Can you introduce yourself to our readers please?
My name is Maha and I’m a creative from the north of the Netherlands.

How do you feel about representation within Dutch media?
If you’re talking about Black Muslim representation, I’d say there isn’t. But if you take them separate, there’s plenty, so I feel like we’ve got a long way to go. Especially growing up, I remember seeing one Muslim character on TV and that was it. I think the Dutch media must try harder so my 6 year old brother and all the other kids can switch the TV on and see themselves reflected on the screens.

So, what is your background?
I was born and raised in this small town called Sneek but my parents were born in Sudan. The last time I visited the country was in 2017. I really want to go there soon and visit my dear family! I’m currently studying at the Minerva Academy of Popular Culture in Leeuwarden to develop myself creatively and to discover which direction I want to take. I’m also a model at Vein agency and have been doing very cool shoots for brands like TNO, Adidas and many more. I love to stand in front of the camera, it makes me forget about the world and that’s really nice when you have a lot on your plate. People would say I have a really strong personality and I would be lying if I said that’s not true. That’s something I like about myself.

What was it like growing up in Friesland?
Growing up in Friesland was actually really fun. Friesland is just very quiet and peaceful. I always used to play outside. There were literally 3 black families in our neighbourhood, so you could say grew up in a really white environment. Now there are more people living here from different backgrounds and it’s really nice to see how my 6 year old brother has so many friends from different cultures and backgrounds. But growing up in Friesland was also a bit tough, I dealt with a lot of racism and ignorant people. That was hard for me as a kid.

And now you have this new Zine out, can you tell us a little more about the project?
Last year in October, I decided to make a zine for school. Around that time I had bought my first zine from the feminist art collective Pisswife. They inspired me to make a zine. The DIY ethic, the different stories, activism and sincerity all attracted me. I wanted to make something very personal, something that people could relate to but also something that inspires people. That was the starting point of Mahazine. It’s a creative celebration of identity, individuality and activism. It’s very personal and I’m literally taking the reader into my world.

What is it about making print media that attracted you to it?
I really like this question. Nothing beats reading a physical book. Holding it in your hands, flipping through the pages and let’s not forget about the smell! That’s why I wanted to print the zines. Everything is going from physical to digital.

Where does Mahazine find a home in the contemporary digital world?
You know when you put something on the internet it’s literally there forever! I chose to print my zine because I think it’s just cool that when it’s sold out, it is sold out! No reprint or whatever. I would like to say it doesn’t but stuff like the Spotify QR code & the people I have credited with their Instagram lead you to the digital world.

Your use of typography is unique, where did you find the inspiration?
I've always been a fan of the Punk aesthetic and it started with my love for punk bands and their visuals. For my zine I did some digging and discovered the first punk zines from the 70's/80's. I also got a lot of inspiration from the book Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-1980. That's 512 pages full of punk artwork, flyers, posters etc. I combined all these things and gave it a Maha twist. The reactions I got for the visuals have been truly amazing. So cool to see that my hard work really paid off.

What zines and self-published content have you been exposed to?
I never knew what a “zine” was until last year when I bought my zine from Pisswife. Ever since I noticed more people around me publishing zines so I’ve been buying zines from my friends but also random zines with amazing graphics and pictures.

Historically, this style of zine existed within Punk and Skate circles to promote their DIY movement before larger publications took hold of those spaces, which current subcultures or communities do you feel would benefit from taking ownership of their own media and representation?
I’d say everyone who doesn’t feel represented or heard should just start their own platform. Don’t wait for anyone to do it when you have the urge to do it yourself. When you feel like your voice needs to be heard, raise it!