Emmy Willimen

FHC Inspires Q&As 2022: Iman Hammad

Name: Iman Hammad

Position: Speaker

TED Talk title: I wear the hijab, but why?

Why did you apply to be a speaker?

“I applied because I always wanted to try and inspire others with my journey and try and educate some people along the way. Many people tend to ask me questions about my hijab and assume things that are not true. I want my audience to understand that what I wear empowers me to be a better person, and it does not hide who I am. And that I cover my hair and not my mouth.”

How are you feeling about FHC Inspires?

“I’m actually quite nervous. It makes me anxious that people are going to watch me talk about my headscarf and how I experience it, but I’m going to stand proudly for what I believe [in] and what I’m proud of. Also, I’m very excited to see my friends in the crowd, watching and supporting me.”

What was the process of picking the perfect TED Talk topic?

“I had many ideas for my TED Talk, but this idea stood out more because it talks about something only a few people in our school wear and experience. I was going to talk about the Middle East, but then I thought ‘Anyone can learn about the Middle East, but not everyone can learn about the hijabs.’ Although this may not be the most perfect one, I think it’s perfect for me.”

What does your message mean to you?

“It means a lot to me, to those who don’t understand, and to those who do understand. I believe everyone should understand the meaning of hijabs and how everyone experiences it differently. This meaning encourages me to educate as well as have fun with it.

Who is your target audience?

“The ones who question my clothing and culture, especially the ones who ask the weirdest questions. But, also the curious ones, and the ones that are willing to learn.”

Did you ever see yourself speaking at FHC Inspires?

“No, I actually never thought I’d make it this far. I was so anxious about failing my performance in the lecture hall, but after doing it and successfully engaging my audience, I wanted to take it a step further and have a leap of faith. I’m hoping I do as great as the previous speakers.”

What are you doing to prepare for the big night?

“I’m rehearsing a lot, not only at school, but [also] at home. I’m also preparing my clothing [starting] now because I’m indecisive, fully knowing I’m going to freak out if I don’t have that ready. I’m also telling people about it every day, so they do not forget it.”

How does your Google Slide presentation reflect your topic?

“My slides contain visual aspects of some things, as well as a timeline of myself and my hijab journey. It has a lot of photos and visuals so people won’t only be staring at me.”

What’s a mobile game you’re currently hooked on?

“I’m not really a game person, but I do love Subway Surfers. No one can beat my record.”

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