Nailah Abdullah is an Iowa-based model and dancer, who has danced professionally for four years. “I have been modeling and representing myself as a brand for about two years now. I like to bring enthusiasm and my firecracker personality to all my gigs.” Learn about Nailah Abdullah…
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born and raised.
First job: My first ever job was, when I was 14, I worked on an organic farm that taught about the indigenous ways of the land, including how to respect and be grateful for the food that comes from the earth, how to tell different plants from one another, and much more.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: I love rock climbing, going on hikes, and bike rides along the trails by my house with my Husky puppy!
Your biggest accomplishment and why: My biggest accomplishment was graduating from a private college with only a $1,500 loan that I am paying for completely this year. I come from a single-parent home, and am a first-generation college student, so this was big for me and my family.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: The biggest obstacle I have overcome was college. Being the first of my siblings, and set of grandkids, to go to college, I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t ready to be away from my family, especially my younger siblings, but I held that responsibility of being the “good example” of what success looks like, so I knew I couldn’t quit when things got hard. I found people who made me happy here in Iowa while keeping in touch with my family, and I made it through. Graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology is one of my biggest accomplishments to date, and I truly hope that I set the example, the standard, of what my family should strive for. If not college, I want them to strive for greatness, in whatever form that comes in.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mom is my biggest inspiration, not only because she is one of the most intelligent people I know, but she raised four kids on her own, pursuing and gaining her Master’s when we were young, and now getting her PhD!
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: If you want to do what I do, you must, must network. Knowing the right people will get you everything you want. Every person you know is a valuable asset in some way, shape or form. You never know what a person is going to bring to the table, so get to know as many people as possible, and never be afraid to reach out first! You typically have to build a network of people before others start reaching out to you, so find those people who are also passionate about similar things as you and start building a resume together.
Favorite quote: “Life without passion is a life better unlived/Living without passion is like being dead.” – Jeon Jung-kook
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am the second oldest of 10 kids! Growing up, I was the big sister that everyone looked up to, and I have younger siblings that range from 22 to 3 years old. My older sister will be 29 next month, and I have a beautiful baby niece who will be 5 next month and starting kindergarten.
What makes someone fabulous: I think the thing that makes someone fabulous is their passion. Whether it be in how they portray themselves, or the time and effort they put into what they do, a person with heart, soul and, most of all, passion, shines the brightest in my book.