Maria and Myah Hasbany take the phrase “like mother, like daughter” to a whole new level. Maria is the District 9 appointee to the Park and Recreation Board while Myah is studying fashion at London’s Central Saint Martins. But both are passionate about making an impact in their communities. Volunteering has played a significant role in Maria’s life since she stepped away from the corporate world in 2004. She served on seemingly every PTA and SBDM in the Woodrow Wilson feeder pattern, and then at Booker T. Washington, where Myah graduated last year. Myah may be a newcomer to the fashion world, but she’s already making a statement with showstopping pieces of knitwear. The voluminous outfits caught the attention of East Dallas icon and fellow Booker T. alumna Erykah Badu, who commissioned custom pieces that she wore during her online concerts.
WHAT’S FIERCE ABOUT EACH OTHER:
Myah: I think what’s fierce about you is that you will do what you think is right even though it might make some people dislike you. I really admire that you don’t do things just because people expect you to or because that’s what everyone else would do.
Maria: You’ve chosen an outlet that a lot of people aren’t familiar with or comfortable with, and you have to explain and validate yourself. It’s hard to put yourself out there knowing that you’re going to get feedback that isn’t always lovely. I think that takes courage to put yourself out there in such a vulnerable way and push the boundaries.
Myah: I’m a very anxious person, so I always need to be doing something. My inspiration comes from that, as negative as that sounds. In terms of dealing with anxiety, it’s a pretty good way. I’m putting something into the world. Every project is specific, so it’s hard to be like, “I like this one thing.” I like 50 things, and I funnel it into one major theme per project. In art school, you have to explain everything in detail. Sometimes you just make stuff because it’s fun, and that’s OK. Sometimes you make really bad stuff, and that’s OK too because it’s fun.
HER FAVORITE PIECE:
Myah: My favorite one was the dress I had my mom model with our dogs. It was the first time I really tried the style I still have now that was executed to the vision I wanted. I allowed myself to do something, not knowing where it was going to go or if it would work out. That’s the one piece I’ve made that most people make fun of me for. It looks like something, and I’m not going to say what it is, but part of my work is admitting to the fact that this looks super ridiculous. It has no function. It’s out there. It’s crazy. That was the first time I admitted that and embraced that, and that is super important.
Maria: There’s a reason we call it the ball dress. You made a series around that, and it broke the ice with Erykah Badu. It connected with an artist you really respect.
WORKING WITH ERYKAH BADU:
Myah: She is so ethereal. She’s the only person I’ve ever met who has been able to look at my work and go, “Yep, I get it. You don’t need to explain it. You don’t need to tell me why you made it.” That was so important to have someone like that. You want someone to take you seriously, push you and respect your craft. Working with her those few months was the most productive I’ve ever been because I was so excited to be working with someone like that. It was such a nurturing environment.
SERVING ON THE PARK BOARD:
Maria: My friend Paula Blackmon asked if I would be interested. I’m a huge supporter, so I said yes without really knowing what it was. Come to find out, it’s a very large and passionate community. There’s a tremendous amount of communication that goes on with all the groups. The biggest challenge is the sheer amount of work. I need to be educated about parks, rec centers, tennis courts, lakes and everything that comes in front of the board to vote on. That’s a part I didn’t expect, but I love it.