Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai made a case for representation in Hollywood, citing Muslim actors only make up 1% of popular television series leads at an event in Hollywood, reported Variety Magazine.
Variety Magazine held an event titled 'Power of Women' where Yousafzai was on of those being honoured for being a creative leader. She was honored alongside Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Elizabeth Olsen, Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay.
Already heading her own film and TV production company, Extracurricular, the development comes at the heels of a multi-year programming deal with Apple TV+ through her production company. The company’s first slate of projects is now in the works at the streaming service.
She pointed out the lack of opportunity in Hollywood. “I learned that Asian people like me make up less than 4% of leads in Hollywood films. Muslims are 25% of the population, but only 1% of characters in popular TV series,” she was quoted as saying.
In an interview earlier this week with Variety Magazine she had stated, “I’m a woman, a Muslim, a Pashtun, a Pakistani and a person of colour.
"And I watched ‘Succession,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Severance,’ where the leads are white people — and especially a lot of white men. If we can watch those shows, then I think audiences should be able to watch shows that are made by people of colour, and produced and directed by people of colour, with people of colour in the lead. That is possible, and I’m gonna make it happen.”
Among her opening projects for Apple+ are a feature documentary about South Korea’s matriarchal Haenyeo society of elderly fisherwomen, a scripted series based on Asha Lemmie’s coming-of-age novel 'Fifty Words for Rain,' a woman’s search for acceptance in post-World War II Japan; and a feature film with 'Don’t Look Up' director Adam McKay based on Elaine Hsieh Chou’s book 'Disorientation' — a satire about a college student’s revealing dissertation about a young poet, reported Variety Magazine.
Yousafzai is also supporting Riz Ahmed’s Pillars Artist Fellowship that supports emerging Muslim directors and screenwriters.
She further went on to remark on the current state of representation in Hollywood: “I know the executives have passed on dozens of quality, equally amazing projects because they thought that the characters or their creators were too young, too brown, too foreign, too poor.
“Sometimes it feels like they’re saying we just don’t belong here,” she was quoted by Variety Magazine.
She concluded saying how she has followed her dreams and that all her roles and titles are testament to it. “I know the tale of having a dream and being told to forget it. Today, I am a storyteller, activist and producer.”