Here is the full text of Sana Amanat’s talk titled “Myths, Misfits & Masks” at TEDxTeen 2014 conference.
Now, I am actually going to do something that you guys do every single day.
I’m going to ask you guys to judge me right now. The Bumbys were just doing it; it’s very appropriate. Take a good look, and describe me in your head.
Now, based on those descriptions, how would you categorize me? By my height? By my skin color? By my hair?
Now, would any of those descriptions scream comic-book editor? Maybe my T-shirt, actually; I think that might have given it away.
But no, probably not. I’m actually one of the few South Asian, female comic-book editors out there. I think, actually, I might be the only one, so for any of you South Asian females interested, it’s a good gig.
I highly recommend it. Holler at my ladies? No? All right, that’s cool.
Now, what I do as a comic-book editor is I make things up. I work with creators to tell the most uncanny, amazing, sensational stories about seemingly ordinary individuals who come to possess extraordinary identities. We call them superheroes.
Now, when I was first asked to speak at this event, it was actually after the announcement of a character I had co-created: Ms. Marvel, the all-new Ms. Marvel, was the first Muslim American superhero to have her own series.
It really was the most obvious thing in the world in my mind. I had created a character that I could identify with. And yet it was quite possibly the biggest publicity that Marvel had seen in quite some time.
Parents called us, thanking us for creating a book that they could finally share with their daughter. Fans called us thanking us for creating a character that they could finally relate to.