When Fari Met Sidrah: An ITG Meet-Cute


If ITG were a person, we'd like to think we'd be your 'beauty best friend'—you know, the person you text when you want to gush over the latest need-to-have palette, or an opinion on a serum before you shell out the big bucks. But for Faridah and Sidrah, ITG was just a conduit for finding their actual beauty best friend: each other. Typing from opposite sides of the globe, they connected online and used product talk as a vehicle for real conversation. And now they've been friends for seven years! Sid and Fari tell the story a lot better themselves—read it below, in their own words.

Sidrah Syed: Here's an opening line for the ages: I met one of my closest friends through Into The Gloss.

Faridah McCaul: It all started back in 2014, when Sidrah was featured in the #ITGTopShelfie series.

SS: I was in law school at the time and, just like any other ITG reader, lived and breathed beauty. I was very into talking about it, so being featured was quite possibly the most exciting thing that could happen to me. As an unexpected result, I gained a few followers on Instagram who saw the post and liked my vibes.

FM: Sid’s story resonated with me. Style and aesthetics aside, she has the warmest soul full of compassion, and the fact that she’s dedicated her professional life to helping people speaks volumes! ITG truly captured these qualities in her #ITGTopShelfie, so much so that her kindness reached me overseas. I felt utterly inspired, so clicked on the handle hyperlink and started following her on Instagram—she was just as cool as her feature suggested, if not cooler. She followed me back, and soon after we started commenting on each other’s posts.

SS: Fari was such a breath of fresh air and everything I admire in a person—effortlessly cool, super stylish, calm, keenly insightful, and so incredibly kind. We clicked immediately. It’s been so long that I can’t remember what exactly our first DM conversations were about, but we were most likely raving about BR P50, chatting about a movie, or sharing opinions on a particular outfit. Even at that point it felt like I had known her all my life—like we were soul sisters.

FM: Inevitably, the chat turned into years of internet friendship sharing all things beauty, fashion, movies, music… everything, from opposite sides of the world.

SS: It has been amazing learning about Fari’s life in Australia from my NYC hub, and to see how different yet similar our lives and desires are.

FM: Navigating different time zones was always funny. Like, we were both so excited for The Strokes’ The New Abnormal album. It was released at midnight so it came out earlier in Australia, and I spoiled it for Sid. I’ll never live it down! But despite the awkward time difference, we somehow remained connected over these years.

SS: We’ve bonded over each other’s ups and downs, talked politics, loves, losses, people, career, and life. Fari is someone I continue to turn to for both minor and major events—she's given me some of the best advice, and she radiates warmth and positivity in even the toughest times. I am pretty sure that since we first slid into each other’s DMs, not one day has gone by without a conversation between us. And our friendship came full circle in fall 2019, when Fari visited NYC.

FM: I dreamt about visiting New York from the moment the big screen introduced me to it as a child. But it always felt so distant. At 29 years old, I made it a personal goal to visit the city before I turned 30. The thought of traveling solo to the other side of the world, particularly as a young woman, was scary but Sid generously helped me plan my trip right up until a week before my flight.

SS: I knew the trip was a very personal one for her, and I jumped into full host mode.

FM: It created a sense of safety. Reflecting back, I’m not sure I would have had enough confidence to visit NYC had it not been for the connection Sid and I had made, and the inspiration to pursue my dream that our friendship instilled in me. In October 2019, I actually made the solo trip from Sydney to NYC.

SS: We met over coffee at Washington Square Park, and Fari totally flipped at the squirrels roaming around—I don't think I've laughed harder at anything that early in the morning. It was such an “OMG!” moment because IRL, we were actually able to see each other's reactions and mannerisms!

FM: Meeting in person after around six years of virtual friendship was so surreal. We kept stating it out loud to each other.

SS: I'd known Fari was Australian but had totally forgotten that duh, she would have an Aussie accent. That was mind blowing!

FM: You don’t factor in the accent when you’re talking over text! It was a lovely surprise to speak with each other properly for the first time, and it deepened our connection. After that we spent a couple of days together so she could show me the city through her eyes. Sid and her equally kind sister Mahirah showed me the best rooftop views of the city and helped me live out my vampire dreams for my first ever Halloween. We watched a parade, consumed copious amounts of culinary delights, downed a couple of cocktails, and marvelled over the truly special story of how we met.

SS: Fari visiting NYC was really a turning point in my life—I had been in this city for a decade, and I hadn't realized how much around me I was letting pass by. The few days we spent together unleashed my appreciation and gratitude for NYC with full force, which wouldn’t have been possible without her.

FM: Sid also took me to Williamsburg so I could finally purchase my very first Le Labo fragrance after gushing over the brand to her for many years. Of course, I went with Santal 33 and an aptly personalised label of “Fari in BK.” It’s essentially my trip to NYC bottled in a stunning glass vessel. That very moment felt full circle.

SS: Over the pandemic, Fari has been such an inspiration and calming presence in my life. We FaceTimed early in the pandemic despite our time difference, and chatted for hours about mental health, WFH, hobbies, and the state of the world. Fari has committed herself to painting, and it has been so inspirational seeing her resolve to give time to something she loves. It was a significant motivator for me to start blogging—

FM: Outside of her nine to five, Sidrah writes full of passion on her blog!

SS:—which is something I'd been wanting to do for ages but always chickened out on. That's friendship.

FM: Sidrah is cool, stylish, impossibly smart, and successful, while never too busy to be an incredible friend. Undeniably herself, she encourages you to be the same.

SS: Years later, we really are damn good friends. So thank you, Into The Gloss, for your community, for this friendship, and for likely the many, many more that wouldn't have happened without you.

—as told to ITG

Photo via the authors