kooyrig to know: Yasmin Almokhama (@YASSAYASSAYASSA)
Yasmin Almokhama, known to her social media followers as @YASSAYASSAYASSA is an activist, artist, model and reality star on MTV’s newly revived Real World series. A true badass and creative, her social media page reflects her genuine character, kind heart, and honesty through her artwork and impromptu Insta story lectures.
Her caring and refreshing voice brings light to taboo and stigmatized topics, as her modeling career and outspoken identity allows for greater representation in media for Armenians of our generation.
From eating Kielbasa in her bedroom to rolling up to the MTV Awards, Yasmin always keeps it real. In the midst of her growing success, we got the chance to ask our kooyrig a few questions that allow her to express herself on a variety of topics.
ON HER CULTURAL UPBRINGING:
My cultural upbringing was pretty traditional. My maternal Armenian grandparents raised me, but there was my Syrian-Muslim father. So there were a lot of little cultural things that would clash on occasion.
In the weirdest way I’m super progressive but also very traditional in some behaviors and ideas I carry. For example, I love gender roles and men to pay for everything for me, but I also love equality and am queer.
ON HER FAV ARMENIAN/SYRIAN FOOD:
I love love love stuffed grape leaves but also KALBASA and also basturma. Basically I love all of the Armenian cured meats and I love all the super traditional Syrian foods especially with lebneh. Anything with the yogurt is great. Wow I love food.
ON HAIR REMOVAL:
Hair removal is fun and an art project. Sometimes I wax designs into my arms and legs. Sometimes tweezing my beard is a stress reliever. Sometimes I let it grow and condition and massage it.
Intersectionality is such a big and important concept for all forms of activism/existence/resistance and just daily lives. A lot of activism is centered in place of privilege because its a privileged to be active in communities to fight for your rights.
There’s many people who do not have time and space to go to rallies, leave work to do a march, or even march because of their immigration status…and so much more.
When bringing intersectionality into your activism and daily life, you fight for those outside of yourself. Women of color do a lot of work and emotional labor. People outside of them have to acknowledge that if they want to uplift and come together to fight for bigger cause, [they must] thank these women, femmes, nonbinary people for doing that work.
ON CULTURAL PRESSURE:
I constantly feel cultural pressures [pressure to get married to someone of your culture, have a lucrative career, lots of babies, etc.] - all of them. Every time I talk to my family it’s: ‘are you dating a guy?’ ‘how’s your career?’ ‘are you going back to school?’ ‘did you pay your bills?’ ‘are you getting married soon?’ ‘have kids.’
It drives me so crazy that I literally attempt to do the opposite to prove to them and myself I can exist happy and powerful. [To prove] that those things do not mean success.
ON WHAT SHE WANTS TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD:
I really want to share with fellow Armenians that they dont have to feed into our cultural pressures. I have met so many cool QTPOC (Queer/Transgender/People of Color) Armenians throughout social media and my travels. We are embracing ourselves more.
ALSO - I still wanna bring light to the Armenian Genocide as it has been swept under a rug time and time again…our ancestors deserve the respect and acknowledgment. [There’s] genetic trauma we all carry from that time. Our nation is very strong-headed for a reason.