Felixia Yeap is a former model who posed for magazines like Playboy and FHM. She also used to appear on car shows and beauty pageants. On July 2014, she officially announced her conversion to Islam. But why did a girl at the top of her modelling career decide to leave her extravagant lifestyle and embrace Islam?
Yeap was born in Malaysia in 1986. Her early experiences with religion did not provide any meaning to her: “I used to attend Catholic Church every Sunday evening… I’ve tried to understand Christianity. I also tried to adopt Buddhist practices. I’ve tried to find new meaning in worshipping Kuan Yin and others. But my heart never felt close to God. My heart never felt touched.”
She started modelling in 2005 and appeared on the 3rd season of the TV program “I Wanna Be a Model”. In 2009 she was crowned Velocity Angels’ Model of The Year. However after reaching fame and success in modelling, she says that she felt “hollow and exploited. I crumbled time after time. I picked myself up just to crumble all over again… I had never asked for fame, dramas, marrying some rich guy and brag about wealth and all. I was really just passionate about posing in front of camera and strutting down the runway.”
Then in 2013, she received an offer to take photo shoots while wearing the Islamic hijab. She says that dressing modestly gave her unprecedented feelings of protection, happiness and safety. She felt liberated by the hijab. “I realized that I was looking forward to cover up (my body) more”. The hijab got her thinking of her worth as a woman “I believe that I am worthy of more than just showing off my body. I am more than this. And I don’t feel proud if any of those fame seeking model wannabes out there look at me as idol or role model. I don’t want you to be blaming me when your career is pretty much done and you feel empty, used, lost and hollow after all those exposures and exploitations.”
“I started to look for something deeper: a religion, a God, a better way of living life. I wanted to cover myself up more, be respected and be known for who I am inside not for how much flesh I am showing outside. If a religion could show me the beauty of life and living, why not try to understand it? Why detest it just because a few confused racists and extremists try to twist things around?”
On the day she became a Muslim she said “Today is a historic day for me. It’s like a rebirth.. I hope everyone will pray that I will be steadfast and committed in my new journey.”
Since then she has changed her name to Raisyyah Rania Yeap.