“As a test, I changed my name and I immediately got offered work as a production assistant,” says Mohamed, who opted for familiar Western names.
“I had a new alias every week. It was frustrating,” she told me on the phone from California.
Growing up in the US, it was difficult being viewed as “different” and choosing an “American name” was a path many of her contemporaries with unfamiliar names took, she says.
Her family’s move to Memphis from New York when she was aged 13 was when she found her Somali identity most problematic.
‘I took off my hijab’
“‘Are you a nun?’ they’d ask me, because for the first year of school in Memphis I wore a hijab.
“I ended up taking off my hijab and changing my name after that year.”
But this name-changing is a thing of the past, as the Somali-American is now proudly writing TV scripts in Hollywood under her own name.