(This is an edited repost from my former Winx blog, Una di Noi Winx.)
As you know, 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 character — and what was happening in her life at the time — paralleled her growth throughout the series.
1. Anne: Childhood (Winx season 2)
During season two, Aisha was terrified of two things: the dark and being alone. Those are two of the most common childhood fears. We don’t know why she was scared of the dark, but we know why she couldn’t stand being alone.
It all started when her friend Anne moved away. Anne was a commoner from a nearby village who taught Aisha how to dance, which became her passion. And since Anne was her first friend, she taught her about friendship, too.
How and Why This Stage Ended
Aisha still missed Anne when she met the Winx. She worried that her new friends might leave her, too, so she clung to them. If she felt left out (ahem, Stella), she ran off crying. Whenever she was alone, she panicked, cried, and called out to them.
This child-like behavior lasted for most of the season. Finally in “Danger in the Wildland” (Winx season 2, episode 22), Aisha herself had had enough. She knew that to be a helpful friend and teammate, she needed to let go of her “stupid fear”. That’s when she earned her Charmix and grew out of her childhood stage.
2. Nabu: Adolescence (Winx seasons 3 & 4)
Teenagers are rebels. They crave independence and strive to define their own identities. When Aisha’s parents told her they picked a guy for her to marry, she rebelled even more than before.
But her fiancé Nabu was conveniently like her in every way. They both came from rich families, had lonely childhoods, liked the same music, and enjoyed the same hobbies. Wow! It’s like someone made a male version of her! ?
His similarities helped her see herself from the outside. For the first time, she understood that her parents meant well. She apologized for rebelling and accepted the arranged marriage, which their parents put on hold for them.
Thus, Aisha hit another teenage milestone: first love. You remember how smitten she was. She spoke in a cutesier tone, she used flowery language, and she wore girlier clothes. Whenever Nabu did something cool (even if she could do it herself), she fangirled over him. Then, despite her father’s advice to wait and enjoy their youth first, Nabu proposed to her and sent her straight to cloud nine.
How and Why This Stage Ended
Here’s how another Winx blogger summed up Aisha’s time with Nabu:
We can’t [deny], however, that he had a great influence on her. The rough-and-tumble girl softened up considerably and became more feminine…
Time out. Why does she need to soften up and become more feminine? I see this idea a lot in the Winx fandom, and it makes no sense to me.
Has everyone forgotten Aisha is a princess, the ultimate feminine stereotype? She didn’t need Nabu or any guy to tame her because her parents shoved traditional femininity down her throat! Being feminine was the only thing she was allowed to do!
Nowadays, she switches on her princess side only when she needs to. Watch the four scenes linked below for examples:
- “The Invisible Pixies” (Winx season 2, episode 13): Aisha tricks a Gardenia cop
- “The Company of the Light” (Winx season 3, episode 7): Aisha and Stella teach Bloom how to act like a princess
- “A Disloyal Adversary” (Winx season 3, episode 8): Aisha stops Stella from causing trouble at Eraklyon’s millennium celebration
- UPDATE: Found another example — “Darkar’s Prisoner” (Winx season 2, episode 24): Aisha shows off her diplomatic skills to earn Amentia’s aid in the battle against Darkar
Maybe her parents wanted someone to stifle her “rough-and-tumble” side — could be why they chose Nabu — but that’s not what she wanted.
So Nabu helped her reconcile with her parents and gave her the experience of first love, but he also turned her into a generic princess. She lost a significant part of her personality. His death forced her out of this stage and taught her another lesson: fate doesn’t care about your wedding plans.
3. Roy: Young Adulthood/The College Years (Winx seasons 5 & 6)
When you become an adult, you’re tossed into the real world and expected to build your own life in the next few years. Where will you live? What college will you go to? Who will you date/marry? What career path will you follow?
Choices, choices, choices. That’s what the young adult years are about.
As a princess, Aisha had little control over her life. I bet she didn’t even choose what she ate for dinner until she went to Alfea! But she told her mother in season three, “When the right time comes, I’ll choose my guy.” (This could have been her biggest life decision and a step towards autonomy, but Rainbow downgraded it to a weak obstacle between her and Nabu.)
Roy seemed like a good choice at first. Aisha might have liked him because he seemed somewhat like Nabu, came from Andros, and worked for her father. In other words, Roy felt familiar and safe.
How and Why This Stage Ended
But didn’t she wanna “break free” from her sheltered life? Roy was too safe. Why did she leave Andros if she was just gonna stay in her upper-class inner circle?
Plus, he was just like her father: overprotective. That’s why the love triangle happened in the first place. Roy got jealous and tried to protect her from the guy better suited for her.
Here’s a thought. In “Up to Their Old Trix” (Winx season 2, episode 2), Wizgiz said that to balance yin and yang (good and evil in his example), sometimes a third energy is needed — “a dynamic energy between the dominant force and the recessive one.” Coincidentally, Roy started the love triangle, which set off a chain of events that led to Aisha and Nex falling in love. What if Roy was the “dynamic energy” needed to bring them together?
Anyway, Aisha spend her whole childhood shielded from the “dangerous” world around her. Now that she’s getting a chance to see it for herself, the last thing she needs is a boyfriend who acts like a bodyguard. She even said that about Nex in Winx comic #131: “La Prova di Nex” (Nex’s Test).
Nex was a different kind of guy than Aisha was used to. Thus, the love triangle wasn’t just a clash between two suitors. It was her comfort zone vs. the unknown — something old and restrictive vs. something new and liberating. Just like in real life, the choice that seemed riskier was the most rewarding (and not as risky as it looked).
So Roy indirectly helped her get over Nabu’s death, but he was the wrong guy for her going forward. This princess didn’t need a knight in shining armor. She needed a guy who would hand her a sword and say, “Let’s slay the dragon together.”
Aisha’s “college years” ended when she fell in love with Nex.
4. Nex: Adulthood (Winx season 7 to Present)
Aisha is now a confident, resilient, and serious young woman — and that’s why Nex fell in love with her. Their relationship surprised some Winx fans, 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 view 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 an ever-present reality, especially 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 scared of death anymore, we can live our lives to the fullest.
Why She Ended Up With Nex
Aisha and Nex’s relationship is more than symbolic. She’s been searching for something missing from her life — and from herself. But because she’s a sassy, energetic girl, the Winx fandom thinks she needs mildness and tact. So her ideal boyfriend should have those traits.
But I’ll say it again: Aisha is a princess. She grew up around tons of tactful, mild-mannered people and was raised to be one. The sassiness and energy she has now reflects the inner self she suppressed when she was little.
Back then, she restrained herself from running around, and she spoke only when spoken to, like 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 likely 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 too reckless, and she scolds him for it.
Did you notice something? They’re attracted to the traits in each other that they need to cultivate in themselves. Nex is the one who needs mildness and tact, which Aisha learned as a princess. Aisha craves fun and freedom, which Nex adds more of to her life.
Nex isn’t just her playmate. He’s her partner — similar enough to bond with her, but different enough that they can learn from each other. They match each other’s strength and energy, they work well as a team, and they challenge each other and help each other grow. (The key phrase is “each other”.)
I think this exchange between them from “Into the Depths of Andros” (Winx season 8, epsiode 8) explains his role in her life:
NEX: Don’t worry. I’ll make myself useful.
AISHA: Forget it, Nex! I can take care of myself!
NEX: I know that. I wanna stay by your side anyway.
Nex doesn’t wanna soften her up or be her bodyguard. He wants to be her ally. That’s why Aisha doesn’t swoon over him: they’re equals.
What About the Winx?
Without some stability, life would be chaos. The Winx have been one of the few constants in Aisha’s life. They’ve stuck with her through most of these changes, supported her, and helped her recover.
Unfortunately, they won’t always be with her physically. Like Anne, they’ll move away someday. But we can hope they’ll stay in touch with her while they raise families and rule 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 spotlight back on her. After all, to paraphrase her character song, she’s just living her life.