1. One of the most popular Instagram accounts in the Arab world belongs to Ahlam Alnajdi, a 30-year-old artist and photographer, BBC reports.
2. Alnajdi makes miniature, life-like sculptures out of clay and takes pictures of them for the account.
4. A few weeks ago, Alnajdi received over one million followers, becoming the most followed woman on Instagram in the Arab world, even surpassing famous singer and “Arab Idol” judge, Ahlam Al Shamsi.
8. Saudi Arabia is hip to social media: one report shows that Saudis are the most active Twitter users in the world.
9. And as BBC points out, social media can be an outlet for Saudi women who lead a limited public life due to the ban on female drivers and other restrictive laws.
13. She told BBC she is not paid by these companies, but rather makes them because “these brands are so ubiquitous and popular.”
14. But she has profited from her work: she has written two books about her art, and said she generates a decent amount of income.
15. “I think my work proves that with a bit of ambition and persistence, it’s possible for any young person in Saudi Arabia to build a successful business,” she says.
16. “People are proud of me and I think I’m a good example of an Arab girl who managed to reach people from across the world with her work.”
17. It’s very cool to see young Saudi women using social media to create their own businesses, generate income, and achieve economic independence.
18. Not to mention the people she has inspired — including a small team of artists she’s hired as employees to help create and photograph the sculptures.
28. h/t Jezebel
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