Inaya Folarin Iman
I’m Inaya Folarin Iman. I was born in London in November 1996 (Yes, I’m a Scorpio!) but I was brought up in Kent. I was raised in a British-Nigerian, single-parent household and I have one sister. My mum is a remarkable woman and I credit her for expanding my sense of possibility and encouraging me to take risks. Aged 17, I’d been to six different types of schools: private, comprehensive and grammar, which I think gave me a deep interest in what makes us the people we are.
I’m interested in big ideas and big visions, particularly issues around democracy, freedom, art, culture and community. I’m passionate about civic participation and the extent to which citizens of our society feel able and confident to exercise their agency and shape the world around them.
Last year, I founded two organisations, The Equiano Project and Free Speech Champions, both with the goal of engaging particularly young people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives with the important questions of today and encouraging them to stand up and make their voices heard. My goal is to raise the level of discussion in Britain, to amplify and showcase the diversity of thought in our country and reinvigorate public life.
I am a firm believer in embracing life in its fullness. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and live in many parts of the world. For the last four years, I've been studying Arabic. It is through this exploration and curiosity, that I have come to value and appreciate, home: this great country, Britain.
More from Inaya Folarin Iman:
Outside of politics, tell us what matters to you?
I love all things art, spirituality, nature and ancient history. I am a modest painter and have recently started film photography. I’m fascinated by world religions and anything that reveals the depth and scope of our humanity.
What are you most proud of yourself for?
I’m most proud of myself for launching the organisations I did. I launched them both during the pandemic and hundreds of people have sent me lovely messages about how the ideas and values embodied in them: open dialogue, universalism and moral independence have made a genuinely positive impact on them.
What makes Great Britain great?
What makes Great Britain great is its rich and complex history, how this small Island has been able to shape and transform the world and bring it world closer together through the English language.
Why is debate and balanced argument important to you?
Debate and discussion are important because without them, the only option is imposition and exclusion, which is anti-democratic and bound to cause unnecessary conflict.
More importantly, no one has a monopoly on truth, we all have a piece of the puzzle and it’s only when we exchange and listen to others can we learn and piece together the bigger picture.
What makes you, you?
It's my desire to pursue the truth for myself and almost never to rely on second-hand information. I’m also willing to ask lots of questions, to discuss all ideas and talk to all people. I believe there is a world out there to know and that we have access to it, so I don’t see any reason to shut myself off from it.
The best and worst advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve been given is from my mother, who would frequently remind me of a Yoruba proverb that states: “No matter how old you get, you’ll never be as old as your parents”.
The worst advice is “play it safe” and “better safe than sorry”.
Why have you decided to join the GB News family?
My goal at GB News is to reflect the whole of Britain and not just a small segment of it. GB News is big, bold and brave, all the qualities that I think are needed now more than ever in our media landscape.
Do you have a stand-out moment in your career that has impacted on you?
I stood for the Brexit Party in the December 2019 general election. Many people often ask me why a 22-year-old female university student who is just starting out in life would do that.
Well, it was indeed an adventure, but it was a moment that stood out to me because, for the first time, I got the opportunity to travel all of Britain and speak to people from all backgrounds, classes and experiences. I travelled through Yorkshire, Durham, Derby and many more places and hear people talk about what issues really matter to them and why, and I felt the real spirit of democracy come alive.
Most people will be familiar with your work, but tell us something that nobody knows about you?
I often go foraging for wild food, from herbs and mushrooms to edible flowers. I have about four books on it. It brings me closer to nature and allows me to connect to something tribal and ancient.
How would family describe you?
My friends and family would describe me as passionate.
Name somebody that you have always wanted to interview? Or debate with? And why?
I’d love to debate Peter Hitchens on drug policy. I don’t actually have a settled view on it but I find the subject really interesting and under-discussed. I’ve seen him debate it several times with, shall I say, less than equal challengers and I think I could surprise him with some of my counter-arguments to his views on legalisation.