Positive Mindset — I have heard some people who have immigrated to America say that their worst day in America is still better than their best day in their respective country. That says a lot. Never forget about the widespread levels of opportunities here that can give you a ladder to climb to success.
Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.
As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Fay Asghari, a board-certified Cosmetic Registered Nurse in Beverly Hills, California. Miss Asghari holds a double bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Nursing Science and is currently near completion in her Nurse Practitioner program. Miss Asghari is a recognized instructor and trainer for cosmetic procedures and treatments around the world. Miss Asghari has been featured in Nursing Journal magazine and is currently working on publishing her book in aesthetic medicine.
She has a passion in modeling and fashion, which has led her to be featured on a cover of 3 different magazines in one year. She has collaborated with world-renowned fashion designers and was a featured guest on the runway for LA’s fashion week.
Miss Asgharis’s passions include traveling, teaching, and fashion.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in Tehran, the capital of Iran, in a small house with 2 older sisters and a younger brother. My parents were married very young and did not have the time or money to go to school, they only received a middle school level of education. Having 4 offspring they instead focused their energy to ensure their children receive the education and future they could not.
My father left for America when I was 7 years old to try to establish an opportunity for us to live out the American dream, but in order to do that he had to leave behind my mother to raise 4 children alone. He came to America with 20 dollars in his pocket and worked tirelessly in 3 different jobs to send money home so that my siblings and I could attend a good school. Without an education, my mom converted a portion of our small home into a beauty salon so that she could work while still being available at home to raise us.
I used to watch her work hard everyday, loving the way she made people not only look but also feel beautiful. I watched and watched and became passionate with the concept of making people feel beautiful. At the age of 12 I began cutting and styling my siblings hair and doing make-up on my friends after school. I saw myself pursuing a career in an aesthetic field early on, and even though my parents supported my desire, I felt my purpose was much greater.
Not much emphasis was placed on women to receive higher levels of education in Iran. My parents, having not been highly educated themselves, always pushed and encouraged me to study hard. My father would tell me how important it is to become an independent woman and to have a voice of my own. At the age of 16, I was accepted into a top academic university 5 hours away from Tehran. Relentless to achieve a life of my own, and against cultural taboos, I packed my bags and moved away from home to a new city where I obtained my Bachelors degree in Microbiology.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?
-As a woman in Iran you were always told how to look, dress, and behave. Your voice was muted by the strict conservative norms placed upon us by the government. The possibilities to express yourself and be independent were always seen as a threat and I was reprimanded every time I tried. I recall multiple instances where I was arrested, either on campus or walking in the streets, just because I had on nail polish or my pants were too high above my ankles. These moments infuriated me because I felt my ability to express myself was limited.
Even after finishing the top of my class with honors, I faced the sad reality of there being very limited job opportunities for a woman in Iran. The moment that still resonates loudly in my mind was when my college counselor told me my best option after graduating was getting married and having children as an alternative to not finding work.
This was a pill I could not swallow. I always dreamt I would be much more, live my own unique life and wander down an unknown path that only I could create. I knew that my opportunities would be endless if I could make it to the United States.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
-I always feel the universe will give you what you want when you truly envision yourself worthy of receiving it. The actual moment where I was living out my dream of moving to America was both invigorating and an anxiety attack waiting to happen. But it happened, I moved from the only country I’ve ever known to the United States, alone as a female. And the extent of my English at the time was the copious amount of 90’s boy band songs I had memorized.
I came to Los Angeles, CA and quickly found out that my whole life and education were not transferrable. My degree was not recognized and everyone I knew was no longer with me. I felt like a newborn having to relearn everything. I initially moved in with an uncle that I had never met before. I knew I would not be able to learn the language in his home and sought for an opportunity to immerse myself into the American culture. Luckily my uncle had a friend, named Erica, who lived in Nebraska, so I packed up my bags and headed to live with a woman I knew nothing about. With the culture shock of moving from Tehran to Omaha to live with a 65-year-old American lady clearly written on my 21-year-old face, Erica took the time to teach me English, how to fend for myself, and in the process became my best friend. I found myself immersed in a new life waking up at 4:30a.m. to work in her gas station and volunteer in the community hospital. Erica encouraged the visits to the hospital visiting sick elder patients as a way to gain insight into the value of life and also to practice speaking English.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
-First I would like to thank my father for paving a way for me to enter America and have the opportunity to live out the American dream. However, it was Erica who taught me about the imprint that I could make as a female in America. She taught me how anything and everything is possible here if I just believed and worked hard for it. She encouraged my passions and to express myself. This helped me come to the realization that I would be best fit for a career in nursing. Nursing gave me an opportunity to take care of others, work in a field with an opportunity to climb the ranks, and be praised for my hard work.
After regaining my confidence and reintegrating myself in this new country. I applied for an accelerating nursing program in South Dakota where I obtained my Bachelors degree in Nursing Sciences in 15 months. The mixture of taking accelerated courses, studying English, and working as a barista in a coffee shop to make ends meet was overwhelming, but the pressure and the fact I was able to succeed gave me the backbone and grit to believe I can do anything I put my mind to.
So how are things going today?
-Things are going amazing. My career in nursing found me reunited with my passion in aesthetics. I was able to open my own business as a cosmetic nurse injector and establish a successful company. My hunger to achieve more has me pursuing further education and I’m currently enrolled in a Nurse Practitioner program simultaneously, where I intend to obtain my Doctorate in Nursing.
My degree and my experiences gave me the confidence to express myself. I was able to put myself in positions I could have never imagined before in Iran. I started to pursue modeling and have since walked the runway during LA’s Fashion Week and have been featured on the cover of 3 fashion magazines while building up a large instagram following where I inspire and motivate other immigrant woman to achieve the American Dream.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
-My experiences have put me through an emotional roller coaster that has taught me the power in self-belief and confidence. Coming from a country where I had limited opportunities, my goal today is to shed light and make others, especially woman, realize their potential here in America. I want to share my personal experience and journey with the world to show others like me, that they can build their dreams from nothing. Finding a role model and having a vision for yourself is an integral part of the framework needed to succeed.
My strive to grow has catapulted my platform to teach and care for others. I have taken every opportunity that comes my way that resonates with my soul. I did a medical mission trip to Jamaica where I cared for pregnant and single mothers afflicted with disease and poverty. This humbling experience was yet another reminder of the value of living in a country that gives you the resources to succeed if you only know how to seek them. My studies in nursing and patient care has landed me a position as a Nurse Educator, where I travel around the country leading workshops and classes, teaching doctors the benefits of advanced medical techniques in treating their patients. I am currently working on writing a chapter in a medical textbook.
You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?
- Clarity — There is a big issue with the lack of transparency with the US Immigration system. Many people are left clueless and have no knowledge of what will or will not get them through. This leaves many able bodied people who have a desire to make an impact in the American society dissociated and disheartened
- Efficiency — The sheer amount of time that it takes to receive a response leave so many people in limbo that it is not fair to them. With the decision-making being very slow, it leaves many young professionals wondering what moves they should make with their lives. A swift response and answer can help others coordinate their plans and lives better.
- Better Immigration Policy — The US Immigration system has been wrought with strife and hostility. With so many of the US’s major accomplishments coming from the hands of immigrants, there should be a clear and concise effort to bring in the best minds from around the world so that both them and the US can benefit in the long run.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
- Persistence — Never let anyone or anything get in your way. America provides so many ample opportunities to achieve the success you want, don’t be discouraged because a few of your attempts did not work. This country is full of amazing stories of people achieving incredible milestones because of their pure persistence to achieving it.
- Positive Mindset — I have heard some people who have immigrated to America say that their worst day in America is still better than their best day in their respective country. That says a lot. Never forget about the widespread levels of opportunities here that can give you a ladder to climb to success.
- Hunger — Be hungry for the life you want. They say you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Never back down or be discouraged from a missed shot. Stay hungry and in those moments where your back is against the wall you will find the will and perseverance to gain what you truly want.
- Mentors — Surround yourself with the people and mentors who are living the direction you want to live. There is an abundance of people working in incredible fields and industries who are happy to help anyone if you just make the effort to call.
- Gratitude — Always be thankful for the journey and not just the destination. Sometimes we get so caught up in the rat race that we forget to enjoy the process. Everyone is going through a struggle regardless of what they show on their face or social medias. Be grateful for your challenges as much as you are for your successes, because it is usually the challenges that serve as the best lessons.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
- Technology — The United States is paving the newest technologies in the world today. With the level of intelligence and innovation in Silicon Valley alone, the future is bright for us and the rest of the world.
- Diversity — The US has the most diverse societies. It is a melting pot of ideas, culture, and love. The diverse backbone of America will allow for future innovations to be more well rounded and inclusive.
- Opportunity — There so many opportunities available to take here in America, and at the same time there are so many opportunities to give back. This influence of giving back is what makes this country so great. Where people who find success here become so grateful that they want others to also succeed. With so many institutions and charities in place here to support everyone, there will always be optimism in the US.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
-My dream interaction would be with Ellen Degeneres. Growing up in Iran, while in university, one of my best friends came out of the closet to me. I remember her fear of being honest about who she was and expressing herself because she thought she would be killed. That was a very sad and painful realization of the life we lived in Iran. I remember growing up and hearing about how Ellen came out publicly and was celebrated for her bravery. It was inspirational for me as a woman to see another woman be herself and be celebrated for it. I always admired her as a strong woman who has reached exceptional heights.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
-My instagram page, @nursefayy, is my platform that I use the most to share my incredible journey. You can follow my aesthetic practice and work with my instagram page @beautybynursefay.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you! This was an incredible opportunity for me. Thank you for giving me a voice and platform to share my story.