We have a super interesting and unique team here at MM! From all across the globe, each one of our writers is different than the other and all have relatable stories to share. It’s important to us that our readers understand and get to know these remarkable individuals on a personal level. Our experiences usually lead us to the path we’re venturing and for some of us, writing wasn’t expected or planned. The editors created this series to personify the inspiring storytellers behind the keyboard who have been bravely sharing their lives with all of you!
MA: What inspired you to join the MM team?
AP: When I first started following MissMuslim, I was so enamored by the diversity of voices and points of view in each post. The team is made up of so many amazing women that I deeply admire for their boldness and bravery to share their stories with the world. When the lovely Jenan suggested that I contribute, I did not hesitate. I’m so excited and proud that I get to be a part of such an amazing group of women.
…My entire existence is highly political…
Tell the readers more about your background and how it allows you to decide what topics you’re going to expand on.
I am the product of a black mother whose ancestors were brought to this country via the transatlantic slave trade and an undocumented immigrant father from the Caribbean. Because my dad was deported when I was four, my mother raised me on her own. Growing up in predominantly white spaces, I was perceived by my peers as “acting white” or not being “black enough”. I began to really align myself with my intersecting identities during my college years. Now, I walk proudly through this world as an Afro-Caribbean, sexually fluid feminist who loves basketball and brunch. I’ve fully come to terms with who I am and that my entire existence is highly political, whether I like it or not. I live in a world where my body, my sexuality, and my culture is highly policed, politicized, and fetishized. Most of my contributions to MM address my personal experiences, the good and the bad, through my intersectional lens.
What led you to the work that you do and how do you want that work to make an impact on the world?
I started teaching group exercise classes at my university’s recreation center and fell in love with fitness. Although I was pursuing a degree in Neuroscience, I decided that I wanted to work hands-on in a career that would help others. By the beginning of my senior year, I made the choice pursue a career in health and wellness. Since then, I’ve been working as a wellness professional in many different capacities. I currently work as a fitness consultant and personal trainer, working exclusively with women. It gives me so much joy knowing that I can empower other women by helping them lead healthy lifestyles and reach their fitness goals.
What motivates you to be open about your personal experiences? Do you find it challenging at times to tell your stories publicly?
For a very long time, I thought that a majority of my experiences were exclusive to me, and at times it made me feel isolated from those in my identifying communities. I want to be able to relate to others, especially women and people of color, whether the topic is light in nature, or if it’s addressing something heavier, like the injustices we face.
Sometimes, it is hard to share my experiences publicly because I’m not sure how the people closest to me will react. There are some aspects of my being that friends and family aren’t aware of, and I imagine it can be jarring for them to find out in such a public way. When it comes to certain topics, I find it easier to share my stories through my writings, and I’m sure my loved ones can understand that.
What are your ultimate goals in your professional (or personal) life and as a writer?
In both my professional and personal life, my ultimate goal in life is to continue to share and gain knowledge in every capacity. I also hope to accomplish the same through my writing. I want to offer a different perspective to others that might not otherwise be accessible without MissMuslim as a platform.
Do you have advice for [women] entrepreneurs or women, in general, trying to make a change?
Stay focused and keep hustling.
Tell us something unique about yourself that not many people may know.
I know every word to the Hamilton soundtrack. I blast the album while driving and shamelessly rap with all my windows down in hopes that someone will pull up in the lane next to me and join in.