Call this a follow-up to Will’s first “Life of Aisha” post, though I’ve had this idea in my head for a while. Now seems like a good time to share it. Will said Aisha’s love interests represent her “reaction to change in her life.” I think there’s more to it, and it includes her first friend Anne as well.
The name Aisha means “life” or “alive” in Arabic. I think her relationships with Anne, Nabu, Roy, and Nex represent four condensed stages of life: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood (the college years), and adulthood. How she acted around each person — and what was happening in her life then — paralleled her growth throughout the series.
I. Anne: Childhood (S2)
Aisha had two big fears in season two: the dark and being alone. Those are fears kids often have. We don’t know why she was scared of the dark, but we know why she couldn’t stand being alone. It started when her first friend Anne moved away.
Anne was a commoner from a nearby village. She taught Aisha how to dance freely, and since then, dancing has been her passion. It’s her favorite way to express herself. (And since Anne was her first friend, she taught her about friendship, too.)
How It Ended And Why
When Aisha met the Winx, she still wasn’t over Anne leaving. She was afraid they would leave her, too, so she acted clingy and dependent on them. If she felt left out (ahem, Stella), she ran off crying. When she was alone, she panicked, cried, and called out to them. This child-like behavior lasted for most of the season.
Finally in episode 22, “Danger in the Wildland,” Aisha herself had had enough. She knew she had to let go of her “stupid fear” to become a helpful friend and teammate. That’s how she earned her Charmix and broke out of her childhood phase.
II. Nabu: Adolescence (S3-4)
Teens are known for being rebels. They crave independence and start to define their own identities. Aisha was a rebel already when we met her. But when her parents announced they’d picked a guy for her to marry, she got angry and pushed back harder.
Coincidentally, Nabu was a rebel, too. His favorite song (and hers) contained the lyrics, “No one makes decisions for me but me.” And later, he admitted he ran away from home to avoid having to marry her — before he met her, anyway.
Nabu’s similarities (and her falling in love with him) helped her see herself from the outside in. For the first time, she understood that her controlling parents meant well. She decided she was wrong to rebel in this case and agreed to the arranged marriage.
Thus, Aisha hit another teenage milestone: first love. You remember how smitten she was. Her voice became cuter, and her language became more flowery. She started wearing more feminine clothes. When Nabu did almost anything, like turning a car into a truck, she gushed over how amazing he was. Then — despite her father’s advice to wait and enjoy their youth first — Nabu proposed to her, sending her straight to cloud nine.
How It Ended And Why
Another Winx blogger summed up Aisha’s time with Nabu this way: he “had a great influence on her. The rough-and-tumble girl softened up considerably and became more feminine.”
Wait a minute. Why did she need to be “softened up?” I see this idea a lot in the fandom, and I don’t understand it. Didn’t she say she had femininity shoved down her throat from the moment she was born?
Aisha’s a princess. Even before she met Nabu, she knew how to be feminine and proper when she needed to be (watch eps. 2X13, 3X07, and 3X08 for examples). But she was tired to being forced to be that way. Maybe her parents wanted someone to tame her “rough-and-tumble” side — could be why they chose him — but that’s not what she wanted.
Nabu helped her reconcile with her parents and gave her the experience of first love, but she almost lost what made her a unique princess. Also, if she was gonna marry a guy from Andros, chosen by her parents, with the same sheltered life she had, doesn’t that defeat the point of…everything? She could have stayed in her palace then! The outcome would have been the same!
Aisha was shuffling back into her comfort zone. Nabu’s death forced her out of this stage and taught her one more lesson: fate doesn’t care about your wedding plans.
(Side note: An arranged marriage? Teens in love? A tragic ending? Why does this sound familiar? I’ll save that for another post.)
III. Roy: Young Adulthood/The College Years (S5-6)
When you graduate from high school or become a legal adult, you’re shoved into the world and expected to build your new life in the next few years. Where will you live? What college will you go to? Who will you date? What career path will you follow?
Choices, choices, choices. That’s what the young adult years are all about.
Aisha wouldn’t have made many choices for herself growing up, since she’s a princess. I bet she didn’t even get to choose what she ate! But she told her mother in season three, “When the right time comes, I’ll choose my guy.” (Nabu only half counted. They wouldn’t have met if not for the arranged marriage, and all they had to was agree to their parents’ decision.)
Roy seemed like a good choice at first. Aisha might have been attracted to him because he felt familiar. He was like Nabu, he also came from Andros, and he worked for her father.
How It Ended And Why
Didn’t she wanna break free from her sheltered life? Roy was still too safe. I see him as an extension of her father, especially since he was so protective of her. Aisha spend her whole childhood being shielded from the dangerous outside world, and now she’s getting to discover and face it. She doesn’t want (or need) a guy who acts like a bodyguard. (Even she said that in the comics.)
Along came Option 2: Nex, a type of guy she wasn’t used to from her life on Andros. The love triangle wasn’t just a clash between two suitors. It was her comfort zone vs. the unknown — something familiar vs. something different. Just like in real life, the choice that seems riskier is often more rewarding (and not as risky as it looked).
Roy indirectly helped her get over Nabu’s death, but he wasn’t the type of guy she needs long term. Aisha’s “college years” ended when she chose Nex.
IV. Nex: Adulthood (S7-Present)
We’re back to the present. Aisha has grown into a confident, resilient, serious woman — and that’s why Nex fell in love with her. It was a surprise relationship, but it was inevitable. After all, there’s no life without death.
The word nex means “death” in Latin. Life fell in love with Death? That sounds creepy, but it’s not supposed to be. While some cultures see life and death as enemies, others see death as a part of life. To quote the Daoist philosopher Lao Tzu: “Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”
Death is a constant reality when we reach adulthood. The older we get, the closer it gets. Eventually, we learn to accept it and make peace with it. When we’re not afraid of death anymore, we can live our lives to the fullest.
Why She Ended Up With Him
Aisha and Nex’s relationship isn’t just symbolic. She’s been searching for something that was missing from her life (and herself). Because she’s a bold, sassy, energetic girl, many fans think she needs mildness, tact, and calmness. Thus, her ideal boyfriend should have those traits.
But like I’ve said a few times in this post, Aisha’s a princess. She grew up around calm, tactful, mild-mannered people and was trained to be one from the moment she was born. Her boldness, sassiness, and energy are reflections of the inner self she had to suppress when she was little.
Aisha was hardly allowed to speak back then, and she spent most of her time learning how to be a proper princess. When Anne taught her how to dance, she also taught her how to express herself. But she said that after Anne left, she had no one to dance with anymore.
Dance is a metaphor for what was missing from her life: fun, wildness, and freedom. Nex is a fun, wild guy who probably wasn’t weighed down by social expectations like she was. He keeps her out of her comfort zone and brings out more of her wild and free side. But as the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Her princess training kicks in when he gets reckless, and she scolds him for it.
Did you notice something? They were attracted to traits in each other that they want or need to cultivate in themselves. Nex needs restraint and tact, which Aisha learned from growing up as a princess and is happy to enforce on him. Aisha craves fun and wildness, which Nex adds more of to her life.
But Nex isn’t just her playmate. He’s her partner — someone similar enough to relate to her, but different enough that they can learn from each other. They match each other’s strength and energy, and because of that, they work well as a team and can challenge each other to help each other grow. Aisha doesn’t swoon over him (because they’re equals), and she hasn’t lost herself with him. In fact, she’s found more of herself.
What About The Winx?
Without a little stability, life would be chaos. The Winx have been one of the few constants in Aisha’s life. They’ve been with her through most of these changes, and they’ve always supported her and helped her recover.
Unfortunately, they won’t always be with her physically. Like Anne, they’ll have to move away and live their own lives. But we can hope they’ll stay in touch with her while they’re raising families and ruling kingdoms.
Is all of this canon? I don’t know. Some of it I’m confident about, but I don’t work for Rainbow. But this organizes Aisha’s story nicely and puts the focus back on her, instead of on the people she’s met. After all, it’s all about her. To paraphrase her character song, she’s just living her life.