Hot Philosophy: Yasmin Warsame


The dim light of D-Bar, in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, creates a halo effect around Yasmin Warsame as she shares her concerns of the modern world.

She’s become a mother for the second time, to Maya, and she has a heightened awareness of the dangers that lurk in those pockets of the world where light does not shine.

A few days earlier, during the afterglow of Bikram yoga, Warsame had expressed a keen sense of concern about the violence that afflicts Earth. Watching the news for an hour was enough to place her in a malaise.

“In a world like today when it’s so hard to feel good about anything because there are so many bad things going on and a whole lot of negativity,” she says, adding an assurance statement she isn’t giving in to despair.

Her homeland, Somalia, is in the midst of famine. She has been checking with family if there was anything she could do. Then there’s fashion industry, the one she’s called home for 15 years, facing new challenges.

United States President, Donald Trump, has attempted to bar citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering America. He’s had little success, but that doesn’t mean the fashion industry isn’t keeping watch.

During a recent trip to New York City, to shoot with photographer Steven Meisel, Warsame had that shiver of concern run through her.

“I was a little nervous going into New York because I’m part of the seven countries that Trump banned,” she admits. “Even though I’m a full Canadian citizen, I was still nervous.”

And if Trump’s ban is enacted, it will impact the fashion industry immensely. Not just for her, but for designers, other models, photographers, make-up artists – all across the spectrum.

“It’s very inconvenient for a lot of people, especially for the fashion world because travel is an essential part of what we do,” she says. “You have to be in Japan for one day, London for two days, then Paris for another time, and then back to New York for a shoot. It’s got to be synched.

“If you miss one leg of the trip or there is an inconvenience, there are 20 members of the crew that are waiting and can’t do anything until you arrive.”

Still, her journeys won’t be as often as she did with her son Hamzah. Warsame makes it a point to be home as much as possible for her daughter. There won’t be any turning down of direct bookings, but being a mom is now number one.

“My passion is staying home and trying to be a mom, which I didn’t get a lot of chances (with Hamzah) because I was travelling a lot. I’ve carried a bit of guilt from that.”

Which means there are more evenings spent at home, enjoying a more domesticated lifestyle. In the evenings, she’ll just cosy up at home, perhaps Netflix and chill.

“I haven’t been out in whenever, ” Warsame says, with a laugh. “(Maya) keeps me busy. I just shower at the end of the day and go to bed. It’s a thing. I never want to get out. I’m literally telling myself I need to get out.”

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