- Season 1
- Episode 8
Amani, Founder of MuslimGirl.com, Talks FIRSTS
Released on 03/27/2018
My first word was probably the word baba,
which is Arabic for dad,
and it was a self-fulfilling prophecy
because he still, to this day, has to inject himself
into everything that I do,
so it's literally baba still in my face 25 years later.
Hey Teen Vogue, I'm Amani.
I'm the founder and editor-in-chief of muslimgirl.com,
and today we're playing a game of firsts.
Okay, this is really embarrassing.
I think that my first social media handle
was on AOL Instant Messenger.
And it was Surfer Grrrl,
with no I, three Rs, 92.
My first YouTube video actually never saw the light of day.
I shot it when I was in high school.
And I remember I was in front of a rack of my headscarves
that I was using as a backdrop,
and I was basically talking to the camera
about what my favorite headscarves are to wear.
But yeah, I definitely did not have the confidence
to hit upload on that one.
My first role model that I can think of,
after the obvious, which are my parents, definitely,
would have to be Maya Angelou.
She was the first poet woman of color that I
had been introduced to when I was in elementary school.
And I remember falling in love
with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
My first lesson from mom
was probably to always stand up for myself.
There were a lot of times that I watched my mom
in random situations where people were disrespecting her.
Especially as a woman of color, that's so visible outside,
and she basically would never hesitate
to speak up and not back down,
and I think I learned that from her.
My first lesson from baba was probably
how to spell my last name,
because it has half as many letters as the alphabet,
and it took me literally until second grade
to memorize how to fricking spell that thing.
It's A-L dash K-H-A-T-A-H-T-B-E-H.
Try to say that three times fast.
My first real splurge was probably this Estee Lauder blush
that was in this peach golden tone,
that I begged my mom to buy for me,
because I had just started getting into makeup.
You know what it was like at that age.
I would die if I didn't have this blush,
and I just made my mom buy it.
It was like $30-40 bucks at the time,
which was the most expensive piece of makeup
that I had ever owned in my life.
My first CD purchase was
Oops!... I Did It Again by Britney Spears.
I knew every single lyric.
Like I legit studied the little packet
that came inside the CD cases.
People don't even read those anymore,
but I remember I knew every single word on it.
My first clapback was in middle school
when I went through the rite of passage of having
all of my friends turn on me
and try to cyber bully me online.
I made it a pledge to myself to clapback
by just taking the higher road and being the better person.
So I remember my revenge was killing it at school
and getting really into my hobbies
and the things that was passionate about, and to me,
that was my first assertion of who I really am.
Turning an epic fail into an epic success
is literally the story of my career.
About a year after I graduated college,
I got offered my dream job in New York City,
that it uprooted my entire life in D.C. so I can take,
and when I got there, the job wasn't there for me anymore.
They told me that they were folding as a company
and I was suddenly out of a job.
So instead, I decided to throw everything into Muslim Girl,
and try to build up my own media company.
Then it got profiled on Teen Vogue, and the rest is history.
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