This is part of Ordinary Women, Living Extraordinary Lives series in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2019
What makes someone uniquely inspirational? Is it their determination and focus, how they empower others, their generosity, being true to themselves, or maybe just embracing life as it is and overcoming adversities?
Any of these attributes could be it. Now imagine someone who embodies all of them!
This March, we honour women not only for their outstanding achievements, but more importantly to challenge them to “Think equal, build smart and innovate for change”.
In the upcoming weeks, we will feature stories of Malaysian women who lead exemplary lives in today’s world. Dispelling stereotypes, these women are unconventional individuals in a dog-eat-dog world with promising careers and their own brand of wisdom to share with the world. What is not to love about them?
Meet Malaysia’s Sitting Beauty – Nur Ashikeen Iqbal
The first Wheelchair Queen of Malaysia is a woman on a mission.
There is certainly more than meets the eye about Nur Ashikeen Iqbal beyond her reigning title as Ms. Wheelchair Queen of Malaysia 2018 and a stylish woman.
Fondly known as “Kimi Black” or “Kimi” to her family and close friends, this 28-year-old bespectacled, fresh-faced, intelligent woman in a wheelchair with her hair tucked in place beautifully is a wise, spiritual, giving and admirable woman in terms of her work and life.
Her work embodies much of her newfound lease of life – where she chooses not to allow her disability to get in the way of living in the moment!
At the age of 17, life threw a harsh blow on her when she became paralyzed due to severe spinal cord injuries (T3-T4 Level) following a hit-and-run accident.
The initial period after the hit-and-run accident was perhaps the most challenging time of her life.
“I was, from a very young age, interested in self-development and personal growth, which is why I pursued Psychology at university. As my desire grew during my rehabilitation treatments, I soon found out that my dreams were becoming more and more determined by what people around me thought was possible for me, given the circumstances.
“This did not feel right to me. My family has given me nothing but encouragement in everything I did. They have always supported me in staying true to myself, wearing my destiny with grace and dignity – disability or no disability. In return, all my achievements are my little way of saying thank you for believing in me,” she says.
Fast forward to current times, she is now a self-published author with her first book “Wheels of Success” published in June 2017. Currently, Kimi is hard at work to realise her dreams of making it big into the local entertainment scene as a recording artiste someday. Check out her debut single “Ku Terima” below.
She works full-time as a client account executive selling e-learning programmes and runs her own start-up business selling fragrances. As the CEO of Decode Fragrance Sdn Bhd, Nur Ashikeen empowers the special needs community especially women to know that loving oneself is the greatest gift of all.
She continues, “I love being a woman. I think that society gives women a different kind of empowerment these days. They push us to be on top of things, to be equals, teach us all the things are possible in spite of the gender-role biases that have been ingrained in Malaysian society for years.
“Being a woman in a wheel chair is no walk in the park either. We should embrace these opportunities, help each other but of course, we must also be humble, ethical, grateful, and maintain our integrity in business.”
On the business front, Kimi Black remains immaculate as a leader with purpose. Her kind heart and gentle ways are known by everyone. She will always be known as the complete giver.
On her hopes for the special needs community in Malaysia, she adamantly exclaims, “view PWDs as valuable consumers. Employ us. Promote us. We make loyal employees. Get PWDs into acting and singing in mainstream media. Treat us as equals“.
Follow Nur Ashikeen on FB @kimiblack and IG @kimiblackmusic
“Ku Terima” is now available for download via iTunes
Get your copy of her book entitled “Wheels of Success” on Amazon