This religious sister rocks social media and thinks Jesus would have had TikTok. She is currently the most followed religious sister among the young generation in Slovakia. She wears colourful socks, makes videos and looks cool. She likes to ride a scooter, play sports, go hiking. Vlogger and Youtuber Lamiya Jalilova comes from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and is currently based in Dubnica nad Váhom. She chose Slovakia mainly because of the priests who were working as missionaries in her home country at the time. In an interview with LP-Life.com, she explains what young people on the Internet most often ask her about, how she perceives her popularity, what she wanted to be as a child, what her parents think of her spiritual journey and also reveals her future plans.
You are such an "unconventional" sister. You're always smiling, you have a sense of humor, you've become a Tik Tok star. How do you feel about this popularity?
I don't perceive anything from what you said. I don't think I'm a TikTok star. I have TikTok, YouTube and other things, but I don't experience it in a way that I'm somewhere different than other people. Normal life goes on.
A popular question. I've answered it many times, but I can't list all the differences. Religious sisters, including me - we live such a life that we go out, we go to work, people often see us out. Nuns are mostly in the monastery and have a different apostolate and life. There are a lot of differences, but they're more internal and I don't know all of them either, so I don't want to talk about them because I'd get it wrong (laughs). But usually you don't see a nun out and about that often.
Of course they are. I don't do anything they don't allow me to do because I'm bound by a vow of obedience. So, yes, we are allowed to be on social media. In our order, yes.
Mostly about our everyday life, I want to show it and bring it closer to people. Sometimes they are answers to questions, for example the differences between a nun and a religious sister or the salary of a religious sister. And sometimes it's some trends that are going on right now.
On YouTube, it's probably the very first one that has had more views, and that's the religious sister’s room tour. I have no idea why that particular video was so popular. I think it still holds the most views. My room.
I've gotten so used to the questions that they're all pretty common to me now. I'm always taken aback when someone asks if I could get married. For me, it's a given that a sister can't get married. But I'm always surprised when someone asks: can you get married? Or: can you have a boyfriend? So no. And then if I can have children. These are questions that I always think are obvious, but they probably aren't.
I don't quite know the answer to that. Maybe it varies from video to video. Sometimes I get an awful lot of people writing under the video saying that they're non-believers, but the video was great. A lot of times I get the non-believers writing me. They even write that they are non-believers, but they thank me for the video and they like it.
Depends if you mean the first wave or the second wave. I think it was good. It was during the pandemic that I started making videos. I feel positive about it. I had more time to read and build relationships. I was enjoying things that I didn't have much time for before. During the second wave, there wasn't as much time. We weren't at home as much, we kept going to school or teaching online. It was a bit more work-filled.
Last year, a video of a Polish nun rapping went viral on social media. In the song, she raps about hope. Are you registering this?
That's a difficult question. Each person seeks his or her own calling and path. Something that fulfills them and makes them happy. For me, it was clear that that path was to be a sister. I'm grateful to have discovered it and to be here.
Many children imagine at an early age what their lives will be like when they are adults. What were your original plans?
I guess I wouldn't call it a relationship, more of a friendship, a fellowship. We were teenagers. I had a boy I liked, and he liked me, so we were friends. So basically, it was a relationship of sorts... if you asked about a relationship with a boy (laughs).
My family was not very supportive. Somehow they weren't very happy about the news. I had to fight for my vocation. It didn't go so smoothly that they said, yes, go for it. I had to go through a lot of things. First of all, I had to move to Slovakia. It was a long and beautiful journey and it was great. I had a religious formation here in Slovakia, so I had to leave my home country. It was hard. The fact that I left home and the fact that my parents weren't really in favor of it... they weren't in favor of it at all...
A sister (laughs). I'm really happy. It's hard to think of a profession right now. I'm basically a teacher and an educator on the side. It's not that I'm just a religious sister. But I could be a sister and a firefighter at the same time, for example. But the sister part would still be there. Maybe I'd choose some other direction, like a singer or an artist... but I'd still be a sister.
Because of the sister formation. There were no sisters in our country, so I came to Slovakia to seek my vocation and to continue my journey.
Yes, I go home usually once a year. I haven't been there longer now, because of the COVID... so we'll see when I get there. I'll have to go back soon for sure.
Naughty. I think I was very lively. I guess I still am a little bit. I tried to listen, but I wasn't very good at it. I wanted to try everything. My mom thinks I don't feel fear at all, because I've always tried things like that, and I've come home all broken, bruised and bloody... I had to try everything, climb everywhere, jump over everything. That was fun.
I think what really appealed to me was the charisma that the Salesian family has. The founders – our saints – and their way of life. I choose how I want to live my life. I literally fell in love with the Salesian charisma. It's as if nothing else exists for me.
Slovakia is my home. A second home. Sometimes the first. I spend most of my life here now. Basically, I've been here for ten years, all the time. So I'm only home for a week. Sometimes I come to Slovakia or home and I wonder when I'll go home? So this is my home. I don't distinguish one or the other. I grew fond of Slovakia very much, and I'm glad I could come here.
No, thank God. We get up at six. It's all about getting things done. When we start work at 7.30, for example, we arrange our time. Time to pray, have breakfast and go. It's not about getting up at 4:00 sharp, it's about keeping up with all the things awaiting you.
You mean material things? I don't remember giving up anything. Of course, it's not like I came here in a car. But no one took my computer or my cell phone, for example. Those are the things I'm going to use. Why would anyone take them from me? The things I'm really going to use, I could keep. Things like an apartment, a house, I don't think I could have those as a nun. I think that some of the sisters who entered the order had a car, but they just left that at home.
At the moment, we are five sisters living together in one house, we form a community and we share money. Each of us is employed. I am a teacher and a tutor at this school, the other sisters are employed elsewhere.
Quite well, I hope. I think our relationship is just fine. I don't think I have any conflict with anyone. I believe we get along. I definitely like them, so I believe they like me.
Of course I'm tempted. I dream about it, I think about it. But I'm still in some kind of formation, because I didn't take all the vows yet. I want to finish the formation and then we'll see what life brings.
For example make-up, that's a special thing, we don't do that, we’re not allowed to. Other things are fine. We go to the store, buy clothes, groceries. We can go to the hairdresser. We also have a sister who can cut hair nicely, so we use that. I don't think there's that many things we can't do.
Yes, I do. I think I do. We can wear civilian clothes like you have. The thing is, we're involved with the young and the children. Some situations require us to be dressed in sportswear, for example, because we often go on trips, overnight trips, camps or hiking with them. I usually wear what is comfortable. Most of the time it is sportswear because it is a sporting activity. If I put on sweatpants or shorts, I don't look like I'm wearing things that were worn 50 years ago because I watch people on the streets. Each of us is up to date on what's being worn at the moment.
Well, of course I do. To be honest, I don't think this style, the colorful socks, is that popular anymore. But whatever, I like it. I'll keep wearing them for now. It's great, but I might be getting too old to wear them.
She says hi (laughs). She's fine. The word popularity - not that I don't like it, but I don't see it that way. I may be a sister who is more on social media and in the media because it's close to me, it's natural to me and I enjoy it, but I don't see it as being popular. Mother Superior is supportive of me. Maybe some people think I'm doing something rebellious or forbidden, but it's not like that. I am a religious sister, I always ask for permission, whether I can do an interview, for example. Even before this interview with you, I asked whether I can. If sometimes the answer is no, I respect that. Most of the time, though, she supports me. It's great that she stands by me, and that I can communicate and consult with her. My sisters back me up as well.
Yes, I have. They were just random encounters. However, there are even some who have written to me saying they want to come and see me. It's an interesting feeling. Most of the time it's been really nice, we've talked and it's been really cool.
On one TV show, the presenter asked you a theoretical question, which I'll repeat. Do you think Jesus would have had TikTok?
Well, I got the most hates for my answer (laughs). I said yes. And of course immediately a lot of people turned to me, how can I dare say something like that? I was building on what I knew about Jesus, which was that he was among people and he was trying to communicate with them about different things. There were crowds around him, so why wouldn't he use some of the tools of modern times to speak to people? But it's hard to say. I think he would... but that's just my opinion... (laughs).
I have so many dreams and projects. I plan, I dream... and then I think, what if there's a third wave of the COVID? But I try to live as if it won't come. I'm planning some new things, even with the videos. And in the near future, I want to... I don't know what I was going to say (laughs)... in the near future I'm going to meet the Pope who is coming to Slovakia, we are preparing for that now. I'm looking forward to it because I've met the Pope once before and it was such an experience. So I am looking forward to the next meeting as well.