Her childhood was ripped away from her when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education in Pakistan. But now activist Malala Yousafzai is finally enjoying a slice of normal life.
Malala, who is the latest cover star of British Vogue magazine, says she’d never really had the chance to live like a normal person up until a few years ago.
“I was excited about literally anything – going to McDonald’s or playing poker with my friends or going to a talk or an event.”
After her terrifying ordeal in 2012, Malala relocated from Pakistan to the UK where she underwent extensive surgeries and rehabilitation. With the help of her father, she started the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to fighting for equal rights and providing girls worldwide the opportunity to attend school.
In 2014, the then-17-year-old activist became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Between recovering from her near-fatal injuries, travelling the world to campaign for women’s rights and promoting her book and documentary, Pakistan-born Malala had little time to hang out with people her age.
When she arrived at Oxford University in the UK to begin her degree in philosophy, politics and economics, she was looking forward to making new friends. But she admits her fame made it a bit of a struggle.
“People would ask me things like, ‘What was it like when you met Emma Watson or Angelina Jolie or [Barack] Obama?’ And I wouldn't know what to say. It's awkward because you want to leave that Malala outside the school building, you want to just be a student and a friend.”
In her interview Malala also speaks about why she felt it was important to wear a headscarf for her Vogue cover photo.
“It’s a cultural symbol for us Pashtuns, so it represents where I come from,” she says. “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.
Malala is certainly making her voice heard. After graduating from Oxford last year, the 23-year-old activist launched her own production house.
She’s already scored a lucrative deal with Apple TV + that will see the streaming company release documentaries about girls’ education and women’s rights, as well as comedies, animation and children’s series.
SOURCES: DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, VOGUE, MALALA.ORG, CNN.COM