I sat down with my friend Amani Salahudeen, who literally does it all. Amani is a Muslim and Sri Lankan book reviewer on TikTok and Instagram, the host of the Raise Your Words podcast and a writer for Brown Girl Magazine and PopCulturist Magazine. I had to know—how does she do so much and still have time to be pursuing a master’s degree in education?
Her Campus (HC): Hey Amani! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Amani Salahudeen (AS): Hi! My name is Amani Salahudeen and I have always been into reading. I’m 24 years old. When I’m not reading or writing I am most likely working on my master’s degree. I’m pursuing a master’s in education. I have a “bookstagram” account (@meetcuteromancebooks), a BookTok channel (@amanisalahudeen) and a podcast called Raise Your Words that I host with my close friend, Andrea Shaw. I also write books and contribute to digital magazines like Brown Girl Magazine.
HC: When did you start writing? Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you wanted to write for magazines?
AS: I started writing at a young age—I believe I was in the third grade when I realized that writing was something I’ve always wanted to do. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I started contributing to magazines. I’ve been published in The Tempest, Brown Girl Magazine, ISNA Horizons, Pop-Culturalist, Culturess, and Muslim Girl.
HC: When you were younger, did you want to be a writer, or was this passion something that you have grown to love?
AS: Writing has always been a passion of mine. If I’m stressed out, I write. If I’m feeling happy, I write. It’s how it’s always been for me. I can’t imagine not writing.
HC: Why did you start your projects and what about them brings you joy?
AS: I’ll start with my most recent one—my “bookstagram” account. In quarantine, I stumbled upon “BookTok.” I have always watched @readwithcindy on “BookTube,” but it was when I stumbled upon @AymansBooks and Rameela @starshynebrite that I was in awe of Muslim content creators on “BookTok.” I wanted to join the community but in my own signature way. I joined “BookTok” during the early days of COVID and it’s been an incredible place ever since. I’ve gotten to meet one of my “bookstagram” besties in real life and it was one of the best nights of my life.
HC: What are your favorite things about being able to navigate spaces dominated by readers as well as writers?
AS: I love being a part of the podcast community and the reader communities online. It’s a wide space and it is a lot of fun. The best part is getting to connect with others especially during a pandemic.
HC: What inspires your creativity and ambition?
AS: Honestly, it’s a compilation of different things. I’ve noticed that not a lot of people are talking about Muslim books or South Asian books, so I’ll seek those out. The lack of representation is what inspires my ambition to be a part of the “bookstagram” community. I want to see more Muslim “bookstagrammers” and “BookTokers.” It would also be cool to see Sri Lankan American creators like me thrive.