Meet the Pakistani playing Marvel’s first on-screen hijabi character

How often do Muslim women see themselves being represented in Hollywood without being stereotyped?

The London-based Pakistani can be seen in the new Spider-Man: Far From Home alongside Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal and Zendaya to name a few. And it’s not a background character; she plays the superhero’s hijabi classmate who joins him on a school trip to Europe. That’s quite the big break.

In an interview with The News (Images), the actress opens up about breaking barriers, Hollywood portrayals of South Asian characters and how she stumbled into acting.

Zoha said:  “My character is already breaking barriers, I can’t speak particularly for the MCU but mainstream media in its entirety is a narration of the morals, values and expectations of society that we grow up believing.

Yet we keep seeing caricatures of ourselves and irresponsible portrayals of our cultures, so many of us grow to distance ourselves from our truth for fear of being ridiculed. We are South Asian but we’re not that taxi driver or terrorist kind of South Asian you see in movies, we also don’t have THAT accent from television shows but we know all those things pop up in people’s minds when they see us.”