Can you believe it’s 2016 in America and we’ve still never had a news anchor who wears a hijab? Primitive, isn’t it?
Twenty-two-year-old trailblazer Noor Tagouri has been paving the way for Muslim-Americans as a hijab-wearing journalist. She got her start as an ABC7 intern and according to a recent Marie Claire article, after a lot of hard work, she’s on track to become our first news anchor in the cultural veil.
From Marie Claire:
As an intern shadowing a reporter at ABC7, Noor Tagouri asked one of the anchors if she would pose for a picture with her. The ensuing Facebook photo went viral soon after—and she learned that the image of a hijab-wearing journalist still catches people by surprise.
Today, Tagouri, 22, has earned a significant online following through the #letnoorshine campaign, and has become a well-known public speaker on the experience of being Muslim-American. As Islamophobia remains at an all-time high, Tagouri’s professional visibility feels particularly necessary.
The publication talked to the young go-getter about a number of topics, including her hashtag #LetNoorShine, how close she is to achieving her dreams, and whether or not she is actively trying to “change the perception of Muslims in America.“
Here are a few excerpts from the piece:
Marie Claire: What made you want to become a journalist/anchor and how did you get there?
Noor Tagouri: I graduated high school at 16, which is also when I impulsively started wearing the hijab. I didn’t grow up wearing it and never thought I would. But I was going through an identity crisis at the time, and asked myself why I wasn’t happy with who I was.
I’ve dreamt of being a reporter since I was 8 years old and I decided to still stick by that dream—with my hijab on! I think that had I not worn the hijab, I wouldn’t have worked as hard as I did, because I knew that it would be a bigger challenge. Since I graduated college [early], I gave myself that time to [be] rejected from TV stations so I wouldn’t be behind.
MC: How close are you to reaching your dream?
NT: I just recently quit my job as a TV reporter for CTV. I wasn’t really digging the stories I was covering, and I didn’t feel like I was maximizing my potential. But I am still a part-time associate producer for CBS Radio. I just got signed with Keppler Speakers as a [guest and motivational] speaker. I’m also working on independent stories for my YouTube channel.
I’m still figuring out who I am as a storyteller. But the biggest thing I’m working on I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I can tell you that you’ll be seeing me on TV soon!
MC: What’s the story behind your hashtag #LetNoorShine, and the CBS photo that went viral?
NT: As an intern for CBS, I would shadow the anchors. I sat down at the desk and a friend snapped the photo. At the time, I was reading Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles. He talks about making your dreams a vision that you could look at every day, and that picture was something like that [for me].
That night, I posted that photo as my Facebook profile picture and wrote, “This is what my dream looks like.” I got such a huge response and I realized that I had to do something with this. So my cousin and I decided to come up with a hashtag, and she suggested #LetNoorShine. My name Noor means “light,” so [it would be about] inspiring others to let their lights shine. The idea was that the color of my skin, what I’m wearing on my head, my sex, my sexual orientation—none of that will stop me!
Head over to Marie Claire to read the article in full. #LetNoorShine.
SOURCE: Marie Claire | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty