What was the last book you really got into?
The last book I really got into is "Slumpens Barn" by Amat Levin. It discusses the historical roots of Gambians in Sweden but also has a personal touch to it with Amat's own experience.
If you could live one day as one of the characters of your books, who would it be and why?
I would like to be Saheed because he’s literally the definition of “paranoia”. He’s such a funny guy but doesn’t realise it because he’s too busy thinking that Illuminati will come and get him! I would've just loved to experience what is going on inside of his head for one day.
Which song would you play on repeat during a road trip?
I would convince everyone to listen to some kind of Afrobeat, based on the tracks are the latest ones added to my playlist.
Who was your style inspiration growing up and why?
I couldn’t afford “style” until I was a grown-up and even now I can hardly afford what is considered “stylish”. So I always try to make the most of what I have, trying to be a bit creative. My cats are also contributors, as most of my clothes are usually dipped in cat hair somehow.
What’s the silliest fear you have?
I don’t know if it’s silly but every time I see a Volvo I think they will stop me for driving too fast. [editor's note: a Volvo is a car in Sweden typically used by the undercover police]
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a freelancer, you hardly have a day that looks like another one. If I am not on the road, my day usually starts at 4 am with my youngest cat tuning the “Cat National Anthem”.
Where has been your most memorable show and why?
I started doing my first stand-up comedy shows when I was 19. At the time, my parents did not support my career so, I had to lie and tell them that I was spending the night at friends’ places. One time I got an offer to perform for three minutes in Malmö, a city in the south of Sweden, four hours away from where I lived. I went on a train that I could barely afford and made the performance. Since I could not afford a hotel, I went straight back to the station and waited for the next train, hoping to arrive early in the morning and sneak into my bed again.
What are some accomplishments that you are really proud of?
I am proud of not giving up. There were so many moments in my career when I thought that I was not capable, that I was not welcomed, and that my colleagues’ level was too high for me. It was really hard to make it in this industry as a Muslim girl. I am proud of pursuing my dreams and creating my own opportunities.
What do you think is currently lacking in the Swedish stand-up comedy scene?
I think it’s missing some variety and diversity. The Swedish stand-up comedy scene has not changed for the past 30 years. At this point, it is really hard to make it as a comedian if you don’t look like the rest, don't use the same references or don't have enough social media followers. But being a good influencer doesn’t make you a good comedian; in this art form, it’s all about the live experience. We need to acknowledge many more good and struggling comedians.
What is your vision for the future?
My long-term vision is for the next generation to take on the same battles as we are doing. I don't want an environment where we need to explain basic things about equality, human rights, what’s correct/incorrect to say, what’s actually discriminating, stereotyping, etc. Instead, I'd like to provide a good and realistic image of who we are, especially as a Muslim woman. I hope we'll move far away from the discrimination, so that non-white individuals also can be represented on stage, in movies and in books with strong personalities and not just portrayed as villains.
Melody is wearing 105 Ventile Black.