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In conversation with Kunwal Malik of “This is She”

How many times have you wondered if you could actually trust a beauty brand? Even if you could, how dreadful was that for your bank account?

If you are arguing with yourself to find an answer to these questions then it’s time for you to not worry about it anymore. On this Women’s day, 8th March 2020, the grand launch of This is She a beauty brand that aims to empower you, took place

After coming to Bangladesh from Canada, Kunwal Malik was stunned by the beauty that this part of the world holds. Noticing how much the women of Bangladesh has embraced the beauty trends was another revolution for her. However, the quality of the products the women here are using was a big question to her.

Being a feminist herself, Kunwal Malik knew she needed to do something for the women to make them feel their most confident self. “Every woman is beautiful. And when confidence gets added to her persona, her beauty intensifies” shared Kumwal Malik

With a vision of bringing quality products to the beautiful women of our country, her brand This is She came to life.

This is she isn’t just a brand to her. It has a significant reason for its existence. Reminiscing the reason that inspired her to come up with this brand Kunwal Malik said, “ A lot of people ask me why did I start This is She with eyelashes? Well, there is a very interesting story behind that. Back when I was in Canada, I went to a really nice salon and tried their eyelash extensions as it was one of the most trending fashion trends then. So I did try them and then started the horror story. After a month they started shredding, which is a natural process but sadly all my natural eyelashes fell off with the extensions too. And let me tell you, it had a very bad effect on my confidence. I felt people are looking at my lashes, I didn’t enjoy wearing make-up anymore. After tons of research and using many remedies my eyelashes did come back but I just knew there are many many other women like me for whom eyelash extensions are probably not the best-suited idea, so This is She was my way of creating something for these women”

Following this experience, she decided to create her brand and the first thing she wanted to introduce her brand with was eye-lashes.

The quality of these lashes can easily be compared to the best of the best lashes that are out there in the international market now. She didn’t just stop at bringing these eyelashes, the packaging and the names of each lashset oozes the motto of the brand which is: Be Confident.

Just to name a few, dazzling queen, adorable brat, spoilt princess will actually make you feel like the princess that you are. 

Speaking of her future aspiration for the brand, Kunwal shared all the exciting products that are coming our way. “We are slowly but surely more moving towards skincare as well. I have noticed how humid the weather here is but hardly any quality sunscreen that one can find. Our next mission is to bring the best quality sunscreen to the beautiful ladies of Bangladesh at the most reasonable price possible.”

For the make-up artists out there, This is She is also coming up with bundle packages. In the packages, they will get customized eyelashes which are really high quality in discounted price.

This is She isn’t just a brand, the sentiment behind the birth of this brand is to make the women around us feel more confident in themselves so they can go and conquer the world without having to worry if their eyes are on fleek or not!

This is She, she is confident.

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“I escaped a day with Wander Woman. And I loved every moment of it”

As someone who loves clicking aesthetically pleasing pictures for her Instagram, the initial thought of going camping with over 100 girls (none of them I knew before) left me with mixed feelings.

“Should I go?”

“What if I don’t get along with them?”

“But I always wanted to try ziplining”

A bunch of these questions were running through my head.

However, when I first saw the announcement of Joya Sanitary Napkin presents Escapade 2019 on Wander Woman’s page on Facebook, I knew this was an experience I need to have!

With no idea of what a fantastic day was waiting for me ahead, on the morning of 6th December, I started my journey to Neo campers in Gazipur with faces that I have never seen before.

After a 2 hour long journey and a surprising realization that I still remember all the lyrics to ‘Ei poth jodi na sesh hoy’, our bus reached Neo campers.

Read more: 5 perfect places in Bangladesh for camping adventures

And as I entered the gates of the camp, the beautifully decorated camp made me feel like I’m here for a destination wedding. The organizers from Wander Women left no stone unturned to make this an experience to remember for years to come.

From goodie bags filled with coupons and membership cards from the sponsors of the event like Joya sanitary napkins, Foodpanda, chologhuri.com, Weddingberries.com and many more, to exciting games and activities, they had everything to make this day memorable.

Activities like zip lining, relay race, bigfoot, pottery making kept the girls on their feet (literally) the entire day. And don’t think it was just a friendly race where we just ran and went to have lunch afterwards.

It was a full-on competition. We were divided into groups of four, where we competed with our paired group.

And let me tell you one thing about me, I am probably the most competitive person you would meet. On top of that, when Sabira Mehrin (The founder of Wander Woman) announced the participant who gets the most social media engagement with hashtag would get one night stay at Dusai resort, I already started planning what will I have at the breakfast buffet there.

Read more: With Sabira Mehrin of Wander Woman: Creating a community of independent women travelers

There were prizes for the best performers as well during the games. After different rounds of activities, I realized, “okay, maybe I overestimated myself.”

Even though our team didn’t make the final cut, but boy oh boy, did we have fun!

Just after finishing our lunch, when I thought there might not be any other activity left, Sabira Mehrin and other organizers surprised us with the best possible way possible.

We didn’t realize that we were accompanied by one of the most inspirational female travellers in the country, Eliza Binte Elahi.

A session with her where she shared her travel stories made me notice how much more I have to explore.

The mental health seminar hosted by the M2H (Mission to Health) gave the girls the courage to talk about mental health openly without any fear. I was surprised to see how so many girls opened up about their mental health issues in front of strangers they just met that morning.

While coming back home after an incredible day with the girls in the woods, I couldn’t stop but think how refreshing it is to spend a day like this. And this would not have been possible without the beautiful members of Wander Woman.

I came to know about this group Wonder Woman last fall when one of my friends went on a trip with them. I didn’t know there is a community of amazingly inspiring women who are taking on the world with their adventure.

The idea of girls going on a trip by themselves has a lot of taboo attached to it. However, wander women is here to shatter all these narratives and inspire women travellers around the country.

Until the next trip, take a bow Wander Woman!

Folk Fest, Shohoz and DMoney: The love triangle no one asked for

In a city like Dhaka where we don’t really have any place to hang out apart from going to restaurants and cafes, the Dhaka International Folk Fest is a breath of fresh air that everyone eagerly waits for.

Performers from home and abroad come together for three days of music from all over the world. Unfortunately, an online controversy preceded this year’s fest. The controversy is bringing light to issues around data privacy, data sharing and the most dangerous habit of everyone in the internet– accepting terms and conditions without reading them.

The organisations at the heart of the issue is Shohoz and Dmoney. Shohoz is a service provider app which is in charge of registration and distribution of tickets for Dhaka international Folk Fest. In order to register for the Folk Fest, registrants were required to submit their NID/Passport details to complete the registration procedure. This has become practice in some larger events and in previous versions of the event. In order to complete registration, one also had to accept the terms and conditions which included general rules to maintain security, regulate behavior within the premises and other important details.

However, a clause was also included in which the registered individual consents to share personal information with the digital payment partner of the event, which is D Money Bangladesh Limited.

To me, an addition of such a clause is dubious and lacks clarity. For me, consenting to a clause like this translates to a violation of my privacy. Many festival goers did not read the fine print. This feels like an unnecessary clause for a music festival; I feel that the organizers unfairly tried to re-purpose the data that I was giving to them for registration.

This clause was highlighted by some concerned festival goers on Facebook a day before the event. To their understandable surprise, some people who registered at the folk fest received a confirmation email from D Money stating that an account has been opened under their name. The email also stated that they will be notified shortly after for a verification of their NID and Bank information.

When this came to light, many registrants, including I, felt appalled at Shohoz and the organizers of Dhaka International Folk Fest for mishandling the information. The Dhaka International Folk Fest has been happening since 2011, and I have come to associate it with culture and winter festivities. Such incidents put a shadow on that association, and may sour impressions on the international stage that the festival is.

To extrapolate from the email, not only did Shohoz and DIFF share phone numbers and email addresses of the people who registered for the event, but they also shared sensitive information like NID and Passport copies. After these facts made rounds on social media, the organizers of DIFF, Shohoz and the D Money issued the following statement:

I find this explanation unsatisfactory and feel that this defense was poorly put together. I do not think that a company that handles finances (is therefore considered credible) would make such an ‘accident’. Confirmation emails to people who did not knowingly sign up for their services indicate that Shohoz may have shared the information for this very purpose. Otherwise, an accident indicates a case of poor management that is not expected from such organisations.

I hope that this makes us talk about data privacy more seriously. Mismanaging or being careless about user data is wrong– it’s wrong when Zuckerberg does it, it’s wrong when anyone else does it. I hope we carry forward lessons from this and actually read terms and conditions before accepting them. Unfortunately, our very personal data can be easily taken from us and used to benefit others.

I hope it’s not too much to ask for when I request all of you to, at least, skim if not read every detail before installing an app next time. Because we need to be vigilant that our privacy is not being violated.

The published article is an Op-Ed piece by the author and Op-Ed articles may or may not reflect the stance of the publication.