Episode 30: Zahra Noorbakhsh

What would you want your legacy to be?
“As somebody who fought for the right to be vulnerable.”

"My mind, body, and soul are one."

Zahra on using her talents to change hearts and minds

Zahra Noorbakhsh is an Iranian American comedian, activist, feminist and the cohost of the award winning podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim.  Zahra wears many different hats from doing her one-woman show to being a contributor to the anthology, “Love InshAllah: The Secret Lives of American Muslim Women” to changing hearts and minds through addressing Islamophobia and other stereotypes in her podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim.

Zahra is willing to take risks and speak out about controversial issues that require courage and boldness.  She often crosses the line by allowing herself to be vulnerable on topics like sexuality, religion, and racism.  Through sharing her own experiences, she creates dialog and exchange across communities. 

As I interviewed Zahra, I was reminded of Maya Angelou’s quote,
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place- you belong every place- no place at all. The price is high, the reward is great”.

Podcast Details

Find out from the podcast how Zahra:

  • Started the podcast “GoodMuslimBadMuslim with a hashtag on Twitter
  • Contrasts comedy from public speaking and how comedy is a result of intense training
  • Doesn’t try to be ‘funny’ on stage
  • Made a big confession shortly after the Orlando nightclub incident and the message she wanted to convey to the Muslim community
  • Reclaims misconstrued Arabic words through clarification of meaning
  • Warns against an over simplification of the Muslim identity
  • Describes the moment where she thought she was failing herself as a Muslim and as a feminist
  • Takes a break when she feels the most self doubt
  • Measures success and believes in having a success plan

“You will overcome and achieve…have a uccess plan, just like having a backup strategy.  It can be just as disorienting to achieve things." -Zahra Noorbakhsh

About Zahra

Zahra Noorbakhsh is a Feminist Muslim, Iranian-American comedian.  In addition to doing stand up one woman shows, she is the cohost of the internationally acclaimed podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim, which was invited to record at the White House and deemed a "must listen' by Oprah Magazine.   She and her cohost. Taz Ahmed, were awarded the OCLA Rising Start Image Award for the podcast.  

Follow Zahra on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.