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She's a U of T engineering student by day, budding comedian by night

U of T engineering student Salma Hindy is one of few female Muslim comedians. She was featured in CBC Radio's “Here and Now” and “The Globe and Mail” (photo by Yusuf Hassan)

Salma Hindy, who is pursuing a master's degree in clinical engineering at U of T, explains how she found her voice as a comedian by embracing her identity on CBC Radio’s Here and Now.

“When I sat down to do my first set and thought about what to talk about, I decided to look at it from the audience's perspective. The audience, they're looking at someone with a hijab, so right away they are going to want to know your story, so I started to write in that way. My first set was mainly about growing up in my family, then I moved on to talk about my experiences being born and raised in Canada as an identifiable Muslim.”

Read the CBC story

Hindy, who performed her first set last November at the 120 Diner in Toronto, initially had reservations about pursuing comedy. 

“I've always had a love for acting, putting on impressions, telling stories or trying to entertain my friends, but just looking at Hollywood, that's predominately white. I never thought it was achievable. But Mindy Kaling made me think twice, because she is somebody who defies the standard look of Hollywood. She's very funny, and so many people relate to her because she's giving a voice to the many others who watch Hollywood shows, not just white people.”

In The Globe and Mail feature on Hindy, writer Steven Zhou says that, “despite the biting jokes, Ms. Hindy strikes a relatively gentle tone in most of her appearances. She always performs with a smile and, despite throwing clear jabs has no ideological axe to grind.”

Comedy has started conversations for Hindy, from family and friends to the larger world around her.

“I feel like there’s nothing better than comedy to challenge people because you can try to yell and scream, but it’s really much easier and more effective to just make them laugh.”

Read The Globe and Mail feature