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Alya Mooro

Egyptian born and London bred, Alya Mooro has earned her successes as a self-employed journalist, presenting unique approaches to social commentary, fashion and lifestyle. With her first book on the way to shelves, we met with Alya to learn more about the passion and voice she provides for multi-cultural women everywhere. Pre-order The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes here

On your career…


How did you start writing? Was it something you always enjoyed?

I’ve been writing pretty much ever since I could pick up a pen. Growing up, it was a way to work out what I was thinking and feeling, and my own form of therapy. It was the only constant when it felt like everything was changing and out of my control. I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career, and when I graduated from University with a degree in Sociology and Psychology, I started thinking of writing professionally. I haven’t looked back since.


You’ve mentioned that you really enjoy freelancing - what are some of the perks of taking this path as a journalist?

Being freelance allows me to have control over my time as well as what it is I’m writing about and working on. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful but it also requires a lot of willpower and self-control. I think I’m probably a tougher boss on myself than anyone else would be. The difference between being self-employed and being unemployed, I’ve always thought, is literally the motivation and determination to create work for yourself and to do it.


What originally made you decide to freelance as opposed to working for a big publication?

I’m not sure it was a decision so much as something that just happened. When I first started writing professionally, I interned at many publications and had a few part-time positions, always writing freelance on the side, too. I’ve always followed my gut and the opportunities that came my way, or that I created for myself. Social media also allowed me to build a portfolio and an audience of engaged readers, which has definitely helped with every step I’ve taken and every new endeavor.


What is your favorite topic to write about?

Over the last few years I’ve focused mainly on social commentary – why we live our lives the way the we do and how we think and feel about them – and that is ultimately what I really enjoy exploring. I guess it’s a natural extension from my interest in sociology and psychology!


Do you have a favorite piece that you wrote?

My forthcoming book The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes is by far the thing I am most proud of. I feel like all my work and all the pieces I wrote before that were practice in how to express my thoughts and how to make my words say what I wanted them to say. They all made me brave enough to do this.


This Fall you’re releasing your first book, The Greater Freedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes! Can you tell our readers about it?

The book is about being Egyptian and British and a woman and all that comes with that. In this current political climate, where there’s increasing fear of the ‘other’ and especially Arabs or Muslims, I felt it was super important to add to the conversation and provide an alternative narrative of what it can mean to be a Middle Eastern ‘technically Muslim’ woman. The book addresses all sorts of topics, from ideals of beauty to expectations on how we’re supposed to behave, what we’re supposed to want and who we are supposed to be.


Your book is part memoir, part social exploration – what exactly does this mean?

Each chapter of the book focuses on a different topic. I use my life experiences, interviews with many other Middle Eastern women as well as extensive research in order to highlight and explore these themes.


Being Egyptian-born and London-raised sparked an interest in you regarding cultural identity. Do you identify with one culture more than the other? And how do you find room in your life for both?

I am both Egyptian and British, and being both, in a way, makes me neither because I’m not a hundred percent either of those things. In a time of increasing globalization,

I think a lot of people can relate to this. One of the things that writing this book made me realize is that being both is actually a strength because it means I can create my own identity by picking and choosing the aspects that most resonate with me. It also made me further realize that as humans, there are always more things that bind us than that separate us.


What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone trying to make it as a journalist?

Don’t wait for permission from anyone.


On style…


Describe your style in three words.

Comfortable, fun, eclectic.


Do you feel that your different cultural backgrounds impact your personal style?

Not really, although I have noticed that when in a city like London I do like to dress quite modestly. Even when it’s boiling hot, I don’t feel comfortable with too much skin on show.


What are your most coveted pieces in your wardrobe?

My paternal grandmother was one of the most fashionable women to grace this planet and when she passed away a few years ago I inherited many of her incredible pieces, including some stunning vintage blazers from designers the likes of YSL and Balmain.


Where or who do you look to for fashion inspiration?

Instagram is a big source of inspiration, albeit by osmosis. I tend to shop / get dressed based on my mood that day and what I’ll be getting up to. I usually dress quite comfortably although I love to dress up when there’s an occasion to!


What’s your fashion mantra?

If you feel good, you’ll look good.


Do you have any favorite pieces from your Joie Sunday Girl shoot?

I love a high-waisted trouser and a power suit and the ones I wore for the shoot are some of my faves. There are a few pieces that make you feel like a boss, and a suit is definitely one of them.


On London…


What is your favorite neighborhood in London?

Notting Hill!


Any favorite restaurants?

Olivetos is my favourite Italian, I’ve been going for like 15 years and I only ever have the crab linguini or crab pizza, both are insane. Dinings for the best sushi.


Best places to shop?

Dover Street Market has some of the coolest drops, and I love Beyond Retro for a vintage fix, although I am definitely an online shopping junkie.


Best time of year to visit?

London in the summer is hands down one of the best cities in the world. We have so many beautiful parks and the people are just beaming with happiness.


If someone had only 24 hours to visit, what must they see “off-the-beaten-path”?

Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park is stunning, with winding paths, statues, peacocks and an orangery. Shoreditch is also a super cool area with plenty of London charm and is home to Spitalfields Market which has plenty of gems.


READ MORELESS: Alya Mooro

Muse Series

Angeles Almuna Weil

Artist / Fashion Stylist / Creator

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Sophie Gray

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Amanda Luu & Ivanka Matsuba

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Maria Dueñas Jacobs

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Whitney Leigh Morris

Small Space Lifestyle Blogger & Consultant 

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Amira Khan

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Fashion Journalist 

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Kerry Pieri

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Lauren Gores Ireland

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Fashion Blogger + Globe Trotter

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Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton

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Melissa Magsaysay & Sara Riff

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Emily Faith

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Backstage Pass to NYFW

BPCM PR Team

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Rachelle Hruska MacPherson

Founder of Guest of a Guest & Lingua Franca

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Emily Hollister

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Kiya Cole & Skai Jackson

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Emma Henderson & Victoria Beattie

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Andrea Swain

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Caroline Issa

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Louise Roe

TV Host and Fashion Journalist

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Mara Carrizo Scalise

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Ramya Giangola

Founder and Partner of GOGOLUXE

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Roopal Patel

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Laney Crowell

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Minnie Mortimer Gaghan

Co-founder of Vainité

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Parisa Fowles-Pazdro

Founder of Max-Bone Boutique

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Mother's Day Special

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Teresa Wilson

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Jennifer Zeuner

Founder of Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry

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Rosie O'Neill

Sugarfina Co-founder

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Kassia Meador

Pro-Surfer

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The Streicher Sisters

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Claire Thomas & Laurel Gallucci

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Gretchen Bleiler

OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER

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