First of all, you’ve just become a mom. We would like to congratulate you. Was it difficult to go through this period during the pandemic? What changes have happened in your life after you became a mom?
Thanks! As a first time mama let me tell you something, motherhood is not easy, but it is so beautiful and so rewarding. Our baby “Shams” just turned four months old few days ago and we cannot believe how much love and joy he has already brought into our life Alhamdulellah.
Having a baby during the pandemic, specially in the United States, was absolutely scary with so many unknowns and uncertainties. However, while the whole world is on pause, we got the chance to enjoy these first precious months with Shams without any distractions.
I never thought that motherhood would change me as a grown mature woman, but it did! It made me more patient, loving and selfless. It has also brought me closer to all other moms out there, those who I know and even those who I don’t.
We know you as director, producer and screenwriter. In the projects you carry out with your spouse, especially the productions that draw attention to Islamophobia and human rights are of special importance. Are there any new projects on your agenda right now? What topics would you like to address in the future?
We’ve been working for two years on a comedy-drama series about a muslim American family and their kids, and the chronicles of growing up in America. This family strives to raise their kids to be great Muslims and responsible citizens of the world.
Many minorities are being fairly represented in American drama, while Muslims are almost never represented. And when they are, they are usually the bad guys. Showing Muslims as a family is particularly important to re-humanize Muslims as an important component of the American and international fabric. Also, it is crucial for Muslim kids to see someone like them on TV. The lack of a Muslim kid role-model on TV is astonishing. And it is one of the main reasons we are making this series. Our filming was scheduled to take place in Chicago last July, but due to the COVID pandemic we had to postpone it till June 2021 hopefully, inshallah!
Your project about the history of Mecca you’ve carried out with VR technology was especially popular among Muslims. Do you have any plans for a digital project like this? Will we be able to experience this project in Turkey?
At Light Art VR we create proprietary technology & original content for immersive virtual reality experiences that will take our audience on “A Journey Through Time®”! These 8K, 360 stereoscopic entertaining VR experiences are created for theme parks, movie theaters, museums, malls, Islamic schools and more! Our VR experiences are available in eight languages so far, including Turkish language. We know for sure that the Turkish audience appreciate such productions in particular and cherish Islamic history. We will definitely bring our VR experiences to Turkey once this pandemic is over inshallah.
We do not know when this pandemic period will end. You have traveled many countries and experienced different cultures so far. Where would you like to go if you had permission to travel to a country of your choice?
I love traveling so much and it is a huge part of my work and lifestyle. Before the pandemic we used to travel almost every month, mostly for business. I’ve been to 22 countries so far, oh the good old days! If I can travel tomorrow anywhere, I would love to go back to Europe! I know that I want Czechia to be my next destination.
You live in USA with your family. Is it difficult to live in USA as a conservative Muslim woman? What is your favorite place/city in USA?
I think it’s getting easier than before, because as Muslim American women we have fought hard throughout the years to be heard and seen and we’ve been contributing to our community in every possible way. We’ve been seeing more successful Muslim women lately being acknowledged and celebrated nationwide, like Halima Aden, Ilhan Omar and many inspiring others. And finally we are taking the control over our narrative as Muslim women. All this is helping us being perceived in a more positive light Alhamdulellah.
For sure I love being in Washington DC. However, my favorite place for filming is New York, and my favorite vacation place is Southern California. Lagona beach and Carmel by the sea are my favorite beaches there.
Let’s talk a little bit about your style. You make almost every style look good on you. Which pieces do you like to wear the most for casual and occasion wear? What are your favorite colors?
Since becoming a mom, I have a very limited time to get ready, so I’ve been loving the coordinated sets. They are so easy to put together and very comfortable. I also love pastel colors for everyday looks. For special occasions, like a film festival and a red-carpet event I love maxi evening gowns in classic colors, black, cream, emerald green, and red.
Your career and achievements inspire women all around the world. What would you like to say to the women who take you as an example and are proud of your achievements?
You too have a unique talent and are here for a unique purpose to fulfill. Find out what that is! Remember that no dream is too big to be dreamt and no change is so small to be made. You matter and your voice always matters.