What’s better than being yourself? Or getting arrested for wearing red lipstick? What is like to have your identity and authenticity challenged on a day-to-day basis?
Shaming My Red Lips is the true story of Sharon Shaghayegh “Poppy” Farsijani, an American-Iranian rebellious teenager living a care-free life in Brooklyn, on track to go to college and pursue a career in journalism. But when Poppy’s father reevaluates her cultural assimilation at the age of seventeen, he decides she’s becoming too white — and relocates their family to Tehran, Iran. Poppy is wrenched from her life in a liberal American environment and faced with a new and unknown life in a rigid Islamic country. Upon landing, the captain announces that all women aboard must put on their long coats and head scarves before stepping off the plane; but Poppy finds herself frozen. Her new life in Iran strips her of the Western freedoms she had grown up with, including the freedom to choose her religion, choose who she wanted to date, choose what she wanted to wear, and even the freedom to wear red lipstick. She wasn’t allowed to listen to pop music, wear jeans, take dance classes or show any interest in men.
This diary-like account tells the frustrating, eye-opening, and often hilarious true story of how a young woman, during the most formative years of her life, desperately fought to maintain not only her freedom, but her identity. It’s a story of change, fear, hope, and ultimately, triumph. This is the story of how Poppy remained true to herself when the world around her was trying to make her forget who she was.
Books will be available for sale and signing courtesy of Chapter One Bookstore.
Sharon Farsijani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her family returned to Tehran when she was a teenager. During her time in the Middle East, Poppy started her broadcast career at age 19 as a reporter, evening news anchor, producer and talk show host for IRIB Channel 6, Channel 4 and Radio BBC. After returning to the United States, she studied at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and California State Fullerton to receive her degree in Broadcast Journalism and later her MBA from Pepperdine University. After witnessing the harsh treatment towards women in the Middle East she shared her journey, penning her first poetry collection Lacking Lips of Time and her memoir Shaming My Red Lips. Poppy is currently an anchor for KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho. Her on-air name is Sharon, and her Persian name Shaghayegh means wild desert poppy–the origins of her nickname.