People of the Dorms: Meet Naz

By  Kristína Horinková and Daniela Morris

In this new series, The Herring publishes the full interviews from our Instagram series. Excerpts of the interviews can be found on our Instagram page auc.the.herring.

Photo by Kristína Horinková, edited by Daniela Morris

My name is Naz. I come from Turkey, Istanbul,

and I’m 19 years old, soon 20.

What are your interests? 

I’m really passionate about acting. And obviously, I love science. I’m interested in society, politics and the environment, too. 

What would you say made you interested in what you like now? What is the reason you like it? 

The politics part is a bit obvious. It’s because where I come from since we were 10, we always talked about politics and it’s a big part of our lives. It was a big part of my life before, now it still is. How I think now is related to my past experiences in Turkey.  

I always wanted to be an actor. I don’t know why, since I was a child, I still do. I tried it, I loved it. But my parents did not let me study drama in college. So now I’m studying math and physics, but I really wanna do that afterwards, after graduating, because if I don’t, I feel like I’m never gonna be satisfied if I don’t at least try it.

So the reason you came to AUC was because of your parents? Would you rather go to drama school? 

I think, but I understand them. I think they have their own reasons. And also I really, really like math and physics. I’m really passionate about that too. So, I mean, I’m glad that I’m studying those two at the moment. 

Who inspires you the most? 

This is a good question. I don’t think there is anyone who inspires me. Like if I think about it, I have role models that I look up to….I mean, Meryl Streep. I love her. I want to be her because I think she is the best actor in the world. But other than that in like life in general, I can say my mom because she’s a very powerful female figure for me, but at the same time, I don’t want to be her and I don’t think we’re alike.  

Has there been a specific experience in your life that has shaped you?

I think it was 2019. One of my really close friends…she passed away and afterwards I completely changed the way I look at the world because it was a really emotional experience and I’ve learned a lot. I started caring less, but also more. I started caring less about not important things, but I also like started caring much, much more about people who I love.

Photo by Kristína Horinková, edited by Daniela Morris

What would you say is the greatest struggle you have overcome?

I’m not gonna lie, I always found being a woman in Turkey specifically very hard. It’s weird to live and grow up in a place where people think that you’re not important or your law system does not protect you. You’re kind of always in this survival mode every time, every time you see news of a murder of a woman, maybe even twice a day. And you always have this fear and it’s mentally, always there. Like to not be able to be free somehow.

Is there some misconception that people might have about you? 

Yes. I don’t know why maybe it’s because I kind of act like it, but people think that I am heartless somehow. They used to think that. I don’t know, maybe I’ve changed… yes, I don’t like to express my feelings and my emotions that much, but I’m not a cold person. I don’t think I am. People always think or they used to think back at home that they can say anything to me and I won’t be hurt. So somehow even my mom may think that because maybe I act like I don’t care, but sometimes, sometimes I do.

What would you say your life taught you or what is something that you would share? Based on your life experiences, what would you want to pass on to others? 

I think you always have to be thankful for the things that you have all the time. I also think we all should put ourselves first. Like always, no matter what. I don’t think I was able to do that before, but after some things happened, I’m just like, it’s me first, all the time. 

Do you wanna elaborate on those things or they’re not important in this context? 

I always thought that I should give more than I receive, you know? Like I still think that I do that, but you can’t always give, give, give. At some point, you should prioritize yourself. My high school taught me that. 

Photo by Kristína Horinková, edited by Daniela Morris

Is there something you wish everyone knew?. 

I know it’s very general, but I wish, wish, wish everyone was aware of climate change, the impact, and everything. I’m also learning, but I wish that everyone knew about those things. It’s very real and it’s there.

Also, it’s really bad that I always end up saying the same thing, because it’s a very big part of me and I think everyone from Turkey. I’m so sorry to say this, but I would want everyone to know about the place we come from. I don’t know….it’s not easy for everyone, you know? I know I can be really strict and mean but there is a reason for that. I want everyone to know that I am who I am and I act the way that I act because of my past. 

I’m really lucky that my parents are very, very liberal. I love them, I’m so thankful. But at the same time, I am this independent woman who can do everything and anything, but I am living in the same environment with those females that I can see that are suffering. I have a friend that gave birth two years ago when she was 19 and got married like three times because of her parents. I am so lucky, but at the same time, I am living with those people. And like, it’s sad to see those people, you know? I’m so sorry, but I feel like religion is our enemy. 

If you could give yourself advice, what would it be like? Anything you want to remind yourself of? 

Always be thankful and be aware of your privilege. Always put yourself first and you know, stay strong.

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