“If we don’t see ourselves on those screens, then we don’t really exist, do we?”
Actor Zoha Rahman plays Spider-Man’s first hijab-wearing character
One extra in the background of a Spider-Man movie became the most noteworthy moment for Actor Zoha Rahman. Why? The young woman was wearing hijab.
“I thought about it for days after that,” said Rahman. “I was like – I’ve never seen that before.”
Even this one small moment in one scene represented a huge step forward in on-screen representation for South Asian and Muslim people. Here was a typical person, doing usual things, wearing hijab on-screen.
Rahman has now taken that even further, playing a classmate of Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and wearing hijab in all her scenes.
To Rahman, representation is all-important – she believes that people need to see characters who look and act like them playing normal roles.
“We grow up watching television and blockbuster movies,” she said. “And if we don’t see ourselves on those screens, then we don’t really exist, do we?”
Zoha hopes this new role will help move South Asians and Muslim people out of the “caricature stage.”
“I call it the ‘Trio of Ts.’ We’re either the techie, the terrorist, or the taxi driver,” she says.