Malala Yousafzai recently graced the cover of the international Variety magazine, where she gave an exclusive interview and talked about many things, including her marriage, the challenges that come with being Malala, and her future plans – which include the rise of her very own production house called Extracurricular.
Last year, Malala partnered with Apple to produce several dramas, and has now signed a deal for three films. Speaking to Variety, she shared how she’s an avid binge-watcher, but is often disappointed by the lack of brown representation. “You’re often told in Hollywood, implicitly or explicitly, that the characters are too young, too brown or too Muslim, or that if one show about a person of colour is made, then that’s it — you don’t need to make another one. That needs to change,” she said.
She also further probed into her own identity and how she viewed herself, and how much it would matter for young women to see women like themselves on screen, and how it can most definitely happen.
“I’m a woman, a Muslim, a Pashtun, a Pakistani and a person of colour. And I watched ‘Succession,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Severance,’ where the leads are white people — and especially a lot of white men. If we can watch those shows, then I think audiences should be able to watch shows that are made by people of colour, and produced and directed by people of colour, with people of colour in the lead. That is possible, and I’m gonna make it happen,” she said.
And while many have attempted to bring forth the voices of people of colour, more often than not we see them brimming with stereotypes. And that is exactly what Malala wants to stray away from. “What I hope to bring to the table are the voices of women of colour. I hope we can have a wide range of perspectives and that we challenge some of the stereotypes we hold in our societies. And I also hope that the content is entertaining, and that people fall in love with the characters and have the best time together,” she added.
Being an advocate for girl’s education, Malala was also asked about what she thinks would be the best subject to be introduced in these times. “One subject I think everyone should be taught in school is critical thinking. We are surrounded by information all around us, on social media and on our screens, and we need to have the skills to assess and evaluate what we are processing. And it is important for us to question who has written this, why, and what is their expertise so we do not fall into fake news and misinformation or disinformation,” she said.
She also talked about the possibility – or lack thereof – of entering politics. “I don’t want to get into British politics for sure. I’m not sure if I’ll become the prime minister of a country. We’ll see in the future. Maybe that is also a political answer,” she shared.