the orange line

i got proposed to on the subway yesterday evening…………….
i kind of knew what our conversation was leading up to… he just kept asking me question about myself. i didn’t answer them very specifically, i know better now, and i was giving him short, closed answers. he was nice and everything but,
he needed a green card.
it was extremely awkward because we were sitting in front of one another for many, MANY stops. so it’s not like i could escape…
i felt bad when it was finally my turn to get off… i kind of just said it was nice meeting him and ran off the train.

when i got off, i asked a stranger where a park was that i needed to get to, and he told me he would walk me there. his name was Steve and he was a lot less creepy than the last guy, so i took his offer and together we walked. i found out a lot about him, and i guess in turn he found out general things about me. he was so friendly! we were both in a rush and he made the fast-paced walk a lot less boring.

i have a serious problem with talking to strangers. i thought i was getting better about it…
i have a real problem leading guys on, too :/ i can’t help my charm. KIDDING. but i’m just not mean enough.

i’m not telling this story to seem cocky, but i just needed to vent about it and remind people that GUYS ARE CREEEEPS (they don’t know any better, is my excuse for their behavior). i have many more stories that you probably don’t want to hear. even others that involve public transportation.. but there are some good ‘mates’ out there. so don’t give up. but don’t pursue impossible, either.

check out this website, Scars and Smiles which is the exhibit i visited last night. it was beautiful.

ya’ll are going to be getting a LOT more posts from me now that i’m avoiding social networking sites…

so I’ve started filming for a music video (just as a practice project). it’s going terribly! my actors (my brothers) are STUBBORN. i can’t really blame them since i’m forcing them to become these characters for me when it’s the last thing they want to do, but DAMN! can a sista catch a break?! literally. and my sister is supposed to be in it, too, but she doesn’t live with us anymore! scheduling is shitty. and i want to have this video done before Ramadan starts because things slow down and i have to go back to school to complete one last year of something i’m not motivated to complete… 😥 and i won’t have my sister’s dslr, and i’ll have to borrow one from a friend or something… i hate asking for favors so i probably won’t… and i’ll be busy focusing on my job and academics.
i get so excited about my ideas for short films.. it’s so weird. it’s like that feeling you get when you’re about to get on a roller coaster or see your crush. those butterflies. and my butterflies are dying because of how hard this project is becoming.
i’ve gotta keep my chin up. where are all the willing actors?? and once again — if anyone has the recipe for time… i’ll gladly take it.

i’m full of complaints tonight. i hate that.

xx

the youth

I just got back from volunteering at a summer day camp at my masjid…
SO CUTE. I was helping out with the boys group, ages 7-9, and they were crazy. I loved it! I don’t think I could ever be a teacher, but I love tutoring and being around the youth. When you’re young and you have an older mentor to guide you through the tough times, help you out with school work, or simply encourage you, it is a HUGE deal. Especially for kids who aren’t hearing those supportive words at home, you could really be doing something great for them. And when teens have someone older to look up to for guidance, it serves as a protective factor for them; they’re more likely to care about their education and avoid negative outcomes (behavioral issues, etc.). I feel like as much as the kids are taking from us, we’re taking from them. It’s so rewarding to be around the youth and know that you’re making a difference.
This is why I know I haven’t completely wasted my time with completing my undergrad in social work. I’ve learned so many great skills and I’m able to give more back to the community through volunteering. Because of my background in social work and the knowledge I’ve gained in school, I understand a lot about how children are developing, what their needs are, and what things might set them back.
Although my focus is 100% film, I want to be a positive influence for the youth in everything that I do.

Today I found out that mixed kids are not as outnumbered anymore! We’re takin’ ovaaa! I met a little boy who is half-Pakistani and half-Chinese, and another little one who is half-Pakistani and half-Spanish (Spain). I got to speak a little bit of Spanish with that one 🙂 And I’m sure there were a bunch others.
I introduced myself to the class, and I told them to raise their hands if they have any questions for me. They all asked normal questions like, “Where do you live?” and “Where are you from”, while this one little trouble-maker in front just blurted out, “You’re hot”.

What are kids learning these days? hahaha I love these mischievous tykes.

I feel especially bad-ass when I wear my purple eyeliner…
which has been quite often lately.


i’m such a mean director…
i don’t know how to get my siblings to act for me without yelling at them… 
and they’re the only people around enough for me to ask.
too many people think my dream of working with film is a joke…


i hate myself lately, for my lack of self-restraint.
i just deactivated my facebook and twitter because i spend too much time on them… i feel like that’s so sad. when i was at school, i kept my fb deactivated for most of the year because i didn’t want distractions.
now i have what seems to be an endless amount of time, which i would really love to spend with my family, but our schedules are all different and crazy and we only have the weekends together. blehh.
i miss my non-related best friends… they’re all so far away.

Funny Friendship Ecard: That moment when you hear someone else call your bestfriend their bestfriend and you are like... No.
my life


all of our summers together are over.

rantttt

SERIOUSLY THOUGH, the bride looks like a princess mashAllah.
The photos, as beautiful as they are, don’t do her justice. Straight out of Bollywood, I swear.

This evening I went to my first henna party, or mehndi, and I LOVED IT. I’m trying to figure out how my wedding is gonna look like because I keep wanting to steal small things from every cultural tradition (Taco bar, Moroccan furniture, Pakistani dance, Afghan dresses, Arabic Music… I’m a complete mess of wants). It was so colorful tonight and the bride was GLOWING. She was so happy and beautiful mashaAllah. She’s got one lucky husband 😉
On my invitation there was a small handwritten note saying “Ladies Only!”, and from everything my friends were saying, typically the henna party is a women-only event. I wore black tights, a [VERY] short green dress -apparently everyone usually wears green or yellow, so I was happy I got the color right, very high black heels, and I had on my temporary scarf and cardigan. I didn’t find out until I actually walked into the banquet hall that there were men there… I found some of my friends really quick and sat down. Are there usually men at henna parties?? I don’t know. Everytime I got up (bathroom, food, talking to the bride) my dress kept riding up! Oh, hijabi problems. Next time I’ll know to bring an abayah or something.
Anyway, the mehndi was fantastic. I was the only person wearing non-traditional clothing, but I’m pretty non-traditional, so I decided it was fine and everyone assumed I was Arab so it’s all good. I should probably buy a couple shalwar kameeses (spelling?) just to have to prove that I’m half-Pakistani. Or I could just get my nose pierced… which I’ve sort of been wanting to do anyway, but my mom doesn’t really want me to so I can’t bring myself to do it.
At every wedding, women can’t help but talk about who’s getting married next, so that conversation started pretty early in the night. The other night my dad and I were walking through the grocery store and he was like, “Your sister was smart in getting married when she graduated… No pressure, but keep an eye out for someone you like…”. Alright, Dad. My dad also uses our car rides from my university to remind me that it’s not too early to start looking for someone I’d be interested in marrying. Alhumdulillah, I’m really open with my parents so I can just tell them about all the creeps at my school who haven’t got a clue about how to approach a girl they’re interested in.

So we started talking about marriage at the wedding, and then the topic of marrying someone who isn’t Pakistani or Muslim came up. Whenever this comes up, I love hearing what people have to say because no one can tell that I’m a mixed kid, and that I’m kind of an expert in the matter. Basically the parents never approve when the potential spouse is not the same ethnicity as they are. This is something I need explained to me quite often. I understand that the culture might be different, but why not mix the two? You’re creating your own family, and you’re probably going to start plenty of new traditions anyway. I just think that diverse families are beautiful (I’m obviously very bias), and that bringing different cultures together is so exciting and creative. My sister married a Libyan man last November, and we really didn’t know any Libyans before him so the culture was VERY new to us. They’re happily married, mashaAllah, and they learn something new about each others’ traditions every day. I love hanging out with the Libyans! They’re a blast 🙂
I guess my story is a little different because we don’t really have a strong culture in my house and it would be the easiest thing to take on a culture alien to what we know, whereas with two completely different backgrounds, there would be clashes. I really do think that upbringing is more important, though. I’m very open-minded. That may also be due to my social work background… but I welcome cultures with arms wide open.
Although your parents often times know best, if you love someone, and the only thing keeping you apart is the culture your family knows, throwing that love away seems like a silly idea. Maybe you all disagree? I want to know what you think!

I had to post a picture of my eye makeup that Samirah did,
even though you can hardly see it and this is just another picture of my face more than anything…

xx

bus ad fame

This month my face is featured on the side of a city bus! Cool, right? 🙂 Check out all the information, here

This is a campaign by the Interfaith Council for Public Policy with the aim of bringing awareness to different faiths and religious wear. I haven’t yet heard what the reaction has been, but I’m excited to hear what feelings these ads provoke. Three years ago the organization had Arabic words on banners inside buses, and then allowed for people to comment on their website, where they found out the meaning of the words (“Rock, Paper, Scissors” and “I’m a Little Teapot”). You’d be surprised by how offended people were when they saw the Arabic phrases during their commute without knowing the meaning. You can check out that campaign here.
Side note: the photo shoot itself was really fun! We walked around the downtown area and took pictures in some really cool places. Why they chose this one, I have no clue! haha

Chasing Dreams

Umar, Mom, Khalid, Dad and me
(Samirah stayed at home with her hubby)
Daytona Beach, FL
Pops & me at Lake Okeechobee (2nd largest fresh-water lake in the lower 48 states)
Mom and me in Melbourne, FL
Hotel chillin’
driving forever… needed some photos with Umar
Miamiii rainbow the evening before I left to LA 🙂
“Rainbow!? That’s a sign that wolves are getting married” – my dad
(right) Headed to Hollywood, CA! Luckily I was seated next to a really awesome guy named Marcelo from Uruguay
and we had PLENTY of things to talk about. I hadn’t been on a plane since I was 10 and I had to ask him if every single small uncomfortable shake was normal or not. He liked me, I’m sure.
I was accepted into the MPAC’s Young Leaders Summit and able to finally explore my secret dream of becoming a filmmaker.
CBS TELEVISION STUDIOS<3
Gilligan’s Island was filmed right outside of this building!
We actually rode the elevator with the president of CBS on our way out! SO HAPPY 🙂
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i (l), me, and her assistant in front of the Laker’s court behind the CBS building
During sports entertainment broadcasts, athletes could come out here and have some fun while waiting for their interviews!
Tiffany is a hero. She’s the VP of Diversity and Communications at CBS, and she makes sure that diverse groups of people are represented in the network’s shows, and she speaks up when she feels that they’re not. She was so supportive of our group, and I never even knew a job like hers existed. I already was feeling like there wasn’t a lot of diversity in TV.. imagine if she wasn’t there!
TRAFFIC IN LA…. TERRIBLE. I hated it.
If I ever move to LA (inshaAllah), then I really hope I’m outside of LA
or I have a bike and I’m fit enough to get to work and back 0=)
lunch at a delicious Mediterranean place with Abdallah Omeish, a award-winning documentary filmmaker (Libya: Through the Fire and Occupy 101). His job is exactly what I wanted to get into, if I ever got into filmmaking. I wanted to bring awareness to social injustices happening internationally. He gave such great advice about starting up. All he had was a camera and the passion. With that, he created something so meaningful, people actually paid attention and found his cause worthy, which means the world! Side note: his siblings and my sister & brother-in-law know each other!
(L) We met up with Ajmal Zaheer at the LA MPAC office, who is a writer, director, and co-founder of Exxodus Pictures (Check out the trailer for his new movie, Jinn, here). He really inspired me because he told us about how being a filmmaker was ALL he dreamed about since he was five years old, and I was scared as heckk because it’s not something I was so certain about very early on, and I’ve never had as much passion as he has. I told him all of that after he spoke, he sat down with me and told me that it’s not the end if I have some feelings of uncertainty. I’ve got to experience it before I decide. And he talked to me about many more things, and I felt really supported. Out of everyone, he seemed like he wanted us to succeed more than anything.
(R) Ahmos Hassan is actually the first person we met when we got to the hotel in Pasadena. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Chariot Management, Inc., which is a diverse management company for the entertainment industry. He’s been in the business for a very long time, and offered us some great advice about how to break in. The key is to network, and to be likeable. Out of everyone, Ahmos Hassan and Abdallah Omeish were the two people that talked about their faith in the business. Hassan told us about many opportunities he turned down because they weren’t moral according to his values as a Muslim. I thought that it was so encouraging to hear this because it’s obviously a very tempting business. He was also helpful in clarifying the roles of people behind the camera.
(L) We met with Asif Ali, a stand-up comedian and actor (Goatface Comedy). He’s been on so many networks, and he has even traveled the world doing what he loves. The thing I loved most about him was how family-oriented he is (his brothers and friend were there with us), and how down-to-earth he is (he laughed at all my jokes, which I’m happy about!). He was so willing to help us out, stay in touch with us afterwards, and just spend time with us casually over dinner. I really respect his passion and drive for what he loves, because, as I’ve learned, you need an immense amount of both to make it in Hollywood. It was so cool to hear his perspective on the typical portrayal of the South-Asian in comedies; the nerdy foreigner who can’t get any girls. He talked about how he’ll never take a role that portrays them negatively because it will never reverse the public’s ideas about the community as a whole.
(R) When I was applying for the summit, I kept thinking back to all the silly videos I made with friends throughout high school, and how I spent hours cutting clips and putting them together to keep and look back at my different experiences. So I wanted to be an editor. We got to have dinner with Ayser Salman, an editor who has worked on a number of big-name films’ trailers and music videos. I was so thankful to have had the chance to talk to her and ask her ten thousand questions, which believe me, I did. She talked about how much love she has for what she does, even after having been in the profession for many years. She was such an amazing woman, and I really appreciate her advice! She was so willing to stay in touch with us as well, and she was so supportive of each of us.
We headed to Culver Studios to meet Ted Humphrey (center, left) and Leonard Dick (center, right) are award-winning TV writers and executive producers. They actually played us a few clips from the show that they write for now, The Good Wife, and I was surprised at how accurately they portrayed events like the Arab Spring, and how realistically they referenced Muslims. For this they were awarded at the MPAC’s 21st Annual Media Awards Ceremony. We didn’t have a lot of time to ask them questions at the end, but I made sure I asked at least four thousand questions when we were walking to the exit. It was cool to hear about the behind-the-scenes of a TV set in comparison to the film sets we heard about with some of the other speakers. These guys were awesomeee; loved them!
Early afternoon with Sameer Gardezi! He has written for the award-winning show Modern Family, Outsourced, Aliens in America, among others, as well as his own NBC award-winning comedy short, Equal Opportunity. He was really realistic with us and talked about how hard he had to work to be where he is, and gave us a really good idea of what a writing room is like. After talking to him, I really became interested in writing. He also talked about how being a minority has affected him, which as really cool because people will turn to him to get advice on how to depict a South-Asian character and he’ll be able to throw something at them that they would have never even thought of without his perspective. I loved the idea of that and how important it is to have a diverse group of writers (age, gender, ethnicity, EVERYTHING). So awesome.
Our last visitor was David Brenner and his family. Brenner is a very well-known editor for films, and is currently working on Superman: Man of Steel. Heard of it? Thought so 🙂 You can see the rest of the films he has worked on here (although that’s not him in the picture.. that’s the comedian who shares his name). Besides the fact that he’s worked on so many epic movies, he was such an amazing person to hear from because of all the detail he gave us. He took us through his day-to-day schedule as an editor, and he told us specifics about software and programming tools that he started with, and where he went from there. Yeah, I went in there wanting to learn more about editing, but I didn’t think I’d learn as much as I did. Both him and Ayser Salman gave me such good advice and notes to look back on when I start to create my own projects. I really respect these editors. And Brenner’s family was really cute mA!
THE GIRRRRLS: Ghezal, me, Sulayha, and Sofie<3
We were at a mosque in Southern California, CLEARLY turning heads because of my need to take the picture.
This was after hearing from Maher Hathout inside the masjid. His official website can be viewed here. THIS MAN. He was so amazing mashaAllah. He didn’t talk a lot about film-making specifically, but more about our role as American Muslims and what that actually means. He talked about achieving our dreams and being confident in who we are as people, with our faith as well. He talked about the route of art and a little of how public opinion is shaped by media. My notes from his talk are scribbled on a bank envelope, and I wrote down so much of what he said because he was so clear and sure of himself. For example, when he spoke about forming our own opinions and making our own decisions, he put it this way, “When people tell you how to think, you are surrendering your greatest gift from God.” I thought that was just perfect. I wish I could just write down everything he said because I think everyone could benefit from hearing him speak. Go to his website. Check out how he’s committed so much of his time to the Muslim community and the community as a whole.
I’m so thankful we got to visit the masjid. It was so diverse and beautiful. This might be my community one day 🙂
(L) We also got to meet Lena Khan, an independent filmmaker, at the MPAC office. I love her! She was the first hijabi in the industry that we got to meet (and the only one that I know of… although I don’t know too many people in Hollywood), so I really valued her advice about “breaking into” the business. She was a winner of a film contest, which she talks about here (seriously, watch it), and she has worked on a number of music videos (Maher Zain & Kareem Salama, YESS), as well as a project that she is working on now, The Tiger Hunter. I thought it was interesting to hear her story because some of her work is actually guided around faith and the portrayal of Muslims in the media. She also made the famous “Land Called Paradise” video, which I actually didn’t realize up until this very moment. All Muslims know the video, and I’m pretty sure we’re all thankful for it. Anyway, she was awesome. I really hope to meet with her again in the future 🙂
(R) I GRADUATED FROM THE SUMMIT! Graduation night was amazing. We had good food catered by the hotel and served by Arturo, our new friend who we loved! I accepted my certificate from the MPAC president, Salam Al-Marayati, and got to have dinner with Yasmin Hussein, Deana Nassar, and other key leaders in the Youth Summits at MPAC. 
Feeling on top of the world with Yasmin Hussein, the MPAC Young Leaders Summit coordinator 🙂 We got to see the Hollywood Hills and all of LA from above. I could definitely call this place home one day iA.

I’m so, so thankful for having attended the summit, and I’ve decided that I want to be in the business of film-making. I love everything about it, and I feel like this has just given me the confidence to at least get out there and try by creating projects of my own and writing short scripts to begin with. I think film is such a creative way of changing public opinion, and I feel as though by being successful in the industry, all of these amazing & accepting individuals have really played a key role in doing so. Each of them has especially motivated me to chase after the dream that I once saw too unrealistic to pursue.

xx