Every so often, an encouraging story of refugees coming out of great hardships and bouncing back to turn into a considerable success makes its way online. One such story is that of Syrian refugee turned Internet sensation, Wasim, who came out of becoming an ex-actor on foreign soil to establish himself as a successful YouTube influencer.
Wasim came to the United States as a refugee escaping Syrian violence. And while his life took a huge detour, his resilience has caused him to bounce back and build a platform for himself on various online channels.
When Mohammed Wasim Altabbaa left Syria to come to the States, he was leaving behind remnants of a good life. Before the war, Waseemo was a well-known local television star in Syria. He had appeared on many local TV shows and had won various acting awards. Some of his awards include 2010’s Best Actor Award in the Adonai Festival, and 2012’s Actor of the Generation Award in The People’s Choice Awards, where Waseemo, as he is fondly called by acquaintances, was also the recipient of the honor of being one the Top 5 Best Child Actors.
Upon arriving in the United States, he willingly started at the bottom, working in a local restaurant while going back to school to study Information Technology. Waseemo understood that while he may have been a star in the Middle East, he had to pay his dues in the West and work his way back. And that’s what he did diligently.
Waseemo got the opportunity to work for Bellevue College in Seattle, where he spent the next five years. Later on, he got the chance to work a Tech Support job at Facebook. All the while, Waseemo started building up his presence on social channels and platforms. He started a YouTube channel and began documenting his life as a Syrian immigrant in the United States. His channel caught up fast, and soon he was going viral.
In 2019, Wasim met Asmaa Altamo, a successful and talented makeup artist for Givenchy. After dating for a while, they got married. That’s when things started to take off for Waseemo and his new wife. They started a YouTube channel called “Syrian Couple in the USA,” which chronicled their new journey as an immigrant pair in the country. Today, the channel has over 377,000 subscribers. Waseemo earned a YouTube Silver Play button in 2019 and was soon awarded as the best Syrian Youtuber.
The couple caught the attention of many programs and stations and were soon being interviewed and featured on different channels in the Middle East. Most notable was when Netflix in the Middle East got in touch with the couple to get them on “Halal Love.” The couple is currently working around COVID-19 restrictions to finish an episode that will feature their love story.
After “Halal Love,” Mohammed Wasim has plans of starting a new venture called “SyrianRoots.” The business will feature an online shop of merchandise that aims to promote the Syrian culture. On top of that, the Syrian YouTube star will be donating 35 percent of the company’s earnings to efforts aimed at helping Syrian refugees all around the world.
After all his success, Waseemo has not forgotten his roots. Since 2015, he has also been actively volunteering at MAPS Youth, delivering clothes and necessities to Syrian refugees.
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