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Malala Yousafzai Talks to Teen Vogue about Education, Islamophobia, and the New Wave of Youth Activism

TV: Well, the representation thing is an important one, right? How do you feel about Muslim representation in television, in the movies? Are you seeing any good examples of it?

MY: Well, we rarely see good examples of that, and I think that’s unfortunate when it comes to the representation of minorities or Muslims or black people or even women. And I think in that sense, there’s still a lot that needs to be done. It’s unfortunate when you see these things, but also, at the same time, what gives me hope is that people are becoming aware of this and they want to challenge it. And I hope to see that more Muslim young people come forward and present and share their voice, share their stories that they are also known as equals to everybody else and have a normal life. So let’s give space to Muslim people, and they will share their stories and they’ll tell you what’s wrong and what’s right and what needs to change in their community and what shouldn’t change.

TV: So we’re reflecting on the last 10 years on youth activism. What do the next 10 hold?

MY: You mentioned how youth activism has risen in the last decade, and what has given me hope is that the last decade was a decade of youth activism, but the next one is going to be about youth change-making, and that’s what gives me hope. It’s like we have done our activism; we have done enough to raise our voice. And I think the next step is now let’s make the change, let’s be the change-makers, let’s get more involved in this. I’m excited for that, to be the change-maker, and do more for girls’ education, to ensure that all girls can have the opportunity to go to school, to go to universities, just like I have. And many of us have that opportunity, and we all are aware that if we had not had the opportunity of being in school, learning, that we would have been somewhere else. So it’s important that we recognize that, that we are grateful for that, but we also have other girls just like us to have that right.

TV: All right. I do have one more question. Anything on your streaming list right now?

MY: Hasan Minhaj and Green Eggs and Ham. That’s all you need.


Talent: Malala Yousafzai (@malala)

Photographer: Delphine Diallo (@delphinediallo)

Stylist: Lindsay Peoples Wagner (@lpeopleswagner)

Hair Stylist: Sean Fears (@seanchristopherfears)

Makeup Artist: Fatimot Isadare (@fatimotisadare)

Video: Ryan Mitchel

Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Greta Thunberg Wants You — Yes, You — to Join the Climate Strike

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