Faiza Hemed is an online content developer, producer and digital media specialist who is famously known on Instagram as @hijabi_villain.
The former accountant spoke to myNetwork about her trade.
1. Why does the nature of online comedy appeal to you, and when did you venture into it?
I’ve always been on the pursuit of a good laugh. I believe you can get through anything in life with a sense of humour.
After quitting my accounting job, I landed a job at a digital media company about three years back and that’s when my colleague Cherie Lindiwe discovered she could make something out of the laughs we had in the office daily.
However, I wouldn’t classify what I do online as comedy — it’s more of satire because at the end of the day, there’s a lesson to be learnt from the content I produce.
2. Who else do you think is funny on these social media streets?
First of all, shout out to Kenyan meme gods; they’re always creatively making us laugh.
The amount of memes I exchange with my friends on social media is sinful, lol!
Other than those, I’d say first and foremost on my list is Chebet Ronoh. I’ve got abs from watching and laughing at everything she says. Esther Kazungu, Mammito and George Kimani are also high on my list.
3. What are the ways to make money in Kenya as an online personality or as a comedian? How can you explain the art of monetisation to someone just starting out in the game?
There are so many ways but the secret is to be strategic about it. Content has to be intentional. It should not be wholly viewed as a hobby.
There are various ways you can make money online; I’d say shout outs, sponsored posts (on social media or blogs), brand collaborations, YouTube monetisation, affiliate marketing, and selling merchandise; although this hasn’t yet picked up in Kenya.
However, this can only be achieved through producing high-quality content that will, in turn, get you a loyal following.
4. How does society expect you to fit into certain boxes, for example religion, gender, and how do you break out of those boxes?
Well, as a Muslim woman it’s especially hard. There are so many people who have opinions on how we (Muslim women) should live our lives not only within our community but also from the outside looking in.
What I can tell you is you’d be surprised at all the unexplored talent that lies beneath those restrictions.
I spent my 20s living by other people’s rules and it got to a point where I exploded.
I had to unlearn everything that people told me I was and started living life by my own rules and have never looked back.
In fact, only by proving them wrong did I gain their respect. People always forget that religion is meant to be a personal experience.
There’s this mentality of wanting to get everyone on a heaven-bound ark not knowing what they individually do behind closed doors, and I think even if the intentions are great, it doesn’t really work.
At the end of the day, I have a lot to prove to myself, and living my truth unapologetically is how I break out of those boxes.
5. What are you planning for us, your fans, next?
I just started my YouTube channel (Faiza Hemed), so I’m focusing on that.
There’s also a channel (THE FAMM) where five other people and I produce fun, interactive content.
Other than that, I wouldn’t say I plan much; I like being spontaneous but I’m excited about the future.
I believe the entertainment and comedy space is growing and I’ll always be onto something.