Release Date: 
Thursday, June 27, 2019

HFC film student joins new podcast to defy stereotypes

Malak Wazne

In late May, Dearborn Girl – a podcast for Arabic and Muslim women in Dearborn to share their stories and defy stereotypes – launched to critical acclaim and media attention.

One of the guests in its first season was HFC film student Malak Wazne, a 2018 Dearborn High School alumna. A lifelong Dearborn resident, Wazne appeared on the podcast to talk about her aspirations to become a filmmaker.

The Dearborn Girl hosts Rima Fadlallah and Yasmeen Kadouh spoke to Wazne afterward about expanding the podcast from just an audio experience to a visual one, in an effort to reach more people in different ways.

“I have done all the visual work for the first season of Dearborn Girl, including our weekly ‘Ask Dearborn’ segments, in which we ask a different question to people all over Dearborn to start a conversation,” said Wazne. “By expanding to a visual medium, we’re able to reach more people to build important conversations.”

Seeing the story from a different perspective

The artists have already completed the first season, which consists of 10 episodes. Each episode is approximately 30 minutes. They celebrated the premiere of Dearborn Girl with a launch party May 22 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn. The first guest was Mariam Jalloul, a Fordson High School alumna who was the first hijab-wearing woman from Dearborn to be accepted to Harvard University.

“Mariam’s episode premiered at our watch party, so we thought to tell the story in a cinematic way by making a mini-documentary about it. It allowed the audience to see the story from a different perspective,” explained Wazne.

Other guests in the first season included Rana Elhusseini, a Fordson basketball player who will attend Edinboro University in Pennsylvania this fall; and Dr. Batoul Auon, a physician who left Lebanon in 2006 and resettled in Dearborn. The podcast also conducted a discussion about sexual harassment.

Tearing down barriers

The second season is scheduled to begin this fall. Wazne couldn’t share any details at this time, but she had effusive praise for the podcast co-hosts.

“Working with Rima and Yasmeen has been an absolutely beautiful experience. We’ve all become sisters. The three of us have managed to turn this idea into something bigger than any one person,” said Wazne. “The podcast’s purpose is to tear down barriers that were built in silence, and build empathy by sharing our individual stories. That is why I do what I do.”

Dearborn Girl is available on Instagram, YouTube, Apple iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. Check out their Facebook page.