Anyone who spends time on social media may think the only storytellers that flourish there are the ones with their phones permanently set to selfie mode. To see the opposite, meet Noor Tagouri.
The 24-year-old has followed her own path that straddles the worlds of journalism, fashion and activism, from shooting her own documentaries to starting a clothing line that benefits charitable causes.
“I knew I wanted to be a storyteller, a journalist, before I knew what that meant,” Tagouri says. “My intention was to connect with people and get them to open up, and to create an experience where people realize they’re not alone.”
A native of the D.C. area, Tagouri entered college at 16, and has since worked in newspaper, radio and digital media. As a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab daily, Tagouri says she tries to build trust through empathy with people who feel the world doesn’t understand their lives.
“I realized that the misrepresentation of my community was so detrimental and harmful to our community,” she says. “I always approach stories by asking ‘How is the way I’m covering this going to affect the community?'”
As a social media personality with hundreds of thousands of followers, Tagouri’s very presence and style often makes a statement, for both fans and the occasional critic. Tagouri says the hijab is “more of a reminder to live for something that bigger than myself, to focus on my voice.
“I have this strong sense of identity. [The hijab] is a reminder of humility, and that not everything is about you — the story is always bigger than you.”
Last month, Volkswagen supported Tagouri’s fashion project, The Noor Effect. Created in collaboration with Lisn Up Clothing, the line features a striking graphic of the word “girl,” reversed and crossed out — a reference to a quote by a well-known artist: “I cross out words so you will see them more.”
“Fashion is always something I really loved and appreciated,” says Noor. “Adam Khafif from Lisn Up had reached out to me to collaborate, and he donates half his profits from each piece to charity. It’s heavily rooted in philanthropy and giving back, and that’s something I care about.”
Up next for Tagouri: a podcast drawn from her documentary reporting, potentially more fashion efforts, and keeping up the drive to find stories worth sharing.
“If you’re not doing something that feels good, helping those that come later…you might feel a sense of being lost.”