Pakistani Activist Malala Yousafzai made international headlines in just her teens, driven by passion to fight for the education of the girl child, the now 23 year old activist has notably poured out her heart over the past decade in the fight.
Her autobiography, I Am Malala, published in 2013, just a year after her attempted assassination, became an international bestseller. At the age of 15, she launched Malala Fund, which has taken her around the world as an advocate for girls’ education, campaigning for just causes. At age 17, Malala was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize – becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. In 2017, she was admitted to Oxford University to study politics, philosophy and economics, graduating with honours.
In March, she announced a multi-year partnership with Apple TV+ as well as the launch of a brand-new production company, Extracurricular.
“I want these shows to be entertaining and the sort of thing I would watch,” she says of overseeing the early stages of development. “If I don’t laugh at them or enjoy them, I won’t put them on-screen,” she continues, firmly. So alongside documentaries on serious issues, such as girls’ education and women’s rights, she wants to make comedies.
Now an Oxford graduate 23, opens up to Vogue’s Sirin Kale about love, family and the world she left behind, as well as her ambitious new plans for broadcasting her message.
Exccerpts from the feature aptly titled: “The Extraordinary Life Of Malala”:
On where she sees herself in 10 years’ time:
This is a question I have for myself every night. Lying awake in bed for hours thinking, ‘What am I going to do next? Where do I live next? Should I continue to live in the UK, or should I move to Pakistan, or another country?
The second question is, who should I be living with? Should I live on my own? Should I live with my parents? I’m currently with my parents, and my parents love me, and Asian parents especially, they want their kids to be with them forever.
I wear it more when I’m outside and in public. At home, it’s fine. If I’m with friends, it’s fine. It’s a cultural symbol for us Pashtuns, so it represents where I come from. And Muslim girls or Pashtun girls or Pakistani girls, when we follow our traditional dress, we’re considered to be oppressed, or voiceless, or living under patriarchy.
I want to tell everyone that you can have your own voice within your culture, and you can have equality in your culture.
On her forthcoming programmes:
I want these shows to be entertaining and the sort of thing I would watch. If I don’t laugh at them or enjoy them, I won’t put them on-screen.
Michelle Obama on Malala;
“Malala has generated so much glowing praise over the last few years, but here’s the thing: it’s all true. She’s truly extraordinary. Barack and I first met Malala when she visited the White House in 2013, and right away, it was clear she belonged in a room with the President of the United States. Her poise, her wisdom and her earnest belief in the power of every girl – it all couldn’t have been clearer from that very first meeting.”
On Malala, Apple CEO Tim Cook says,
I don’t think there’s anyone quite like her. She’s an original. She has a lifetime of experience in 23 years,” says Cook. “She has the story of her life, all of her accomplishments, and she’s focused on making a difference in the world.
She has a North Star, which always impresses me about people. And despite all of this success, she’s humble and really down to earth and just a joy to spend time with. She’s amazing.
“Malala has generated so much glowing praise over the last few years,” Michelle Obama tells me via email, “but here’s the thing: it’s all true. She’s truly extraordinary. Barack and I first met Malala when she visited the White House in 2013, and right away, it was clear she belonged in a room with the President of the United States. Her poise, her wisdom and her earnest belief in the power of every girl – it all couldn’t have been clearer from that very first meeting.”
Yet the thing about Malala is that she never chose any of this. She didn’t choose to be born to an activist father who taught her to fight injustice wherever she sees it. “My dad,” she says, “he would always take action on things when he felt that something was not right.” Nor did she choose for the Taliban to come to the Swat Valley. “My activism started at such a young age,” she says, “and was influenced by things that were happening externally, that were not in our control.”
Taking to Twitter to share the feature, Malala captioned;
“I know the power that a young girl carries in her heart when she has a vision and a mission – and I hope that every girl who sees this cover will know that she can change the world. Thank you @BritishVogue, @Edward_Enninful & @thedalstonyears “