Sat down with Student Talk magazine to discuss the importance of staying anonymous and the significance of the ‘Save Face’ movement.
Written by: Zahra Husain @zahrasays
In the age of social media and over exposure, where every second person claims to be a social influencer, there are a few who have managed to gather a distinct voice in the noise that surrounds us. Known to his fans as KicksTQ, Tareq is one such voice.
This month, in a rare chat with this introverted social media influencer, we talk about his passion for sneakers, street fashion and what makes him so different when compared to his counterparts on the social media circuit.
Having collaborated with brands like Lexus, Cadillac, Nike, and Asics, there is no surprise when one looks at TQ’s following on Instagram. However, the journey to becoming a youth icon is a rather interesting tale.
“I started collecting sneakers when I was six years old. While kids in school were saving their pocket money to buy the latest video games, all my resources were devoted to one purpose, buying the latest pair of Jordans,” said TQ when commenting on the origins of his now extensive sneaker collection.
His social media handle KicksTQ was started mainly to share his passion for sneakers with those who might be interested in the same thing. The popularity and fan following that TQ now has, in his opinion is a byproduct of his passion.
Having always been a very private person, TQ has so far remained anonymous to his audience. “The online presence was always about this entity that I was fond of, sneakers that is. It is fun to find artistic ways to display things I love, so being in the picture never even occurred to me. It was all about the sneakers initially, and later when I started getting endorsement requests, it was all about the product,” said TQ on why he has managed to remain faceless influencer. “People like my style, and that is always central to any content that I post. What I look like is of little consequence,” he added.
It was while he was trying to concentrate on this faceless approach to presenting things that TQ chanced upon his trademark style of pictures, a portrait where the face in concealed with his hand which has now turned into an international movement called ‘Save Face’.
“I just posted a picture of me with my hand covering my face because I generally can’t get my expressions right, next thing I know people in LA, New York, Japan and of course in Kuwait started posting the same kind of pictures and tagging me. That’s basically when the idea of ‘Save Face’ occurred to me. I thought it would be a good way to create awareness among people about maintaining one’s dignity and self-respect, by concentrating on other elements of life. Taking your identity out of the equation, makes your personality and sense of style standout more. It is an inclusive movement where people can concentrate on what’s important to them, instead of just concentrating on how they look,” said TQ while talking about his movement.
While TQ has a very unique brand identity online, he says his first priority will always be his day job. A business graduate by education, he takes care of the management side of things at an oil company during the week. His weekends are generally devoted to his passion. “It’s great to know that people follow you and like what you do, but my day job is my first priority.”
For anyone who aspires to be an online influence TQ has one advice, “Your creativity, integrity and authenticity are the three pillars you need to build your identity on. Popularity is a byproduct. It is not an intention you should set for yourself. If you work hard enough and concentrate on what’s important to you, eventually people will take notice. And this is as true for anything else in life as it is for becoming a successful social media influencer.”
Being an anonymous social media influencer, gives TQ that rare edge over others. It is almost an oxymoron existence, one that works for TQ and intrigues his followers, brands and us to no end.
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