Noor Tagouri is one of the most high-profile young people in the USA today. She is a journalist, an activist, a speaker and many other things and she was recently involved in a controversy (of sorts) because she is the first hijab-wearing woman to give an interview in Playboy. Something I only found out after I looked her up.
My first contact with Noor Tagouri was her TEDx talk (because I am subscribed to the Youtube channel):
And since I have interviewed two other Muslim ladies here on the blog who break the stereotypes of what most westeners think of as Muslim women, I thought I get in touch with her and inquiere if she would be interested in an interview here on Metapunk.
Well, when I did my research, I got the sinking feeling that this was most likely not going to work out because Ms Tagouri has an insanely busy schedule and has most likely higher-profile interviews to give and more important things to do…
I was wrong. Noor Tagouri readily agreed to give me an interview and it is with great pleasure and a certain amount of bewilderment I present it to you now:
Please introduce yourselves, tell us something about yourselves (this can be as lengthy as you like. I operate out of Europe and I assume not all of my readers know who you are)
For this, there’s an about page on my site: noortagouri.com
Where can we find you on the web?
You have interviewed a modern witch in one of your videos for Newsy? What is your opinion on witchcraft/Wicca? Have you (like so many) dabbled in the occult yourself (I.e used a Ouija board or something)?
Yes! It was SUCH a fun story. I’ve always been so fascinated by witches, I’d read so much about them, do middle school projects on Salem. A few years ago, one of my supporters reached out and said she was Wicca and wears the hijab because it empowers her and I was so amazed, so I thought it would be awesome to do a story pretty much debunking the myths of witches.
You have been visiting a number Muslim restaurant owners across the USA in the course of your reporting for newsy. I am a big fan of Turkish cuisine myself and regularly overindulge in it. If you could mix the perfect dinner with dishes from all over the world, what would it be composed of?
Yeah! Well, that wasn’t really Muslim restaurants, my latest was Italian, and currently working on the Thanksgiving season finale. It’s for our series Americanize Me, talking about how food has immigrated to the US. The perfect dinner dishes….hmm…Cheesey bread or „pida“ from Turkey, Gnocchi from Italy, Tagine from Morocco, and eggplant from Afghanistan.
What was the cutest thing a non-muslim child ever asked/exclaimed concerning your hijab? (an internet- friend of mine regularly gets called a Ninja by children, because she also prefers black)
Hmm, I spoke at a Christian prep school the other week, and one of the classes I spoke at were 5th graders, and we talked about self love, confidence, and what they want to be when they grow up, and I think the coolest thing was they didn’t ask about the hijab at all, not because they were afraid to, but because I could tell they were seeing past it and connecting with me and being so vulnerable.
Muslims in the USA are…
expressive, independent, empowered, badass.
Has the situation changed significantly in the last 10 years, do you get more hate, weird looks etc?
I only started wearing hijab 6 years ago. i don’t really get hate except online, weird looks don’t phase me, harassment only happens once in a while.
Where there any odd things you experienced when you grew up, clueless comments and such?
I was insecure about my hair and eye color bc my school was predominately white, blonde, colored eyes.
If you had not gone for news anchor, what other dream would you haver pursued?
Lawyer or fashion designer
And when you become a news anchor, which network would you prefer?
tbh, i don’t want to be a network anchor, I’d rather host my own doc tv series. like longer versions of my newsy stories.
What other sectors would you love to see more hijabi wearing women and/or Muslim men being represented in?
film, sports, journalism
How much time do you spend on the road?
I’m usually traveling 1-3 times a week.
You stated in your TEDx talk you believe in the Law of Attraction, are there any other similar things you believe in (such as fate, Karma)?
„tawakul“ which is the arabic phrase for full trust in God and that He has your best interest when you seek guidance in him and have faith.
Oh! I have not heard that one before. Got to look into it now.
And talking of the TEDx Talk; How did that one come about? Did you apply, were you invited?
I was invited!
As a famous person on the web, I suspect you get a noticable amount of hatemail. Has that increased with the Trump candidacy?
Only on social media, but i don’t read any of it.
Have you ever had the chance to meet Malala Yousafzai?
I’ve seen her speak a few times, and someone from her team wanted us to have lunch but i was overseas at the time! :/ I’d love to meet her.
What projects do you have on your roadmap for 2017 (if you actually want to tell about them)?
Can’t share yet, but they’re going to be AMAZING!!!! x
Thank you so much and to wrap things up, this is the interview with the witch:
Photos used in this article © Kate Warren, with kind permission