Urban Asian recently had the opportunity to sit down with Somy Ali, successful journalist, Bollywood actress and model. She was excited to discuss her charity No More Tears and her clothing line So Me Designs. In 2011, Ali was honored with the American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Council for her work with No More Tears. Find out what she has to say about about her career, her charity, and her ideal first date!
UA: Several celebrities work with a Charity of Choice. Tell us a little bit about why you are so passionate about “No More Tears”
Somy Ali: I was exposed to abuse at a very young age growing up in Pakistan. As a child, I witnessed it at home and I saw it significantly prevalent in my culture. When I moved to the U.S. at the age of nine, I noticed that it existed here as well and soon learned that it was everywhere. I realized that abuse is not specific to any culture, race or religion and as an adult I decided that I had to take a stand against it. No More Tears gives me the opportunity to save lives and stop the cycle of abuse.
UA: You have your own fashion line called So-Me Designs. Proceeds from this line are donated to No More Tears. Is there a message that you try to send out through your clothing designs about women’s empowerment and freedom of self-expression through clothing?
Somy Ali: Absolutely! Not just women’s empowerment, but a stand against all intolerance. The line was initiated to fund No More Tears and counter clothing with negative messages. So-Me’s messages take a stand for human rights and raise awareness about social issues through fashion. It is an attempt at intellectualizing fashion.
UA: What services does No More Tears provide to help empower immigrant women facing abuse in the US?
Somy Ali: Immigrant women are less likely to speak out against their abusers due to the fear of being deported and losing their children that are born in the U.S. No More Tears makes it possible through the aid of immigration attorneys to adjust their status in the U.S. and provide them with a safe space away from their abuser. We actively work with immigrant women here in the U.S. that are victims of abuse, not just by rescuing them, but by making them emotionally and financially independent. We offer them immigration assistance, cognitive therapy, driving lessons, an apartment, education, and in the end, a job. We teach them skills to be self-reliant which plays a pivotal role in them not returning to the abuser.
UA: How can people get involved if they’d like to volunteer and donate?
Somy Ali: People can donate through our website, www.NMTproject.org, or send a check to No More Tears. There are numerous ways people can volunteer for our cause. The most important way would be to raise awareness about our organization so individuals that are being abused are aware and able to reach us for help. We have volunteer orientations via phone and in person at our office once a month.
UA: Why did you pursue a degree in journalism?
Somy Ali: Curiosity and an interest in learning from people has been quite instrumental in my growth as a person and intellectually. I love learning about people and from them. I like to question everything and what better path to do so than journalism.
UA: If there is one message you could share with our readers, what would it be?
Somy Ali: Please support No More Tears in its mission as we are a unique organization where no one takes a salary, not even myself, and your donations directly help abused victims. We rescue men, women and children, both nationally and recently, internationally. We need your help and support. Join us and take a stand for the rights of those that are helpless.
UA: Describe your ideal first date.
Somy Ali: Scrabble, wine, Indian food, and CNN in the background.
UA Rapid Fire
Favorite ice cream flavor: Pistachio
Favorite actor/actress Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Rajesh Khanna, Rekha, Rani Mukherjee
Favorite author: John Irving
Role Model: None, no one is perfect.
Favorite song: Imagine by John Lennon
Journalist that inspires you: Nicholas Kristof
Favorite app on your smart phone: New York Times News
Be sure to check out the website – and help save No More Tears, speak up! The cause of Domestic Violence needs to be stopped!