April 5, 2023

EP. 312 — How Are Iranians Making History? (Part One) with The Iranian Diaspora Collective

A note from team Getting Curious: This episode contains descriptions of violence that are at times graphic.


If you haven’t heard about the women-led revolution happening in Iran, or you thought things had quieted down, that’s by design. The Islamic Republic of Iran has banned women from dancing, singing, and showing their hair in public. And they’ve restricted Internet access for people across the country. Still, taking these risks—and showing the world—is worth it to Iranians who want a free, secular democracy, a new constitution, and an end to theocracy.


This week, Moj Mahdara and Nicolette Mason—two founding members of the Iranian Diaspora Collective—join Jonathan for a two-part conversation about the country’s biggest protest movement in more than 40 years, and what’s at stake for women, young people, LGBTQIA+ people, and ethnic and religious minorities in particular.


In part one, we’ll focus on the last six months in Iran. In part two—out tomorrow—we’ll explore the history of the Islamic Republic, and what the future could hold for the people of Iran.


You can follow Iranian Diaspora Collective on Instagram @iraniandiasporacollective, and at iraniandiasporacollective.com. Nicolette is on Instagram @nicolettemason. Moj is on Instagram @moj. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


The Iranian Diaspora Collective (501c3 pending) is a non-partisan, multi-faith group that is inclusive of multiple backgrounds, gender and LGBTQIA+ identity. The Iranian Diaspora Collective supports the demands of Iranians inside Iran who want a free, secular democracy, a new constitution and an end to theocracy.


Nicolette Mason (she/her) is a celebrated writer, brand strategist in the fashion and beauty industries, and advocate for Inclusivity. She’s a queer, Iranian-American, Jewish advocate, and a founding member of the Iranian Diaspora Collective. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Nicolette has collaborated with brands such as Barbie, Nordstrom, Target, NARS, and more, and also co-founded a cult-followed fashion brand called Premme, alongside Gabi Gregg.


Moj Mahdara (she/they), is an Iranian-American entrepreneur, CEO and VC, a co-founder of Kinship Ventures and founding member of Iranian Diaspora Collective. They are focused on bringing more inclusion and diversity to the cap table and have invested in 100+ companies since 2011. Mahdara recently co-founded new fund Kinship Ventures alongside Gwyneth Paltrow. They are also the former CEO of Beautycon, a globally-recognized community for content creators, celebrities, fans, and brands.


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at JonathanVanNess.com.


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our editor is Andrew Carson. Production support from Julie Carrillo, Chris McClure, and Erin McKeon.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to TheQuinCat.com.


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness &  The Iranian Diaspora Collective PART ONE   JVN [00:00:05] If you imagine a synchronized swimmer, like, in those fifties movies, when they, like, dive into the pool, that’s what I’m about to do right now. But I’m going into the episode. So in recent months, if you have scrolled through Instagram, if you’ve seen the news, then you have probably seen the phrase, “Woman. Life. Freedom.” These three words are so much more than that. They’re a revolutionary rally cry around the world. Moj Mahdara and Nicolette Mason are founding members of the Iranian Diaspora Collective, a non-partisan multi-faith group that is inclusive of multiple backgrounds, gender, and LGBTQIA+ identity. So I would love to start with just setting the stage for us, Nicolette. So I think a lot of us have seen, know a little bit about what’s going on in Iran, but don’t know the full scope, don’t know how things started. And

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