Huda Fahmy shares her inspiration for her graphic novel HUDA F ARE YOU?
From the creator of Yes, I’m Hot In This, Huda F Are You is a cheeky, hilarious, and honest graphic novel that asks the question everyone has to figure out for themselves: Who are you?
We asked author and illustrator Huda Fahmy about why she decided to write Huda F Are You? Scroll down to read about her inspiration!
By the time I was five years old I knew two things to be true: one, that I was always going to be bullied for being Muslim, and two, that I was going to be an author when I grew up. I had it all figured out. I was going to tell stories for a living, and even more, I was going to tell stories that made people laugh.
I loved making people laugh. I thought if laughter could help me escape my real-world struggles, maybe it could help other people, too! Naturally, I was drawn to comic strips. I loved how illustrators managed to tell a story and make readers laugh all within the span of a few panels. There was a cleverness to it I found appealing, a wit I found compelling. My parents, however, weren’t quite on board and pushed me to pursue something more “meaningful.” “Be a lawyer,” they said, “and fight for the underdogs like us. You can always write as a hobby.”
I no longer had it quite as figured out as I thought.
Still, I doodled all through school. I wrote short stories and poems. I asked to be in charge of drawing the comics for our middle school newspaper. I majored in English and wrote a final paper on Bill Watterson, creator of my all-time favorite comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. And while I did end up going to law school, I dropped out a year later and started teaching English to middle and high schoolers. The best laid plans, right? Would I ever have it figured out?
It wasn’t until I got married at 26 that I bought my first book on how to draw cartoon characters. The only problem was I didn’t know what I would draw or write about. It would take another five years before the answer hit me. It had been in front of me all along. I’d been bullied all my life for being Muslim. Far too many people were being given opportunities and platforms to spew their ignorance, fear, and hatred toward Muslims. From a young age, I had been mocked and silenced. I was the underdog. But I’d had enough. I now knew who I was and what I had to do. I was privileged with the means, and boy oh boy did I have the time.
So, I started writing. It began as a blog and eventually, with encouragement from my big sister, and inspiration from the many comic strips that came before, it turned into a webcomic series. The jump to writing and illustrating a graphic novel was an obvious one. I knew I wanted to write about growing up Muslim and I knew I wanted to write about not having it all figured out (a recurring theme in my life). And, so, Huda F Are You? was born. It’s still hard to believe that I get to tell stories for a living. I get to make people laugh. And more than that, I get to inspire other underdogs to tell their stories too.
About Huda F Are You?
Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl.
Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can’t rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn’t a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She’s not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She’s miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it’ll take finding out who she isn’t to figure out who she is.