Interview of Noora Dastournezhad by Freya Bennett

Hey Noora, How are you?

I’m good, thank you.

How old are you?

I’m 26.

Where do you live?

I live in Austin, Texas.

Where were you born?

I was born in a beautiful city named Shiraz , in Iran

Tell us a bit about your childhood:

I think the whole childhood stages are kinda weird. For a lot of us it’s sorta painful but so many of us miss it. I was living in a small city, I used to play with my cousin a lot and my favourite hobby was to go to my granparent’s house.

What was it like growing up in Iran?

Iran is an Islamic country and as someone who hasn’t been born into a Muslim family, growing up, going to school and finding jobs was pretty hard, especially as a woman but Iran has a pretty interesting history, I grew up next to Perspolis which is a seven thousand year old city. Iran is also very rich in poetry, so growing up and learning all that has been fantastic .

What is it like being a refugee?

In one word: HARD … the waiting process in your second country is very hard because you’re not settled and your life hasn’t began yet. It’s like a limbo that you have to live in everyday. Although I have to say, so many people take advantage of this process to learn more about different countries and cultures which I admire. I lived three years in Turkey before I come to the U.S. and believe me, that story is gonna be a gigantic book to read.

What do you wish you could change about the world?

I wish I could erase the hate towards differences, like racism and sexism in this world.

What do you love about being a girl?

What I love about being a girl and a woman is that no matter how long they’ve wanted to shut us down and tell us we don’t matter we keep fighting and anything we do becomes an act of rebellion. It can be the most simple thing like growing our body hair and it blows the whole world and I love that …

What is hard about being a girl?

Besides the every month period and dealing with blood and pain, I think labels are the hardest things that a girl has to deal with since she’s born. I mean, it doesn’t matter what culture or country, labels are there for girls everywhere … and it’s funny, one of the worst things is when guys are labeled as being ‘girlie’ or ‘effeminate’ or ‘soft’ like it’s an insult to be a woman.

What are your passions/hobbies?

My passions is food, I love to try new restaurants and different food! I also love poetry especially poetry from Iran like Rumi, Hafiz and Saadi. I also love dancing and learning about different cultures. I do model sometimes and I love watching independent foreign movies.  And I also do painting and drawing sometimes …

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In school since it’s the biggest reason I left my country. Studying either fashion design or film directing and hopefully living in L.A.

If you could have any animal in the world as your pet, what would it be?

I would love to have a dolphin as my pet but realistically I’m actually a cat lady.

Photographs by Monique Rodriguez  @monique_rdz and Chad Everett @16days_photography


Freya Bennett

Freya Bennett is the co-founder and director of Ramona Magazine for Girls. Freya is a musician, artist and writer from Melbourne, Australia. Peek into this green, caffeinated city and you will find her writing and playing music, making colourful art, and discussing the virtues of feminism. Freya has a passion for youth issues and has been studying Youth Work during 2017 with the hope to be a mentor and help youth (especially teen girls) to overcome any obstacles they are faced with. To combat her own obstacles of anxiety and hypochondria, you can find Freya boxing, practicing yoga and swimming in the ocean. She believes in opening up about mental health struggles and shining a light on what is not spoken about. Freya welcomed her first daughter, Aurora into the world on the 21st of November, 2017 and is smitten! She hopes the Ramona community will surround Rory and give her so much strength as she grows! With a passion for grassroots activism and creative community, Freya began Ramona Magazine as an alternative to boring, image-obsessed teen media. The magazine is founded upon Freya’s core values of creative expression, equality and kindness. Visit Freya’s Soundcloud and follow her on Instagram @freyasadventures.

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