6 January 2021
“I’m Danielle Fahiya also known as The Welsh Exotic and I am a writer, actress and presenter from Cardiff. The alias The Welsh Exotic, is a bit tongue in cheek with reference to my ethnicities and it’s owning the term ‘exotic’ which I have been called when someone is unsure of my ethnic background.
Since a little girl I have always had a creative outlet from dancing and singing then leading to acting aged 11. At present I have a combination of projects which are spread across the three disciplines of writing, presenting and acting so I’m always busy!
It’s important that creative women in Wales are seen, heard and never denied. There is a wealth of talent here that is finally being recognised and finding their strength to shine.
I have always enjoyed writing whether it be for publications, blogs etc and had a burning desire to creatively story tell that grew over time. I am particularly passionate about minority stories being told with authenticity and compassion. For too long harmful stereotypes have been played out and stage/screen and that has to stop. It has always been important to me that I reflect where I’m from and the true diversity because for far too long those voices have been stamped out of not only depictions on screen, but in our history books too. This is why in all areas of society from politics to fiction we must see fair representation.
I feel at my most confident when being creative and I am surrounded by a really strong female community that is doing so many great things to admire and inspire me. What empowers me is seeing goals and dreams being smashed and self-belief being nurtured and growing.
A big challenge as a creative woman is the equality of opportunity being available especially as a woman of a mixed ethnicity. I never fit in a box of types and maybe there’s the rebel in me that loves that. I’m not going to lie, I love a challenge and being underestimated really pushes me on. I do not let myself be defined by another person’s narrative of who they think I am. There’s a lot out there in the world including people even people who have been in our lives that want us to back down, compromise and change who we are but we have to just walk away from that toxic energy. For me, being a creative and pursuing my dreams feeds my soul and I will always stay true to myself.
My podcast created in lockdown “I Was 30 I’m Now 15”, details my experiences of being back and permanently living with my Mum and how I was coping/not coping. Through conversations with friends and guests we cover topics from romantic relationships, friendships, confessions and plenty in between. People have remarked that some of it comes across like stand up but it was mostly unscripted and I had free reign to talk about what I wanted and with who I wanted; a total joy!
The podcast was really unexpected and especially during the first national lockdown. It was pitched to BBC and they took a chance on it and it’s honestly been the highlight of my year.
It’s on BBC Sounds for like another year so check it out!
What inspires me most when it comes to my work is the spark of change, conversation and connection it can create. An open door to a world of possibilities and the ability to reach people that don’t think this world is suitable for them. We might not be doctors or nurses saving lives but we are able to reach people on an emotional level and there is something to be said for that.
I’m producing a TV documentary dealing with the topic of generational trauma as well as developing the next stage of my play Footsteps in a Foreign Land inspired by my grandad’s migration to Wales.
I am currently working on an Arts Council Wales project with the superb talent Dean Rehman exploring the marriage of Welsh and Yemeni cultures and their relationship.
There is also going to be more presenting and acting work dropping in the near future so stay tuned to my socials @TheWelshExotic to find out more.”