Malala Yousafzai Aims to Change “Minds” And “Perspectives” Through Films and TV

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel laureate and education activist, was featured in Variety’s #PowerOfWomen issue, where she discussed “changing people’s minds and perspectives” through her own film and television production company, Extracurricular.

“When I fill out forms that ask for a profession, I always struggle, because I’m trying to figure out what my role is,” the 25-year-old co-founder of advocacy organization Malala Fund said in an interview with the publication.

Malala went on to say that she considers herself an activist and a storyteller.

“I’ve been doing activism for over a decade now, and I’ve realized that we shouldn’t limit activism to the work of NGOs alone: there’s also the element of changing people’s minds and perspectives — and that takes a little more work,” she said.

Yousafzai signed a multiyear programming deal with Apple TV+ through her production company in 2021. As her production company’s initial projects get underway, the fruits of the deal will begin to emerge.

In the interview, the education activist discussed the stereotypical portrayal of characters who aren’t white, as well as how Hollywood needs to produce a variety of stories with people of colour and expand their audience beyond limiting them to specific communities.

“I’m a woman, a Muslim, a Pashtun, a Pakistani, and a minority. And I watched ‘Succession,’ ‘Ted Lasso,’ and ‘Severance,’ where the leads are white people — particularly a lot of white men,” she said, adding that if people of colour can watch these shows, she believes “audiences should be able to watch shows made by people of colour, produced and directed by people of colour, with people of colour in the lead.” That is feasible, and I intend to make it so.”

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