How much would you be able to put up with?

*Contains spoilers for the following movie.

Movie poster for “Promising Young Woman”

There’s a scene in Promising Young Woman where the main character, Cassandra, is sitting in her car, resting her head on the steering wheel, and she’s stopped in the middle of the street. It’s an empty street, mind you. But a man pulls up next to her clearly fuming at the audacity she had to simply stop her car in the middle of an empty street. He starts calling her all kinds of obscenities, not fazed at all when he sees her head resting face down on the steering wheel. I think a normal…


#StopAsianHate

Photo by Robinson Greig on Unsplash

8 Dead in Atlanta Spa Shootings, With Fears of Anti-Asian Bias.

8…dead…in Atlanta. 6 were Asian. Women.

Shooter was white. Male. Twenty-one years old. Why do they always seem to be twenty-one? “He had a bad day…at the end of his rope…”

White. Male. White. Male. White. Male. Sandy Hook, Columbine, KKK, lynchings, and Lord knows how many domestic violence cases. But he just had a sex addiction problem.

I wonder what a really bad day would look like for a woman. Oh wait, we read about their bad days all the time. Why does it matter that he had…


And why it should matter to you too.

Photo was taken by Lena Shareef

Last week, there was an internal virtual event held by my office for employees to have a safe space to discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian violence that we’ve been seeing across the U.S. It’s been incredibly upsetting and disturbing to hear these stories so I’m grateful when employee resource groups help us all find the time and space to come together to acknowledge difficult moments like this.

At some point during the conversation, someone mentioned that they have always felt that the Asian community is invisible in the U.S. Throughout our history in this country, Asian communities have been…


One of the best TV shows you’ve never heard of.

Promo image for “Warrior,” a Cinemax original.

I need to explain to you why Warrior is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen—and that you’ve never heard of. In my humble opinion, this series goes right up there with Watchmen and Lovecraft Country (Somehow all three of these excellent shows are on HBO Max).

Before I go into all that though, I need to provide some context. I’m writing this article because first off, I think everyone really does need to watch Warrior. And second, because I just found out that it’s been cancelled. Cinemax has cancelled all of their scripted programming because of the pandemic…


If you see something, say something.

Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

Every time I’ve flown home from Pakistan, getting off the plane is always a struggle. No matter how hard I try, I can never politely power walk fast enough past people to make it near the front of the passport control line. So then I stand and wait. Looking around at the people ahead of me, behind me, I see kids who are glad to finally be on their feet after a 10+ hour fight, tired adults, the TV screens saying welcome in seven different languages. The signs stating, “If you see something, say something.”

I hate standing in customs…


Why do interracial couples on screen almost always involve white people?

From left to right: Claudia Jessie, Regé-Jean Page, Phoebe Dynevor, Jonathan Bailey, Ruby Barker, Luke Newton, and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton (2020)

If you’re like me and into period dramas, then you’ve also been obsessed with the new Netflix show, Bridgerton. And what’s not to like? You’ve got dazzling characters, stunning costumes, breathtaking sets, steamy plot lines…oh and people of color. How exciting!

I’ve loved period dramas for a long time, from Pride and Prejudice to Downton Abbey — because they’ve always felt relatable. Even to a brown, Pakistani-American girl like me. In fact, especially to a brown, Pakistani-American girl like me. Seeing Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Bridgerton strategize the ways their daughters will meet potential suitors is pretty much exactly what…


In my humble opinion.

2020 is finally (almost) over. It was marked by a lot of pain, but I wanted to look back on the pockets of joy and wonder I found in the things I watched, read, heard, and experienced this year.

Best Book I Read in 2020: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

I’ve never felt so seen before while reading a book. Ms. Hong described certain things that I thought only I had ever felt or seen or experienced in my life. Maybe that sounds conceited, but this book was a revelation of sorts for me, especially…


A collection of my thoughts on poll working—and optimism.

Monday, November 2, 2020 | DAY 1

My alarm went off at 5AM, but I’d already been awake for half an hour. I was nervous about volunteering as a poll worker for the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. For months, every news outlet has been reporting how this election will be one of the most important ones in our entire lifetimes, and how it’s happening under the strangest circumstances. In the middle of a pandemic, amidst social unrest, and fear of voter suppression, this election — and quite frankly this year— is unprecedented.

As I got out of bed and started brushing my teeth, feeling both groggy and…


Earlier this week, Brussels was attacked. Two blasts at the Brussels International Airport and another explosion just 7 miles away at a metro station. Over 30 dead. Hundreds wounded.

Istanbul, Ankara, Paris, San Bernardino, the list goes on. ISIS claims responsibility over and over and over again. And every single time, Muslims as a collective group are blamed. We get hashtags like #StopIslam followed by something about how we all need to be exterminated.

Is it strange then that I turn to comic books and superhero shows to try to escape it all? It’s exhausting every time I hear another…

Lena Shareef

Senior Producer, Audience Development at National Geographic | Columbia Journalism School grad | Can talk about representation all day | Trying to write more

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