Faces of Friday: Hamidah Ishan Ahmad
The purpose of Faces of Friday: Faces of Friday is a new interview-based series that I am launching to provide readers with insight into the lives of some of the unique, inspiring, & influential people I have had the honor of meeting/ knowing. Life can take you to unexpected places and the people you will meet throughout the series are willing to share with you where their lives have taken them.
I believe that one of the most important things in this life is the connection we share with one another. Identifying with another human being is an amazing gift, and it can inspire you to learn, grow, create, and open your eyes to what the world has to offer. We are not alone in this crazy thing called life. Life is a beautiful thing filled with beautiful people, and not everyone gets the opportunity to share their story. I want to provide others the opportunity to share their story and I want to give you the chance to hear it, learn from it, and maybe, just maybe, identify with it. I believe wholeheartedly that we were all meant for incredible things. I hope you enjoy reading these stories, and I hope that they touch you in some way. We are all learning to navigate life’s murky waters, why not learn from each other along the way?
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a city called Evanston, IL. I’ve always called it the Hollywood of Chicago, because a lot of up and coming artists live or have lived there since it’s the last city before Chicago.
Where do you live currently?
I currently live in Kenosha, WI
Did you pursue higher education? What did you study?
After countless times of getting busted in class for not paying attention, because I was too busy sketching or daydreaming about choreography for my new ice-skating programs. (But still maintained good grades)…I quickly discovered that going off to college and sitting in lecture halls was definitely not going to be my thing.
What do you do for a living? Is this always what you had planned to be doing? I coach ice-skating as well as a model/acting.
Honestly, no. My plan was to go to the Olympics. However; after three surgeries, many physical therapy sessions, and understanding that the Olympic committee was never going to create a registration sheet to get into the Olympics, I chose to turn professional and toured with Disney On Ice for 5 years.
What inspires you?
People inspire me; it’s very fascinating what people can bring out of you. I’ve been in some form of entertainment my entire life, which has allowed me to be introduced to many forms of personalities. I’ve encountered people who have told me no or I would never accomplish something, and it drove me to do the opposite. There’s people who have and still do rely on me, so it’s taught me to be accountable (I don’t like letting people down). And then there are those people in my life that have reached levels of success that I haven’t, and they motivate me to want to be just as successful. So I’ve come to learn that everyone you encounter whether it’s a long or short time will impact you, but how they impact you is up to you.
What is your personal mantra?
I have two mantras that I try to live by daily.
“Transformation occurs when our desire to change is greater than our desire to stay the same.” (On every email I send out)
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” (My lock screen on my phone.)
Has life taken unexpected turns? And if so what were they?
I think the more appropriate question for me would have been…”Has life not taken any unexpected turns?” WOW! Where do I begin? I have to say my life has been a runaway freight train (an enjoyable one) since I can remember. Let’s start at the age of 4/5. My mom put me in ice-skating as an after school activity because not being productive wasn’t an option. Did I mention it was only supposed to be and after school activity? Little did my mom or I know that within a few months a coach would come up to my mom and tell her that I was very talented and would like to coach me competitively. We went for it, and that lead to winning regionals, going to nationals, and being able to work with some of best the coaches/choreographers (shout out to Phillip Mills, Dana Mac Donald…you’ll never be a Hult to me (sorry Geoff Hult) and Kathy Nicole) that have made me who I am today. From there my competitive career lead me to a professional career with Disney On Ice where I had the chance to see and make friends all over the world. By 25 I reached a point where living from city to city and only seeing my family once a year was difficult, so I stopped. However; there was this part of me that missed performing and being a part of creating big productions. So after many years of people saying you should go into modeling/acting I finally decided to go for it, and signed with an agency. Along side the two I also found a passion for choreographing competitive and show programs for up and coming skaters. By doing so I have discovered that through helping younger kids express themselves, they have pushed me past boundaries of expression that I wasn’t comfortable with before. But even through all these great accomplishments, I still felt like there was this huge void in my life that needed to be filled.
On January 19, 2014 I decided to give my life to Christ. Up until that day for 29 years of my life if anyone asked me what I believed the best answer I could give them was, I know there’s something greater than us out there because I wouldn’t be here today, I just don’t have a name for it. My dad didn’t really present religion to me in the healthiest way, which made me turn my back from it completely. But that day my life was completely flipped upside down… I had this newfound assurance on who and where I was supposed to be, I was baptized six months later, and I met my unbelievable boyfriend Michael who I knew I wanted to marry the first day we spent together (YES! It’s true, love at first sight does exist…I can admit, I didn’t believe it either, LOL!). So for the past two years, I’ve been on a much “slower” runaway freight train (aka life). Things have never been more clear to me, but don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been smooth sailing. I have and still am trying to figure out this whole thing called life works, but through my faith I can unknowingly continue this journey with so much confidence and hope. Because I know that I’m not perfect and no matter how many mistakes I make Christ will always love me unconditionally (But I would be lying if said I don’t try to be…I’m an artist it comes with the territory).
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Sometimes it’s okay to be the square peg that doesn’t fit in the round hole.”
Meaning, be okay with being different because it’s what makes me Hamidah and not someone else.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
“There’s nothing wrong with being the black sheep Hamidah, but there’s a time and place for it.”
I was the one out of my three siblings who never had a problem speaking my mind if something bothered me. However; I would tend to get myself in trouble because I would speak too soon. So if I could I would have recommended this book I recently read called; “ANGER. Taming a powerful emotion” by Gary Chapman (GREAT READ!!!!!). I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have said a lot of things to people that I can’t take back. But like they say…"it’s not a mistake if you learn from it.” Right?
More Faces of Friday Here.