by Robbie Pangilinan
Dr. Shideh L. Nikbin a.k.a " Dr. Glam " is proud of the person she has become. The half-Filipino, half-Persian orthodontist has come a long way from the 21-year-old graduate of Doctor of Dental Medicine who first experienced the joy of transforming her patient’s life in her private practice, to becoming an aesthetic medicine specialist, to establishing her own businesses and brand.
But, what Dr. Shideh is most proud of are not her degrees nor achievements, but the love she has found. A love that set her free. A love that embraced all that she is. A love that showed her true colors.
“In high school, I felt no butterflies and lacked interest in the opposite sex. I tried dating a boy from school, but I realized I wasn’t into boys. But at that time, I didn’t put any labels on myself,” recalls the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Creative Entrepreneur behind Fashion Smile Dental Health Spa, Aramesh Wellness, and Aramesh Aesthetic.
She knew then that she has discovered her true SOGIE. But, it would be a long way for her to embrace the truth and come out.
“Initially, I disregarded my truth and prioritized my academics instead. Being a scholar and achieving top grades held great importance for me. That period of my life was immensely challenging because back then, societal attitudes were far less accepting than they are today,” Dr. Shideh adds.
It did not help that she was raised in a family that upheld high standards which were deemed acceptable by society and that religion was the predominant influence in her environment. She felt incredibly isolated and disheartened to hear religious teachings calling her true self as a sinful existence. In her vulnerable teenage years, as she was navigating her personal growth and exploring her aspirations, she felt that there was something inherently wrong with her, a deep-seated confusion that cast a dark shadow over her life at that time.
In college, however, the moment arrived when she mustered enough courage to embrace her true self.
“There was a girl I genuinely liked. It was in that vulnerable moment, standing before the mirror, that I spoke the profound L word aloud, acknowledging my identity as a lesbian. It was a transformative experience, as I not only accepted and loved myself, but also realized that being a lesbian was just a part of who I am, not the entirety of my being. I recognized that I was so much more than any label society placed on me. With this newfound understanding, I began to nurture that aspect of my identity, opening up to my close friends and brothers who provided an incredible support system during this journey,” says Dr. Shideh, who recognized that by ignoring her authentic self, she was neglecting a vital part of who she was. So then embarked on a journey to accept and embrace her true identity. She opened up to her brothers whose love and support proved to be invaluable in this journey of discovery.
Dr. Shideh discovered a profound sense of peace and authenticity, not only within herself but also in her interactions with others. Being true to herself has been transformative.
“Initially, losing friends who couldn’t accept the real me was painful, and facing judgment from others was equally difficult. However, as I progressed, the path ahead became clearer. I found myself surrounded by a loving circle of people who genuinely care about me, including my family who loves me unconditionally. By staying true to myself, I gained the ability to make decisions that align with my true desires and aspirations, both in my career and in my relationships. My life has become a beacon of love and fulfillment,” shares the doctor who advocates for love and equality.
She is proud of her business partner and life partner for 14 years, Dr. Far Shamsi. Dr. Shideh and Dr. Far have the love and support of their family and friends. They did not let their sexual orientation define them, dictate their career, or determine their worth.
Dr. Shideh aspires to be a source of assistance and inspiration for individuals who, like her, lacked guidance during their formative years and now face challenges in coming out. The 5’6” beautiful vlogger openly shares her experiences regarding her relationships and her SOGIE with her 1.6 million audience and followers on social media. Her aim is to connect with others who share similar struggles, ensuring they never feel isolated.
“I want them to know they are not alone and, most importantly, that they are perfectly natural and deserving of acceptance, even if society may not conform to their version of normal,” she declares.
For those out there who are experiencing the same, Dr. Shideh’s advice is to first and foremost embrace yourself with love, recognize your significance, and cherish every aspect of who you are.
“Prioritize self-acceptance and be genuinely proud of yourself. When you feel ready, confide in those you hold dear - your loved ones, family, or friends. However, ensure you do so within a safe and supportive environment, prioritizing your own well-being,” says Dr. Shideh. She recommends nourishing one’s soul by immersing in uplifting literature, podcasts, and inspiring stories of individuals who have triumphed through similar struggles.
However, she warns to be prepared for the possibility of encountering judgment from others or even losing friends and family members along the way. She says to remember to forgive them and, most importantly, forgive yourself.
“Above all, remain steadfast in your commitment to being true to yourself and practicing self-love,” ends Dr. Shideh.
Indeed, the glamorous doctor’s life experiences are a source of inspiration and light to everyone around her. Her true colors shine through -- and they are immensely beautiful.