Hatoon Kadi is a Saudi Arabian comedienne, best known for her YouTube show Noon Alniswa, where she has over 355,000 subscribers. Hatoon uses satire to present social phenomena from a woman’s perspective, and is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Perfectly bilingual in Arabic and English, she also teaches Research Methodology at a private university. Hatoon started her career as IT support – that person you call if you’re computer gives you blue screen of death, or your hard drive self-combusts. Cables and mouses were not her end game and she pursued her PhD in social science & information systems.
Hatoon was inspired to start creating content while she was doing her PhD, when she realized that there were plenty of Saudi Arabian internet comedians, but almost no women at the time. We had a high-energy discussion about her path, going from IT personnel to YouTube comedy. We talked about how Hatoon’s career prior to freelance comedy instilled in her habits that have served her well professionally. We talked about the messages we receive as children and why they should be revisited. We covered cyber-bullying, the imposter syndrome and self-worth. Hatoon also shared practical tips on content creation.
My two favorite quotes of the episode are: “Knowledge is nothing without sharing it”. And “It’s brave to quit if things are not working”.
Hatoon recommended books by two Egyptian authors: Youssef El Sibai and Mustafa Mahmoud – as well as the work of Elizabeth Gilbert.
Read the Transcript
Rana Nawas: (00:00)
Hi Guys. For many years, until recently, I felt like I wasn’t having enough fun in my life. I work hard, but do not get around to playing hard. During the time I am not working, I do things like self-care or life management or looking after other people. So not much of it was fun and this has been a big gap for me because I love to laugh. Maybe everyone does. The excuses, “life happens, children come along…etc” are not good enough. I honestly believe that for our sanity, we need to have more fun. Sanity matters. Enter comedy. I’ve always loved stand-up and two of my favorite Instagram accounts are Trevor Noah and Samantha Bee. Youtube opens a whole new world for us, with all sorts of channels, just as podcasts provide all sorts of content too. I have my own Youtube channel, but it’s not hilarious, if I’m being honest. The videos up there are more on the educational side. When you’re looking for something funny, my guest on today’s show is where you’ll find it. Hatoon Kadi is a Saudi Arabian comedian, best known for her Youtube show, Noonalniswa, where she has over 355,000 subscribers. She presents social phenomena from a woman’s perspective using satire and is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Perfectly bilingual in Arabic and English, Hatoon also teaches research methodology at a private university in Saudi Arabia. Hatoon started her career as IT Support; that person you call if your computer gives you blue screen of death or if your hard drive self-combusts. Cables and mouses were not her end game and she pursued her PhD in Social Science and Information Systems. Hatoon was inspired to start creating content while she was doing her PhD, when she realized that there were plenty of Saudi Arabian Internet Comedians, but almost no women, at the time. We had a high energy discussion about her path going from personnel to Youtube Comedy. We talked about how Hatoon’s career, prior to Freelance Comedy, instilled in her habits that have served her well. We talked about messages we get as children and why they should be revisited. We covered cyber bullying, the impostor syndrome and self-worth. Hatoon also shared practical tips on content creation. My two favorite quotes from the episode are “our knowledge is nothing without sharing it” and “it’s brave to quit if things aren’t working.” So let’s get into it.
Rana Nawas: (02:41)
Hatoon, I am thrilled to have you on When Women Win. Thank you so much for making the time.
Hatoon Kadi: (02:44)
Thank you very much, Rana, for inviting me. I really love listening to When Women Win and being in one of the episodes is really an honor. Thank you very much.
Rana Nawas: (02:52)
Awesome! Tell us, please, about your first experience doing a Youtube video. What was the video about?
Hatoon Kadi: (03:00)
Well, the first video, which was shot in 2011 and then released in 2012, was about the thing that I have been suffering from for so many years. I don’t know if it’s the same in other Arabic society, but I know that it’s really true about the Saudi society – it’s the overindulging in brands and then the overindulging in a lifestyle that is really way beyond your financial capabilities. And so I gave it a term, “cawlana,” which comes from the English word “cool.”
Rana Nawas: (03:31)
You want to be cool!
Hatoon Kadi: (03:32)
So the first video is about the science of cawlana, how to be cool. And I called it “E’elm al cawlana,” or “the Science of Cowlagie,” or whatever you want to call it.
Rana Nawas: (03:49)
Hatoon Kadi: (03:49)
I don’t know what you want to call it. So it was about that. And ever since that day, I release mini-episodes about the issue of overindulging in brands and trying to live up to something that is not actually genuine, it’s not actually you. It’s, I think, keeping up with the Jonases in the Western Side. Or here, I think it’s a factor in all countries of the world, where you have people who want to live beyond their means. And you know, when everyone is indulging, you are just pressured and you, at the end of the day, no matter how you believe in yourself and how well you believe in your principles, you will be pressured. You are part of this society. So the only way for me to kill this issue is by making fun of it.
Rana Nawas: (04:35)
How was it received?
Hatoon Kadi: (04:35)
It was received positively in a way that I really didn’t expect. It was like people were suffering. And the thing is, I always say that I’m part of this society and lots of the things that I criticize in my videos, I do myself. So I’m not preaching anyone, I’m just part of this society.
Rana Nawas: (04:57)
So, this video went viral. What does going viral mean?
Hatoon Kadi: (05:01)
Well, I don’t think it has a clear definition, but back then, you know when you just release a video and then suddenly your phone is just buzzing and everyone is talking about it on social media, when your family members are calling you, I think that means viral. And when it comes to numbers, we achieved 500,000 hits in 5 days.
Rana Nawas: (05:25)
Hatoon Kadi: (05:25)
Yeah. So yeah, it was viral. Everyone was talking about it.
Rana Nawas: (05:29)
And this was your first?
Hatoon Kadi: (05:30)
That was my first.
Rana Nawas: (05:31)
Hatoon Kadi: (05:31)
Rana Nawas: (05:32)
Now you had a long career in IT before you went into this field. What were you doing?
Hatoon Kadi: (05:38)
Well, I started working after I graduated, back in 2002. So I started working at the IT department as an Application Support. So I was the girl who is responsible for fixing the machines, you know, when your mouse is not working and then you’re asking for the IT girl. I was the IT girl. I was the girl who you always find underneath your office trying to fix your stuff. So yeah, I was that girl who was always walking around with the wires, with mousses and with keyboards for users. So I was that girl and I evolved. So first, I was Application Support. So I used to fix things. Then I started doing everything that has to do with the hardware and with the software. And then I evolved into being a Network Administrator. So it was a long career, from 2002 until 2008, I was working as an IT personnel in different positions with different responsibilities.
Rana Nawas: (06:38)
And then you got your Masters and then you went on and got your PhD. Amazing! So I have a technical question for you: should I always restart my computer before I call the IT department?
Hatoon Kadi: (06:50)
Please, please, please. Oh you know, there is another tip for you. Try to switch on the screen, try to switch on the screen, it works most of the time. You know, when it’s black and the thing in your tower is blinking, you can try switching on the screen. It works for people.
Rana Nawas: (07:13)
Yeah, that’s a great tip! Do you think your corporate career prepared you, in any way, for this new career as a Content Creator and Brand Ambassador?
Hatoon Kadi: (07:21)
Well, I always describe my career in IT and currently in teaching, as being parallel to my career as a Content Creator and Presenter. But the thing is, what I really learned throughout my long career and through my teaching are discipline and commitment because you know, I see lots of feeling influencers who started at a very young age. They don’t know commitment. They don’t know discipline. They don’t think of their work on social media as actual work. But for me, because I used to work, I know that if you pay money, you need to get a service. So I really understand that. I really respect that. And when I’m working with a client, when I’m working with my audience, I feel that I’m really committed to them and they deserve the best of me because if they are an audience, they give me their time. If it’s a client, they gave me their money. So I need to give them my all. I understand this and I’m committed. I’m always early. I’m always on time. I try to deliver on time and that did not just come like that, it’s because of my long career. Because yeah, you need to be disciplined. You need to be committed.
Rana Nawas: (08:31)
Yeah. And let the record show that Hatoon was half an hour early for this interview. I agree with you. You know, I had 17 years corporate and now I’m an entrepreneur. And the thing that I find most difficult to manage is people’s lack of respect for deadlines.
Hatoon Kadi: (08:48)
Rana Nawas: (08:49)
I have to meet deadlines, deadlines matter. Time matters.
Hatoon Kadi: (08:52)
Yes. Deadline matters. Time matters. And for me, I work very well when I’m under pressure. If you give me a deadline, I always meet them. Even during my Masters I had a very difficult situation with my family and I decided not to postpone my dissertation. I had valid reasons, but then I decided I’m functioning, I’m working and I’m actually getting away from the problem by working on my dissertation. So, the deadline was on the 9th of December, I handed hand my dissertation on the 9th of December, no matter what, no matter what, no matter what. So, I love deadlines. I work very well, very well. But if I have lots and lots of time, I just lay there.
Rana Nawas: (09:40)
So you started off as an IT person, who went on, you know as we talked about, with your education, and now you teach.
Hatoon Kadi: (09:51)
Rana Nawas: (09:53)
While doing content creation. So I guess first, why did you make the jump from IT into content creation?
Hatoon Kadi: (10:02)
There’s a very nice story behind this. You know, growing up, sometimes your sisters and your mom tell you things and then it just get stuck in your mind. The thing about things from our childhood is that we never visit them, we never revisit them and we never confirm them, we just take them as facts. And one of those facts is that I don’t know how to express myself and I don’t know how to teach. And I’m only a receiver, I am not a sender.
Rana Nawas: (10:27)
These are messages you were given?
Hatoon Kadi: (10:30)
Yes. And I was so sure that this is me and I was so sure that I don’t know how to teach. When I came back from the UK after I had my Masters, I was climbing the stairs and then the Program Director of the MIS Department, Dr. Amani Muhammad, saw me and told me “Hatoon, you are back?” I said, yes. “You got your Masters?” I said, yes. So she said “you are going to teach this course, you are going to teach Principles of MIS.” I said, “Dr. Amani, you are kidding me. I don’t know how to teach, I would fail you and I would fail the girls. I don’t think you want this. Go find someone else.” She told me “Hatoon, you are teaching this. This is non-negotiable. Go to my office and get the files. You are teaching this part-time.” “Dr. Amani, I don’t know how to teach.” I started crying. I started panicking. I was like trapped. She said “Hatoon, don’t talk a lot, come to my office. Get the files and teach the course.”
Rana Nawas: (11:25)
Why were you in at the university?
Hatoon Kadi: (11:27)
I was doing IT because I used to work as an IT personnel at the university.
Rana Nawas: (11:33)
Hatoon Kadi: (11:33)
So my long career was at a private university, Dar El-Hekma University. So, I took the materials from her and I thought about giving it a chance. I said “Hatoon, give it a chance. It is only one course, it’s an introductory course and you are capable,” because when she handed me the materials, I looked at it and I wasn’t only familiar with it, I was an expert in the things I was going to teach. But then you can imagine the amount of stress and Oh My God, it was so difficult. The thing is, when you are teaching girls, you need to be composed. Even if you are shaking from the inside you, they should not think that you are shaking. You are composed, you know how to do it, you’ll have to have this attitude. You have to be really confident. So then I discovered that I’m really good at masking myself and at masking my feelings. The first lecture was hell for me, but then I did it and then I enjoyed it. God, I am good at it. I’ve never revisited the thoughts “I don’t know how to teach well.” I never validated them. So I always say, if you are making any decisions based on things that you were told when you were child, please go back and revisit them. They might be true. You may only be a receiver and not a sender, but do revisit them. Give yourself a chance to revisit all of your old thoughts, some of them might not be true. I ended up loving teaching and ended up being really good at it. Thank God that Dr. Amani crossed my way.
Rana Nawas: (13:14)
You’re really busy doing lots of other stuff. Why do you still teach?
Hatoon Kadi: (13:18)
I love teaching. I went from hating teaching to loving teaching, to feeling that it’s my responsibility to disseminate the knowledge that I have already acquired during my Master and during my PhD, because knowledge is nothing without sharing it. You need to share your knowledge. It’s something that was given to you and you need to give it back. So that’s why I still teach. This semester I was not teaching, but enshallah (God willing, in Arabic), I wish that I will be back next semester. I teach part-time, it’s not taking that much of my time and it’s giving me satisfaction that nothing else can give me.
Rana Nawas: (13:54)
And I think you teach Research Methodology. Tell me more about that.
Hatoon Kadi: (14:00)
Yeah. Well, Research Methodology teaches a gift; it equips students with the tools they need to conduct a valid research. And I feel that if you know how to do research, you know how to validate any information that you come across, in your life. Because what we see these days from the dissemination of fake news, the propaganda and the media with agenda, we are showered not with blessings of information, but with hell of information. And if we don’t have this filtration in our minds, that makes you know what is valid and what is not, then you are not even capable of forming viable and valid opinions. Research Methodology equips you for all of this.
Rana Nawas: (14:46)
Now Hatoon, through your very varied career and all the different things that you’ve done, have you ever experienced moments of self-doubt?
Hatoon Kadi: (14:54)
So many – and they are not all related to my show, to my writing and to my content creation. I can trace some of them back to when I was working in the IT Department, I had lots of moments of doubt. When I was doing the Network Administration, Oh My God, I thought that I’m never good enough. And then when I was doing my PhD during the first year, I had a very bad experience with a very insulting Supervisor. I reported the incident officially and everything, and I wrote about, I blogged about it but I had moments of doubt. Then I decided to give myself time and then when I went back on track with a decent supervisor, I actually passed the confirmation report with distinction, with no corrections. And then, I started getting a divorce at the middle of my PhD and being responsible for two boys. I finished before lots of students and I passed, with minor corrections. So yeah, I was capable of doing it but I could not stop those moments of doubt. And is this a moment of doubt or let’s just take it as a reality check.
Rana Nawas: (16:02)
Yeah, that’s the complication.
Hatoon Kadi: (16:04)
That’s the complication because you want to be honest with yourself.
Rana Nawas: (16:06)
How do you navigate that?
Hatoon Kadi: (16:09)
I give myself time. I also had moments of doubts when I was doing Noonalniswa because we did a great first episode, it went viral. But the second episode was not as good as the first one and people started harassing me. Actually, when I say harassing, yeah they were harassing me.
Rana Nawas: (16:27)
What do you mean?
Hatoon Kadi: (16:28)
Oh God. They would say, “look, you don’t have a mirror? You don’t look at yourself? How dare you present yourself to us? You’re disgusting!”
Rana Nawas: (16:38)
So this is online bullying?
Hatoon Kadi: (16:40)
Yes, online bullying. And people were telling me, “you think you are funny? Oh My God, how can you stand yourself?” And you know, it’s about your sense of humor, which I think is your capital when you are going to do a Comedy Show or a Social Satire Show. It’s about you being funny. Look, I don’t use “you are good with your PhD, maybe you’re not good at doing this.” I gave myself about 4 months and then I went back to UTURN and we started revisiting the scripts and everything. And then we did five amazing seasons of as well. But yeah, I had those moments of doubts. And then when I gave myself time, I decided between me and myself, that I will be totally honest with myself, that I will not fool myself if this was not for me, I will decide that it’s not for me and I will check with other, I will consult with others. But time is very impressive.
Rana Nawas: (17:36)
So you say, “okay, I’m going to give myself 3 months and then see where I’m at, at the end of 3 months.”
Hatoon Kadi: (17:40)
Yes, yes. If we’re making progress then maybe yes I am good at it, but maybe I just need to change my ways or change my strategies. You need more tools, you need more education. But if it’s not working, then yeah, let’s quit. It’s brave to quit if things are not working.
Rana Nawas: (17:57)
I love that. It’s brave to quit if things are not working. It’s really important. Now you’re a Saudi woman living in Saudi Arabia and you do videos on social issues; really funny ones, really funny. I really enjoyed the ones I’ve seen – super satirical. You mentioned a bit about the online bullying but let’s talk about the other side. So how was your comedy received by friends, family and society at large?
Hatoon Kadi: (18:22)
You know, every day and each day when I count my blessings, I just extend my deep gratitude for God, for giving me such a loving family. Because in the Arab world, this is true about Saudi Arabia, but I don’t know if it’s true of other Arabic society, but I think it’s true at least to a certain extent, that we are a family centric society. Family is very important and the approval of family is really very important. Sometimes they might not stop you from doing things, but if they don’t love the thing that you are doing, you might stop doing it because you need their support. And I love this, you know, some people say no, it’s better to have lonesome societies where it’s only you and your spouse and no one else. I love family centric society system because although there are lots of things that sometimes you feel the intrusions into your life, at the same time, they are your backbone. Whenever anything happens to you, you have your family at your back and I don’t want to lose this. So I really care about what my ex-husband said, what my mom, my dad, my sisters and then the rest of the family said. I try to seek their approval as much as I can because I want to be part of them. My mum and dad were very important to me and they really loved what I did. So khalas, alhamdillah (enough, Thank God) we are good, let’s go, let’s keep going. And you know, I am a conservative person by nature. I have lots of self-made red lines and they never intend to cross them because it’s uncomfortable for me. So, I try, as much as I can, not to insult anyone. So, I have this self-installed system of discipline and I think this can go back because when I started, I was in my thirties and I thought “you are not young anymore. You are not crazy anymore. You don’t want to do crazy things. You want to do meaningful things.”
Rana Nawas: (20:20)
So you’re very focused on not insulting anyone with your satire.
Hatoon Kadi: (20:23)
Yeah. I try as much as I can. Sometimes it’s really hard. It’s really hard because sometimes people are really sensitive. And you know, at the end of the day I decided that if people are overly sensitive, I think it’s not my problem, it’s their problem. I know that my content is not insulting. If you are insulted, maybe it’s you, it’s not me. But I try as much as I can for it not to be me. I really care about this.
Rana Nawas: (20:50)
Now, surely this path wasn’t planned, right? So you’re this big Youtuber now, you have over 355,000 people subscribed to your channel. 355 thousand people! So why do you think that is?
Hatoon Kadi: (21:05)
Well, when I first started, as you said, it wasn’t was all unplanned. I’ve never ever thought about the idea of me being public or of people to recognize me or to watch me or to know me for things that I do. But back in 2011, when we were watching other shows in Saudi Arabia, like “Atayer,” like “Shili,” like “Tesa’a ela Robe’e,” there were many shows that were all by male presenters. They are all my sons. I love them all and I was really inspired by them. But then I found the gap; female perspective was lacking. So there was an opportunity and I used to blog and all of my blogs were satirical. So, I knew that I could turn those satirical blogs into something visual. I knew that I can do it. So I didn’t hesitate. I just started. It was new during that time and it was meaningful. I mean, it was not only about product review or something simple, it was something meaningful. It was a show. So it was new. And I always ask myself, “was I the only one during that time? Or was I the best?” And I don’t know. I don’t know. I wish that I am at the best of myself, but I don’t know.
Rana Nawas: (22:26)
Well, it’s kind of an irrelevant question. Who Cares?
Hatoon Kadi: (22:30)
Rana Nawas: (22:32)
Let’s not look backwards.
Hatoon Kadi: (22:33)
Rana Nawas: (22:33)
Okay. So you mentioned the online bullying, has that been the most difficult thing to deal with or has there been other challenges putting yourself out there the way that you do?
Hatoon Kadi: (22:46)
The thing is, I was not expecting people to bully me on my looks. You know, sometimes you are so very confident and so very comfortable in your own skin to the extent that you don’t expect people to bully you for the way you look. Because if you have a problem with the way you look, you would not expose yourself in that way. So when they started insulting my looks, using very bad words, I was shocked. I was expecting people to bully me for my work. It’s like, “you are a woman. How dare you?” This is the dialog I was expecting. Or “you’re not funny,” I was expecting that. But for them to insult my looks, for God’s sake, I’m a woman. Our looks are very important to us. No matter how much we say that we are deep, that we don’t care, we do care about how people perceive us visually. We are human beings. We are not only women, we are human beings. So the way that we are perceived, I mean in terms of looks, is really important to us. So God hit me right in the face. “God, no, please don’t do this to me. It was so hard.” But then throughout the years, I just developed thick skin. I started saying, “yeah, I am overweight. I am doba (it’s the term for overweight in Arabic). Yes I am doba.”
Rana Nawas: (24:05)
Doba means bear.
Hatoon Kadi: (24:05)
Doba, in our slang, means you are overweight. So when they say I am doba, yes I am doba, khalas (enough), move on. What’s next? What’s next? I am the doba Hatoon talking to you. Yallah, let’s do the next thing. So yeah. Then you develop this thick skin and move on. If you don’t invest into developing this thick skin, it’s better for you to stop because it’s too much. It’s too much.
Rana Nawas: (24:37)
And what’s best practice when you get comments like that? Do you delete them? Do you reply?
Hatoon Kadi: (24:41)
I never ever reply.
Rana Nawas: (24:44)
Well, let’s talk about your core skills here and practical tips for the listeners. What advice do you have for people who want to create content?
Hatoon Kadi: (24:54)
It’s very important that you do have a plan. I always call this plan your compass because if you don’t have a compass in this crazy world, and if you only want to be famous, you will end up doing shameful and crazy things. And we can see those things on social media with girls over dehumanizing themselves because they want to be famous, because they want brands to come to them, because they want to do advertisements and they do shameful things and I know that if after years, they will say “why did I do this?” So, if you have a plan, if you have real content, then go on. Because if you don’t have real content, you’d be the content and you will be insulted on your looks and then people will have the right to insult you because it is your content. Because for me, when people come and criticize my episode, it’s the episode, I can’t change the episode. But if my content is my body, my hair, my face and my poses, people will talk about them. Why would I expect people to only say nice things about my content? Your body is your content. You are subjecting yourself. You are putting yourself into this position and then you end up crying. God, love yourself first, respect your body, have a content and then go online. If you are a fashionista, make it about the fashion, not about your body, because you are better than that. You are better than that.
Rana Nawas: (26:17)
So, there are success stories of women who do this right.
Hatoon Kadi: (26:21)
Yes, exactly. Doing it right. It’s not about not doing it, it’s about doing right, having a plan and we have great stories. I love the story of “Huda Beauty.” It’s an inspiring story because Huda really loves and she’s so passionate about makeup. So when she started, it was an artistic thing. And we all love her products and we all buy her products. I trust her and we trust her because we know that she is genuine. Have a plan, have a compass, make it about the content and then go on whatever this content is. If it’s about beauty, about makeup, about fitness, about health, about the social issues, about books…
Rana Nawas: (27:03)
About empowering women.
Hatoon Kadi: (27:04)
About empowering women, of course. See, we have such a great podcast from a woman who really knows what she’s doing.
Rana Nawas: (27:12)
Thank you! Thank you! Shameless plug.
Hatoon Kadi: (27:13)
This is another tip that I always give people who want to do content; have something to show the people, don’t just have ideas in your mind. Have something, have a small pilot, even if it’s shot with your camera. If you are into writing, have scripts, have something written up, something to show people because a lot of people have ideas, but people who have plans, other people want to work with them and they know that they are ready. I try to film a Noonalniswa episode during Christmas breaks, Easter breaks and during summer breaks, so we do batches. When I’m living in the UK, I don’t do anything with Noonalniswa, so we just release an episode, every month, that we have already shot when we were back in Jeddah.
Rana Nawas: (28:04)
Hatoon Kadi: (28:04)
So yeah, they were parallel, actually.
Rana Nawas: (28:07)
Yeah, parallel lives. So, you did a PhD in the UK and when you go back for holidays, you shoot batches that you release once a month?
Hatoon Kadi: (28:13)
Rana Nawas: (28:13)
Awesome. You have two children…
Hatoon Kadi: (28:15)
Rana Nawas: (28:15)
How old are they?
Hatoon Kadi: (28:17)
16 and 13 – Ahmad and Awab.
Rana Nawas: (28:20)
Amazing. Did they find you funny?
Hatoon Kadi: (28:23)
At the beginning, because they were so young, no. I’ll tell you a very funny story. During that time, I was doing Noonalniswa and Bader Saleh was doing the show called EyshElly, where he used to take online videos and then comment on them in a funny way. So, once I heard my children discussing this and Ahmad told Awab, “look Awab, I am very afraid that Bader Saleh is going to make fun of my mum.” I told him “let go Ahmad, if Bader Saleh makes fun of me, I will make fun of him. It’s a fair game.” They did not understand because the content is actually a little mature.
Rana Nawas: (29:04)
I mean, it’s satire. It’s not just funny, it’s satire.
Hatoon Kadi: (29:07)
Yes. Yes. So it’s mature. Now, they love it and they find it funny. They are growing up, so they understand more. So yeah, they are very proud of me and I’m so happy about that. I’m so, so, so, very happy with that. They are really proud of me.
Rana Nawas: (29:22)
I love that! We’re going to move into the rapid fire round, Hatoon. Okay, are you ready?
Hatoon Kadi: (29:28)
Yallah! (let’s go).
Rana Nawas: (29:28)
Yallah! What is the question you wish people would ask you more often?
Hatoon Kadi: (29:32)
Can I say the question that I don’t want anyone to ask me?
Rana Nawas: (29:35)
Hatoon Kadi: (29:35)
It’s: how much do you weigh? When are you going to lose weight? Are you on a diet? These kinds of questions. And on the other hand, I love when people ask me about my blog and about my writing. I love it!
Rana Nawas: (29:49)
Okay. Speaking of writing then, are you a big reader?
Hatoon Kadi: (29:55)
Oh God, I’m a huge reader.
Rana Nawas: (29:56)
What is a book that has really influenced you?
Hatoon Kadi: (30:01)
Okay. I mean, I don’t remember myself not reading because back then, during our times, we had no other means of entertainment other than the TV with its two channels, videos and reading. I used to collect books and collect stories, since I was a little girl. So, I finished all The Lady Birds, all Al Maktaba Al Khadra’a Lil Atfal,” all these children’s stories. And then when I started growing up, I remember the book that really most inspired me, until this day, was an oval to the Egyptian writer Yousef Rakha. The book is called “Nahno La Nazra’a al Shawk,” which means “we don’t plant thorns.” It is about a girl. It was a very sad story. But then at a moment during the story, she was getting sexually exploited for a coin, for I think one penny or something. She didn’t know what was happening and she thought that the penny is too much. She was thinking, “what did I do for this guy to offer me this penny?” And oh my God, it was like she doesn’t have any self-worth. And until this day, whenever I think about self-worth and about respecting yourself, I just remember Sayeda (because her name was Sayeda, in the book). It was good. God, she didn’t know her worth. She didn’t have any awareness of how much…Actually; it’s not about how much we work. We are priceless as human beings. So she was exploited to that extent. God, it was so inspiring. Until this day I’m inspired by it.
Rana Nawas: (31:50)
Hatoon Kadi: (31:50)
Lots of books came later that I’m very inspired by. Also, the Egyptian Scientists Mustafa Mahmoud, I would say shaped my thinking for a certain amount of time. And until this day, I re-read his books and God, I evolve and I see how much I changed, how much I evolved and I love that.
Rana Nawas: (32:11)
Yeah. Last question: who is a woman that has influenced you greatly, apart from your mother? Because a lot of women say their mom.
Hatoon Kadi: (32:19)
Well, in beauty, my mom. No, my mom is, of course, a great mom. The thing is, I don’t take one woman to influence me. I get influenced by lots and lots of women. I love Oprah Winfrey. I love how she evolved. I love how she planned her career really and how stopped at the right time. I am also very influenced by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her as a writer. I love her writings. I love her writings and I love how honest she is with herself and with her audience. I am influenced by Rana Nawas for having a very nice podcast, really.
Rana Nawas: (32:59)
You’re so sweet! Hatoon, where can listeners find you? O.
Hatoon Kadi: (33:00)
Okay. Listeners can find me on Youtube, on the channel Noonalniswa, which is part of the UTURN entertainment platform. And they can find me on my Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, all with the handle @Hatoonkadi
Rana Nawas: (33:18)
Amazing. And this will all be in the show notes. Hatoon, thank you so much for your time, I had so much fun!
Hatoon Kadi: (33:21)
Thank you so much for inviting me. I really had fun! Thank you!
Rana Nawas: (33:27)
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