I was born in London to a Tibetan and Nepalese mum and an Afghan dad. I definitely identify more with my Tibetan side but Afghan food is my favourite and would recommend everyone to try it! I feel that as a mixed-race person, I’m able to experience a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to if it wasn’t for my mixed heritage. I’m able to speak all the different languages, for example, Farsi with my dad, Tibetan with my mom, Nepali with my friends and English in school. I even picked up Hindi and a bit of Urdu from watching Bollywood movies.
I’m very proud of my mixed heritage. In fact, I have a tattoo that goes along the side of my arm and chest. It consists of several parts. The parasol which is at the lower part of the tattoo comes from Tibetan Buddhism and protects you from bad vibes and negativity. I then have the Tibetan dragon and clouds along my entire upper arm. The eagle on my chest is actually the national bird of Afghanistan. There are also two symbols which come from the Nepalese flag next to the Eagle – the moon symbolises that the Nepalese are peaceful and calm, whereas the sun represents fierceness and determination, showing that we will stand up for ourselves.
I actually have an interesting story about my name. I used to have an Afghan name as my legal name because when I was born my dad was adamant that I had one. This was also the case when my sister and mum came to the UK, with him insisting that they adopt an Afghan name. However, when my parents separated, I decided to change my name to Norbu which is a Tibetan name my grandma gave me and my mum’s side of the family have always called me that. As I mentioned before, I identify a lot more with my Tibetan side than any of the others which is the main reason I changed my name, but I certainly had some uncomfortable experiences prior to that when I had my Afghan name. There were 1 or 2 occasions on holiday where I felt like I was being prejudged and received strange looks whilst going through immigration.
I was hesitant to participate in the photoshoot at first because I’ve always hated being on camera. Growing up, I wasn’t a very confident person. One of the reasons why I started to learn MMA back in 2015 was not only for fitness and self-defence reasons but also for me to build my own confidence and help me release my stress. I guess that’s also the same reason why I took part in the photoshoot – to take me out of my comfort zone and meet other people. I’ve always watched MMA and boxing from a young age. However, as all those kinds of gyms are really expensive and my family and I never really had that kind of money, I couldn’t join. When I started university, I noticed that they had an MMA club and with student finance I was finally able to start training. After university, as I started working, I no longer had any financial restrictions and so I’ve been able to continue my training consistently.
As a consumer of Asians in Britain’s content, I can see that the platform is showing a different angle of the reality of people who are living in this country and who we actually are as a person. We all have different passions, hobbies, interests and jobs. The fact that we are in a room together, shows the reality of the people who are living in London and are Asian.
Producers: @chrispoonmd & @stephfungal
Assistant photographer: @jordancoxtv
Makeup artists: @nanayumua & @lecreaturedibeatrice