Karimah bint Dawoud
Karimah bint Dawoud is a British-South African convert to Islam, with a successful career in cosmetics, hair and makeup. She is widely travelled, and well-versed in global cuisines and cultures. After converting to Islam, Karimah put down her brushes and white stilettos for a while and picked up the henna cone and the Glorious Qur’an, which she lives by as a steadfast Muslim woman. She is a Muslim chaplain, photographer and bestselling author of Heavenly Bites. A graduate of Fine Arts, she was awarded the Alhambra Award of Excellence and has contributed to many television programmes including those of the BBC, MBC, Sky News and Rotana. She is now a well-known cook who presented her own cooking program on Islam Channel’s Ramadan Bites.
She was born Deborah David in Romford, Essex, to a Roman Catholic family. With an English mother, and South African father. Being of a diversely mixed ancestry, she holds Scottish, Irish, English, African and Asian heritage. After leaving convent school at the age of 16, she studied cosmetics, and was soon hired by clients like Gucci and Revlon as a professional beautician at 19. She picked up fashion modeling, and lived a life many people would think they’d dream of. In a magazine article she wrote: “I met the singer Prince, attended a film festival with the director Spike Lee, I was a back up vocalist for Barry Manilow, lived in Zurich and could buy anything I desired.” However, this materialistic lifestyle she felt was lacking, and says: “I was so insecure and lacking in self esteem. I continued to allow myself to be objectified and used and was extremely unhappy.” As a result, she soon delved into the depth of her spirituality to seek out the truth.
As her modeling career ended, she began her spiritual pathway in order to gain a more natural way of living, before ultimately finding Islam. She says: “In Islam everything is clear, there is guidance and direction for how to live your life.” She rejected the Western ideas of female beauty, and embraced an alternative viewpoint. And is now a completely different person from her youth.
Recently, Karimah graduated her Imamship course. She was offered a scholarship to do her Masters in Islamic Studies, but finally pursued Clinical Nutrition. Her work now consists of interfaith topics, relative to Islam and nutrition, in addition to being an executive nutrition coach.