Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Her Formula for Awesome

I recently had the privilege of meeting renowned Australian TED Talk speaker, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Looking at that gorgeous feature photo of her, what kind of person do you think she is?

An oppressed woman trudging through the world wearing colorful scarves to alleviate her every day pain of being a woman? Is she a musician? An artist? An activist?

Nope. She’s actually a Formula One race car driver as well as a mechanical engineer. If you don’t already know, Formula One is the NASCAR of the eastern hemisphere which, essentially makes Yassmin the Danica Patrick of Australia.

But  Yassmin takes her cool streak to another level by being the only brown, scarf-wearing, Muslim woman on a team of men who have next to nothing to prove – I mean,they’re men. They’re already competent right? Sure.

I met Yassmin when she came to the University of Houston to speak at an event held by the Muslim Student Association. I entered the room that particular evening, grabbed myself a slice of lukewarm cheese pizza, and seated myself in the empty first row. Yassmin was there already socializing with other MSA members and cracking jokes as if she’d been here a hundred times and they were all close friends. Her energy was palpable. After she grabbed her own plate of room temperature food, she made her way over to the slowly filling first row and sat beside me. Her charm was instant. It was so engaging that I cannot put it into words but without so much as a few minutes passing by I just wanted to tell her all about my life and become her best friend.


At some point in our conversation Yassmin excused herself and made her way over to the stage to begin her presentation. This amazing woman shared her experiences and made all of us laugh and through this monologue I discovered the depths of her awesome.

Yassmin is not only daring, she has also started free engineering camps to empower and teach young children technical skills, she created a mobile library in Indonesia, started a soccer team for headscarf wearing girls, and (because that’s just not enough) she started a “Masterchef Meets the Streets” program to teach local children to prepare their own meals – all this though an organization she helped found at 16, called Youth Without Borders.

Some notable words of wisdom Yassmin dabbled on:

  • Don’t care about what others think. Prove to them that if you are passionate about something, you will do it.
  • Change is bound to be uncomfortable. Get past it so you can make the situation the norm for others to follow.
  • If you want to help others, you will have to go out of your way to follow through. An idea isn’t going to cut it. Figure out how to implement it.
  • Figure out the steps to make it happen, then think about all the financial details. If you are passionate enough, fundraising/sponsorship is always an option.
  • If you make a mistake, get back up and fix it. You can’t be a winner without a scar or two.
  • All CEO’s will tell you the same thing: I didn’t quit.

While that guidance might seem simple, it carried so much weight coming from a successful Brown Muslim woman. It was like taking a peek into my own future. It was also exactly what I needed at that moment to boost my motivation to attack a few personal goals I had set for myself.

Yassmin is just another bright shining example that there is room for all of us amazing Brown girls and Muslim ladies if we’re willing to carve that space out with our own two hands. She didn’t promise that this would be particularly easy. But her life shows all of us that it is more than possible.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Suze says:

    Shared on facebook. incredible woman

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J L Hunt says:

    What an amazing life story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. zhyxtheman says:

    Answer? Same thing the kippahs my Jewish friends wear. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN and commented:
    I love following One More Shot Please! Check her page out!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ameena k.g says:

    We truly are in need of more people to stand up, brave up and be the role models we would love our children to grow up too. I for one admire her courage! 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely do too! She is a remarkable woman.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ellen Hawley says:

    I’m neither Muslim nor religious, but this obsessive focus by non-Muslims on what women wear on their heads is enough to make me think about wearing a scarf myself, just to change to terms of the argument, even if it’s on a very small scale.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha actually that is one of the reasons why I started wearing one. I normally never would have imagined to start this early.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sheenmeem says:

    Assalam-i-Alaikum Rafia. Your blogs are amazing, and so wonderful. Thanks for visiting, and becoming a follower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Salams! Of course 🙂 and thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. wormalblog says:

    So inspiring, what an incredible lady. If it weren’t for this post I wouldn’t have known about her, so thank you for posting about her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to have introduced you to someone so inspirational. You should check out the post about Reshma and Fashion Week on my home page. I think you would like it 🙂 Also make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel !

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Barbara says:

    Following, found at Dream Big Dream Often. Thank you for this fantastic Ted Talk video.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Koumba Orsi says:

    Powerful and inspirational!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Janice Wald says:

    I may have heard of youth without Borders. She reminds me of Malala, A Young, empowered Muslim woman.
    I met you on Danny’s site. Maybe you can check out my blog. I offer Blogging Tips and I host 10 blogging events each month including parties like Danny where you could meet new readers.


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