Lisa Vogl became Muslim in 2011. Four years later she launched Verona Collection, a Muslim fashion company. She credits the values of Islam for her success in Business and life. In 2016 her company opened one of the first Islamic fashion stores in a mainstream mall at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, Florida. The following is Lisa’s journey to Islam, in her own words:
Although my father was raised Catholic and my mother had a very conservative Christian Baptist upbringing, they did not enforce religion upon me growing up. Despite the lack of religious direction, my natural disposition began guiding me closer to God. From a young age, I became very attached to Christianity on my own. Nobody pushed me. So, at around 14 years old, without my parents and siblings, I started to attend church regularly with my grandmother. I also participated in weekly Bible study groups, Young Life (Christian ministry), and went to church camps during the summer. Becoming a Muslim seemed like the natural progression of my growing spiritual awareness. It was a culmination of experiences and encounters including intelligent reasoning, reflection, and critical thinking that eventually led me to Islam.
I was blessed to live and work in Tangier, Morocco, where I taught English at The American Language Center. It was during my three month stay in Morocco, which was the most amazing and humbling experience of my life, by the way, that I was first introduced to Islam. Although this Moroccan adventure was more of a cultural experience, I ended up gaining an appreciation of the religion. Despite wearing the hijab every day in Morocco to follow a cultural norm and blend in with the locals, I must confess that even though I lived in a Muslim country for three months, I had no idea about Islam or the true meaning of the hijab.
After living in Morocco, I moved to Florida to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer. In photography school, I met a Muslim woman named Nadine (now my business partner) while feeding the homeless at an Orlando mosque. Shortly after our initial meeting, I was assigned a documentary project of my choice for a videography class. Because of my experience wearing the hijab in Morocco, I decided to interview Nadine about the meaning behind the head scarf. I was deeply moved by the way Nadine perceived the hijab and how she expressed her faith. When she started speaking to me, she really opened my eyes.
The Bible had always left me with many questions, so the interview with Nadine inspired me to dig deeper into Islam. I couldn’t get my hands off learning about Islam. I met with scholars, watched YouTube videos, and read more into the Qur’an.
Many of the teachings resonated with me and I finally found all the answers that I was looking for about this life and the hereafter. Soon enough, Islam captured my heart and approximately nine months after that extraordinary conversation about the hijab, I took my Shahada (testimony of faith) the Friday before Ramadan on July 29, 2011.
My decision to convert, which I have kept a secret from my elderly grandmother because it would break her heart to know that I have left Christianity, has been life changing. I am beyond grateful that Allah guided me to Islam.