PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Germantown salon owner is working to build cultural understanding about Islam.
She chooses to come out in public fully veiled.
Natasha Somalia has owned a salon for 25 years, but 8 years ago, the mother-of-five converted to Islam, choosing to wear an abaya.
“If I have to go out and conduct business, it’s more of a protection for me,” Somalia told Eyewitness News.
She’s fully veiled with only her eyes showing through her niqab whenever she goes in public.
“I still work out in my hijab, with my niqab,” she said.
Somalia’s salon is called “Fully Covered”- and while her largest clientele are Muslim, she sells hair care products in area stores and globally online.
She’s even been featured in Newsweek Middle East and on YouTube.
But Somalia says her appearance has caused her to lose clients.
“They said, ‘you’re not touching my hair with that on. Take that crap off your head,'” she explained.
That has made it harder to place her products in stores, but she’s hoping that by talking more about her religion and by showing Islam as “normal,” it’ll mean less fear- and less hate- for Islam in the mainstream community.