Former journalist turned fashion designer and mama to 2 gorgeous girls, Sahar aged 2 and Summer aged 1, Reema is completely down to earth and full of wit and wisdom about juggling a career with kids – plus mega talented (her pieces are simply divine). Having launched her debut line in the same year as the birth of her second daughter and now about to unveil her third collection, Reema shows us that it really is possible to achieve anything if you want it enough.
Name: Reema Ameer
Occupation: Fashion designer
Children: Sahar, 2, Summer, 1
How long have you lived in Dubai? 8 years
1) Tell us about your business and why you started it.
I started off my career as a journalist in London in 2001, which ultimately led me to Dubai where I worked as Lifestyle Editor, first on Grazia magazine and then on Harper’s Bazaar. It was in my role as a journalist on a fashion magazine that I fostered a love for design. I left Harper’s to have my first child in 2011, and it was then that I finally had a little down time (believe it or not) to turn my hand to fashion design. I launched my debut line, Reema Ameer, in October 2013, the year my second daughter was born.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
I would say the word achievement applies more to one’s career than personal life. I don’t view family as an ‘achievement’, but my husband and daughters are no doubt the most cherished people in my life. In terms of my career, what I am most proud of is my role as a reporter at TIME magazine, from 2001-2006. It was pretty much my first job out of university and I was surrounded with inspiring people all day long – and these were very often 18-hour days, 6 days a week!
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you grew up?
I always wanted a job in fashion – in some form or another. I actually wanted to be a stylist because I love to make people over!
4) If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That my dad would come back to life and be given the chance to be the incredible grandfather he would have been to my two girls and my nieces and nephews!
Health and happiness always for those I love.
A country home in the UK – where I grew up!
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
A Sassy Mama is someone who has their finger on the pulse whilst remaining the primary caretaker of their children.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is giving my girls chocolate when no one is looking!
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Anything is achievable; you just have to be hungry and dedicated enough to go after it.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
The girls LOVE the beach, but when it’s too hot outside – Friday morning Kinokuniya dates are us! Sahar my eldest loves to read and Summer loves to pull books off shelves – so it’s actually a super fun family date where everyone is occupied!
10) Which three words best describe your personality?
Honest. Independent. Determined.
11) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Your children feed off your energy – be the best you can, you owe it to them. Give them your time, but also make sure you keep your sanity in tact by doing things for yourself from time to time. A happy mum is a good mum.
12) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business but is worried about juggling family and career?
I think as mums, there’s always something to feel guilty about. Whether it’s not giving number two as much attention as you gave number one, whether it’s being distracted by work or whether you resort to TV too much in exchange for an hour of peace – we are always feeling guilty.
But, one thing I do believe is that a mother who feels fulfilled (and it’s important to remember that each person is driven by different things) is a mother who can give more to their child ultimately. Sometimes it’s not about the length of time you spend with your child, but about the quality of the time you spend with them.
13) If you were on an island and could bring only three things (family not included) what would they be?
Are we allowed to say iPhone? Would there be Wifi on the island? ;-). If not, then just a pen and paper so that I can write and sketch – my two passions… oh, and maybe a pair of tweezers!
15) Describe your style.
Cool and colourless!
16) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
Zoe Saldana – she’s badass, and my husband fancies her!
17) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
Sahar has me in stitches all the time – she is so entertaining and chats nine to the dozen all day long. The other day, she was walking up the steps and tripped – she blurted out “oh, sh*t”. Not something I’m proud of – but hilarious all the same! And Summer, well she is one so doesn’t say all that much – it’s more what she does, like throw stuff in the toilet. Yesterday it was her toothbrush! Gotta love them!