Malala Yousafzai opens up about her unique post-grad life to British Vogue
Malala Yousafzai has spent her entire adolescence fighting for girls’ education, has won a Nobel Peace Prize, and has survived an unfathomable assassination attempt, but now that she’s 23 and a college graduate, she’s just like every college graduate before her, wondering, “What’s next for me?” Except for Malala, those “nexts” are wondering if she should run for office or go on a date.
As British Vogue‘s latest cover star, the Gen Z activist may have already lined up an Apple TV producing gig and still works with her namesake organization, The Malala Fund, which invests in education programs to help girls in developing worlds go to school, but she still doesn’t know exactly what her next chapter holds or whether she’s going to move out of her parent’s house.
Where Malala grew up in Pakistan, under Taliban rule, all girls were banned from attending school. She fought back and was shot by a Taliban gunman when she was only 15 years old. She survived and doubled down on her activism, created The Malala Fund, and eventually enrolled in college at Oxford University in England, from which she recently graduated.
Her Vogue interview is fascinating as it covers typical 23-year-old stuff like dating but also delves into the not-so-typical, like how Greta Thunberg texts her for advice.
Here, Malala gives us a glimpse into the life of one of the most famous young adults in the world.
On experiencing the joys of college:
“I was excited about literally anything. Going to McDonald’s or playing poker with my friends or going to a talk or an event. I was enjoying each and every moment because I had not seen that much before. I had never really been in the company of people my own age…You know, there’s a saying: there are three things at Oxford, sleep, socializing, and study, and you can’t have them all. Socializing was my one.”
On the existential angst that arrives after graduation:
“This is a question I have for myself every night. Lying awake in bed for hours thinking, ‘What am I going to do next? “Where do I live next? Should I continue to live in the UK, or should I move to Pakistan, or another country? The second question is, who should I be living with? Should I live on my own? Should I live with my parents? I’m currently with my parents, and my parents love me, and Asian parents especially, they want their kids to be with them forever.”
On young climate activist Greta Thunberg and gun-control activist Emma González texting her for advice:
“I know the power that a young girl carries in her heart when she has a vision and a mission.”
On running for office or getting involved in politics:
“It is not something I have rejected completely…I do think before entering politics you should know what exactly you are there for, who you want to work with. You know, all of the political parties that are there in Pakistan don’t have a clean history. Do you defend them, do you not defend them? Do you change the political party? Do you form your own political party? Imran Khan did that, and it took him over 30 years.”
On finding a romantic partner or eventually getting married:
“I’m slightly nervous. Especially [in terms of] thinking about relationships. You know, on social media, everyone’s sharing their relationship stories, and you get worried…If you can trust someone or not, [and] how can you be sure.” “I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?”
Read Malala’s entire interview at British Vogue.