Ajman) who were always so supportive and helpful throughout the competition because initially they were the ones who encouraged me and believed in me.

What was your initial reaction when you learned that you won?

When I entered the competition I honestly never thought of winning.  I just wanted to give it my best, and was excited to have as much exposure as possible. Knowing the competition was for participants all over GCC countries, I didn’t expect that with my little experience in this field I would even be selected.

So, when Maybelline NY called me to tell me that I won the competition, it took me some time to understand the lady on the phone correctly, and next thing I knew I was jumping in the middle of the mall. I am sure everyone else thought I was completely crazy!

What changed in your life after winning?

Winning this competition made me believe that I can do it; it gave me the courage and faith in myself. From my childhood, I had this dream of becoming a successful fashion designer. This competition gave me the confidence in myself that I am capable of achieving this goal, Inshallah, in the near future.

What valuable things did you learn from the competition and your internship at DAS?

I feel extremely grateful and lucky that my first work experience was with the Maybelline team and DAS Collection, where I was motivated, encouraged and appreciated every step of the way. I was treated and cared for like members of their family.

DAS, a brand that has just started in 2008, is known worldwide now. Reem and Hind Beljafla are extremely talented, Being trained under them was a very educating experience, I learned a lot about various aspects of this industry and it was a very prestigious opportunity for someone aspiring to be recognised in the industry. They have also been kind enough and offered me to join DAS upon my graduation.

Based on your own experience, how do you think this competition helps in building careers of aspiring fashion designers?

Motivation and confidence are what any aspiring designer needs to build their career. The empowerment I felt from the Maybelline NY team as well as the Beljafla sisters is the exact boost that anyone needs in the early stages their career. It equips us with the vital knowledge that we can only gain by working with experts, and hence it is of crucial importance.

If you want to write your own success story like Afifa, check out and join the Maybelline NY “Born To Be” competition this season.

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