“Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you can’t be the first.”

In one part of Canada, the burqa is banned. In another, the country’s first hijabi newscaster is hard at work.

Journalist Ginella Massa got her first on-air position two years ago, and while she wasn’t the first Muslim woman to sit behind the news desk, she knows the visibility of her hijab makes a difference.

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“When I have young girls coming up to me saying how excited they are seeing someone like me in a mainstream medium, and that it makes them feel like it’s something they too can aspire to be,” she told Forbes.

Her mum was instrumental in helping her make history, she told the magazine. She told Massa that her inquisitive nature and ability to put people at ease would serve her well in the field, and said her hijab was no reason not to try.

“When I questioned whether I could be given a chance on broadcast TV, she would tell me, ‘just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you can’t be the first,’” Massa told Forbes. 

Two years on, Massa reports on Toronto for City News. Her advice on overcoming prejudice is so good we’re thinking of printing it out to sit on our desks.

“Don’t let anyone else silence your dreams because of their perception of what you can or cannot achieve. You’re going to have to work hard to overcome those barriers that people will try to put in front of you,” she told Forbes.

Be persistent, don’t give up, and work on being the best, so no one can ever have a reason to say no.”

Extremely well said.

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Images: Ginella Massa