If Samah Safi Bayazid’s career doesn’t make her courageous individuality clear, her raw, intimate stories—shared here—unquestionably do. From her experiences as a young girl facing discrimination to making a name for herself as a hijabi filmmaker, Samah has garnered recognition for her productions and unwavering beliefs the world over.
To top off her international recognition, Samah is known for bringing education to girls and peace among religions at an international scale. Her leadership has inspired countless people. When she sat down with the Wisdom Capture team, she shared personal details of her journey thus far.
Here are three of our favorite pieces of wisdom from our conversation with Samah.
On the Power of Being You
Samah is no stranger to prejudice. When blending in seemed like the easier (and possibly safer) option, her mom gave her valuable advice. Samah expresses, “She told me, ‘If you kept trying to be other people, you would grow up being no one. Nothing.’” The motivation to be someone worth aspiring to be has driven her journey. The wisdom has stayed with Samah all these years later: “Maybe one day people will grow up and say, ‘I want to be Samah.’”
On the Power of Influence
Recognizing the influence she has in the world of film and beyond, Samah understands the weight her presence carries. She shares this wisdom on participating in social media: “A good word is like a good tree. Its roots are very firmly in the ground, and its branches could reach the sky. A word can bring a life, and a word can bring people down. You can empower people, or you can bring them down.”
On the Power of Choosing Your Path
Though Samah has seen much success, life as a Muslim woman has not been without its difficulties. Samah has fought against both prejudices and restrictive cultural norms. She shares, “I grew up in a culture where everyone has a say in your life and what you’re doing. There are a few things expected of you as a woman, like getting married, having kids, working in specific fields.” In spite of these expectations, Samah was able to forge her own path, not the one expected of her. “I’m so glad I realized at a certain age that I want to live the life that I want, not what other people would want,” she says.