Payman and Rhona chat with award-winning facial aesthetician and dentist Dr Yusra Al-Mukhtar. 

Yusra touches on her experiences growing up in the UK as a Muslim woman and the impact of her father’s return to Iraq after the war.

She also explains the rationale behind her move from dentistry to facial aesthetics and shares thoughts on consent and ethics in aesthetic procedures.

Yura also discusses balancing motherhood with a demanding career, the role of healthcare professionals in discussing humanitarian issues publicly, and the importance of speaking out against injustice.



In This Episode

00:02:50 – Backstory

00:24:50 – Transition from dentistry to facial aesthetics

00:33:35 – Differences in aesthetic preferences between Liverpool and London

00:39:35 – Ethics and aesthetics 

00:52:00 – Motherhood, career and family

01:01:45 – Fertility

01:08:15 – Healthcare and humanitarian issues

01:24:50 – Islam and Islamophobia

01:53:20 – Future plans and projects

01:54:10 – Advice for young dentists

01:55:25 – Awards and success


About Yusra Al-Mukhtar

Yusra Al-Mukhtar is a dental surgeon, medical aesthetician and founder and clinical director of Dr Yusra, providing medically-led aesthetic treatments in Liverpool and London.

Yusra: Speaking up for equality of all human beings is politicised. This is not a [00:00:05] political matter. This is humanity. And as health care professionals in particular, [00:00:10] where we are trained to be humanitarians, where we go into health care because [00:00:15] we care for others, this is incumbent upon us to speak up for our profession, for [00:00:20] our colleagues, for children, for innocent civilians who are trapped. And if you look back [00:00:25] 76 years ago, World War two, prior to that, when human beings were being [00:00:30] killed in their masses, people were silent, turned another cheek and stayed quiet because [00:00:35] they had privilege. It wasn’t them being killed and they were afraid to speak up. And also it was legal. [00:00:40] So just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right. And if it isn’t for the courage of [00:00:45] people to stand up against human oppression, there would be no change.

[VOICE]: This [00:00:55] is mind movers moving [00:01:00] the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. [00:01:05] Your hosts Rhona Eskander and [00:01:10] Payman Langroudi.

Rhona Eskander: Welcome to this week’s [00:01:15] episode of Mind Movers, The Mental Health Podcast. As a little side from Dental [00:01:20] Leaders, which is my favourite. And today we have doctor Yusra Al-mukhtar [00:01:25] and it’s so exciting because she’s actually her sister Zainab, who is a good friend of mine [00:01:30] and her mother, Doctor Farida. Yeah, she has also been on the [00:01:35] podcast on the Dental Leaders one. So we have a whole family gathering coming here. So scroll [00:01:40] back to the previous podcasts with them because people love those ones [00:01:45] and I think you’re a real force as a family doctor. Yasra is an award [00:01:50] winning facial aesthetician who’s actually a dentist, and we’ll get into that. So she’s GDC [00:01:55] registered. She has an award winning practice in Liverpool, which practices facial aesthetics [00:02:00] and dentistry. She’s also a mother of two, married to a psychiatrist. [00:02:05] Yes. So medical because the Arabs like to marry my [00:02:10] dad and mom, doctors and everything like that. So I’m well versed with that. And today we’re going to have a [00:02:15] really interesting discussion. The reason why I wanted to invite you on the podcast, because I don’t often [00:02:20] invite health care professionals, is because I think that her platform offers more than just [00:02:25] facial aesthetics and dentistry. And what I mean by that, it is a platform [00:02:30] that represents humanitarian causes. It also talks about beauty, fashion and [00:02:35] so forth. And I think that when people show that diversity, they develop a different [00:02:40] kind of following. And you can have very interesting conversations about vulnerability, [00:02:45] about hope, about love, about dreams, about controversy. So Doctor Jester, for me [00:02:50] was the perfect person to invite. So welcome.

Yusra: Thank you so much. What a lovely introduction. Thank you.

Rhona Eskander: I told you. [00:02:55]

Yusra: Yes.

Rhona Eskander: I always make sure that I. I speak the truth when I’m speaking about. [00:03:00] The only thing that.

Yusra: I would add is I have a clinic in London and I report.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing. Well, you know what? To be fair, I have [00:03:05] actually visited your clinic in London, but I just assumed when you had opened up the flagship in Liverpool that you’d left [00:03:10] that. Oh, no, you’ve still got that. So yeah. Okay. Amazing. So [00:03:15] yes, I like to start things from the beginning. Could you please tell us a little bit [00:03:20] about your background? You know, where you’re from, where your family are from and how you ended [00:03:25] up in the UK.

Yusra: So my dad is from Iraq. He’s actually half Iraqi, [00:03:30] half Azerbaijani. My mum is, um, Yemeni and Turkish, and [00:03:35] we were born in Scotland. Myself, Zainab and I were born in Scotland. So as we gettle [00:03:40] and stayed there until I was six and then moved to London, stayed in London until I [00:03:45] was about nine, and then we moved to England because my mum was a dental surgeon as well, and her passion [00:03:50] and interest and focus was implantology. So 30 years ago, I’m [00:03:55] giving away my age now that dental implants was not a thing in the Middle East. It was not a thing in Oman. [00:04:00] So she had an opportunity to bring it to Oman. And so obviously she didn’t [00:04:05] say no to that opportunity. And we went there and it was incredible, like best years of my life. We stayed [00:04:10] there for about three years and then came back to London and [00:04:15] stayed here until after I got married and then, you know, moved begrudgingly [00:04:20] to Liverpool.

Rhona Eskander: Oh, wow. I was like thinking, you have such a nice international accent. [00:04:25] I do love a Scottish accent. But, you know, I definitely picked up I came here when I was five, [00:04:30] but I was like, I sounds so English. I would say, that’s amazing. And [00:04:35] your parents, why did they choose the UK?

Yusra: Oh great question. [00:04:40] So my dad was a surgeon in Iraq okay. And he [00:04:45] worked there and did a lot of his training there. And over there they had something called conscription, where [00:04:50] at the time you had to be enrolled in the army. So he was an army doctor, but [00:04:55] he had the opportunity to study abroad. So he went to Dubai and he studied there. And then he [00:05:00] came to the UK to complete his studies. And my mum had done her dental [00:05:05] surgery, her undergraduate degree in Romania, it was called Somatology. And [00:05:10] after that she moved to the UK because her brother was a surgeon in the UK [00:05:15] and he said come here. So she came here and she actually she met my dad while they were both uncle. [00:05:20] My mum did oral maxillofacial surgery like my parents literally, she says she was on call, she fell [00:05:25] asleep in the mess and the doctor’s mess and she woke up and there was an Arab man staring at her. And that was my dad’s. [00:05:30]

Rhona Eskander: Love it. I love that so much. And how was life growing up in the UK for you? [00:05:35] Well, Scotland first actually it’s not even the UK.

Yusra: Amazing. I absolutely love Scotland. We still have a house [00:05:40] in Scotland. I have a real affinity to Scottish people. I identify as kind of Scottish as well. [00:05:45] Um, I love that. Yeah. I think, you know, if they ever break away, then I’m going to Scotland. Yeah. [00:05:50] Like that free health, free child free education for our children. So [00:05:55] yeah, I mean I loved it, I enjoyed it, but I was six and then in the UK [00:06:00] it was all great. When I went to Ireland, that was great as well. And I kind of knew that I wanted to go [00:06:05] into healthcare from quite a young age. Partly, I guess, because of exposure to my, my what [00:06:10] my parents were doing. They were always in the service of others and that impacted me. [00:06:15] But also, I had an accident when I was eight years old and, um, that ended up [00:06:20] causing a facial deformity because I cut my lip from this corner right down [00:06:25] to my chin. So I had a really prominent scar, and people would always ask me about it, literally until I [00:06:30] had scar treatment. So my whole life people would ask me, and I remember actually, after the accident, [00:06:35] I wrote a letter to the surgeon and I said, I’m going to do this one day. I’m going to help others. So [00:06:40] I knew from a young age that I wanted to go into health care. And then when I came back to [00:06:45] the UK from Oman, I went to a all girls school, a muslim [00:06:50] school in northwest London. Okay. Um, and then I went to a Jewish school [00:06:55] for my, um, my A Levels in Golders Green. Which [00:07:00] one?

Rhona Eskander: I knew all the like.

Yusra: Henrietta.

Rhona Eskander: Barnett. Oh, my God know it. I was so not smart enough to get in there. [00:07:05] They definitely rejected me. I was definitely not. But I knew Henrietta Barnett really well. Yeah, because it was [00:07:10] the dream. My parents really wanted to go. I was just not. I was just not a smart child. I had to work really hard. But, you know, I made [00:07:15] it when I made it to school, but, um. That’s incredible. So you must have been incredibly academic child, because [00:07:20] Henrietta Barnett was very academic. Yeah.

Yusra: It was competitive to get into it. I was I mean, was I academic? [00:07:25] Not not until I moved to Iowa. And I think up until then I was kind of [00:07:30] climbing trees, jumping off walls, not really interested in academic academia at all. And I think [00:07:35] the turning point was to two parts of my story. Turning point one was when [00:07:40] I must have been around nine, eight, nine before [00:07:45] the accident. And, uh, was it before? Maybe it was, no, it was after. And I came [00:07:50] home and my mum said, actually, we got in the car, my mum said, okay, show me your report. And Zainab, my sister, showed the report and [00:07:55] she was like, you know, she was studious at that time and she got A’s and B’s. And [00:08:00] then my mum said, show me a report. And mine had like season B’s. And she was like, well, okay. And she didn’t say anything. [00:08:05] She didn’t reprimand me or shame me, literally. She just went and I said, mama, I [00:08:10] think they swapped my reports in mistake. And she was like, oh, okay. It’s a mistake. [00:08:15] So smart, by the way.

Yusra: Like, I really look up to her and how she raised [00:08:20] us because she knew that I was embarrassed. That’s why [00:08:25] I said, this is not my report. I felt shame, and so she recognised that [00:08:30] immediately and went, okay, that’s fine. And we used to go and we used to go to McDonald’s after [00:08:35] getting our reports as like a, a treat. And I thought, I’m [00:08:40] still going to go to McDonald’s. And she said, let’s go to McDonald’s. I was like, great. So we went to McDonald’s, [00:08:45] came home, and then my dad, Serge and Arab, you know, hierarchy. Anything less [00:08:50] than 100% is not good enough. And, um, bless his heart. And he [00:08:55] came home and he looked at my report and he goes, why is this your report card? And I licked it and ran [00:09:00] upstairs. And my mom said to him, Amir, his name is Amir. Amir, don’t tell [00:09:05] her off. She already knows and she’s going to do this on her own. And so me as an eight year old heard, [00:09:10] oh, I need to fix this on my own.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah.

Yusra: So that’s when I started to hold myself [00:09:15] accountable and actually start to care about academia. Before that, I [00:09:20] really was just literally, I’m not even joking. Climbing up walls and getting stuck in trees. Yeah, I was very sporty. [00:09:25] Um, and then I think then shortly after that we moved to online and in [00:09:30] online there was an entrance exam. Yeah. And you know, before that I didn’t really know [00:09:35] much about exams. So when we had the entrance exam we got in. But it was very difficult [00:09:40] to challenge because you had to. My mum had a decision where she could either [00:09:45] have put us in the expatriate classes, where we’d learn everything in the British curriculum, or [00:09:50] in the classes that everyone else went to where they would learn history, geography [00:09:55] in Arabic, which was hard for us. And she was like, no, you can do it. And so I thought, oh [00:10:00] no, again, we’re going to have to do it. Because there was this, there was this unwavering [00:10:05] belief. It was, yeah, you’re going to fix this, you’re gonna be fine. And so I just that [00:10:10] I think is, is when I became super academic and studious, amazing.

Rhona Eskander: So I think [00:10:15] it’s interesting that you say that your mom was that helpful. Buffer, [00:10:20] I think it’s really important because what I’ve had my dad on the podcast as well, [00:10:25] but there was definitely like this thing of my parents couldn’t afford to send us to private school, so they worked really hard [00:10:30] to send us to private school. So you had to do well. It just wasn’t an option. And you often see, like [00:10:35] there’s this Arabic guy that I actually follow and he does this meme, and he was like, point of view, when your [00:10:40] parents see, you get 93%, he’s like, where did the 7% go? You know, like it’s [00:10:45] just classic, you know? So I absolutely love that you’re on another podcast. [00:10:50] Um, I heard you speaking about your father and where he was from, and [00:10:55] how nerve wracking it was, because at one point he actually had to leave the UK and return back home. Do [00:11:00] you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Yusra: Yeah. So that was all after [00:11:05] the Iraq war, the invasion of Iraq, which happened after 911. [00:11:10] So I think I was must have been around 16 at the time. And I remember [00:11:15] the country became very polarised and anti-Islamic sentiment started to happen because it [00:11:20] was attributed to these terrorists who were from an Islamic background. And I remember walking [00:11:25] in the streets to Henrietta Barnett and being told to f off back to my country. Wow. And being really confused [00:11:30] as the 16 year old thinking, what did they mean? And where? Where is [00:11:35] my country? I was born here. Where do I f off back to? It was pretty.

Rhona Eskander: Post 911.

Yusra: This [00:11:40] is post 911.

Rhona Eskander: Okay, fine Was 911 also difficult or not during that time. [00:11:45] Yeah it was.

Yusra: Difficult because of the the it was an extremist terror attack. [00:11:50] It was difficult for every human being. Yes. Scary. Yeah. But then what also happened [00:11:55] was stigmatisation. You know suddenly it was if you see a man with a beard and a bag, be careful. [00:12:00] And a stereotype started to form and that stereotype continued and progressed into if [00:12:05] you see a woman with a scarf, she also doesn’t belong. She’s also out there, you know. And so [00:12:10] I think I and a lot of Muslim women who wear a scarf [00:12:15] and can’t hide their faith were subjected to attacks. So and then [00:12:20] there was this claim of weapons of mass destruction, which later was found out to be a lie, [00:12:25] but based on that, Iraq was invaded and when it was invaded, one of the, [00:12:30] you know, lots and lots of bombing, obviously carpet bombing and lots of people were killed [00:12:35] and there was a looting and chaos and and so on. And there was a destruction of the health care system. [00:12:40] Now, my dad’s a surgeon, so I think he immediately felt a sense of responsibility [00:12:45] and duty to help. But also it hits really close to home because his brother, [00:12:50] during this chaos and anarchy and, you know, jails people busted out of jails, [00:12:55] criminals that should have been in jail were no longer in jail. People were looting. It was just chaos in Iraq [00:13:00] and kidnapped my uncle. So his brother and held him for five [00:13:05] days. I said in my podcast story and I was corrected. It was five days and he was tortured and beaten. [00:13:10] And then the brothers all came together and raised money to get him out because he was held [00:13:15] ransom.

Yusra: And that’s what they were doing at the time. They were taking people that they felt had money or [00:13:20] had affiliation of people who could pay and hurt them and held them ransom. So [00:13:25] he was one of the lucky ones who who lived and he was dumped in, [00:13:30] you know, in the middle of the desert and really left for dead, picked up by someone random [00:13:35] taken to his house. And his family didn’t even recognise him. His wife and his children didn’t recognise him because he was so [00:13:40] badly beaten and swollen and bruised. And so I think that was really traumatic. That was traumatic for us, [00:13:45] that was traumatic for my father. And they were then expatriated and brought to the UK as [00:13:50] refugees and lived with us for a while. So we heard kind of by proxy, what it [00:13:55] was like in war. You know, my cousin talks about how the house, you know, the lights went off and the bombs [00:14:00] went off, we’re going off and the windows shattered. And how they looked outside the window and they saw dead bodies on [00:14:05] the ground. These were the things that we were hearing about at that young age. And shortly after [00:14:10] that, my dad took a sabbatical from the UK, his position as a surgeon and, [00:14:15] um, moved to Iraq to work as a [00:14:20] health advisor in the largest medical city complex in Baghdad, and to basically rebuild [00:14:25] it. But even that was dangerous. You know, every time a bomb went off, did your.

Rhona Eskander: Family react to that decision that [00:14:30] your mom and you guys.

Yusra: So it wasn’t discussed with us [00:14:35] as children. We weren’t like it wasn’t an opinion of, you know, are you okay [00:14:40] with us going? It was obviously a discussion had happened between himself and my mum, and my [00:14:45] mum was supportive but scared. So she lost a lot of weight while he was away. She [00:14:50] had to raise four children by herself. She didn’t know if her husband’s coming back every time a [00:14:55] bomb went off. She didn’t know if her husband was dead. So we’d always be waiting for a call to say, is he still there or [00:15:00] not? And in that time he had bodyguards because he worked as a prominent, you know, he’s a health advisor [00:15:05] and his bodyguard was killed. So it was real, real anarchy. He was gardening [00:15:10] outside his office, and he opened the door and he was gone. And they found him shot dead in the basement of the hospital. So [00:15:15] these are the kinds of things that was the norm. And so it was a really stressful time.

Rhona Eskander: I [00:15:20] really appreciate you sharing that. And one of the reasons that I ask is because I kind of had a memory blank. So I was [00:15:25] actually born in Saudi, which people don’t know. So my parents met in the hospital in Saudi similar, and [00:15:30] we lived in Aramco where I was born. So again, it was like that community complex sort of life. [00:15:35] Then we moved to Bahrain because that’s where my dad got his second job and my sister was born in Bahrain. And actually it was during the [00:15:40] Gulf War. And I remember hearing the raids and I [00:15:45] remember hearing like the sirens and stuff as a child. And all of a sudden at school, I was running down the street [00:15:50] with gas masks, but I had this like memory blank, and the memories only started coming up quite [00:15:55] recently. So it’s really funny, as children, how we guard ourselves from trauma. Like I [00:16:00] just didn’t remember.

Payman Langroudi: Totally.

Rhona Eskander: But that’s pretty traumatic. Imagine being at school, which me and my sister [00:16:05] were. I must have been about four years old. Tania was like one. And [00:16:10] you remember that? And I still. And I remember my nanny, like, coming and carrying her and [00:16:15] the masks being put on and stuff, you know, and we were just living like that. And [00:16:20] obviously when I came to London for many, many years, I just didn’t think about [00:16:25] it. And now I have memories and I can remember quite distinctly running, But [00:16:30] it’s funny because I find [00:16:35] when I’m in physical situations of stress. So, for example, I [00:16:40] don’t know, like in a car that’s driving very fast or [00:16:45] skydiving or bungee jumping, I actually don’t get scared, but I’m more scared of [00:16:50] emotional threats to my safety. So I’m the kind of person that will panic about how people [00:16:55] react. If I upset them, about confrontation, about what people think of me as, [00:17:00] you know, all these different things. But when it comes to physical stress, and I wonder somehow if that is related [00:17:05] to the types of things that I’ve grown up with. So that’s a.

Yusra: Question for Hassan’s [00:17:10] psychiatrist.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I absolutely love the fact that he is a psychiatrist. Did [00:17:15] that teach you a lot in your relationship.

Yusra: People always ask [00:17:20] me, does he read my mind? And I say, I wish, I [00:17:25] wish because the socks still end up on the side of the bed and not in the washing [00:17:30] basket. So if you read my mind, that wouldn’t happen. Um, but he’s a very, very patient, understanding [00:17:35] man. You know, he’s incredible. And he’s taught me a lot in raising our children as well. [00:17:40] And his kind of his passion is child psychiatry and I love it. Trauma management. He deals with a lot of children [00:17:45] who’ve undergone undergone trauma and adults who had unresolved trauma as [00:17:50] children. So that’s his speciality.

Rhona Eskander: And does he like combining the medical [00:17:55] aspect with the psychological? Because very much my experience with psychiatrists before have been [00:18:00] very much like let’s go down medication route, which I think is a bandaid and not getting down to the root [00:18:05] cause of things. So I’d like to think psychiatrists with the new innovation of [00:18:10] thinking like Gab or Matt, who I know that you’re a fan of, um, that they’re actually [00:18:15] understanding. We can’t do that. We can’t just numb people.

Payman Langroudi: We kind of their role. Right? I mean, if [00:18:20] you want to talk to someone, you can talk to a therapist.

Rhona Eskander: You still maybe can help us understand.

Payman Langroudi: That psychiatrist [00:18:25] is kind of to to to bridge the medical with the.

Yusra: So psychiatry is a medical [00:18:30] speciality. But the I think this is an older generation versus younger generation [00:18:35] psychiatry bridge so to speak. So he always says I’m very psychologically [00:18:40] minded psychiatrist. He will sit there for hours talking to his patients, and [00:18:45] I think he’s quite against just putting this bandaid on. He describes it in the same way that you just have. [00:18:50] You cannot treat body without understanding mind, and you can’t treat mind without understanding Bodhi. [00:18:55] And that holistic mindset is something that I have incorporated into my facial setting practice. [00:19:00] And that’s how he also views his psychiatry. So when he’s treating patients, it isn’t [00:19:05] what’s your symptoms? Your symptoms? It’s let’s go back to the source. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Which I think is massively [00:19:10] under misunderstood within our profession as a whole because we constantly [00:19:15] and I think as scientists, we treat it in a very scientific way. There’s [00:19:20] a problem. Try to find something that’s tangible and that you can see as the solution. And [00:19:25] when we look into it deeper, we recognise now that there are so many different factors [00:19:30] that contribute to somebody’s well-being. I think there are more severe diseases. And unfortunately, [00:19:35] when you’ve got to the point of like severe bipolar or severe schizophrenia or any of those [00:19:40] diseases, that’s when you have to know that you have to actually implement different modes of [00:19:45] treatment to also protect the public, protect people around, etc. and I think that’s where it becomes a little bit more complicated. [00:19:50]

Yusra: I mean, that’s a medical that’s a medical diagnosis and may require medical intervention. And also [00:19:55] adults are different to children. Correct. When you’re dealing with an adult mind that has already set and has preset [00:20:00] schemas and experiences, it’s a lot harder to reverse engineer [00:20:05] when you have a child who’s undergone trauma, you can help them to understand that trauma and not [00:20:10] manifest it so that it so that it means something and and ends up incorporating [00:20:15] and and impacting their life decisions. So if you get in there early, you can actually in his view, [00:20:20] and this is what he says is change the trajectory of that child’s life so that the trauma [00:20:25] doesn’t define them, so that psychosis or that bipolar may have [00:20:30] been initiated by a trauma or triggered by a trauma. It may be an a hormonal [00:20:35] imbalance, a neurotransmitter imbalance, a whole host of different things. There’s genetic predisposition. But [00:20:40] as dealing with children is different with dealing with adults, because you can [00:20:45] change the line or the path that they go, you know, they travel through. Yeah, for. [00:20:50]

Rhona Eskander: Sure. I was, um, reading. I am still reading the book The Body Keeps the Score. Oh yeah, one [00:20:55] of my favourite books, because it talks a lot about science and all this stuff, and how the body really does react [00:21:00] to the mind, as it were. And unfortunately, as you know, a lot of children aren’t [00:21:05] in a position to be able to have access to these people, and by the time [00:21:10] they can access them, they may have gone into teenagehood or adulthood. And, [00:21:15] you know, that’s a whole different discussion. But it’s so complex because we treat we [00:21:20] try to treat psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy as almost [00:21:25] a sort of let’s go into a system and dare I say, you know, something like the NHS [00:21:30] where they have limited resources, funds, people, etc. let’s go into like a part where we can [00:21:35] do treat as many people as possible and you can understand they have limited time, money and resources, but it’s [00:21:40] not necessarily the best way because these things are so multifactorial and everybody’s so individual to their response [00:21:45] to these different things. So, um, amazing what your husband’s doing.

Payman Langroudi: So where did you study [00:21:50] dentistry?

Yusra: King’s College London, but I also did an intercalated BSc at Imperial [00:21:55] College London, so I graduated from both.

Payman Langroudi: What were you like?

Yusra: What [00:22:00] was I like as a geek? I was a real geek. Yeah, massively. I was a real [00:22:05] geek. I was really into my studies. I really wanted to do well. And [00:22:10] I did do well. Quite well from undergraduate level. You know, I always had [00:22:15] one coming out thinking I failed, but I would get distinction, which my sister would always like [00:22:20] be like, oh.

Payman Langroudi: Were you at the same time?

Yusra: No, I actually she so she’s [00:22:25] a year older than me, but she took a couple of years out because she [00:22:30] went down. She started doing optometry, and then she decided to, uh, redo [00:22:35] her A-levels. And then she came back and did dentistry. So I ended up being going starting dentistry [00:22:40] first. But because I did an integrated BSc, I then [00:22:45] came down. So we joined years in year five together. Yeah that’s amazing. [00:22:50] Yeah. So so we graduated from dentistry together.

Rhona Eskander: So let’s talk now. So I mean you [00:22:55] clearly was a were a superstar at dentistry. How did you end up in the realm of facial aesthetics? [00:23:00]

Yusra: Great question. So I always knew I wanted to do surgery. I was really inspired [00:23:05] by both my mom and my dad. They were both surgeons, you know.

Rhona Eskander: Why didn’t you choose medicine?

Yusra: Because [00:23:10] I actually was going to choose medicine. And then at 16, I went to [00:23:15] watch my dad in theatre, and he was working in Scotland at the time [00:23:20] and I fainted in theatre. Really? Yeah, I was, I was so embarrassed. He was doing like a hernia operation [00:23:25] and and like, he had all these, you know, the guts and the intestines. And he was talking about what [00:23:30] they were going to cook in the evening. And I’m like, who is this man? That’s fine. And then the next patient, which [00:23:35] is when I fainted, was a patient who he was taking out a cyst on their hands. And of course, they stopped the blood flow in [00:23:40] order to operate. And he was trying to teach me about the tendon and he was like, look. And I’m like, [00:23:45] where’s her blood? And he was like, no, no, don’t worry about that. And I was like, oh my God, she’s dead. And [00:23:50] then I fainted and and then and then I stayed in the hospital for a long time with [00:23:55] him. I was, I was there for like a couple of weeks. But I realised that with medicine, you’re only ever [00:24:00] treating sick patients. You don’t. It’s not like this is exactly.

Rhona Eskander: The reason I chose dentistry, because [00:24:05] I said you always see people when they’re sick. And it’s just I don’t want that, you [00:24:10] know, like the relationships you form in dentistry, like I see patients, yes, you can [00:24:15] change their life, but you see them every six months. You’re doing preventative care like we’re.

Payman Langroudi: You know, we talk about [00:24:20] medicine or dentistry because they’re totally different to each other. I’d say dentistry is closer [00:24:25] to hairdressing. What funny than it is to medicine.

Rhona Eskander: The original dentists were hairdressers. [00:24:30] Did you know this? Like 17th century.

Payman Langroudi: Closer to hairdressing? It is to medicine. Well, because it’s a similar. [00:24:35] It’s a similar life. Yeah. You’ve got people coming in, right? You’re seeing them regularly. [00:24:40] Like everything about it is similar to being a hairdresser, you know.

Yusra: Wow. I mean, I reject. [00:24:45]

Payman Langroudi: What’s wrong with Harrison. What’s wrong with it?

Yusra: There’s nothing wrong with it. Nothing wrong with being [00:24:50] a doctor. I couldn’t be a different thing.

Payman Langroudi: It’s a degree, I think.

Rhona Eskander: I think, I [00:24:55] think actually, I actually think we’re specialists in medicine. I think we’re specialists.

Yusra: You’re hyper specialised in [00:25:00] medicine. First of all, it’s not that there is something wrong, but there’s a big differentiation. [00:25:05] Dentistry is a doctorate degree, so to speak. Bachelor of dental [00:25:10] surgery. You come out being a doctor in dental surgery or in dentistry, and [00:25:15] you are treating patients who have an absence of health. You’re treating disease, [00:25:20] you’re nurturing them back to health. You’re dealing with huge risk. It’s [00:25:25] and it’s a skill set. And that’s why you have something called license to cut. You don’t have license to cut tissue not [00:25:30] hair. Hairdressing is completely different. I’m saying.

Payman Langroudi: The [00:25:35] day to day, the day.

Yusra: To day is very different. How many how many hairdressers pick up a drill and [00:25:40] have to deal with blood and saliva?

Payman Langroudi: You know, I’ve been a dentist. I know what it is [00:25:45] to be a dentist. I think he.

Rhona Eskander: Means the regular, like clients coming in, like so they come in to.

Payman Langroudi: My brother. My [00:25:50] brother’s a doctor. Yeah. His day to day is completely different to yours. Completely different. He [00:25:55] works in the hospital. You’ve seen your dad. You’ve seen your dad again.

Yusra: So doctors can be psychiatrists who have [00:26:00] no who don’t deal with blood. Doctors can be general practitioners who don’t. Anaesthetists, [00:26:05] anaesthetists. There’s a there’s a variation of what being a doctor is. [00:26:10] This is just a hyper specialised form. So I hear your point I just disagree. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Okay. [00:26:15] So let’s talk about facial aesthetics. Like we haven’t got into how you got into that. So yeah. [00:26:20]

Yusra: So then when I qualified from dentistry and I chose dentistry for that [00:26:25] reason for the, for the people aspect, to be honest, because I saw my mum always seeing patients [00:26:30] and understanding their backgrounds and asking them about their relationships and their children and their marriage and their divorce, [00:26:35] that’s that’s unique to dentistry and I guess also hairdressing. Um, and [00:26:40] so then I did, I did, I decided because my mum was doing a lot of implant dentistry, it was really inspired [00:26:45] by that.

Rhona Eskander: And that didn’t make you feel sick, like, you know, you said when you were watching the hernia and the tendons and all that stuff, [00:26:50] you fainted. Yeah, that that was fine. Almost like being in the mouth.

Yusra: I think it was the concept [00:26:55] of the person not speaking. Yeah. It was like it almost felt like they were not there and dead and felt like [00:27:00] a violation. And of course it’s not. It’s curing disease. But that’s how it felt to me. [00:27:05] I didn’t I wasn’t I was too young to understand. And I even struggled when we did dissection when we had to dissect. [00:27:10] I, you know, at the beginning I really struggled with the concept of cutting people who were corpses. [00:27:15] You know, I really, really struggled with that. Um, but anyway, so then after I qualified, [00:27:20] I went into, I went to my mom and I said, teach me how to do implants. And she just said to me, no shortcuts [00:27:25] here. You got to go and do surgery like I did. So that’s what I did. I went and I did [00:27:30] oral maxillofacial surgery, and I ended up doing it and I did an show. Then I [00:27:35] went back and I did something called Cord Development Post. And then I went back and I did another post. [00:27:40] So I spent three and a half years and I became I became speciality doctor in oral surgery. [00:27:45] And then I got pregnant and um, and during my time in the hospital. [00:27:50] So we were treating patients. In fact, you’re treating patients who were trauma patients, road, road [00:27:55] traffic accidents, oral maxillofacial cancers, but also those who have craniofacial, [00:28:00] skeletal, congenital deformities or abnormalities where they might have an underdeveloped [00:28:05] jaw or an overdeveloped jaw.

Yusra: Jewel. And how that is treated surgically is [00:28:10] by breaking the jaw and realigning. Yeah. And this is, you know, when you’re talking about these surgeries, [00:28:15] these are major surgeries, and patients often are young. They’re, you know, they start their journey [00:28:20] when they’re 16 with their orthodontics. It’s very multidisciplinary. And then they have their surgery around [00:28:25] 18. And what was lacking at that time, and I can only speak about my experience [00:28:30] then, not now, but what was lacking at that time was psychological support. So these [00:28:35] patients were having surgery, waking up looking very different. And then we’d [00:28:40] wire their upper and lower jaw together because they couldn’t eat. It had to be completely immobilised, and [00:28:45] they’d lose a heck of a lot of weight because they were sticking to a liquid diet and [00:28:50] they were utterly depressed. Although objectively, they looked better. They were depressed because they no longer [00:28:55] recognise the person that they were looking at in the mirror, and there was no psychological [00:29:00] support or adaptation for that process. And so they come in and [00:29:05] you look at it from, from a dental, aesthetic, maxillofacial point of view and go, oh, brilliant.

Yusra: Yeah, yeah. And [00:29:10] they’d be like, I don’t know who I am, I don’t recognise myself. And it’s not just that that they were [00:29:15] contending, contending with, which was their self-image, it was that everyone around them felt [00:29:20] at liberty to comment because it was such a drastic change. So people would say to them, My God, you had surgery, [00:29:25] you know, and what happened to your face? And so they would have to justify [00:29:30] and explain themselves to other people while they still didn’t understand it. So I’d be that [00:29:35] kind of that doctor holding their hands and supporting them through that. And it just dawned on me one [00:29:40] day, and actually, I didn’t order in the hospital about that, but psychological support and that these patients [00:29:45] need support. They’re young. They’re not fully formed adults in their 30s who can [00:29:50] really contend and understand all the risks and implications. And then I thought, I thought there must [00:29:55] be something that we can do non-surgically that can create similar change, but without [00:30:00] the trauma, without the physical and the mental trauma. Then I started to Google literally, I was uncle when [00:30:05] I was googling online and I read up about non-surgical facial [00:30:10] prosthetics being used not in the field of vanity alone, but [00:30:15] in reconstruction.

Yusra: And you know, I do lots of rhinoplasties [00:30:20] now, non-surgical rhinoplasties. That’s why that’s where it stemmed from. And I and I thought, [00:30:25] but at that time, you know, we’re talking 11, 12, 12 years ago, 13 [00:30:30] years ago. Patient facial aesthetics was Botox. Three areas [00:30:35] nasolabial folds, lip fillers. There was no real global [00:30:40] understanding or discussion about the capacity to create empowering [00:30:45] transformations. Reconstruction. It was more rejuvenation. So anyway, I found [00:30:50] a course that taught doctors and dentists and I thought, okay, this is suited to me. Picks up the phone [00:30:55] and I said, Zainab, let’s go on this course. She was like, ah, Botox, fillers. I don’t know, I don’t think so. I was like, no, [00:31:00] trust me, let’s go with this course. So anyway, I ended up sending all my friends and we went on this course together. [00:31:05] There was like six of us and now everyone has their own clinics. Amazing. And that’s [00:31:10] how I started. But I always knew that my why wasn’t [00:31:15] just wasn’t vanity unknown and wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t satisfied [00:31:20] with the idea of doing lip fillers. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it didn’t align [00:31:25] with my value sets and what I wanted to provide to my patients. So did [00:31:30] you almost did.

Rhona Eskander: You almost instantly leave dentistry after that course? Like how was the transition? [00:31:35]

Yusra: No, I didn’t alongside actually, the first person I treated was my dental nurse. Okay. And then her [00:31:40] mum and then, you know, just kind of grew from there. And then staff at the hospital wanted it because they’re [00:31:45] like, oh, you do facial aesthetics. Can you get rid of my nasal labial folds? And I did it. But again, it didn’t satisfy [00:31:50] me. I couldn’t have gone from facial surgery to that and it wouldn’t have it [00:31:55] just didn’t satisfy me. And then so I started to push boundaries and, and went [00:32:00] on more advanced courses and recognised the potential of facial aesthetics to create [00:32:05] incredible reconstructive change. And that’s what we do in dentistry. I mean, what are we doing when people [00:32:10] talk about cosmetic dentistry or dentistry is cosmetic? Yeah, all dentistry is creating aesthetic [00:32:15] change. And as you know, it’s not vanity alone. Patients come with a story or a [00:32:20] burden. There’s a motivation of why they come and seek a smile makeover. It’s because they feel held back [00:32:25] by their smile. And in society, what we do when it comes to dentistry is we say [00:32:30] society encourages people. They go, yeah, you should definitely go and get your teeth whitened. You should definitely go and [00:32:35] get your teeth composite. I always say that it’s more of a stigma.

Rhona Eskander: I’m like people people [00:32:40] accept. Cosmetic dentistry is not really changing who you are because someone said, I’m getting [00:32:45] braces, whitening and a bit of composite bonding. They’re like, sure, veneers is a bit more of a stigma. I think a lot of people [00:32:50] aren’t like open. But if you talk about the fact that you want Botox, filler, nose [00:32:55] job, like any of that stuff, it definitely more of a stigma around it. I think 100%.

Yusra: There is [00:33:00] and there shouldn’t be, because why are we, as a society, encouraging our patients to have orthodontic alignment? [00:33:05] But the moment that they have a bump on their nose and they want to align that they’re not well aligned? Yeah, [00:33:10] yeah, you know that that stigma is wrong. So a huge part of my work has been breaking down [00:33:15] that stigma and changing the narrative that what we do is skin deep, because the reality is it [00:33:20] isn’t. And patients often come with burdens and stories, and the treatments enable [00:33:25] them not to put a mask on, but actually to take a mask off and to live without [00:33:30] feeling held back by their appearance. Um, so another.

Payman Langroudi: Thing, but one [00:33:35] of the stigmas of facial aesthetics, if you if you go and talk to my buddies [00:33:40] and say, yeah, specialists say there’ll be this immediate new thing. Yeah. And it’s [00:33:45] because for men. Yeah, well, it’s a bit like cosmetic dentistry. If [00:33:50] if it’s done badly.

Rhona Eskander: It’s done really.

Payman Langroudi: Badly. Then. Then you can see it. Yes.

Yusra: Absolutely. Yeah. [00:33:55]

Payman Langroudi: So imagine the number of people who’ve had facial aesthetic treatments and very cheap. It’s done very well. [00:34:00] If it’s done very well.

Yusra: You don’t know they’ve.

Payman Langroudi: Done. Most of my friends wouldn’t know at all. Yeah. So [00:34:05] you only know it. You only realise it’s happening when it’s done badly.

Yusra: Absolutely.

Payman Langroudi: And I was going [00:34:10] to ask you living in Liverpool.

Yusra: Yes.

Payman Langroudi: That’s aesthetic that people want up there [00:34:15] is different. Different how to sometimes what you might want to [00:34:20] give them your apps. How does how does that work.

Yusra: Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: How do you deal with that. [00:34:25]

Yusra: So I moved to Liverpool in 2016, um, because my husband got a [00:34:30] job in the primary mental health. Were you both in.

Rhona Eskander: London at that point then until that point? Sorry. [00:34:35] Yeah.

Yusra: And I thought, okay, well, faces and teeth are everywhere at this point. I was still doing both, [00:34:40] and I quickly realised that the aesthetics in Liverpool is very different to [00:34:45] London. And I love the report. It’s like it’s one of the friendliest, nicest, kindest, [00:34:50] funniest. Yeah. The people are amazing. Yeah. And by the way, the scientists shifted. But at that [00:34:55] time Bigger was better. Correct. And the faker, the better. And they were very open [00:35:00] about it. You know, they have with their brows they have something called Scales Brow. On a Friday evening, [00:35:05] women go out with their curlers in their hairs. They are unapologetic about looking [00:35:10] good and good for them. But when it came to facial aesthetics, [00:35:15] what ended up happening was distortion became the norm and the lips would walk in before the rest of [00:35:20] the face, and they would come in with already overtreated, overfilled lips and say to me, [00:35:25] can I have more in? And nobody would ever say no. So they never heard the word no. And [00:35:30] they’d sit in front of me and I would perform a holistic medical consultation [00:35:35] because I have a duty to do no harm. And I would say, I can’t do that because it’s not in your best [00:35:40] interest. And and of course, remember, patients only see themselves as a reflection of themselves. [00:35:45] They never see what we see. So I only see myself in a mirror [00:35:50] or a photo. But you see me in real life, so they don’t appreciate what they look like in [00:35:55] all angles. They only see this 2D image of a 3D object, and so they don’t realise [00:36:00] that their lips are projecting more than their chin. Or there’s migration. And so I’d be taking these photos and videos and, [00:36:05] you know, it was like a big educational process. And patients would often say to me, if you don’t do it, I’ll go to skin [00:36:10] clinic and I’d be like, that’s fine, you can go. But that’s my reputation on your face. And [00:36:15] then they would go and they would feed that back to their mom, their auntie, their friends, and.

Rhona Eskander: They’d be like, I agree.

Yusra: I agree. [00:36:20] Yeah, right. And then next thing you know that mom comes in and says, you said no to my daughter. Thank you. [00:36:25] And what can you do for me? Yeah. And so at the beginning I really thought, oh, I will never do [00:36:30] well in Liverpool because my niche is natural, natural, look fresh, [00:36:35] not fake, look good, not done. That’s kind of my tagline. So and [00:36:40] that wasn’t what they wanted. So I thought, well, actually I’m not going to I’m not going to do well here, but your vibe [00:36:45] attracts your tribe. And I just created this niche of natural looking aesthetics, and it grew [00:36:50] and grew and grew.

Payman Langroudi: And now people come to you for it.

Yusra: For that specific.

Payman Langroudi: Specifically. [00:36:55]

Yusra: Yeah. And I think even.

Payman Langroudi: Then come up with you as well. Right then I’m.

Rhona Eskander: Really I’m really looking.

Payman Langroudi: For [00:37:00] big square.

Rhona Eskander: I’m really lucky because just like yesterday, like people, but also [00:37:05] like where I am in Chelsea, people don’t want the fake look. And people come to me [00:37:10] specifically for the natural look. Now, I do have another colleague of mine that works part time in [00:37:15] Essex and part time at the clinic. For me, if there are the few patients that do want [00:37:20] the more fake look, they do go to him and the more natural ones will go to like the bulk of my other [00:37:25] clinicians, but on purpose. They’re like, I like your work because it never looks done up. Yeah. [00:37:30] And I think that, look, people go through trends like five years ago, people wanted like [00:37:35] slightly fake a composite bonding. Now people want more natural. It goes through the different waves [00:37:40] of the different trends. But no one, especially like London, Chelsea People want [00:37:45] a fake look. They really don’t want a fake look. And that’s one of the reasons that they come to [00:37:50] the clinic. And obviously it’s taken me a really long time to find a good ceramist. You’ve met Simon, he’s great. [00:37:55] We’ve had to perfect things, and of course you’ll have people that want to go slightly on the wider scale, but I’ll never [00:38:00] let them walk around with like big white, blocky teeth. I just won’t.

Payman Langroudi: Remember this [00:38:05] issue of consent. Right. And we had, um, the model, your [00:38:10] friend. The model. Um, the guy the male model was no author. [00:38:15] Not your friend. Paul. Paul. Paul. Scholes. Yeah.

Yusra: Okay.

Payman Langroudi: Paul Scholes. He was maybe [00:38:20] the 90s, the top male model in the world.

Rhona Eskander: Okay. And he came on the podcast.

Payman Langroudi: He was [00:38:25] huge. And he was saying. He was saying that he went to a cosmetic surgeon.

Rhona Eskander: He had depression, and he showed [00:38:30] the surgeon a photograph. And he said when he was like 20 at his peak of like modelling, he said, make me look like this. [00:38:35]

Yusra: And then and.

Payman Langroudi: The surgeon said no. Yeah. And he said and he said later on he was so, so grateful. [00:38:40] Grateful. Yeah. Because he recognised exactly ethics.

Yusra: But but [00:38:45] but that’s what. But what if, what if. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. What if. Yeah. The person understands. [00:38:50] The person knows what you’re saying says I want this.

Yusra: This is a really [00:38:55] interesting debate. And ultimately, there’s a couple of things that we need to be as healthcare [00:39:00] professionals, we need to be cognisant of, and that is a sphere of influence our patients are exposed to. [00:39:05] As Rona said, trends come and go, trends shift with time. And [00:39:10] when we are creating permanent change or long lasting change, like veneers, different with composite bonding [00:39:15] and maybe even different with fillers. But when you’re talking about surgical change and cutting [00:39:20] teeth down irreversibly, then there is a real question mark, and we [00:39:25] need to think even longer and deeper about the potential [00:39:30] to do harm to a patient. This is not timeless. So yeah, I hear that. And patients [00:39:35] come to me and they say, I know, but I hear you. I respect your know, [00:39:40] but I want it anyway. And I say I’m the wrong shop for you then because I my work [00:39:45] ethic and my professional integrity means that I need to have not just competence, [00:39:50] not just confidence, but the courage to say no when it’s not right for you. [00:39:55] And if you if that is not in alignment with you, that’s okay. Finds another practitioner. [00:40:00] That’s how I approach it. What’s your thoughts? Well, you know.

Payman Langroudi: I just [00:40:05] think that, you know, that the daughter test.

Yusra: Yeah, I know the daughter test. Would you do it to your daughter?

Payman Langroudi: Do you do it to your daughter? Yeah. [00:40:10] My view on that is it’s your daughter’s choice. Yeah. It’s not your choice. Yeah, [00:40:15] yeah.

Yusra: I agree with you.

Payman Langroudi: As the professional. Yeah. It’s [00:40:20] not your position to judge whether or not it’s the right thing to do. If you’ve done the right bit on [00:40:25] consent. Now, I agree there’s a grey area. Yeah. The person might say I understand and doesn’t. [00:40:30] Yeah, yeah. Or the person may have some psychological issue and [00:40:35] um, pretend to understand. And, you know, there’s all those things that you have to think about. Yeah. But this [00:40:40] question of us as medics deciding because, you know, at the end of the day.

Yusra: Patient [00:40:45] choice.

Payman Langroudi: Your view on what’s acceptable and isn’t is changing every day. Absolutely.

Yusra: Like, [00:40:50] you know.

Payman Langroudi: Uh, people people want whiter than B1 veneers. Yes. [00:40:55] It’s very common now when When I when I was cutting veneers I used to tell them no, don’t even go to B1, [00:41:00] you just get A1. Yeah, because the culture wasn’t to have the white teeth back [00:41:05] then and these things change.

Yusra: So you’re right. You’re absolutely right. Things change. And I guess it’s an arbitrary [00:41:10] line that we draw, because this conversation debate comes up a lot in facial aesthetics, [00:41:15] because trends are changing and trends are changing quickly. And right now there’s a new trend called beauty fandom. [00:41:20] Have you heard of this? What beauty fandom? Natalya’s. So beauty fandom is a [00:41:25] concept of, um, where there are people like in stars, Lords of the rings [00:41:30] where they’ve got like these, um, pixie ears and patients are coming in and saying, can you [00:41:35] give me pixie ears? What? Yeah. And so they want to look like it’s [00:41:40] they want to look like a role model or this is a thing. It’s actually a thing now.

Rhona Eskander: So they want [00:41:45] to like fantasy characters, basically fantasy characters.

Yusra: So this is this is called beauty fandom. It’s something [00:41:50] that has been recognised by Galderma and Innotrans reports and is now a question [00:41:55] about, okay, so is this doing harm to the patient or are we accepting [00:42:00] that role models are shifting over time, and our duty is to give the patient what they want? And [00:42:05] then I consider, well, what about Michael Jackson and Donatella Versace and other people who maybe went too far? [00:42:10] Whose responsibility is it to say, I’m not going to do that to you? I don’t [00:42:15] know, I the answer is I actually don’t know.

Rhona Eskander: I think it’s but I.

Yusra: Know where I stand [00:42:20] in it. And I think it’s kind to be clear. So when [00:42:25] I do a consultation with a patient, I call it a same page meeting. And I start off by telling them what [00:42:30] my goals are, what my views are, what my ethos is. And I say, this is the same page meeting so [00:42:35] we can decide if we’re in alignment and if I’m the right practitioner for you. So if I’m not the right [00:42:40] practitioner for them, it’s kind to be clear and allow them to find [00:42:45] someone who is in alignment and who’s better suited to give them the desired outcome.

Payman Langroudi: It’s a nice way of looking at it.

Yusra: Yeah, [00:42:50] I.

Rhona Eskander: Think that’s a really great way of looking at it. And it is all about that alignment. It was interesting because [00:42:55] I love going to my retreats and I call myself like a retreat junkie, and I love spending time [00:43:00] with people that do a lot of work on themselves. And I’d met these practitioners. Some of them had [00:43:05] actually given up medicine to become more holistic practitioners, actually. And I was like, I want [00:43:10] to bring you to the clinic because I actually want you to be able to give an assessment to my patients, [00:43:15] because I actually feel I don’t get enough of a psychological assessment of my patient when my patients [00:43:20] come in for a consultation. Granted, they’re an hour. We usually end up going over the clinical staff. Sure, [00:43:25] we talk about what they do, maybe their relationship status. And over time I build that rapport even more. But I think [00:43:30] from the outset, it’d be really interesting to see someone’s insights to their psyche and understand [00:43:35] a little bit about their motivation for being there. And as you said, for dentistry, [00:43:40] sometimes there’s obvious red flags, sometimes there’s not. I think red flags are always a sign [00:43:45] of something unresolved within the human being.

Rhona Eskander: It makes it incredibly stressful for us as well because unfortunately, [00:43:50] as health care professionals, we’re not equipped, nor do we have the protection from anybody [00:43:55] within our governing body or our realm or whatever it be that helps us navigate [00:44:00] these issues. And I think, you know, red flag patients or patients that are disgruntled [00:44:05] are often treated with adversity and hate because, number one, they can make our lives more [00:44:10] difficult. But number two, I think that they’re not really understood in some way. [00:44:15] And then you have people that are also act as enablers. You have those, you know, Dental [00:44:20] law partnerships. You have the enablers. But imagine if there was a real understanding [00:44:25] of the psychology of those patients, because, as Payman said, some patients project that [00:44:30] they want their happiness. You might not see it from the beginning. Super nice. You give them what they want, they look amazing, but [00:44:35] they’re still unhappy because their life hasn’t changed. You’re not responsible for changing their life, you know? [00:44:40] And I think it would be really interesting if we integrated that more, which again is the psychology psychotherapy [00:44:45] side within what we do.

Yusra: So can I tell you I did a huge research study on this [00:44:50] particular topic. Yeah. On the psychological motivation for patients seeking aesthetic treatments and outcomes. [00:44:55] And off the back of that I actually employed a psychologist in my clinic for five years [00:45:00] and I just want to do it.

Rhona Eskander: I really want.

Yusra: To do it. It has been massively helpful. And [00:45:05] then you need to bring Hassan on this podcast because him and one of the psychologists, Doctor Lindsay Hanson, created [00:45:10] a tool that practitioners in aesthetics now use. So I’m sure it can be used in dentistry, [00:45:15] which is a tool that, um, assesses the framework seven domains of [00:45:20] the patient’s life their appearance, anxiety, the motivation for seeking treatment, [00:45:25] and identifies red flags, so to speak, and concerns [00:45:30] and helps to differentiate between appearance anxiety, which is legitimate, and body dysmorphia, [00:45:35] which is also legitimate but may need psychiatric intervention and then has a pathway for which [00:45:40] you treat them and refer them. So this has been instrumental actually in discussed a lot in the aesthetic field. [00:45:45] And I think there is something, you know, now that you’re saying it, and it made me realise [00:45:50] this is the same problem and concern. And in dentistry.

Payman Langroudi: You’re really strong [00:45:55] on EQ. Yeah. Oh I’m understanding. Yeah, the person’s motivation. But if you’re [00:46:00] not strong on EQ yeah. Be great to have a tool.

Rhona Eskander: Oh I’m sorry. And yeah, the thing is I’m so [00:46:05] sensitive to energy, but also because I’m an empath initially I want to help fix people and [00:46:10] I’m like, oh no, I don’t want to like, love you and understand you. And then I have been taken advantage of, you know, in the past [00:46:15] because of that. Also, that is why.

Yusra: I employed a psychologist, because I felt that my job [00:46:20] role became part aesthetic practitioner, part psychotherapist. Yeah. And I don’t have [00:46:25] the tools to be understand that.

Rhona Eskander: Exactly. A question for you. This is such a random one. Do [00:46:30] you find and I don’t like making generalisations. I don’t like making assumptions. Do you find [00:46:35] the London clientele different to the Liverpool clientele in terms of what their psyche is about?

Yusra: Yes, [00:46:40] in terms of demands and expectations. I feel like generally, [00:46:45] and this is a generalisation and may be unfair, but just my experience is Liverpool [00:46:50] patients, generally speaking, are maybe have [00:46:55] more realistic expectations actually. And they’ve seen really [00:47:00] bad work that is really obvious. So they really appreciate good work. And I think in London [00:47:05] people are.

Rhona Eskander: A bit spoilt for.

Yusra: Choice. Yeah. Yeah that’s reality. Yeah it is.

Payman Langroudi: Reality. People bring [00:47:10] you like a picture of, you know, Julia Roberts and say made me look like that.

Yusra: Or they used to this, this [00:47:15] is the thing. Um, this is the thing that I used to experience, but, you know, not so much anymore. [00:47:20] And I think the reason why is because there has been a real shift in the aesthetic industry where patients are not accessing [00:47:25] treatments for vanity alone, but as part of their self-care and self rejuvenation and parts [00:47:30] of wellness. So they don’t really necessarily want to look like a role model. Yes, there’s a beauty fandom trend, [00:47:35] but generally speaking, speaking people don’t want to look like clones of each other. They just want to look [00:47:40] like the best version of themselves. But the trends are changing.

Payman Langroudi: Itself is mature.

Yusra: Markets itself is changing, [00:47:45] and even the shifts. And again, this is why I said we need to be cognisant of our patient sphere of influence. [00:47:50] Because if you look at lip fillers, lip fillers got screwed massively. When [00:47:55] Kylie Jenner spoke about having lip fillers, when Huda Beauty dissolved her lips [00:48:00] and Molly Mae Hughes dissolved her lips. Guess what happened? The opposite happened. It was a movement towards minimalism [00:48:05] wearing less makeup, being more real, dissolving fillers. And that’s the trend that we started to see in clinic [00:48:10] when patients were coming in seeking, dissolving and looking more like themselves. And I think that’s the [00:48:15] upward trend that I’m seeing now. Patient less is more. Patients don’t want massive change [00:48:20] or they want it done slowly over time.

Payman Langroudi: Interesting. Even in Liverpool. [00:48:25]

Yusra: Even in Liverpool, I mean, again, I have a skewed maybe I have a skewed [00:48:30] insight because those are the patients that are seeking me. So I can only speak about my experience, and then I’m [00:48:35] not getting the patients who are asking me to do something that is not in align with me, because I’m quite vocal on social [00:48:40] media. People know your vibe attracts your tribe. You know, if I if I kind of put [00:48:45] out there that I do anything and everything, maybe it’s different. You know, there are practitioners, there [00:48:50] are dentists, not in the UK, but in actually in Africa, where they chisel people, [00:48:55] women’s teeth into little sharp pegs. Fangs, actually, because that’s what’s [00:49:00] deemed socially attractive. Now, us in the West look at them and go, oh, look, what are they doing this backwards? [00:49:05] But so is that harm or are they just doing what that patient wants that will enable [00:49:10] them to prosper psychosocially within their culture? And have you seen that trend of people draw. [00:49:15]

Rhona Eskander: Using a black marker now to put a, um, in the middle of their two front teeth, because now gaps are in fashion? [00:49:20]

Yusra: No, I’m not.

Rhona Eskander: Saying that this is a massive TikTok trend. They’re getting a felt tip pen drawing the middle. [00:49:25] So it looks like.

Payman Langroudi: That one in Japan where they’re bringing on Malocclusions because [00:49:30] it’s, uh.

Yusra: Because crowding is.

Payman Langroudi: Look younger.

Yusra: Well, you know, so where do we [00:49:35] draw the line in China? You know, what they do in China? In certain areas of China, they crush women’s feet because [00:49:40] having yeah, I know this is deemed socially attractive. You know, you can keep going and going in certain areas in Africa [00:49:45] they put rings around women’s necks to elongate them because that seems attractive. So where do we draw this arbitrary line? [00:49:50] It’s going to change according to culture, social construct, social norms.

Rhona Eskander: I’m going to say it’s interesting because [00:49:55] obviously you grew up within like Middle Eastern culture. Like me, I hated Payman noses already. I [00:50:00] hated, hated my body growing up because I was told the beauty standard was, you shouldn’t have hips, [00:50:05] you shouldn’t have curves. Really? Yeah. And I grew up because I grew up also like in a [00:50:10] massively like Western environment. And when I went to university it got really bad. That was the Kate Moss [00:50:15] era. Yeah. And you know, I got scouted for modelling and when I did, all the guys [00:50:20] were like, well, you need to lose weight, you need to lose this da da da. But you’re not high fashion. You’re not Kate Moss, you know, and [00:50:25] it was awful. And my mum unfortunately, bless her I love her and she didn’t know any better also [00:50:30] grew up with that narrative. She grew up in Lebanon, Western culture, Having a straight body was deemed [00:50:35] to be what was beautiful. So for me, I spent my whole life hiding my hips, hiding my legs, hiding [00:50:40] like the lower part of my body. And then Kim K came in fashion. And guess what? Everyone [00:50:45] wants it. Everyone wants it, you know? But it’s the the the effect that it had of people telling [00:50:50] me basically that I wasn’t beautiful, beautiful enough, never left me. So even though she made it [00:50:55] fashionable, I still didn’t learn to love it. You know, it’s just something that I’ve learned to live with. Sadly, as much [00:51:00] as I wanted to say.

Yusra: Confidence crisis caused by sphere of influence.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, and that’s the thing. [00:51:05] Because your.

Payman Langroudi: Eyebrows too.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. I got bullied for my eyebrows. Luckily, I fell in love [00:51:10] with my eyebrows because I’m like. I mean, people used to say, and I remember I came back because again, it was Spice Girls era. [00:51:15] I went into school one day and my mum was mortified because I pretty much shaved them [00:51:20] off and pencilled them on because they’d made fun of me for having big, thick, bushy eyebrows at school [00:51:25] and, you know, all the girls. And now I’m like, I love them. And if anyone says to me, [00:51:30] you know, social media is a funny place because someone posted underneath my TikTok the other day, [00:51:35] I hope you can afford to get your ears pinned back now. And I was like, I love my big ears. Like that’s it. Like, I [00:51:40] love my big ears. Unbelievable. And you know it. But it’s funny because [00:51:45] things change all the time. Thin eyebrows were in in the 90s. Everyone wants them thick now, [00:51:50] as you said, it always changes. So I think we’ve got to be mindful of those trends. Yes. Next [00:51:55] question I want to ask you is about motherhood. Sure. So talk [00:52:00] to us a little bit about you already described that, you know, when you first fell pregnant. Talk [00:52:05] to us how motherhood has changed your life and how you have navigated being a mother as well [00:52:10] as a businesswoman and entrepreneur.

Yusra: Wow. Great question. Um, so I didn’t [00:52:15] plan my first child. I when I had my. How old were you? Um, [00:52:20] I must have been 27. Okay. Something like that. 27. 28 [00:52:25] and what had happened was we were living in South Woodford in London. My husband was a registrar [00:52:30] in psychiatry. I was doing maths facts. We were both hospital jobs making rubbish money, [00:52:35] barely making ends meet, living month to month, and then our landlord put [00:52:40] the rent up and we couldn’t afford that. So we moved out and moved into my [00:52:45] old bedroom in my parents home, thinking, okay, we’ll stay here for six months, save up and move [00:52:50] out. And then I fell pregnant and it was, you know, at the time I thought it was a catastrophe because [00:52:55] I thought, oh my God, my career is just taking off. I’m juggling so much. I started doing fixed ortho. [00:53:00] I felt like I was not ready to be a parent yet. And [00:53:05] actually what I realised is you’re never really ready. And so anyway, I had the baby [00:53:10] and what is probably the best thing that ever happened to me, he’s given me perspective. [00:53:15] He’s my source of comfort. I you know, it’s amazing being [00:53:20] a parent. It’s been challenging because the reality is, no [00:53:25] matter what anyone tells you, your life does change because it’s no longer just about you anymore. You’ve got responsibility [00:53:30] to be a life coach to this mini human being who’s relying on [00:53:35] you to lead. So I had to learn a lot, and there were sacrifices [00:53:40] that were made, and one of them was moving to Liverpool, for example.

Payman Langroudi: How old is he? [00:53:45]

Yusra: He’s now ten. He just turned ten.

Payman Langroudi: And you have another one as well?

Yusra: I have three.

Rhona Eskander: Oh, why did I [00:53:50] say two? For some reason I hold it.

Yusra: So I have a ten year old, a seven year old and a [00:53:55] 20 month old.

Payman Langroudi: My goodness. Busy?

Yusra: Yeah, busy. But, [00:54:00] you know, it’s teamwork. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my husband. I [00:54:05] think you, you know, there every every family unit works [00:54:10] in its own way. And what works in one family won’t necessarily work in the other. We both work, [00:54:15] but we both share the workload at home. You know, he is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He’s very [00:54:20] hands on with the children. He’s amazing at EQ and emotional intelligence and managing their anxieties [00:54:25] and concerns everything. So it’s been a [00:54:30] challenge because both jobs are 24 over seven. You [00:54:35] don’t get to clock in and clock out of being a parent if your child is sick. You are on call [00:54:40] all the time, and if your patient is sick, you’re on call. So that’s I think is the challenge. [00:54:45] There is no manual for running a business. I’ve made mistakes running my business and hiring [00:54:50] and trying to procure the right team. That’s a whole podcast in itself. I [00:54:55] now have a new rule of hire and fire fast Firefox, and there’s no manual for parenting, [00:55:00] but I think self-development has been the only way. Personal [00:55:05] development has been, the only way that I have been able to navigate both, and having a good support system [00:55:10] and having a real clear why, why am I doing what I’m doing and a vision. [00:55:15] So if I didn’t have all of those things in place, I don’t think I could do both. But I’m very [00:55:20] passionate about being a present mum, and I’m very passionate about my role as a leader [00:55:25] and educator, a businesswoman, a clinician looking after my patients. I’m [00:55:30] really passionate about both. And the reality is, if you want to do both very well, [00:55:35] you may need to do a little bit less of each.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I know, I love that. I think that’s what I’ve got [00:55:40] fear and anxiety around having children for, like losing my identity. [00:55:45]

Payman Langroudi: Um, What gives what what what how how do you pull it off? What if something gives? [00:55:50] What gives?

Yusra: First of all, there’s always something that gives. So great question because the reality [00:55:55] is there is an opportunity cost, okay. And your priorities are going [00:56:00] to shift. I think for me what gives us social time with friends family, friends [00:56:05] with friends, and I guess with families to a certain extent, because, you know, I’m, I’m [00:56:10] in Liverpool, where my family are still in London. Sleep. Sleep for sure. [00:56:15] Yeah, right. Like that’s a, that’s a, that’s a no brainer. That’s a for sure. But you know Rona you don’t lose your [00:56:20] identity when you become a parent. You just you just take on a new identity. You just it’s [00:56:25] like wearing you already wear multiple hats. You’re a host of a podcast. You’re a leader and educator in [00:56:30] your field. You’re a social media influencer. You’re a fashionista. You’re a your clinician, your a boss. [00:56:35] Your colleague is just wearing a new hat. And it’s a skill set that you acquire with time. And [00:56:40] there’s no there is no manual. There’s no right or wrong. You just learn to do [00:56:45] your best. And I think if you keep showing up as your best self with the right attitude and [00:56:50] caring, you have EQ. Having EQ is probably the most important thing as a parent, [00:56:55] and the things that I want to instil in my children are the three C’s confidence, [00:57:00] competence and courage. Competence is probably the [00:57:05] least in priority. I don’t need my children to be lawyers and doctors and so on, but I need [00:57:10] them to be confident that they know that there is nothing that they can’t do, [00:57:15] and courage to be firm in their value set, no matter where they are in life. [00:57:20]

Rhona Eskander: I really, really love that. And thank you for speaking about that with such eloquence. I [00:57:25] remember that I heard you on another podcast also talking about, um, women that had [00:57:30] delayed having children and had struggled. It’s something I feel very passionate about for [00:57:35] a number of reasons, and I think this invites the opportunity to kind of see both sides. [00:57:40] Essentially. My father’s a gynaecologist, so I was brought up having [00:57:45] being told that if I did not meet someone before I was 30, [00:57:50] it was going to be very difficult to meet someone and have a family. He said it was love because [00:57:55] my father has always been a compassionate, kind and credible human being. But it was because he wanted [00:58:00] to make sure that I had somebody in my life that was going to give me the things that I have in my family. Yeah, I [00:58:05] was very focussed on studies, not boys or dating when I throughout [00:58:10] school got to university and then I was like, oh, I’ll find a husband. And for me, I had the Disney [00:58:15] image in my head because someone finds you, they see you in a room, they pursue you, they [00:58:20] you get, you know, you get proposed to and it’s done. And obviously the reality was very different. I went to university [00:58:25] in Leeds. I was suddenly thrown into this extremely white Caucasian environment that [00:58:30] I had never been in.

Rhona Eskander: I actually was the brown girl that was had no experience. [00:58:35] And people knew that, you know, had never had a proper boyfriend, hadn’t done, you know, any of the things [00:58:40] that they had been used to or accustomed to, you know, growing up in the environments that they had. And it was a challenging [00:58:45] time, took me a long time to meet someone I did. I was with that person for six years, and [00:58:50] there was always this promise that he was going to marry me, and I thought that that was basically my life. I [00:58:55] turned 27 and he was a good guy, good family, etc. etc. and he [00:59:00] had decided that it wasn’t. That’s not what he wanted to do. And the relationship [00:59:05] broke down and I went into a bit of a panic mode and I was like, right, I need to find a husband in three years. [00:59:10] I’ve got three years now to find my husband, because the thing that I didn’t want to do [00:59:15] was just have a baby with someone, or marry someone for the sake of it. That was like the important [00:59:20] thing for me. I wanted to make sure I married someone with values, and that could bring up [00:59:25] a child in the way that I knew a child should be brought up.

Rhona Eskander: So as I [00:59:30] tried to pressure myself, I ended up dating some of the wrong men and [00:59:35] I sadly, when I turned 30. This is really sad. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this with you. [00:59:40] I was like, I’d rather be dead than than alive and single at 30 and be [00:59:45] known as that girl. And I was suicidal, like, honestly. Like, yeah. So [00:59:50] I was so broken and I had just come out of a really toxic, [00:59:55] narcissistic relationship, and I was too embarrassed to tell my parents because I thought, I’m going to be single at 30. What’s [01:00:00] everyone going to think? I’m going to be single at 30? Luckily, I met my incredible, [01:00:05] healthy, wonderful partner. Now I was 32 at the time, and I think I kind of like [01:00:10] given up on the idea. I was just like, what’s not going to happen? So how old are you now? 37. Okay. Yeah. [01:00:15] And then my father turned around to me and he said, you need to freeze your eggs. [01:00:20] I’m telling you with love. He has a clinic. I’m in a privileged position. I know not [01:00:25] everybody is in a privileged position, but I was because I only had to pay the lab fees, which was minor, as [01:00:30] you know. And he said, just do it because it’s a safety insurance.

Rhona Eskander: It’s a policy [01:00:35] like I’m sure your dad is. He’s factual. Yeah. Exa like this in your 20s. Exa like this in your 30s. [01:00:40] Get it done. Yeah. I had a very I mean the the process thereafter was very difficult [01:00:45] on my body, but the, the success was really high. I got 19 healthy eggs in one go, which [01:00:50] a lot of people when you 32. So one round 19 eggs. Every single egg was [01:00:55] healthy there in the freezer okay. So so that for me took [01:01:00] a little bit of like, stress. And obviously I built my relationship with my partner, we’re [01:01:05] now engaged, etc., etc. so I have a lot of compassion [01:01:10] for women that cannot find the right person, you know, at that [01:01:15] at the time of their life when they’re expected to. But I also recognise there are women that [01:01:20] put it off because of career, for example into their 40s and their chances become a lot lower. [01:01:25] I’m not saying it’s impossible, I know it’s possible, but chances become lower. Chances of miscarriages increase, [01:01:30] chances of, um, children being born with defects. All that stuff increases. But I reckon [01:01:35] now the environment that we live in makes it really difficult to provide, [01:01:40] to provide the environment where people feel safe enough to start a family.

Yusra: I [01:01:45] agree with you entirely. And I think, look, there’s no right. First and foremost, you don’t start [01:01:50] and stop when you get married. Yeah, and you don’t start and stop [01:01:55] when you become a mother. Yeah, this is all fear mongering and there is no substance to it [01:02:00] really. If you want to do both, you can do both with regards to when you find a partner [01:02:05] that like that happens in different times for different people. And [01:02:10] I have a lot of compassion for people who are struggling, you know, and I have a lot of patients [01:02:15] as well who have made the conscious decision to delay having children [01:02:20] because of their career and now.

Rhona Eskander: Because they feel they didn’t have enough money to support a baby or because they [01:02:25] want to do the right.

Yusra: Time. I, you know, I’m building my career and building my name. I can’t [01:02:30] take time off. Who’s going to look after my, my, my role? What’s going to happen? There’s a lot of fear [01:02:35] around that. I get it because I felt like that as well. If I didn’t fall pregnant by mistake, I would still [01:02:40] be. Yeah, be still thinking it’s not the right time. The reality is it’s never the right [01:02:45] time. Okay, I know that now because of what I went through, there is never [01:02:50] a right time. And I think what’s really important to understand [01:02:55] is knowledge is power. And if women understood like you, you’ve got privilege that your [01:03:00] father was in that field and could educate you and explain to you. Women understood that the reality physiologically, [01:03:05] biologically, the reality this is fact not feeling is that as we [01:03:10] age women, not men, our ability to procreate reduces. Again, this is biologically [01:03:15] biologically correct. Right. So then you can make an informed decision in your 20s, 30s, [01:03:20] whatever to freeze eggs. But we also need to understand that even when you freeze eggs, it’s not a guarantee. It’s not a guarantee. [01:03:25] So there’s two sides to this. There is. Well, you might not have found the right [01:03:30] partner. That’s life, you know. And it’s okay. You might choose not to become a mother. That’s okay. Because [01:03:35] your identity as a woman doesn’t start and stop with your if you choose to procreate. [01:03:40] So I think there’s so many sides to this, but I think information is power.

Yusra: And I think if more women spoke about [01:03:45] it and understood that as they aged and so many women that I now see who are going through IVF said, [01:03:50] I never knew that if I left it to my 40s, it would be hard to get eggs. They’re going through cycle [01:03:55] after cycle after cycle, getting 1 or 2 eggs. And I think that’s it’s soul destroying for them. [01:04:00] I see them in their darkest times when they are feeling suicidal, [01:04:05] very low. It has an impact on their relationship, their self-worth, their image, their body. Physiologically, [01:04:10] physically, mentally, we cannot diminish that journey. So if they knew, then perhaps [01:04:15] they can make a more informed decision if they had a partner, let’s say. But this is such a personal [01:04:20] journey for each person that you’ve got to give grace and compassion and understand. And [01:04:25] also, I think, reassurance that it’s okay. Either [01:04:30] way. I think, you know, I understand your father is saying, listen, you, this is important. [01:04:35] And I’ll tell you another story that I went through when I was 30. I fell pregnant with my second child. Yeah. And [01:04:40] I was told she would be disabled. And when I was pregnant, the doctor at the time said to me, [01:04:45] it’s because you’re old. Those are the words that he used 30, 30. And I was mortified. [01:04:50] I literally like my jaw dropped open and this was in front of my husband. And as he walked out [01:04:55] and, you know, again, he was from the generation five.

Rhona Eskander: It’s a geriatric, geriatric pregnancy. So [01:05:00] I’ve had.

Yusra: A geriatric pregnancy. So which, by the way, I find the term hugely offensive [01:05:05] acceptable. So when I, when I was 30 and they told me she’s going to be born disabled [01:05:10] and then blames me because I was too old and then told me I should have an abortion, and it was [01:05:15] one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. And then when I was 35 and [01:05:20] I was told as a geriatric pregnancy, all of that fear that I had gone through came up again. So [01:05:25] I really I hold a lot of compassion and grace for women going through this, no matter what [01:05:30] parts of the journey or decision they make. It’s a really difficult time. But I think the answer here [01:05:35] is to ensure that we are empowered with information. It’s the same with the menopause. I see a lot of women in the menopause who [01:05:40] don’t know what to expect and feel like when they go through the menopause at the end of their femininity, you know, like [01:05:45] they are no longer relevant. Are you kidding me? These are women who have worked in their fields for years. They are [01:05:50] the epitome of relevance. Yeah, um, but they they don’t know what’s to come. [01:05:55] They just think they’re going to be this hot, sweaty mess. And so part of the research that I did is called the Menopause Skin Report, [01:06:00] was discussing how we need to change the narrative in the industry [01:06:05] that actually you don’t start and stop with the with the menopause as well. You know, all these life [01:06:10] changes that women go through. It’s a pretty hard life. You’ve got it easy, you know.

Rhona Eskander: But [01:06:15] this is the thing. And I think the sad thing is I said, like, I’ve, I get [01:06:20] so upset thinking about women because women take, you know, I think of the Barbie speech. Did you ever see the Barbie speech?

Yusra: Yeah I [01:06:25] did, you’re damned if you do. You’re damned if you don’t.

Rhona Eskander: And basically you don’t. And it’s, [01:06:30] it’s it’s very difficult. Um, I might even read it out, but it’s very difficult being a woman. And I think, [01:06:35] look, we have this debate all the time, of course. And he’s like, it’s not that difficult being a woman now. Like [01:06:40] you’re not living in Iran or Afghanistan and, you know, like these are like.

Payman Langroudi: I always caveat the childbirth [01:06:45] and children. Mother.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: If you if you crop out mothering. [01:06:50] Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: So I think you’re right. I think people have to make the right choice. I think we’re lucky now because [01:06:55] actually, when I did egg freezing five years ago, no one knew really what it is. [01:07:00] And now everyone’s talking about it. We had to meet his wife on the podcast. Um, and she actually owns [01:07:05] a company that specialises in egg freezing. And I think it’s great because people are having [01:07:10] and they’re trying to make one of their pillars is they’re trying to make it accessible [01:07:15] to women that can’t even afford the tests, because the tests can be really, really suggest check your AMH, [01:07:20] check all of these hormones, see where you’re at. Because you’re right. I know a woman that had early onset menopause at [01:07:25] 35. So I think, like you said, knowledge is power, but it also does not define you as [01:07:30] a woman. What defines you as a woman is the choices that you make for you. That is it. You know, it’s as simple [01:07:35] as that. I want to move on to something that I think attracted me [01:07:40] to you in the start. And I think also I’ve seen there’s been an increase in your following because [01:07:45] clearly a lot of people have been very empowered by the things that you’ve been saying [01:07:50] online with regards to your humanitarian causes. There is [01:07:55] a lot of political debate that goes on obviously, online. Do you [01:08:00] think and this is again a debate amongst healthcare professionals. Do you think that political [01:08:05] discussions, which I view sometimes as being actually humanitarian discussions, [01:08:10] Discussions should be shown on health care professionals platforms. [01:08:15]

Yusra: I think the GMC and the GDC have issued a statement that [01:08:20] has clearly expressed their opinion on this, which is that as [01:08:25] a healthcare professional, you and I, us have the right [01:08:30] to a political opinion and to express that political opinion in the same way as every [01:08:35] other citizen in the United Kingdom. So that is a universal human right [01:08:40] to express your political views. Now, the way that you do so I think is important. [01:08:45]

Rhona Eskander: The GDC or GMC define the way you should do it or not.

Yusra: No, they didn’t define the way that you should do it. [01:08:50]

Payman Langroudi: You have the right to do that.

Yusra: You have the right express, the right to express, you know, political political [01:08:55] is one thing. And political affiliations or viewpoints may be nuanced and [01:09:00] change according to your proximity, i.e. your again, your [01:09:05] sphere of influence. Right? And the idea and what the GTC have said is that you need [01:09:10] to be mindful that not everyone will share the same opinion, and that’s life. And we all have different opinions. So we have to be able to [01:09:15] communicate respectfully. And as healthcare professionals, we are accustomed [01:09:20] and learn and know how to treat our patients as colourless. It doesn’t matter [01:09:25] what colour they are, it doesn’t matter what faith they are, doesn’t what matter what sexual orientation or gender or [01:09:30] political opinion or affiliation. It makes no difference to our care for them, makes [01:09:35] no difference to my care for my patients or my viewpoint on my colleagues. Make zero [01:09:40] difference to me. And I think what I have been discussing online is [01:09:45] not a political opinion, but a humanitarian one. When we’re talking about universal human [01:09:50] rights, these are universal. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was made [01:09:55] in 1948 after huge, you know, after World War two when there was mass human atrocity. [01:10:00] And the ideology and the reason behind that was that [01:10:05] it would become the Magna Carta of Man so that we would treat all people universally. [01:10:10]

Yusra: And that means that understanding that we’re all born equal with the equal right to life, the equal right [01:10:15] to dignity, the equal right to freedom, the equal right to express your views, the equal right to [01:10:20] living in your property. And that is what I have been expressing unapologetically. [01:10:25] But when you talk about controversy about that, I have had [01:10:30] hate. I have had death threats. I have had threats of violence, threats of rape, threats of sexual [01:10:35] violence against me and my children and my family. And it has definitely been a challenge to navigate. [01:10:40] But I haven’t stopped because I am firm in my belief and my identity [01:10:45] and my role as a human being and as a health care professional, that [01:10:50] I’m here to be in the service of others. And I was brought up with that [01:10:55] mindset. You know, I told you, my parents are both in healthcare, but But beyond that, I [01:11:00] feel a sense of duty to be a voice for the voiceless. And [01:11:05] I stand firm against the physical and mental [01:11:10] mutilation of all people. And I think that it should never be controversial to say, [01:11:15] don’t kill children, lest the killers be offended.

Rhona Eskander: You know, I find that [01:11:20] super interesting. Um, because I find there’s a lot of confusion [01:11:25] around my identity from people online. And I think this also comes down to an [01:11:30] education point of view. I’m Arab, as you know. Um, my father is Coptic Egyptian [01:11:35] and my mother is Catholic. A lot of people assume that Arabs are of [01:11:40] one type of religion, and that I will get abuse because they think that my [01:11:45] behaviour online isn’t in line with their religious beliefs, and that breeds a lot [01:11:50] of hate and division. I’m not as strong as you, so when I get the trolls and when I [01:11:55] get the death threats and the names and, you know, some of them have gone as far as to find my sister and my mother’s [01:12:00] profiles, I shut down. What has shocked me the most, though, is [01:12:05] that when I discover, or when I’ve even had messages from other health care professionals, [01:12:10] and I think regardless of the statement the GDC and GMC have issued, [01:12:15] we have a duty to speak to each other in a certain way. Agree. Let’s [01:12:20] put the political parts to one side. Sometimes the way I see other dentists [01:12:25] or doctors slate each other on forums, on Facebook. To me it’s unacceptable. [01:12:30] It’s like the Daily Mail and the sun having it out with each other. And [01:12:35] when they take it beyond because they think that somebody with a platform, lots of followers and they [01:12:40] think that we can just handle it, if you can’t take the heat, don’t put yourself out there. You know, that’s the thing. I find [01:12:45] that really ridiculous. And I think there is a code of conduct on how we should behave towards each other. [01:12:50] I really do agree.

Yusra: I think there is a code of conduct, and I think as, as professionals, [01:12:55] we should know how to conduct ourselves and communicate with kindness and respect. [01:13:00] So there is the online bullying is unacceptable. Simply, [01:13:05] purely. It starts and stops there. My statement on that there I do not accept it, but what I also don’t [01:13:10] do is give it face. I don’t give it time, I don’t give it air time, I ignore it. But when [01:13:15] there’s threats of violence that is straight to the police, you know, there is the there’s a clear way that [01:13:20] I manage this. And I think here’s the reality. Look, whether you have ten followers or 100 followers or [01:13:25] 10,000 or 100,000 followers, you’re not going to please every single person. You’re [01:13:30] not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s okay. You can agree to disagree. The beauty of social media [01:13:35] is you can scroll right past so you don’t like it. Shimmy on past. There’s no need to leave negative comments, [01:13:40] but if they do, I give grace there as well. Because I think that negative comment [01:13:45] is coming from a place of weakness or negativity or hurt or pain, and they’re projecting. They [01:13:50] are unable to articulate themselves. So I give that grace and I ignore [01:13:55] I’m not making it acceptable, but I’m not giving it airtime either.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. And [01:14:00] that’s the thing, you know. Do you know where the word trolling comes from? No, it’s not a troll like the dolls, because [01:14:05] I thought it was that trolling is a fishing term that when you put the rod and then you like basically [01:14:10] bait what you’re trying to catch. So basically they say that if you talk [01:14:15] or respond to a troll, you are baiting them. So you shouldn’t. Actually ignoring [01:14:20] is the only way that you should deal with it. Absolutely.

Yusra: What you feed grows. Yeah. So give it no airtime. [01:14:25]

Payman Langroudi: What you say is, look, I think we need to separate the political. [01:14:30]

Yusra: And the humanitarian.

Payman Langroudi: Well, political, humanitarian on one side. And then what you said about dentists arguing [01:14:35] arguing about patients on the other side, not talking about patients. No, no, no, it’s about [01:14:40] a case, isn’t it?

Rhona Eskander: No, no, no, you’ve got this wrong. You’ve got this wrong. Look, I don’t want to get into [01:14:45] this debate in particular because of the reasons behind it. But for example, [01:14:50] if a dentist or doctor is struck off, we don’t really know the ins and outs of a case. [01:14:55] Right. And I’m not saying that that person is definitely wrong, but the way they will tear [01:15:00] apart the human being, whether they know them by reputation, I’m like, this person could kill themselves. [01:15:05] I’ve had doctors and dentists being struck off and been in the firing. In fact, [01:15:10] I know a doctor that had been in trouble who’s a huge humanitarian [01:15:15] with not because of the humanitarian cause had been in trouble in the UK for, you know, whatever reason. [01:15:20] But I’m saying, like they totally dehumanised them on these forums. It’s [01:15:25] not fair. And God forbid something happens to you because we’ve now been in that position. [01:15:30] We’ve not been in the room with those patients or done this. And yes, sometimes you can argue, but there was a clear breach, but you [01:15:35] never know until you’re in that person’s shoes. And I find that.

Payman Langroudi: Even if there was, I think your point is right that it [01:15:40] doesn’t need to be nasty. But on the question of the humanitarian, um, [01:15:45] you know, what I really struggled with is, in this day and age, we all have a voice, right? [01:15:50] We can all post. Yeah. And so, in the moment of children [01:15:55] dying, for instance, it’s incumbent on us to post. I agree with you. [01:16:00] Yeah, because we all have a voice. I mean, 15 years ago, we didn’t have a voice. [01:16:05] Only only the people on TV had a voice. So I found it difficult, [01:16:10] though I found it difficult too.

Yusra: To because of fear. Right? Because of fear, because of silencing and because of potential [01:16:15] misinterpretation.

[TRANSITION]: And I don’t want to I.

Payman Langroudi: Don’t want to hurt friends. Friends [01:16:20] and family.


Payman Langroudi: But a friend.

Yusra: People, this is so. This is what I mean. We [01:16:25] have reached a stage that is really dangerous, where we are questioning ourselves [01:16:30] whether we can say.

Rhona Eskander: Whether kill a.

Yusra: Child, kill a child, lest it offend someone. All [01:16:35] children are equal. Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is all [01:16:40] people are born equal. Equal rights to freedom and dignity. Equal [01:16:45] rights to not be detained. Equal rights to not suffer from violence of any [01:16:50] sort. These are. These are universal declaration of human rights that must be applied universally. [01:16:55] That means that it’s not applied to one sect of people, but not another. [01:17:00] And when there is a clear humanitarian issue, you know, what’s going on at [01:17:05] the moment is an undebatable humanitarian crisis. Oxfam has called what is going on at the moment is the worst [01:17:10] humanitarian crisis in its existence. We it’s undebatable that children are dying [01:17:15] in their masses, and they’re not dying from just disease. They’re being killed by bombs [01:17:20] that are being funded by the USA and the UK and Germany. So we we [01:17:25] have a voice and I and I would take it even further to say our [01:17:30] health care colleagues who are out there, 200 colleagues of ours, yes, [01:17:35] have been kidnapped, detained, tortured, threats of sexual violence. [01:17:40] I mean, this is well documented. And people are saying to me, [01:17:45] it’s fake, not just this fake. I’m too afraid to speak up in case I lose my job. [01:17:50] I’m too afraid to speak up in case someone comes after me.

Yusra: And I get that. I understand that because [01:17:55] I have had a phone call from somebody saying, stop speaking about this cause because there’s someone [01:18:00] on the on a faculty that you’re with that wants us to remove you from faculty. [01:18:05] What? Yeah. And I and I sat there and I reflected, [01:18:10] and I thought, no. Yes, absolutely. And actually, you [01:18:15] know, I don’t know how much I want to talk about this on the podcast, but I was strong and I said I [01:18:20] was I was firm in my faith. And this is what I mean by I’m now a mother of three. I [01:18:25] have I’ve got privilege that I own my own clinic, that I don’t need that faculty position. [01:18:30] I am okay in being in a position of discomfort and have the [01:18:35] courage to say, actually, when we are talking about children, I hear the cries of all children [01:18:40] equally. Why don’t you that this is shocking to me, and I cannot [01:18:45] fathom how speaking up for equality of all human beings [01:18:50] is politicised. This is not a political matter. This is humanity. And as [01:18:55] health care professionals in particular, where we are trained to be humanitarians, [01:19:00] where we go into healthcare because we care for others. This is incumbent upon us [01:19:05] to speak up for our profession, for our colleagues, for children, for innocent civilians who are [01:19:10] trapped.

Yusra: And if you look back 76 years ago, World War two, [01:19:15] prior to that, when human beings were being killed in their masses, people were silent, turned [01:19:20] another cheek and stayed quiet because they had privilege. It wasn’t them being killed, and they [01:19:25] were afraid to speak up. And also it was legal. So just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s [01:19:30] right. And if it isn’t for the courage of people to stand up against human oppression, there would be no change. [01:19:35] And let me just quantify that. Slavery continued in the Western [01:19:40] world until the late 1800s. So we’re talking about 150 years ago, when there was [01:19:45] a civil war between the North and South America. And Abraham Lincoln, who [01:19:50] stood up for the liberation of slaves, was called an abolitionist. And he was bullied, [01:19:55] and he was reprimanded for standing up and wanting liberty of slaves. Women had to fight [01:20:00] for rights to vote in the United Kingdom until 100 years ago. [01:20:05] In fact, in Switzerland, until 1994, women didn’t have equal rights to work. [01:20:10] So you sometimes have to take courage to stand up for what’s right. And I don’t [01:20:15] think that just because, you know, you know.

Rhona Eskander: You’re going to offend.

Yusra: Someone, we’re going to offend someone. [01:20:20] We should be quiet. And I’m going to go further and say, when you are speaking up [01:20:25] for the rights of an oppressed people, what that doesn’t translate into is denying the rights of [01:20:30] other people. So when women were saying, hey, we want equal rights, that doesn’t mean they were saying men [01:20:35] don’t get equal rights as well. It’s not a threat to men. Hold on. Please let me quantify [01:20:40] this. When when people were standing up and saying black people need equal rights, they weren’t [01:20:45] saying white. They weren’t saying white people don’t need rights. So when we’re saying give equal rights to a set [01:20:50] of people who are oppressed and don’t have equal rights of freedom and movement and dignity and, and, [01:20:55] and and just equality, that doesn’t mean denying the rights of other people to [01:21:00] have rights. Yeah, it’s really.

Rhona Eskander: Important point because I think and we’re very beautifully said, I think [01:21:05] that that’s the problem and the amount of gaslighting that goes on. Yeah. What people don’t [01:21:10] know is, is that my grandfather is Palestinian as well. Um, and again, Christian Palestinian [01:21:15] again, people assume it’s a certain sector. You know, he’s very affected. Had to flee back in 19, [01:21:20] whatever it was. Yeah. Um, and I.

Yusra: Mean, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is in Palestine. Yes. [01:21:25] So Christianity, that’s the birthplace of Christianity and.

Rhona Eskander: And the abuse that I’ve had from [01:21:30] Dental colleagues, unfortunately, um, telling me that I should be speaking out in the [01:21:35] way that they want me to speak out is crazy. And then on the other side of things, [01:21:40] when I am posting about things like you said, Warchild, Unicef, the [01:21:45] refugee camps that I work in every year, They’re like, you are [01:21:50] a terrorist sympathiser. Unbelievable. And I just don’t understand it because I don’t understand. [01:21:55] Like you said, why aren’t you nuanced? Two truths can be true [01:22:00] at the same time. You can advocate for the life of children, and you can also have [01:22:05] empathy that some people may be suffering right now from anti-Semitism. Let’s just say these [01:22:10] two truths can be true at the same time. But saying that I want children to live is not being [01:22:15] anti-Semitic. Does that make sense? Once one doesn’t translate into another. And that’s such an important point, [01:22:20] because I feel that the reason I understand the reason.

Payman Langroudi: Is there’s almost like an empathy cup. If [01:22:25] your empathy cup is full, you just can’t empathise anymore. Yeah, [01:22:30] it’s a trauma.

Yusra: I think Payman it partly that, sure. And there’s a trauma response here [01:22:35] as well. But there’s also a blind spot and there’s dehumanisation [01:22:40] and we can’t diminish or dismiss that because this and this is how all human atrocities [01:22:45] happen is dehumanisation of the other. When you see them as less than, they’re less human. [01:22:50] They are dogs, they’re son of dogs, they’re agents of evil, they’re rats. Then actually killing them is not [01:22:55] so bad, right? And I would stand firm to say, and if anybody [01:23:00] trolls you and says, actually, why are you standing up for children? These are not combatants. I [01:23:05] don’t care where that child is from. That child can be from any side of this man made war. No children [01:23:10] should be should be killed. Period. But where there is a catastrophe, a human catastrophe for [01:23:15] 15,000 children have been killed. How is this a matter of debate? To stand up for [01:23:20] the rights of these children? It isn’t. And if we accept that it is, [01:23:25] then we’re deflecting and we’ve accepted dehumanisation. And really, I think that is a dangerous place [01:23:30] to go because that is a degradation of the civilised world.

Rhona Eskander: 100%. But also, like [01:23:35] you said, you’re from Iraq. And I do think that there was also this being shown in the Iraq war. The difference was, is [01:23:40] that social media wasn’t a presence in our life and the way that it is today. So this [01:23:45] sort of dehumanisation was going on. And in places like Syria and in lots of other parts of the world. [01:23:50] But I think that what we can all agree on is that our code of conduct towards each other with regards to this conversations [01:23:55] needs to change. You know, and we cannot be there threatening the positions [01:24:00] of health care professionals as a matter of trying to assert [01:24:05] our own projections and our own beliefs. I think that’s where we enter into a really, um, endangered [01:24:10] place. The other thing that I wanted to talk to you about as well is [01:24:15] the kind of language I, I want to have an open [01:24:20] conversation, as I said. So in the Middle East, it was an interesting time for my parents because [01:24:25] my father, as a Copt, was almost persecuted, like Egypt [01:24:30] was really difficult to place to live under the new government for Coptic people.

Rhona Eskander: And [01:24:35] so his whole family went to America and he came here. What I recognised [01:24:40] through my own education and understanding is that there is a real degree [01:24:45] of Islamophobia. Now I’m going to use this word because I was also educated by your sister. [01:24:50] And Islamophobia is a word that was created by the [01:24:55] media and press. And in a way, it instils a view [01:25:00] on people that the word phobia comes with that religion. [01:25:05] And what she said is that you don’t use the word phobia for other religions. So we’re not Christian [01:25:10] phobia, Jew phobia, hinduphobia, etc.. And I [01:25:15] was like, wow, I’ve never really thought about that. And I didn’t even know if the word itself was offensive. [01:25:20] But from your experience, what do you think has been going [01:25:25] on from somebody that has been, you know, a muslim her whole life and how, you know, you touched [01:25:30] a little bit on the Iraq War and how that affected you and what people thought. But I’d really like to understand your experiences. [01:25:35]

Yusra: Of Islamophobia, so to speak. First of all, thank you for acknowledging the word [01:25:40] is not right. Yeah, and it should be anti-Islam. Yeah, I [01:25:45] think that. But you know, it summarises the mindset [01:25:50] which is fear and fear stems from hate, which comes [01:25:55] from stigma and a lack of knowledge ignorance. And [01:26:00] I think that comes from I think the media have a lot to play here, because [01:26:05] if you look at crimes committed by a [01:26:10] Catholic white man in America who goes in and shoots school. [01:26:15] School children. The majority of school shootings have happened by white Catholic [01:26:20] men. What doesn’t happen is people say, oh, look at these white Catholic men, because the crimes of these people [01:26:25] don’t represent the faith and you cannot generalise. And the media don’t even [01:26:30] bring up the faith of the person. Right. But when you see a criminal [01:26:35] called Ahmed or Mohammed who commits a crime, suddenly it’s Muslim terrorists. [01:26:40] And that’s how it’s presented in the Western media. And we have to start to get [01:26:45] mindful of these things. This is called propaganda, and it [01:26:50] manufactures consent for war and for phobia and fear. [01:26:55] And I want to take you back, and I want you to understand that there are 2 billion Muslims [01:27:00] in the world. If they were these bad guys, you wouldn’t have a you [01:27:05] know, how many people, how many countries, Arabian countries have. The whole Middle East are [01:27:10] invading and bombing the Western world. It doesn’t happen. You don’t see it, and [01:27:15] it shouldn’t happen the other way around. And in order to manufacture consent, this is [01:27:20] a real thing. Go and Google manufacturing consent. Countries for years and years and years have [01:27:25] to have to remove the moral barriers for people to descend [01:27:30] for war. And to do so, they have to portray the people that they are going after as [01:27:35] these really bad, dangerous people. Now, you asked me about my father before. My father is from Iraq. [01:27:40] Mhm. Iraq is Babylonian. It’s a cradle of civilisation. It’s where education [01:27:45] was first formed. It’s the place where there was first writing. Written [01:27:50] language was ever formed called cuneiform writing.

Rhona Eskander: Egyptians were pretty up there, too, with [01:27:55] the hieroglyphics.

Yusra: The hieroglyphics. So cuneiform was the first written language, [01:28:00] and it’s known to be Harappan, is known to be the cradle of civilisation. And so sometimes [01:28:05] I hear people go, oh my God, you know, you Muslim women wearing hijab, educated, doing so well, how [01:28:10] come? And I’m like, I don’t understand your question because I’m not a deviation of the norm. I [01:28:15] am the norm. Education. There is this stigma and it’s a stigma [01:28:20] again. And if you look at it in movies, the brown man is always the terrorist, the terrorist. [01:28:25] And so when we start to see it and we remove that blind spot, then we will start to understand [01:28:30] and see the dehumanisation of the brown man or the Arab man or the [01:28:35] Muslim man, which has happened for years and years and years, which has led us to the place that we are [01:28:40] in now, where there is anti-Islamic sentiment. And it’s wrong and it’s wrong in the [01:28:45] same way anti-Semitism is wrong and both should be outlawed. At the moment, anti-Semitism is outlawed, [01:28:50] anti-Islamic sentiments is not. So where it stems from was your question. [01:28:55] I think it stems from ignorance, fear and hate. And I think it’s incumbent upon us all to start [01:29:00] to get educated about it and actually start to challenge what we’ve been told.

Rhona Eskander: I [01:29:05] want to say, though, and this is, again, me playing a little bit of devil’s advocate to understand. [01:29:10] I think that one of the big problems is, is that people are using their religion [01:29:15] to justify their actions. And this does happen in Christianity. So I just think it’s not [01:29:20] as prevalent. So I’m going to give you an example. When Afghanistan banned girls from like being [01:29:25] educated, it was in the name of like women shouldn’t be educated and we’re going to use religion. What’s going [01:29:30] on in Iran, as you know, is women can’t, you know, cross the street without covering their hair. [01:29:35] Otherwise they’ll be killed and tortured in the name of, you know, religion. And so, unfortunately, [01:29:40] people have abused Islam, which I don’t think is the essence of what the Quran [01:29:45] says, but they have taken it. I showed you the other day a very problematic influencer [01:29:50] with a big following that was suddenly spewing out that, you know, a woman’s place is at home, [01:29:55] etc. in the name of what he thinks Islam is. So do you think that people have [01:30:00] misunderstood? And as I said, sure, you do get in Christianity sometimes saying, [01:30:05] you know, this is in the name of this, but I think that you’re seeing more of it where people are justifying [01:30:10] certain actions or certain ways that women should behave in the name of Islam. So do you not think that’s part [01:30:15] of the problem?

Yusra: I think the problem is that we accept the generalisation [01:30:20] of all people based on the actions of the few. It’s the same way. I mean, would you say [01:30:25] this to an Irish person on your podcast and say Catholic Catholicism? Yeah. [01:30:30] I mean, does the IRA represent Catholicism? No, of course not. Yeah. You know, and we’ve got [01:30:35] to make that differentiation and distinguish the two. And I reject the, the concept [01:30:40] that the Taliban is in any way representative of Islam. I [01:30:45] reject the ideology that ISIS are in any way a reflection of Islam. You know, [01:30:50] when I moved to Liverpool, the first place that I ever took, my son, who was two years old at the time, was to a church [01:30:55] where there was a playgroup and immediately, you know, there [01:31:00] Liverpool. I’m in a little white village and it’s not multicultural. [01:31:05] And so I stood out, aesthetically speaking, I, you know, I cover [01:31:10] my hair, not my brain, but, you know, I looked different. And so there was a little bit of a guest fear. [01:31:15] This is eight years ago. And finally a woman came to talk to me. I thought, great, [01:31:20] the first thing she said to me is, what do you think of ISIS? What? And I was gutted. Yes. This [01:31:25] is what she said to me.

Rhona Eskander: That’s horrendous.

Yusra: But this has been my experience on many, many times. I remember [01:31:30] when I took my six month old son to America, to Texas, because my husband was [01:31:35] working there, the people that he was working with, as soon as I walked into the room, were shocked that he’s married [01:31:40] to a woman who’s wearing a scarf. And it was like pindrop silence. And they said, we [01:31:45] just want to ask, what do you think of ISIS? And and I remember Hassan and I looking at [01:31:50] each other, and I’m like, they think that we represent ISIS. Are you kidding me? Let’s talk about ISIS. [01:31:55] Isis are a terrorist organisation that went not into the Western world. They went into Syria and [01:32:00] killed. Who killed Muslims in their masses. Right? Syria was a beautiful [01:32:05] country. That was our destination. Yeah. And people were living and thriving. [01:32:10] They had a gorgeous life. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, businessmen fled persecution [01:32:15] from ISIS, put their children in rubber dinghies not because they were less than, not [01:32:20] because they were pro ISIS. And when they came here, if you listen to the people who were there, [01:32:25] they say ISIS didn’t know how to pray. They didn’t understand the Quran. They didn’t know the direction of prayer. They were not Muslims, and [01:32:30] they do not represent Islam. And when it comes to education of women, I if [01:32:35] you allow me to explain 1400 years ago, when Islam [01:32:40] came was was born, women were given rights to education, equal [01:32:45] rights to education, and actually revered and encouraged to be educated and to be educators. [01:32:50]

Yusra: They were given rights to work. They were given rights to inheritance, [01:32:55] to land ownership, to keep their own name. Because you don’t start and stop when you get married. Being married doesn’t [01:33:00] identify who you are And the wife’s prophet. The prophet’s wife was called Khadija. [01:33:05] She was a woman who was older than him. She was a tradeswoman. She was a trader. She was a business owner. [01:33:10] She employed him and she proposed to him. Okay. So she proposed [01:33:15] to a man that was younger than her, who was her employee. These are all for a reason. These broke the social [01:33:20] norms and constructs at the time as a message that this is the this is the norm. This [01:33:25] this is the the reverence of women in society. So this ideology that women should [01:33:30] be homemakers is personal preference of whoever this man was. And I’ve seen this personal preference [01:33:35] being discussed by men of Muslim faith, men of Christian faith. [01:33:40] That’s what I said, Jewish faith, men of no faith. And they can manipulate Scripture because [01:33:45] man is corrupt to help propagate their own. [01:33:50] Their own selves. This is the corruption of man, not not the. And [01:33:55] this is not representative of the faith. And racism is when we accept stereotyping and [01:34:00] generalisation of negative assumptions of a sex or group of people.

Rhona Eskander: Totally. [01:34:05] I completely I completely agree with what you’re saying, but what I’m asking you is, [01:34:10] do you not think it is dangerous that these people are using religion as [01:34:15] a way to say, this is what the religion says?

Payman Langroudi: People will always use something like religion to [01:34:20] say something. I mean, it’s it’s the point you’re making is.

Yusra: Trolling, right? Don’t get the airtime. Yeah. [01:34:25] There’s always going to be someone out there who’s an extremist in their own right or has or has an opinion. [01:34:30] So how did he, you know, scroll past it doesn’t matter. What’s what [01:34:35] matters is that we’re educated enough to not say, ah, that’s why there’s.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, you’re right, but you’ll misinterpret. [01:34:40] Us three are educated enough. Us three. Yeah. Okay. But I get shocked when [01:34:45] I came into a situation. I don’t want to put her into it. Saying [01:34:50] that I’m compassionate about what’s going on in the world. The immediate response [01:34:55] is in the conflict. She was. And she’s, by the way, white Christian. She said, [01:35:00] yeah, but, you know, I don’t want, you know, Muslims are taking over. I was like, what do you mean? Yeah, and I [01:35:05] was, but she’s an educated woman. She’s not a stupid woman. So I think that you are assuming, you [01:35:10] know, that people are as educated as you.

[TRANSITION]: You know.

Payman Langroudi: There is a narrative that’s called the Great Replacement [01:35:15] therapy. Uh, great replacement theory, okay. Which is a narrative [01:35:20] that right, in America using and and some of the right ear. Yeah. And it’s this question of, oh, [01:35:25] Muslims are coming here and having children. And and their plan is conspiracy [01:35:30] theories, and their plan is to to have more Muslims and Christians and to replacement. [01:35:35] And it’s it’s been a tool of it’s a political tool, but.


Yusra: Tool [01:35:40] to do what?

[TRANSITION]: To manipulate people towards dehumanisation.

Yusra: Hold on. Once we recognise [01:35:45] this. You’re right. What are you seeing happening in Palestine? They’re called subhuman. They’re called agents of [01:35:50] evil. They’re called sons of dogs. Is it dehumanisation? And that dehumanisation [01:35:55] has to be refuted. It has to be. Because if we allow [01:36:00] that, if we accept that narrative, then we are accepting to dehumanise others which dehumanises [01:36:05] ourselves. If we fail to have empathy for others, we lose our own self compassion. We [01:36:10] literally this is a degradation of society. And if people are talking about oppression of Muslim women, again, I refute [01:36:15] it. If you look at the or the women, Muslim women are uneducated or don’t have equal [01:36:20] rights, Taliban don’t reflect. Of course.

Rhona Eskander: Nor does the Iranian government. I mean, Payman [01:36:25] Payman knows that, you know.

Yusra: Kkk or KKK reflective, of course.

Rhona Eskander: Of course. But what I’m trying [01:36:30] to I get that, I get that right. So you.

Yusra: Tell them, if they say this to you, you tell them.

[TRANSITION]: No, it’s not.

Rhona Eskander: Even about that. [01:36:35] It’s the fact that I see. Okay, sure. I can tell the person that I don’t want to embarrass her. [01:36:40] That really shocked me in this interaction. And I did that and I was like, have a look. I gave her [01:36:45] all of your arguments. But what scares me is that when I meet a lot of educated people [01:36:50] that say that or that say, you know, oh, but what about this? And [01:36:55] what’s and it’s very repressed and da da da da da da da da. And listen, because my mom as well is very passionate about [01:37:00] like the history and culture, especially of the Middle East. You know how being Palestinian, Lebanese [01:37:05] and exactly what you said and you say and I think it annoys me that I see people [01:37:10] using the faith to justify this kind of behaviour. That’s pretty much what I’m saying.

Yusra: Annoys [01:37:15] me too.

Rhona Eskander: It annoys me. It really annoys me.

Yusra: But only thing that you can do to combat fear [01:37:20] and hate.

[TRANSITION]: Look, hate.

Yusra: Is taught, right? So if hate can be taught, so can love. But [01:37:25] it comes down to education. Yeah. And you say that they’re educated. They’re educated in what they. [01:37:30] Where did they receive their education from? Most of them heard stories. They’re not truly [01:37:35] educated about history. They’re not truly educated. You know, I had this conversation with my financial advisor [01:37:40] the other day and he said to me, yeah, but wasn’t Muhammad a warlord as in the Prophet Muhammad? And I said. [01:37:45]

[TRANSITION]: You know.

Yusra: What are you talking about? Islam actually says you’re not allowed to start wars. There were rules of war. [01:37:50] Now we talk about international rules of war. There were rules of war 1400 years ago. Islam [01:37:55] says you can’t start war. You can defend against war, but you can’t start war. You can’t kill children. You can’t kill [01:38:00] women. You can’t cut down trees. There have always been these rules of war. Then he said to me, yeah, but what about women? They’re not [01:38:05] educated in Islam. Like, what are you talking about? Women have been revered. Education has been the pillar [01:38:10] of Islam for years ago. Arabia is where astrology starts. Its philosophy, algebra, [01:38:15] I mean. But people are not educated about that. Most people don’t know that the first university that was [01:38:20] ever formed was formed by a muslim hijabi woman in Fez, Morocco, called Fatima. That was the first university [01:38:25] and it’s a Unesco heritage site. Don’t look at me as a deviation of the norm. If [01:38:30] anything, I could do so much more. And it’s the women in Arabia that have inspired me. [01:38:35] And and when I when you’re talking about education, I think they’ve got skewed education.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I [01:38:40] think they’ve got bias.

Payman Langroudi: You know, these words like Islamophobia. Yeah. [01:38:45] I you know, you’ve got to understand that the alternative to the word Islamophobia [01:38:50] is anti-Muslim hate.

[TRANSITION]: Yes. But why don’t they use that?

Payman Langroudi: Because, well, anti-Muslim hate [01:38:55] is three words.

[TRANSITION]: You tell me.

Payman Langroudi: Um, because it’s three words. Yeah. And Islamophobia is one word. [01:39:00] Because because anti-islamism. Islamism is different to Islam. Yeah. [01:39:05]

[TRANSITION]: Islamism. Anti-muslim.

Yusra: Yeah. Well, anti-Muslim.

[TRANSITION]: Well. But what I’m saying is sometimes, [01:39:10] sometimes.

Payman Langroudi: Sometimes these words evolve in that way because of things like this. Also [01:39:15] the ISIS point. Yeah. If something’s been in the news. Yeah, [01:39:20] it’s natural to bring it up. Yeah. So today some Jewish guy [01:39:25] in Australia is being asked, what do you think about Israel? Yeah, yeah. Um, while [01:39:30] the. You’re right, while the, uh, Iraq war was on. Yeah. Some American guy in Buenos [01:39:35] Aires was being asked, what do you think about. Yeah. So if eight years ago when, when ISIS [01:39:40] was really at its peak. Yeah. It’s the way it’s the way humans interact. [01:39:45]

[TRANSITION]: Yeah. And you know, look, it doesn’t.

Payman Langroudi: Mean that person.

[TRANSITION]: Was saying.

Payman Langroudi: You’re an ISIS sympathiser. [01:39:50]

[TRANSITION]: No, but, you know, it’s the way humans interact.

Rhona Eskander: But I understand [01:39:55] what you’re saying. In the same way it really it upsets me that people [01:40:00] assume things about my religion and culture just because I’m Arab.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, but, you know.

Rhona Eskander: But it does annoy [01:40:05] me because I think that’s lack of education.

Payman Langroudi: People don’t realise there are Christian Arabs.

Rhona Eskander: Apart from [01:40:10] the Christian Arabs. They’ll make assumptions about being Arab. You know, and I had assumptions about my [01:40:15] father and things I did and Egypt and Lebanon and like, okay, look, I don’t listen. [01:40:20] If someone asks me to reel off, like, Chinese culture, sure. I’m not well versed with Chinese [01:40:25] culture.

[TRANSITION]: Naturally, but.

Rhona Eskander: I just feel I really try hard not to.

[TRANSITION]: Project. [01:40:30] That’s a.

Payman Langroudi: Good point. So, yeah, you’ve got to understand that point. Yeah. My my [01:40:35] my, uh, team. Yeah. She said to me. Yeah. You know, when we’re talking, we call you an Arab. [01:40:40] Yeah. I’m not, I’m not an Arab.

[TRANSITION]: People call me all the time, but I’m person.

Rhona Eskander: I’m [01:40:45] like, I’m Arab.

[TRANSITION]: Hold on, hold on.

Payman Langroudi: I said I’m Persian. We don’t even speak.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah. [01:40:50]

Payman Langroudi: And then she said to me, she’s from Romania. She said, what do you call me? Eastern European. [01:40:55] Yeah. Yeah. So, so I’m so different to the Lithuanians and. But you just classes all of Eastern [01:41:00] European. Yeah.


Payman Langroudi: So the Norse, the Norse. My wife is a Christian Arab. Yeah. [01:41:05] So I understand exactly what you’re saying.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, yeah. You know. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: But you don’t know anything about Chinese [01:41:10] languages, Chinese, different foods. Chinese you don’t.

[TRANSITION]: And people aren’t [01:41:15] expected to know these details.

Yusra: You’re right, you’re right. Absolutely. Payman is absolutely spot on. [01:41:20] But then what’s incumbent upon us is prior to passing judgement based on feeling is to find [01:41:25] out facts.

Rhona Eskander: But that’s why I said to you. Because when I when I had a catch up with Zainab yesterday, it [01:41:30] was so great for her and we had a conversation, no defence. And she was like, I [01:41:35] want to tell you about this. And I was like, fascinating. Now I know, now I know how was I meant to know before? And also [01:41:40] I didn’t even know I was causing offence by it because I just thought it was a word, you know? So I think the most [01:41:45] important thing, and that’s why I wanted to have this conversation on this podcast, is we have to have conversations, right, [01:41:50] I do I want to do conversation as the way. Now, before we move on from this topic, [01:41:55] I also.

Yusra: Want to say one other thing. You know, you you mentioned about homemakers, and I want to [01:42:00] say, because this is something I feel really passionate about, is I get [01:42:05] a lot. I got asked a lot about how do you do it, your mum of three, your business owner. And I [01:42:10] see women from all walks of life with different roles. And I have women who come in who are apologetic [01:42:15] for their roles as homemakers and maker is not less than [01:42:20] being in the workplace. And it’s really important that we make that clear, because [01:42:25] that role of raising children, it’s huge, is is huge, is difficult, is 24 [01:42:30] over seven and is a part of the team effort. If the husband is the breadwinner, [01:42:35] sometimes the husband’s the homemaker and and the woman is a breadwinner doesn’t really matter what works within [01:42:40] that family unit. But the idea that the homemaker is less than absolutely [01:42:45] needs to stop.

Rhona Eskander: I think that we need to stop bashing each other as women. I’m going [01:42:50] to take men out of the equation because what I’ve seen is, is, yes, women may get bashed by men, but they also [01:42:55] get bashed by other women. What you choose to do in your life is what you choose to [01:43:00] do. Whether you choose to have children, whether you choose to be a full time housewife, whether you choose to be a career woman, whether you [01:43:05] choose to do both, whether you choose to get a nanny, you have to do what is right for you. And we have got [01:43:10] to stop bashing each other. We have got to start supporting each other. One thing I want to [01:43:15] lastly say about the thing that’ll ever happen, I’ll come back on to that. But I want to bring this point. [01:43:20] I want to bring I want to bring up this point about, do you have you seen the film? You resemble me? [01:43:25] No, it’s a masterpiece. Okay. My Egyptian friend Dina Amir, she [01:43:30] is a journalist. Okay, so let me tell you a little about this. You both need to watch it. It’s an absolute masterpiece. [01:43:35] She created a film. She lived in Paris. She grew up in Paris. She understood the racism [01:43:40] that goes in France.

Rhona Eskander: Huge segregation, huge racism. Do you remember when there [01:43:45] was all the bombings in Paris again, the terrorist attacks. Je suis Charlie, all of that stuff that happened [01:43:50] that night, I think a nightclub had been bombed or something like that. So she was working [01:43:55] for vice. The magazine vice called her and said, we want you to cover this. It was [01:44:00] a female, the first female terrorist attack. So I don’t know. They said that she. [01:44:05] So they said she blew herself up. Now, the kind of fake news that was [01:44:10] propagating all over Paris that night. Cnn no one knew the facts. Everyone [01:44:15] was giving the story. The. The mother of the female terrorist [01:44:20] would only allow Dina to interview her because she said, you look like my daughter. [01:44:25] Hence you resemble me. They were a Moroccan family. And then when Dina [01:44:30] went into the story, she realised that she also was propagating this news around something [01:44:35] that was so much deeper. And she ended up making a film about [01:44:40] this female terrorist and dispelling it. Now the beauty about the story [01:44:45] is the girl came from a broken home from Morocco. They were segregated and ostracised [01:44:50] in society. The father was a gambler. The mother couldn’t look after the children. [01:44:55] The children were torn apart. The childhood.


Rhona Eskander: Broken. She ended [01:45:00] up in prostitution. In this, in this, in this, in this society rejected [01:45:05] her and she was a human being that was a shell of herself. And [01:45:10] she got a call from her cousin. I’m an ISIS. Isis is a community. [01:45:15] We can help you. You’re going to get love. I’m going to give you love. You’re going [01:45:20] to have a family. You’re going to have a husband. She didn’t join you. Don’t become [01:45:25] born a terrorist. You don’t come out of the womb being like, I aspire to join ISIS. [01:45:30] She was a broken human. She was groomed.

[TRANSITION]: As a broken shell of herself.

Rhona Eskander: Broken child. And it’s a societal [01:45:35] problem. I’m sorry. I’m going to say it. You might say, because I’ve heard the argument. But France [01:45:40] gave her a chance. France took her in. She should be grateful to France. And, you know, it’s really [01:45:45] scary because when she got adopted, when she got taken in by some of the families, they tried to [01:45:50] force her to eat pork. They tried to force her to straighten her hair. You know what I mean? They wouldn’t accept her culture. [01:45:55] And that’s not what she ran away.

[TRANSITION]: How do you feel about paedophiles?

Rhona Eskander: What do you mean? How did that come up.

Payman Langroudi: In [01:46:00] the same? In the same sense that people aren’t born paedophiles.

Rhona Eskander: Listen, I think your store is going to have some empathy [01:46:05] for what I’m saying, because. And maybe this is the end. But of course, I don’t agree with paedophilia.

Payman Langroudi: I don’t agree with it. But in [01:46:10] that same sense that.

Rhona Eskander: I think that some people that come out, they might have been abused as a child. I’m [01:46:15] not saying it justifies what they do, but the way that we treat people that.

[TRANSITION]: Have issues, a.

Rhona Eskander: Similar thing [01:46:20] allows them to behave the way. But it’s the same way that we treat addicts. We punish addicts. [01:46:25] Why do people become addicts? It’s complex. Gabor Maté talks about this, and I think the notion [01:46:30] of people joining terrorists, even what was her name that tried to come back to the country, people.

[TRANSITION]: That joined 16 [01:46:35] years old and.

Rhona Eskander: Tried to come that join these terrorist organisations. It [01:46:40] is not in the name of religion, it’s in the name of people being broken and wanting to find love and community [01:46:45] crazily. You know, there’s almost like an oxymoron in it. Yeah. And they go and they realise that [01:46:50] that’s not the reality.

Payman Langroudi: Where can you watch the film?

Rhona Eskander: Um, you can get it, I think, on Netflix or honestly, both of you, [01:46:55] it’s called You Resemble Me. It’s the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. That’s incredible.

[TRANSITION]: And she gives.

Rhona Eskander: A voice [01:47:00] to that person. You know what I mean? Which people might not agree with. But I think everyone has that history. [01:47:05]

Yusra: Yeah, I think that this is a really interesting conversation. And I often [01:47:10] think about children who come from war, who have lost everything. When they’ve lost their family, they’re going to breed. [01:47:15]

[TRANSITION]: A new what’s.

Yusra: Going to happen there when they’ve watched their that when, when they watch [01:47:20] their mother and father and brother torn to bits and the world has let them down in [01:47:25] their eyes, they become vulnerable then to manipulation, and you can [01:47:30] see.

[TRANSITION]: The potential.

Yusra: Trajectory.

[TRANSITION]: Absolutely lost.

Payman Langroudi: Children.

Yusra: I mean, if you lost your.

[TRANSITION]: Child, what would you.

Yusra: Do? [01:47:35] Right? That these are things that we need to understand as a society so that we can [01:47:40] treat the root cause and stop war. You know, calling for peace [01:47:45] should never be a controversy. And I think it’s also important that we separate [01:47:50] people from the policies of their government in the same way that you are basically telling the story [01:47:55] about this woman and how and why she became a terrorist. And it’s really important to never generalise, [01:48:00] and it’s important to understand that the actions of the few don’t represent the masses of [01:48:05] a faith. And that’s why we have to ensure that in our society there is [01:48:10] no space for hate, there is no space for anti-Semitism, there is no space for anti-Islamic hate. There [01:48:15] is no space for racism. And the only way that we can stop wars and we [01:48:20] can stop hate and we can stop violence against others is stopping dehumanisation [01:48:25] and teaching respect and love and tolerance. And that.

Rhona Eskander: I think, really does [01:48:30] start also in the healthcare profession. It’s really important. And that’s why I think my message to [01:48:35] a lot of people is that we cannot speak to each other in that way. Agree. We could talk [01:48:40] for ages. I’m literally like, I can see, I can see rich. Kind of like peering over [01:48:45] at times. Yes. I also wanted to ask you, I know we kind of touched [01:48:50] on this a little bit about wearing your hijab, right. Again, I think [01:48:55] people it’s important to recognise that people do for choice, you know, because I think there [01:49:00] is this misconception and as like you said, as soon as you’re a woman that wears a hijab, you are a certain [01:49:05] type of woman. Do you want to tell us about any difficulties or challenges or misconceptions [01:49:10] that you faced within your own profession? You’ve touched on Liverpool a little bit and you know [01:49:15] how people have these preconceived ideas. Has there been anything within the work space that has made it challenging? [01:49:20]

Yusra: Luckily, not in the UK. Great. And I actually also worked in banking for a short period of time. [01:49:25] I didn’t ever feel held back by hijab. No. And I’ve been really clear that [01:49:30] my decision to cover my hair is a choice that I make as an empowered woman, [01:49:35] and I don’t think anyone I have not noticed or been aware of anyone [01:49:40] treating me differently in the UK. But when I have been abroad, when [01:49:45] I went to my first conference abroad in Chicago, do you remember after did you go to that Chicago conference? [01:49:50] There was a big Dental conference in Chicago. When I was there. I was signing up to the literally [01:49:55] doing my registration, and this man came right up to me and [01:50:00] he said, you don’t belong here. And in.

[TRANSITION]: The conference.

Yusra: That’s it. He was a dentist [01:50:05] and he said.

Payman Langroudi: Winter mid-winter.

[TRANSITION]: Conference.

Yusra: That’s the one. It was mid winter conference. [01:50:10] And he said, take that scarf off your head, really take that tip. And he just kept going and and [01:50:15] I, you know, there’s no I didn’t have the toolkit to deal with that. I didn’t know [01:50:20] how to respond to him. So I just thought, give no air time, you know, don’t pander. [01:50:25] Eventually what you ignore will will disappear. And he just continued and continued. And then a crowd [01:50:30] was coming around. Nobody stood up for me, and it was just really scary. And then one [01:50:35] of my close friends who’s Jewish, her name is Claire, basically said to the guy, get lost, get away [01:50:40] from her. And then he listened to her and he went away. And she stuck with me for the rest of the time. That [01:50:45] was probably the scariest experience that I had. And now when [01:50:50] I go to Monaco every year, I go to Monaco, to a big MWC, the World [01:50:55] Congress in France. As you know, you’re not allowed to wear a scarf in public place in, [01:51:00] um, in the beach.

[TRANSITION]: As a scarf.

Rhona Eskander: As well. I thought for some reason I prohibited burqa. So now it’s [01:51:05] a hijab as well?


Yusra: So every time and women have been arrested, fines [01:51:10] been forced to take off their clothes, remove their scarf when they’re on the beach. And this is well documented. [01:51:15] So whenever we go there, a lot of them want to go to the beach. And, you know, I just [01:51:20] I obviously don’t go because I don’t want to create a scene.

[TRANSITION]: So this is in Monaco.

Rhona Eskander: So there’s [01:51:25] the rules apply to Monaco as well I assume.

Yusra: So I assume so but I haven’t looked into it. Yeah. [01:51:30] So those are the times that I’m conscious of it where I know that I may be exposed. [01:51:35] Exactly, exactly. But you know, I have patients who come and travel [01:51:40] from all around the world to see me, including patients from France, that I always say separate the [01:51:45] policies from the government of the people. I don’t want people listening to this and going, oh, she’s slandering France. I’m not. Yeah. These are the [01:51:50] realities of the experiences of people who may wear a scarf and therefore demonstrate [01:51:55] their faith in countries where it’s prohibited to do so. I’m lucky that we are afforded [01:52:00] liberty and freedom of choice here. I worry about a day that we might not remember when the YSL [01:52:05] co-founder and business owner is, about ten years ago, made a statement that wearing [01:52:10] a scarf is the enslavement of women and that people should be encouraged to pull scarves of women’s [01:52:15] heads. Those are the times where I’ve thought, oh my God, my safety was a concern, [01:52:20] but I haven’t experienced that.

Rhona Eskander: We’re lucky the UK is extremely democratic. One [01:52:25] of the big reasons my dad wanted to leave Saudi and bring us up here is because of the democracy [01:52:30] in the UK. I mean, like this was Saudi like 37 years ago, you know, so that’s [01:52:35] not what it is now. Of course, Saudis becoming like one of the most like it places now. [01:52:40] But yeah, you know, we’re lucky because I think the beautiful thing about the UK, especially London, [01:52:45] I love it. You go to a bus stop, you’ll see someone Chinese, black, Arab, white all [01:52:50] sitting together. And I love it.

[TRANSITION]: And I think it’s important, you know, I think.

Yusra: It’s important even within my clinic [01:52:55] my business managers is is Jewish. My skin concierge lady. Her name is ocean. [01:53:00] She’s Baha’i. My my other manager Lane is atheist. Some of them are Christian and [01:53:05] we’re multicultural. Multi-faith.

[TRANSITION]: We all love each other.

Yusra: There’s no issue. We have compassion [01:53:10] for each other. The first point at which ever their democracy is at stake, [01:53:15] I’ll be the first person to advocate for them and and safeguard them.

Rhona Eskander: Perfect. Gosh. [01:53:20] So I feel like we could talk for hours and hours. Um, I want to end by asking you [01:53:25] what the future holds for doctor clinics. Like you’ve won best aesthetic [01:53:30] practitioner, like, 700 years in a row. So we’ve ticked that multi-award winning and etc. but [01:53:35] is there anything new exciting on the horizon?

[TRANSITION]: I just think.

Yusra: Continual learning every day continue [01:53:40] growing every day. I have little projects in the pipeline which will be revealed in [01:53:45] due course, but.


Yusra: This is.

Rhona Eskander: Not the soft launch then?

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, no, that’s not good. [01:53:50]

Yusra: So genuinely, I just am excited by what I do every single day. I jump out of bed in [01:53:55] love with what I do. I’m lucky. I literally, I think us dentists went into it because we care for people, [01:54:00] and it’s that beautiful combination of art, science and people. I just want to keep doing that and giving back to the profession [01:54:05] and growing and learning until I die.

[TRANSITION]: I love that so much.

Rhona Eskander: And what would be your [01:54:10] advice for perhaps young dentists that are thinking about leaving dentistry but are scared.

[TRANSITION]: To. [01:54:15]

Yusra: Leaving dentistry. So like.

Rhona Eskander: In the same way, I guess the way that you have it in terms of like not [01:54:20] doing clinical dentistry and focusing on facial aesthetics.

Yusra: Find your passion and excel [01:54:25] at it.

[TRANSITION]: Yeah, and.

Yusra: I think believe in yourself. There’s nothing that you cannot do.

[TRANSITION]: Perfect. [01:54:30] Do you think.

Payman Langroudi: Do you think sometimes it’s the other way around. Excel at something and that will become your passion because [01:54:35] a lot of people, they spend their whole time thinking, well is my passion facial aesthetics? Is [01:54:40] it is it endo? Is it Berio? Is it my. My advice is get really [01:54:45] good at one of them and it will be your passion.

Yusra: It’s a good advice as well. For me, [01:54:50] I found something that really I was. The passion came first. The [01:54:55] passion and the why came before the excelling at it. And by the way, I never.


Yusra: Know, whilst [01:55:00] it’s always humbling and nice to be recognised, best aesthetic whatever I don’t take these awards to [01:55:05] actually mean that I’m the best or the best that I can be. Of course, that’s not how I see it, and I, I [01:55:10] never want to actually consider myself as an expert or ever think that I know at all. [01:55:15] You know, because I don’t I don’t think I’ll ever know at all. I’ve been doing this for 14 years. I’m still learning new things [01:55:20] every single day. So I don’t know.

Rhona Eskander: I think the one thing that I’ll say about awards, because I have [01:55:25] a lot of young dentists that get really upset and so forth, I it took me a really [01:55:30] long time to like everything. Come on, give me a break, universe. But like, I was never you know, it took [01:55:35] me a really long time to win awards. And actually, I remember when I first opened up my practice and poured my heart into [01:55:40] it. The only thing I really wanted was to win an award for, like, the best practice, because, like, I’ve [01:55:45] done everything and we went to the private dentistry awards and I was up for like loads of awards, and we walked [01:55:50] away empty handed and we had a whole table and I was so embarrassed and I called, I called, I called [01:55:55] Joe the next day and I was just sobbing to him and I was like, I’m total failure. [01:56:00] I was like, love it. I was like, I’m a total failure. And Joe and like [01:56:05] Joe always says, what you say. He’s like, I can’t deal with, like how insecure you are. [01:56:10] Like, it’s.

Payman Langroudi: I.


Payman Langroudi: Don’t go for awards with enlighten in case I lose.

Yusra: Really fear [01:56:15] of.

[TRANSITION]: Failure is huge.

Payman Langroudi: Isn’t it? The fact that you actually went for them itself is very brave.

[TRANSITION]: But the point. [01:56:20]

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, exactly. But but the point is, is that I always [01:56:25] say when I now I go to these awards because I’ve been asked to present them or I’ve asked to be a judge. [01:56:30] When I see young people get so disheartened, I’m like, it really doesn’t define you. Like, I.

[TRANSITION]: Bet. [01:56:35]

Rhona Eskander: I didn’t even really get into a practice nor get a job because people didn’t like me. But you [01:56:40] know what? That pain. I turned it into power. My pain. I turned it into power because it propelled me [01:56:45] forward. So I think, you know, you’re right. These awards do not define. It’s an incredible achievement. I [01:56:50] know you know that. You don’t take them as like. It means that you’re the best in the world. But also I recognise [01:56:55] how much hard work goes into them. And it’s definitely, you know, it’s deserved. Thank you.

[TRANSITION]: So much. [01:57:00] Thank you, thank you.

Rhona Eskander: There’s an amazing thank you guys by.

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