Every generation needs a voice, and Fadila Khaled decided to give her own generation one with the magazine she founded: TeenTimes. We interviewed her about her online magazine, why and how she founded it, and what it has to offer Egyptian teens.
Tell us about how the idea for TeenTimes first came to you?
I was angry that nobody was representing me, or us as a generation. I saw no one who looked like me, wrote like me, or gave me content that mattered to me. So, I took it into my own hands.
Did you face any resistance from your parents so that you would direct all your attention towards school work?
They were obviously angry at first, but they are relatively supportive now.
What were the main obstacles which faced you when you first decided to start TeenTimes?
I was always hurt by how offensive people were at first. I don’t think anything else is an “obstacle”; it is what every young entrepreneur goes through – being too young, parental support or lack thereof, financial independence, and taking care of our mental health.
Assembling a team is never a simple task. How did your team of like-minded teens come to be?
It was messy and dramatic because we were not just creating a team, we were creating a team of teenagers, with a slew of high school drama and parental tea attached.
How do you as a student maintain that balance between your passion project and your education?
I study and do what I love and I combine both disciplines 24/7. As for time management, well, I study everything ahead of time. My deadlines are always marked in my calendar since day 1, and I know exactly when I can handle work pressure and when I can not.
The concept of TeenTimes is very clever, but do you feel that the moment you enter your twenties you will want to become less involved in the writing process to maintain the youthful voice of the publication?
I will never walk away from the writing process 100%; I just think I will be more focussed on the production before I launch something else.
You are clearly targeting Egyptian teens, but do you see TeenTimes expanding past that to target other age groups at some point in the future?
I do hope that one day soon we launch something else; a sister platform, maybe. I’ve got a couple more years to think about this.
There is this misconception that Generation Z is less interested in the socio-political process than millennials. Do you believe TeenTimes is becoming a noteworthy platform voicing Egyptian Gen Z’s opinions?
We’ve witnessed the Palestinian war, the Arab revolution domino situation, the Syrian civil war, and pride. We just skipped World War III like a youtube ad. Social Media is our everything yeah? This means 24/7 we are very much aware of what is happening.
What are your future plans for TeenTimes?
Produce that same work on a global level, specifically for young brown teenagers, and help them become everything they dream of being.