Meet Fariha Róisín

Fariha Roisin for Passerbuys103.jpg
It’s hard to survive in a city like New York, especially when working in a creative field. The instability of freelance writing is a zone that Fariha Roisin knows well, but her daily routines and self-care rituals help to balance that stress. Her pursuit of writing after leaving law school has helped to keep her motivation up, and writing about the issues that she cares about urge her to keep going.
Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

Jacket & Jumpsuit, Thrifted ; Socks, Uniqlo ; Painting by Fariha Róisín

Jacket & Jumpsuit, Thrifted ; Socks, Uniqlo ; Painting by Fariha Róisín


I used to wake up quite diligently around 7 AM. In the last year, I've begun to let myself fluctuate with my moods. As long as I haven't had a long, exhausting night before, 9:30 AM is my cut off. I've realized my body needs to go at its own rhythms, and I respect that. I get up, wash my face with either Grown Alchemist's Hydra Restore Cleanser or Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser (I like to switch up), then I mist with a rose water blend, and apply Paula's Choice Vitamin C Serum. I also recommend Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant and Lucas Papaw. Then I'll either have a glass of warm lemon water or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, then take a probiotic (Renew Life - Ultimate Flora Probiotic Women's Care). These are my musts! I have a very sensitive reproductive system, so I need to be diligent about how I care for my vagina. Then I'll either make coffee or turmeric tea and blend in Tocos Sun potion while I send some emails. I'll take a break and generally read for about an hour before I begin to officially write. 

ON her path to becoming a writer

I dropped out of law school to be a writer. I had written a book, and I really believed that I could get it published. I felt alive when I wrote. I liked the act of exhuming ghosts and examining feelings all to extract these wonderful things and put them on a page. There's something sacred about it. I began interning and writing for StyleLikeU in 2010, but got my real start when I won a position at the Critics Academy (run by IndieWire) to learn how to be a junior critic in 2012. I've always loved film, and it was exciting to meet Olivier Assayas or Ang Lee to get tutelage under them in a very tangential way.  It led me to all kinds of work and really opened me up to think—no shit—critically! Soon after, my friend Zeba and I started a podcast, Two Brown Girls, and that was really a way to explore film and pop culture through the lens and experience of a black woman and a brown woman. We both felt really pushed out by white men in the industry, and hated that shows like Girls with with no diversity were being put on pedestals. It was our platform to speak our truths. It ended up blowing up in a way we couldn't have imagined. Since then I've been freelancing full time, which can be really demoralizing because people don't pay you, and that's a struggle. Still, I'm lucky to do what I love.

I started writing a book when I was twelve because I dreamt an idea that woke me up in tears. That was it. I needed to write it, so I did. I am still in the process of potentially trying to sell it. I think Baldwin has a quote that writing is just perseverance, and really that’s it. You can’t will it, you have to have it inside of you, and wretch it out from the very depths.
— On why she is a writer
Sweater, Thrifted ; Pants, Citizen Vintage ; Bracelet, Faris & Corey Moranis, Ring, Blessed Poppy ; Earrings Annie Costello Brown

Sweater, Thrifted ; Pants, Citizen Vintage ; Bracelet, Faris & Corey Moranis, Ring, Blessed Poppy ; Earrings Annie Costello Brown

some advice for becoming a better writer

Walk away from validation. It'll never be enough. No amount of likes for a piece will make you better at what you do. If you care about writing, then nurture it. 

on getting work

I pitched my ass off. Every Monday I would pitch. Most of the time I wouldn't hear back from anybody, but then slowly editors started giving me chances. I have so much respect for the editors that did because I was always talking about things that nobody was comfortable with back then, like black and brown folks and being a Muslim woman of color. That was what I cared about. I still do, though only being asked to write about identity gets tiring. I'm glad people gave me a way to get better at this thing that I deeply love.

on her favorite part of her job

The flexibility, the freedom! As much as I struggle with the money aspect of being a freelancer like not knowing when my next check will come, I am so grateful that I get to work on my own time. 

Her favorite tools for work

I love pens, my favorite is by Kaweco that I got in my dream stationary store in Sydney, Pentimento. I also love the Hay Store in Sydney for all the Stationary goods. 

On surviving in new york city

New York is a tough city, especially if you're an artist and don't come from money or have access to it. I'm lucky because my partner is a talented filmmaker and we live together. We can have the semblance of a nice life because we live in his family's brownstone, but money is something that I'm always consciously thinking about. It's sad that only some people can access certain things that are great about New York, like the incredible culture here. Restaurants and cooking with rich, delicious ingredients are vital to my livelihood. It's where I've designated my hard earned money. I only drink natural wines. I'm that bitch. In Montreal, where I paid $360 a month for rent, it was easier to afford such niceties. In New York, it's almost impossible. I find that hard to resolve inside of myself, and the general capitalism that bustles through this city. I'm also such a bougie person. We like reflexology massages and mani-pedis, so how do you balance those things in a city like NYC, while remaining conscious and smart? I'm trying to figure it out. 

Sweater, Thrifted ; Pants, Citizen Vintage ; Bracelet, Faris & Corey Moranis, Ring, Blessed Poppy ; Earrings Annie Costello Brown

Sweater, Thrifted ; Pants, Citizen Vintage ; Bracelet, Faris & Corey Moranis, Ring, Blessed Poppy ; Earrings Annie Costello Brown

Fariha Roisin for Passerbuys77.jpg
Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

on IBS and healing

I've had really bad IBS since I was a teen. I realized it was because I was deeply connected to my mother who gave me an intense amount of anxiety as she suffers from many different mental afflictions. I was her caretaker for a long time. I found that when she was having a breakdown, even if I wasn't around, I could feel it. My whole body would shut down. Part of the reason I left Australia, where my mom lives, is to begin my healing process. Since then I've spent years reorganizing and cultivating my digestive balance. It means no sugar, wheat, or dairy. Sometimes I cheat. I do recommend Trader Joe's liquid stevia.


Massage and acupuncture have become back bones of my self-care. As a writer who is almost always hunched over either a book or laptop, I've realized that I need to take steps to better care for myself. I come from hardworking people who don't believe in pleasure, so I feel guilty to announce such things. I feel like I don't have a right to want them when my mother, at 62, has only had a massage once in her life. I'm realizing it's part of my healing practice. Other than that, good food as are regular mani-pedis, if my paycheck permits. Exercise is also important. I've been flailing because of travel, but I love running. 

I try and meditate everyday. My partner, Shaka, bought me Animal Cards, which are Tarot cards that Native Americans use in readings, so I'll use that after meditation to get guidance on how I'm feeling emotionally. 

on beauty tips

I grew up on turmeric masks, which I still use. Black cumin is another special family healing secret. Oils are great, like doTERRA tea tree and on guard protective oil. I ingest a lot of oregano oil and apple cider vinegar all the time. I do love juicing, as my mom juices a lot as we grew up super healthy. I love bone broth as a staple. I also recommend Santa Maria Novella CologneAnastasia Beverly Hills Liquid LipstickYves Saint Laurent Touche EclatJosie Maran Argan Black Oil MascaraStila Stay All Day Liquid EyelinerInglot Freedom System Palette Square/Mirror, and Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil.


On shopping, style and the body

I'm a hodge podge. I like what I like. I don't know how to describe it though! I like Oroboro a lot, but generally can't afford a lot of it. My favorite shop in the whole world is Maryam Nassir Zadeh, but same issue there. I also like to peruse Bird and Narnia in Williamsburg. I live pretty close to Sincerely Tommy, and that's a favorite. I love Garmentory online, and designers like Faris. Beacon's Closet is almost always reliable and affordable. My body fluctuates a lot, and in the summer I'm a lot thinner than I am in the winter months. It's just who I am. I tend to eat more of what I shouldn't, like cheese, in the winter, and I'm trying to accept that I have a body that isn't readily accepted as beautiful or glorified all the time. I want there to be more dialogue about femme and non-binary bodies because I find there's little transparency over how we feel about ourselves. Women are expected to be thin, without cultivation, but what if we don't always want to be so hard on our bodies? I like exercise because it makes me feel good, but to maintain a body standard of thinness is impossible for some of us. I find that really isolating. I recently wrote about this for Allure. On the opposite end, thickness is definitely in, but it's also a specific kind of thickness. So what happens when you're in between? When you're a medium? I think the best advice I could give is what I try and remind myself: feel good for yourself.

on her nightly routine

I generally smoke a j or two with my partner and watch some TV or a movie. Other days I'll read Apartamento or a book in bed. Sometimes I make turmeric tea, and usually try and settle my mind to take a moment to meditate. Then I'll night shower, which is one of my favorite things to do. I've hung some eucalyptus in the shower, under the tutelage of my beautiful friend Jenna Wortham, as we love sharing ideas with each other on how to live better lives. The steam of the eucalyptus is so fragrant and healing as it ruptures and fuses with the hot water. I'll generally wash with my face with black charcoal, Binu Binu soap, my body with Wary Meyers soap in Sea Air, and brush my teeth with my Bichotan brush. After I get out of the shower I'll apply my Santa Maria Tonic Water. I'll moisturize with Everyday Oil and use Paula's Choice Vitamin C Serum again. Then finish off with Dr Hauschka Night SerumI also recommend Candicin supplements, Wellness Formulaand Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.


Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

Jumpsuit, Zara ; Chocker, Handmade

Reading that Etel Adnan anthology is life changing. She is a hero to me because she’s both lyrical and political. An intermix of everything I believe in!
— on one of her favorite books
T-Shirt, Taravat ; Bracelet, Faris ;    Earrings, Faris

T-Shirt, Taravat ; Bracelet, Faris ; Earrings, Faris


To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader by Etel Adnan, A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector, Look by Solmaz Sharif, and Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith, The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren

fariha'S favorite movies

In the Mood For Love, I Am Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Taste of Cherry

fariha'S favorite places IN new york city

Spoonbill is my favorite bookstore in the city & McNally Jackson is my other favorite. 

Maryam Nassir Zadeh for the most beautiful clothes

Sincerely Tommy for a great coffee & hang

Dimes Store for wonderful neighborhood finds

New Museum for the Khalil Joseph exhibition

Depanneur for a brilliant iced coffee

Mociun for ceramics

Mission Chinese for the best food in NYC

Dimes for a healthy-ish brunch

Diner for a great meal

Four Horsemen for an intimate hang

Samurai Mama for a great sashimi salad

Metrograph for a movie and a cocktail

De Maria for a nice city brunch

Al di La for the tastiest Italian

Baby cakes for the best gluten free and vegan treats

Kimberly Spa for a killer 12 AM reflexology massage 

Jacket, Thrifted ; Earrings, Faris ; Bag, Zara ; Ring, Blessed Poppy

Jacket, Thrifted ; Earrings, Faris ; Bag, Zara ; Ring, Blessed Poppy