Stranger 33/100 – Samiah

Stranger-33–SamiahWhat brings you to uptown? “Food!”

Meet Samiah.

“I just graduated high school. I don’t actually have a job. I’m trying to save money for school.”

What do you hope to study? “Political science and psychology.”

What do you do in your free time? “At home with my brothers. Reading, writing, I really like art and things like that, so I do that in my spare time.”

What kind of art do you do? “More like a mixed media thing. I’m not the best painter. I can draw pretty well. I really like putting things together, overlapping textures and things like that.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “That it makes a difference to be prepared for anything. So, kind of take into account anything that can go wrong and prepare yourself for it, so that you’re not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed.”

What would you do if you had a million dollars? “I would hire the best lawyer to get my name changed so that I can go ahead and start school. Because that’s the only reason I’m not able to start now. I would buy my parents a house so they could stop paying rent. And then the rest of that money would help me get through my bachelors and masters degree and my own house somewhere in the mountains. I like the cold.”

Tell me more about the name change. “My family is Jewish, so we often don’t give our children their names until a week or so after they’re born. My name was never fixed and I’m now eighteen and when I went to apply for school and scholarships, I realized that my name doesn’t match all my records for North Carolina, so I couldn’t accept any of my scholarship money.”

“My name… doesn’t exist outside of North Carolina and my social security card, birth certificate all have the wrong name on it.”

Is that going to be a big deal? “It has been which is why I’m trying to fix it. {laughs}”

Technical Notes: This photo was taken in an open area off the sidewalk in front of some dark windows. I’ve wanted to shoot a portrait here for a while because of the nice dark background but was never able to find a good stranger nearby until today.

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