Taking the Leap of Faith Towards Yourself with Mira Awad

Mira Awad is a singer, songwriter, actress and artivist (activist through art). Born in Rameh village in the Galilee to a Palestinian father and Bulgarian mother, Mira learned how to walk the tightrope of identities from a young age: first, as girl in a male-dominated world, and then, as a Palestinian in Israel.

Her words, music, and activism reflect this, and tell a powerful story of challenging stereotypes and public judgment, learning to embrace the fullness and entirety of her true self. Chelsea talks with Mira about growing up in a politically involved family with strong humanitarian values, finding her ‘artivist’ voice at an early age, her experience competing in the Eurovision song contest, and ‘taking the leap of faith towards yourself’.

Currently based in Tel-Aviv, Mira has released two solo albums and collaborated with international artists Noa, Idan Raichel, Andrea Boccelli, Bobby Mc'Ferrin and more. She has performed in a number of acclaimed theatre productions and teaches stage performance for singers, actors and public speakers. Mira also gives talks and workshops, including the inspiring ‘Bahlawan’ (which means Acrobat in Arabic) TEDx talk. She is a relentless peace activist, and uses her art to advocate for human solidarity and empathy across cultures.



Follow along Mira's journey at @miraawadofficial. Listen to Mira's music, watch Mira's television series Muna and shop Mitra by Mira at Mitrabymira.com.


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You can also read the interview below:

Chelsea Brown: March 8th is International Women's Day, and this year's theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Leading up to this month long celebration of women, this episode welcomes Mira Awad who fully embodies this year's theme.

Mira Awad: Some people, when they meet me, they say you're so brave. There were really times in my life where my gut told me exactly the opposite of what everyone else was telling me.

Chelsea: Mira is a singer songwriter show, creator content, an actress.

Mira: I was born and raised in a Palestinian village in the north of Israel. So as a child, I noticed the double standard, how boys were treated and how girls were treated.

Chelsea: Born in Re’im Israel and raised in a Palestinian village by her Arab Christian father and Bulgarian mother.

Mira: I grew up in this very socially aware home. Here I am in Haifa city expecting to find my freedom, right? As a woman like here, nobody's gonna care about my gender and nobody's gonna limit me because of my gender. But then again, I discovered something else. I covered that I am an Arab in the Jewish state, right? So this whole new aspect of my identity suddenly took focus.

Chelsea: After walking a tight rope of identities throughout her childhood and young adulthood, Mira  embarked on a journey to challenge stereotypes and public judgment and understand her true self.

Mira: With all the threats in all the media attacks, I am very proud of our performance in the Eurovision song contest. Of course we did not win. And when I cry, I cry for both of us. My pain has no name.

Chelsea: Hello, Mira, how are you? It was so lovely to meet you a couple years ago when my colleague and I were in Israel, but of course so much has changed since then. We're currently in lockdown here and I'm talking to you from my closet in my house. How have you been over there?

Mira: Well, we are not in lockdown at this moment, although they're thinking of getting the lockdown again because it's a holiday weekend now and they don't want people to have parties. And so I guess we're all globally, like mostly on the same page. But yeah, I was thinking how different this reality is from when we met in Tel Aviv, we went out for dinner. We were like boasting about the amazing culinary world in Tel Aviv. And then I took you on to a concert of friends of mine that was happening back there were concerts. Remember? And then at some point, just the world as I know it got canceled.

Chelsea: Oh my gosh, I know this is crazy. And especially for you as a performer, I mean, it's been a hard year.

Mira: I mean, yes. It's been, I don't wanna say a hard, I wanna say a challenging year. It's been very strange at a lot of moments because as I, as I just said, like the world, as I knew, it just stopped, just was completely canceled. I was an international artist traveling, perform all of that. Just stopped in the beginning. I have to admit that I was like, oh wow. I get to have a vacation. I was like sitting at home, I missed my home. I always missed my home because I used to travel so much. So I was like, I don't mind this good sitting at home after a while, I started to worry like, okay, this is getting old and now, okay, what am I going to do? You know, as a living.

So that started coming in and then the worry, and then the world really got into more and more lockdowns and more fatalities and more people sick. And of course we got the magnitude of everything and but I have to say that it's a year of a crash. Like everything crashed, my career crashed, everything stopped, but I am finding good things in that. Things are emerging, things that I've always wanted to do, but never could. So I started doing them this year. And so I can't say it's all bad.

Chelsea: That's amazing and good for you. How have you been adapting and maybe pivoting?

Mira: So for those who don't know me, who like just a little maybe background, I am a singer, songwriter, actress. I am also a content creator. I mean, you met me as a content creator because I had just created this TV series, this TV drama. So of course now all of that changed. I mean, I'm doing all kinds of online performances, but that's not the same. It's not the same routine, it’s not the same life. So this year I took upon myself to be the artistic director of a theater school in the desert here in Israel. Which is something, I have to say, I love it. I love it. And I enjoy it very much because I had brought my own vision of teaching to this school, which is a much more multidisciplinary kind of vision for actors. So it's not only acting, it's also a physical work and dance and music and creativity. We do a lot of creativity work. We work on their creativity. So they're not only actors they're creator. So they're write, they paint, they do all kinds of things.

Chelsea: This is so cool. I remember seeing this on your Instagram and saying, I wish I was on your side of the world so I could participate in this life changing experience.

Mira: Well, I would wanna believe that it is. I mean, now we can go back to do these workshops and that workshop that you saw on my Instagram is for for singers actually vocal training and stage performance. Which is another thing that I really enjoy teaching. I am also somehow this year, because I was sitting around doing nothing and I have other music, musician, friends. So I just went ahead and made video clips for them. So somehow I was out there with my camera directing and, and shooting and then editing. And this is something that I started doing. And then I suddenly look at myself and like, it's staring me in the face that I had become a production company without even thinking that I am one. So this is that another thing that I'm doing, and I just finished doing four more music videos, and I love this. I love it. I love it. Yeah, so it's like finding these things that were always there, but suddenly there was a shift and I'm doing these things more and other things less. So I'm still creating like crazy, which is good. Cause I need that for my soul, you know?

Chelsea: Yes, yes, yes. We all do. Yeah. It's good.

Mira: It’s good. I love what's happening.

Chelsea: Oh, well, congratulations. I would love to start right at the beginning of your life, you have a very interesting life and path. You're an Arab-Israeli. Your father is Palestinian and your mother is Bulgarian. What was your childhood like?

Mira: Well, in a nutshell like you said, it's multicultural. So bilingual by birth, trilingual by state because also Hebrew is part of my life because of where you live in Israel. Of course it has this, this multicultural universal global field to it. I was born and raised in a Palestinian village in the north of Israel, but my home was mixed and every summer we would travel to Bulgaria, to my family music wise, of course everything was going on in my house. Also I have to say that my parents were always politically involved, socially involved with people. My father is a doc is, I mean, was a doctor now he's retired, but he was a doctor who established an association for an organization for free services in the Galilee, free medical services.

He was a very, very, very active activist kind of a person. My mother worked with women and regarding women's rights, she worked with battered women, women who had suffered violence. So I grew up in this very socially aware home where you stood up for people, where you searched for justice for everyone, anyone who is suffering, everyone who is underprivileged, you stood up for these people because we are all humans and we are all equal. So these are principles that I really drank in my childhood from my parents. And it shows, I guess, yeah, it does. It really does. It shows in my work today.

Now I have to add to that, that growing up in an Arab village. I mean, my village is beautiful and it's very, very modern. It's not religious in a very notable way, but still, it's an Arab community. And I think a little bit about Arab community and it's a bit more preserved. It's more conservative, even though it was a very liberal kind of a village and not so religious. I have to say that it's a conservative kind of society. When we think back when I grew up there, this is like more than 30 years ago. So as a child I noticed the duality, the double standard, how boys were treated and how girls were, are treated and what the expectations are from boys and from girls. And they are so different. So boys were encouraged to go out and play and climb trees and girls were advised to cross their legs and learn how to knit.

I think in my refusal for that double standards started really early in life. I cannot tell you why, probably the influence of the fact that my parents are a mixed couple. I have seen other people how they live. You know, I have been outside of the village, so  I've seen other lives and I've seen what is possible for women out there. Maybe it had an effect, but it was clear to me that this is not how I want to lead my life. And from an early age, I was writing these songs about women's rights. And about violence against women, and about about this sky not being the limits for my dreams and me demanding that open sky for myself and refusing to have bars being put on on it.

And so when I was 18, I made sure that I was leaving the village, of course, because I said, okay, I'm gonna go out. I'm gonna study. I'm gonna be out there in you know, in a big city, a big city for me back then was Haifa which is not such a big city, but it was quite a big city for me. Arabs in it, it was a mixed city. So it was a nice transition, not so extreme. But then again here I am in Haifa city expecting to find my freedom as a woman, like here, nobody's gonna care about my gender and nobody's gonna limit me because of my gender. And of course not, it's a big city. Nobody cared what I'm dressing, how I'm laughing, how I'm sitting, who I'm going out with.

But then discovered something else, I discovered that I am an Arab in the Jewish state. So this whole new aspect of my identity suddenly took focus. Something that I really did not think about before, because I had lived with people who are exactly like me. I was not different in that way. And suddenly outside in the general Israeli population, I was different in that way, being an Arab. So then this story was added on to my art, to my agendas finding out about talking about identities, about narratives, about equality, about just sharing the space, being here together, all these ideas.

Chelsea: Wow. Where do you think your fascination with identity started? Is there a moment that you remember from when you were just a child that you questioned this for the first time?

Mira: The thing is about identity, we hear in our region, in our country, we are kind of obsessed about identity. But the thing about identity is that I don't think the struggle comes from within us. When I wake up in the morning or when I woke up in the morning as a kid, I never thought of myself as Palestinian or Arab or Israeli. These names had nothing to do with me. I was a kid I was. I wanted to go on sleeping. That's the only thing I could think about. And then as a mature woman, I mean, today when I wake up in the morning, the first thought in my head is that I am Palestinian Israeli woman artist. No, I'm just a human being who needs to brush her teeth. I think that we are so obsessed with identity and it comes it's something that this you are surrounding just needs to put you in some box.

Are you Arab, Israeli, are you Israeli first? Are you Palestinian first? What comes first? What comes next? Are you Christian? Do you self define yourself as Christian or atheist or like people really, really care about these things like obsessed about putting you in some box that they can understand, because then they can start assuming things about you. Because if you don't fit in a box, then what am I supposed to be thinking about you? I don't know what to think about you. I need you in a box in order to start assuming stuff. And when you refuse to go into a box, people are confused. What am I supposed to know about you right now? Cause, and then I ask him like, okay, what if I tell you like 1, 2, 3? Okay. I am Palestinian, Israeli atheist.

Does that tell you anything about my sense of humour? Does that tell you anything about what I think about global warming? Like see, what does it tell you about me? Nothing. Not really like some geographically politically like some information, but not really as a person. So as you can see, for me, it's fascinating. The whole thing of identity is fascinating for me. Of course, I care about my identity. Of course I feel affiliated to these places that I come from to these identities that I come from, the languages that I speak. I have a warm spot in my heart for the languages that I grew up with, of course we all are like that. Everything that we grew up with is it has a warm spot in our hearts, but am I willing to zoom in on that and not see anybody else?

Now that's a different question. I think people are divided into two kinds. One kind wants to zoom in and in more into their own identity. Like it's not enough that I'm Arab, I am Arab Christian, and it's not enough that I'm Christian, I'm a Christian Catholic or Orthodox or whatever it is. And I'm Christian Orthodox from that church. There a second kind of people who believe in expanding identities. I fit in there where every person, I meet every culture that I get to know, every language that I learn just expands makes me bigger, makes me wiser and smarter and more humble and a better person. And I think I belong to that kind to that second part.

Chelsea: I think so too. Mira, through your music, you provide people with a safe place to be just who they are. You have so much compassion, but you might not have always been treated that way by others. I recently saw in your Ted talk that you talk about transitions for you as an Arab Israeli and maybe not being accepted and faced rejection. I remember specifically one example about an apartment. Can you tell about that? What happened there? Yeah.

Mira: In hindsight, everything is different, right? I'm much older today, but yeah, it's very important to remember these stories because when I was 20ish. I was much younger and less evolved, less composed as the person that I am today. I still needed to fit in, I still needed to prove myself to others. I still was afraid of being, spit out of society over or of a community. So I was still trying a guard my place, and it really, really involved a lot of fear when you don't fit in, this is like a survival mode thing. When you feel that you don't fit in a community, in the community that is around you, that totally puts you in a survival mode. So yes, when I left my village it's just a small example because it's so vivid.

I go in to rent this apartment and I don't look like the stereotypical Arab woman. And my name is Mira, which is like kind of safe zone. It doesn't sound typically Arab. So I go in, and this real estate agent is nice and I like the apartment. I'm gonna take it and he can't believe his luck. He's like this amazing young student so he opens the papers and let's sign this kind of contract. It's not the real contract. It's just a contract that you're like closing the deal. And so yeah, what’s the name? I say, Mira. Okay, great. He puts Mira. What a family name? And I say Awad, and that's it. It's like the room froze, froze. This guy suddenly is stuttering. He doesn't know what to say. And it really, it went in a very, in very directions. So one of these guys told me, I think maybe the landlord had somebody else in mind. I should ask him before I give you the department. Another guy said something else like, you know, when it happens once fine. Maybe really the landlord had somebody else in mind happens twice, fine coincidence, three times? But when it starts to happen more, and when you understand there's a patent, there, you knew exactly what he was doing and you start to suspect.

But I have to say that one time, this real estate just told me in my face that the landlord told him specifically no Arabs. And that was a wake up call for me. I was kind of suspecting it, but I couldn't believe that the world was that blunt until I was told bluntly that the world. Little girl, the world is this blunt. They don't want you because you are Arab. So I have to say that I still remember the physical feeling, I felt filthy. I will never forget it. It's a feeling of shame, it’s shame. You feel filthy, like you've done something wrong. Now, again, I have to remind you, this would not happen to me today. I would not feel filthy or ashamed or anything today.

I would probably sue him, but I was really just in the beginning of my life, outside of my little community, outside of my village and I was shocked and I felt so ashamed and cornered, and I felt physically filthy. I felt like my skin was crawling. I think I got up obsessed with that feeling of being different or treated differently since that moment, like I had to treat it within myself. And then with time I wanted to treat it with others, let's treat that moment. When you are excluded in such a hurtful way, you are being told you do not fit in here. You are not welcomed to fit in here. How are you feeling about it? And how would you feel if that was you, that person that said that, how would you feel if that was you?

I wanna put you in the shoes of somebody who felt that for a moment. And I think these moments just stayed with me and I really wanted to do something about it, I wanted to change the world. Now, of course I have not changed the world, but I still strive to open little windows between people, between communities. I hang onto that. I try to hang onto it because really changing the world? I think I gave that up a few years ago. I understood that I'm not gonna change the world.

Chelsea: No, you are. You're doing incredible things. And you inspire many people who go on to create impact. So you're doing more than you think.

Mira: I don’t know. You know, the world is quite mighty and we've always been like, this human race has always been like this. So Mira Awad is not gonna be able to change that history of DNA overnight or over a lifetime. But, I do believe in the little drops of change, the little puddles, I call them little puddles of change because if they didn't exist, then if these little puddles didn't exist, then we would be living in a great, great desert. So we do need these little drops in the puddles.

Chelsea: Little drops of hope. Little puddles of hope. Yes, we definitely need that. Not to get too political here, but for those listening, who might not know too much about this, what is the basis of the conflict with Palestinians in Israel?

Mira: What do you mean? Just not to get too political, everything's political!

Chelsea: Yes. Thank you, yes it is.

Mira: People, get political, get very political because everything is political. The water you are drinking is political. The air that you're breathing is political. Everything in the world is political. So please get political already. Really, otherwise we're heading like in a bad direction where we wanna believe like we're in this illusion that we're gonna save the world by not being political and just loving our each other and hugging trees. No, I'm not a historian, right? This isn't my intake on this. I mean, I shouldn't be the one presenting or representing the history of region, but the short story is in ’48 a wonderful state was established here for the Jewish people, which was important to do. However, the establishment of that state kind of pushed aside other people who were already living here, that's the beginning of this struggle that we have here, the conflict called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If that was your question.

Chelsea: Yes. You just have an amazing and unique perspective because of your heritage. So thank you very much. You have also competed in your vision in 2005, I believe again in 2009, did you receive any pushback when you joined team Israel? If you're okay to talk about it with me, how were you embraced?

Mira: If there's one thing I learned about the world or about life is just embrace whatever you are. There's no point of running away from corners of your life or story. This is my story and I'm proud of it. In 2005, I was in the pre-Eurovision contest. So I didn't get to the actual Eurovision. I would say that in the pre-Eurovision contest here in Israel, I got the last place because two days before there was an article in the newspapers saying that I had trashed or spoken ill of the Israeli anthem and flag. So it was like a total misquote from what I had said, I had said something about the anthem and the flag. I had said that they don't include me, but I had not shamed or talked without respect about the Israeli symbols. But I just said that they don't include me since the anthem only talks about Jewish people. And the flag only has the Jewish star so we are not really included in these symbols.

So anyway, it was misquoted and people, there was a big, big pushback about that. Who is she to talk about our symbols? She does not respect the country. She does not respect me, probably. She wants us being thrown in the sea, whatever people got really mad about that, I got last place. Anyway, in 2009 I came back from the backdoor. Why do I say that? Because my friend’s an Israeli, very famous singer here, she's known in the world as Noa. She was offered to represent Israel in the Eurovision and we had been working together for nine years by then, collaborating. I mean, we each have our own career. But we had been collaborating for many years with the same message of collaboration, of solidarity, human solidarity and coexistence.

Chelsea: Oh my goodness, so fun.

Mira: So she talked me and said, Mira, I would do this only if you come along. If we do it together, I would do it. If not, this is not interesting.

Chelsea: I bet you had so many thoughts running through your head when she asked you that.

Mira: Well, my first thought was I asked are you sure you know what your vision is? Because it's nothing like you've ever done before. It's crazy town. Because it's a pop contest, it’s a whole different world from everything that we've done together.

Chelsea: You’re like, we're all in that's this is happening.

Mira: After we passed that point, it was obvious that we would want to take advantage of this big, big, big platform for our message.

And I said, yes, let's do it. Let's start. Yep. Let's do it. And we agreed. We went for it. However, little did we know that in a couple of months after we agreed Cast Lead start, which is the IDF, the Israeli army operation on Gaza in 2009. Thousands of people died, Gaza looked like a big ruin. And we were watching these images on TV, my heart was broken, shattered to pieces. And of course, as you can expect, I was put in a very, very, very, very difficult spot of my own camp, leftist, liberal, Israeli, and Palestinians demanding that I would step down because how can I represent the country that’s killing my own people right now. So I was under a lot of pressure from my own camp which is, from the left wing liberal, you know I was thinking the same, how can I now go and represent Israel when these little little kids in Gaza being carried on stretchers all over the news.

It was a huge, big, really, really difficult time. And I have to say, I haven't spoken about this too many times, but I have to say that I was contemplating stepping down until ta-da-da-da, until these friends of mine issued a petition in the internet asking me to step down. And then it had become not my choice to step down, but it had become being pressured by these people to step down. And maybe I'm a stubborn person, I don't know, I would not go that way. I will not step down because you are frightening me. You are threatening me and you are frightening me and they were threatening to boycott my concerts to boycott my everything. My parents were freaking out like, why would you need this? You know, this is gonna injure your career, this is gonna hurt you. Maybe there are crazy people gonna wait for outside your home and kill you.

We don't know what's going on, I know this can get violent, but I think I'm stubborn. And I said, okay, they didn't leave me a choice. If it had been my choice, maybe I would step down. And that would be my message. But now, it's not a message. I'm going ahead with this and I'm gonna say my message on stage in Moscow, in Eurovision. And that's what I did together with Noa. We wrote a song that was not lovey dovey peace tree hugging. It was called, There Must Be Another Way, and it spoke about the pain of both people, both community and about the urgency with which we need to find a different way to live together in this little piece of land. So we used that platform in the way that we understood best and with all the threats and all the that was going on and really the show that really happened here and attacks the media attacks. I'm very proud, very, very, extremely proud of our performance in the Eurovision song contest.

Chelsea: As you absolutely should be.

Mira: Of course we did not win. I was astonished that we got it. We got to the finals because really we just took it where we could. And I'm very proud of that entry and the message that we could bring in that really difficult time.

Chelsea: I wonder if you would sing a little bit of There Must Be Another Way.

Mira: And when I cry, I cry for both of us. My pain has no name. And when I cry, I cry. Do the merciless sky and say, there must be another away.

Chelsea: Oh my gosh, wow. I closed my eyes and I teared up a little. That was beautiful. Thank you so much, Mira. How have you stayed true to who you are through all of it?

Mira: Some people, when they meet me, they say, you are so brave. And I look at them and I say, or stupid. Cause there were really times in my life where my gut told me exactly the opposite of what everyone else was telling me. How stupid do you have to be to think you're still right? And I still couldn't do it. I just couldn't because something inside me told me, no, no, that's not what I wanna do. Or that's not how I understand this. Or that's not what my conclusion of what happened is. And I insisted on whatever it is that I was thinking or feeling or seeing or concluding.

So I don't know to tell you what it is. I just know that it is, if I'm doing something I'm standing in front of a situation and I have this bugging feeling about it. Hell no, I'm gonna listen to my gut. You know, I know it's right. And I'm gonna regret it if I didn't, I'm always right. I know this is right for me. It doesn't have to be right for everybody. For me, I cannot, I just cannot. Otherwise I'm gonna feel like I'm gonna throw up or I don't know, be sick or something. It's something physical. Seriously.

Chelsea: You have said, and I'm going to quote you, “When you let go of the need to please and when you take the leap of faith toward yourself, you do not fall.” This is so beautiful. How do you find the strength to be so bold?

Mira: Well, yeah, because they try to scare you into standing in line with everyone else. They try to scare you of the outcomes. If you're too different, nobody's gonna marry you. Whatever it is, right. It can be something silly or it can be something. Or if you're too different, then kids are not gonna speak to you in, in the break. Right. They're gonna ban you. And these are scary things for kids. These are scary things. I mean, if you're boycotted in school, that's not, really that's not a nice place to be in. Or if you live in an Arab village and people think you are unable, that is really bad as well. That is really bad place to be in. You've been to Arab villages. You know how it is like all my life, this influences of people trying to convince me to to just put my head down and walk with everybody else.

And for many years, I tried, I really tried to please to be nice with everyone, to please them to the extent that I felt that I wasn't, I mean, I couldn't, you can't walk straight that way! Because these are hitting you from here so you're trying to please them, these guys are hitting you from that side and trying to please them and you're not going anywhere. You're just trying to keep a balance and you know, not advancing, which is the most important thing. It's not by mistake that I used the Acrobat metaphor, because the one thing that they tell you, when you wanna keep your balance is don't look down.

Chelsea: Just keep looking forward.

Mira: Don’t look down. Don't look here, look there, far away. Look far. When they teach you how to ride your bike, the first thing they tell you, don't look at the wheel. You’ll fall. To look into the road, you have to look ahead, to the road. If you keep the road in your eyesight, then you finally, your body will find the balance. And, and that's the technique I use. I just look ahead, because right now, maybe there's a storm happening. People are screaming. They're not happy with me. They are totally unpleased. But if I raise my eyesight and I look forward to the places, to the goals that I have set for myself as a human being, which are all kinds of goals and I ask myself, okay this decision right now is this one that's gonna take you closer there. And this is when I know what I have to do because all this noise around me, fine. But I need to go forward towards my own goals.

Chelsea: Words to live by. You're leading the charge of human empowerment. We see it in your actions. We can hear it right now in this interview and the way you live your life, what does it mean to you to have this platform and to be a global figure who inspires women and girls?

Mira: Wow, you’re touching on something sensitive because I wanna share this because in my like initial built, I'm not built as a public figure. I am actually a shy person and a very private person. So at a moment in my life, I understood that this does not really go well with the career of a performer, right? I know that at some point I had to give up some privacy in order to get some more influence, right? And this has been a negotiation going on in my head and my heart, throughout all my career, I have struggled with this. This has never gone away. I have always in this negotiation, how much space do I give from my privacy in order to give influence. Now I have to tell you, what helped me to give up some privacy in order to get influence is the fact that I have these goals. I want to try and open windows between people and between communities and in order to do that, I need to be in influential. And in order to be influential, I need to give up a little bit of privacy. But this is an ongoing struggle, cause for me, I would shut down every online media platform right now. I would do it, I would not open on Instagram anymore in my life right now if I could, but I know that I need to be out there.

Chelsea: Well, I think people also wanna hear your message and be close to it. Mira, what would you say to someone listening who might be struggling with understanding or accepting their identity?

Mira: First of all, I would hug them because again, I wanna remind us that their struggle, if they think hard, they will realize that the reason they're struggling is not because of them. It's because of somebody else who pointed out their identity as something problematic, whether you're gay or black or Arab or Asian or whatever, probably somebody pointed at you and said, that's not okay for some reason. Cause otherwise why would you have a struggle with your identity? So think about that. And who are they to point out and make me struggle with my identity? Why do I empower them in such a way? F them, sorry for the language.

Chelsea: Language encouraged!

Mira: Take the power back from those people who had made your identity a problem because it's not. Wow.

Chelsea: Very empowering. Very powerful. Thank you Mira. I'm gonna ask you another advice question. You have reached a high level of success. What advice do you have for all the dreamers out there?

Mira: Wow. First of all, what is success? Is it financial? Is it influential? Is it what you feel about what you've done? Cuz these are three different things to consider. Cuz I cannot give advice about financial success. Cause I have not done that, but I can give a lot of advice about feeling good about what you've done with your career. And that is listening to your own voice. Always, always listen to that chatter in your gut. If you feel like you're gonna throw up, probably you're in the wrong room with the wrong people. Run, get out and do something else with other people. That's as simple as it can get. I think my career, you call it successful. I mean, some people would call it something else. I'm happy with what I've done till now. I still have a lot in store artistically speaking and a lot of departments that I'm interested in. Like I'm dreaming of producing more TV content, for example, more TV series. It's hard work and it's gonna take a long time, but I have the patience for it. Even when I look at all the things that I've done, I always want more. I always want to get more and more and have more info and do better things and artistically excel and yeah, absolutely all that stuff.

Chelsea: Mira, who inspires you?

Mira: You know it’s amazing but humankind is the thing that brings the most sadness in the world. And that's when I see how people can harm each other and how they can be and how they can be discriminative and racist and cause harm to each other. On the other hand, humankind is the thing that inspires me most. And that's when people are good to each other and empowering each other and helping each other and the environment, and then they are so inspiring. I could see these things on Instagram, just a person taking care of a little turtle that got caught up in something. And I'm like, yeah, man, that's what we're supposed to be about. And that is inspiring. It's so little and so small. That's inspiring. It brings me to tears. So humankind can be, but it can be the most inspiring thing ever. It can be a very beautiful thing.

Chelsea: We need more of that mirror. What are you working on now? And how can we all get involved?

Mira: Ooh. Yeah. So first of all, I'm still releasing music. Believe it or not. I know this is not really a year to release music because usually you release music in order to get concerts in and this is not equation anymore, but anyway, I am releasing music. So I'm out there. People, I'm on Spotify, on Apple Music, I'm on YouTube, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, whatever it is, I am on it. And my music is there. My video is out there. I'm producing my own videos, which is more of our artistic saying nowadays, because I wanna bring also the visual to tell you how I feel about things. I have an online store where it's not really for profit. It's for the message. Uh, I don't know if you know about my online store, it's called Mira Mira by mira.com.

What I do there is bring these positive messages out. I am sick and tired of the negative messaging in the world and I want us to wear positive messages. So it's not for profit, I don't get money from this. It's out there in order for us to wear all kinds of positive messages. There's this design that I did from the word Shalom Salam piece meaning peace where you can read it both in Arabic and Hebrew. So if you are a Hebrew reader and this is my design, but I'm a designer among everything else. If you're a Hebrew reader, you can see Shalom. If you're an Arabic reader, you see Salam. This started out the whole online store, but there are other things there. And I'm a production company right now. So I wanna produce more and more videos for other musicians and other artists. And these are the things that I'm doing and I want to create more content for TV following my TV series, Mona, I want to create more stuff like that in order to bring more stories of that sort about women, about Palestinian identities about living together in one small country. All these things that I care about.

Chelsea: Wow. Thank you so much Mira for joining me here on The Millie Podcast.

Mira: Thank you and I hope to be seeing you sooner than later when this crazy.

Chelsea: You have no idea, I cannot wait to see you truly. Thank you so so much. Thank you for joining me for this fun and passionate talk with Mira Awad. While we love Mira by Mira and I encourage all of our listeners to visit Mira's online shop by visiting Mira by mira.com and also check out Mira's Ted talk, available online. It's a must. You will be inspired and it's amazing. Please join me next week when I talk with Florence Akara, Managing Director of Femme International, NGO in East Africa, is helping to break the barriers and stigma people face as a result of menstruation, building a world where no one is limited by their body's natural cycle. If you enjoy listening to this podcast, please hit subscribe, share with your friends and visit us at millie.ca.

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