Going Further With Jameela Elfaki

Meet the creative powerhouse behind Azeema

In the summer of 2021, a group of more than 30 young women of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian heritage descended on a car park in East London’s Bow district. Each of them dressed in white, flaunting their individual styles, the women defiantly posed for the camera, wearing their heritage on their sleeves and pride on their faces. The occasion? The final shoot for the latest issue of Azeema, the magazine, agency, and community that empowers women and non-binary people from these regions.

Editor-in-Chief and creative director Jameela Elfaki, who is British-Sudanese, founded the platform in 2017 as a true labour of love and in response to the lack of representation of women with similar backgrounds to her. Since then, it’s grown beyond “her wildest dreams”: today, Azeema spans a uniquely global community and has sparked meaningful change within the industry. Jameela lets us in on how Azeema has helped her explore her own heritage.

Jameela’s favourite travel destinations

Q: Tell us about a recent trip you really loved.

A: I’ve just come back from Cairo, where my father and some other relatives live. So I had the chance to reconnect with them whilst also laying roots in the local creative community; we hosted an Azeema pop-up event. I also took a trip to the desert to camp under the stars, which was probably my highlight.

Q: Can you share some recommendations for Cairo?

That really cool studio
A creative hub for many artists, which is also home to Unty design studio. Look out for creative events happening here! Located in Zamalek.

Cairo Jazz Club
There is always something happening here, the best spot to catch a gig.

Bardo Clubhouse & Rizomasr Studio
A creative co-working space and event space, which is also home to Rizomasr Cairo's first Riso studio. It’s located in Maadi.

Townhouse Gallery
An independent art gallery that celebrates contemporary art located in downtown Cairo.

Q: What’s another place you loved visiting with Azeema?
A: A few years ago, we went to Marrakesh, which felt truly special. We connected with women on the ground, had some incredible photo shoots in beautiful locations..

Q: Where are you off to next?
A: Amman in Jordan – I can’t wait to go!

Watch the interview

Thank you, Jameela, for sharing your story with us. Follow Jameela’s story along on Instagram.

Jameela’s favourite travel companions