Imagine Meghan Markle’s megawatt smile, and multiply that by one hundred. This is how I am greeted from across the room by Ayaat Morgan. With a confident stride, she marches forward with her hand outstretched to shake mine in genuine welcome. I expect nothing less from someone sporting the title of Divisional Marketing Manager– Corporate Marketing and Customer Care, this is the job. As we sit down to discuss her role and outlook on life, it is a pleasant revelation to discover a friendlier and much more flamboyant character than typically fits the corporate mold.
“I dress and talk this way, the person I am outside is exactly how I am at work. Marketing is all about art and being artistic. There’s sales and strategizing but all of this is not achieved if you don’t try to stand out…putting in a little glimpse of artistry makes all the difference.”
It took five years of study at Egypt’s University of Helwan, and slogging overnight at a telesales and marketing job to finance the life of this Graphic Design student. After attaining her degree, it was her force of personality, however, that landed Ayaat her first real role in marketing and PR within the film industry. She found herself promoting the international distribution of arthouse films Asmaa and Cairo 678. This meant traveling, including to the US, and the timing of the Egyptian revolution meant the films garnered even more attention than expected. The sensitive subject of the award-winning 678 is still relevant today considering the #METOO movement, and Ayaat has herself used the hashtag.
It is not surprising that these films are “media with a message”, as everything Ayaat does seems to have a message or point behind it, although she stresses, “I didn’t become an open-minded, empathetic person until after years of traveling and volunteering, being exposed to cultures and less fortunate people. Not being judgmental is something you need to learn if you are not brought up in that environment.” She reveals that through her life experiences she has found all people to be the same. “We all want the same things in life: love, stability, peace.”
“I feel like when you start thinking beyond yourself, you become a happier person. [Paradoxically] you are a lot more fulfilled when it’s not about you. When you extend love and kindness to another human being, even if it’s just a smile, it makes such a difference.”
I ask where does she see herself in the future, and for a time there’s no answer. This is because Ayaat, nicknamed “Yotta”, lives so much in the moment. This makes complete sense because it is not possible to truly embrace what you are doing now, if you’re constantly thinking about the future. But then she does effuse, “I want to keep marketing! I love it, I love it, I love it!”
And how does she juxtapose this immense sense of humanity and working in this industry, one which people view with such suspicion? “When I practice marketing I am honest, you can never be forced to lie. It is not something that anyone can ever make you do.”
There is definitely a link between the development of society’s voice and the development of art, music, and culture. Ayaat is an artist and has always been interested in art. A writer and occasional singer, she also acts and is preparing for a brand new musical debuting this March, as well as a role in an upcoming Shakespearean production in October 2018 with One World Actors. When asked what does she get out of acting she immediately responds, “Freedom. To express myself.” Over the last year there have been many personal changes for Ayaat and it is life as an endless journey of discovery that she is experiencing now. It must be difficult to be a person who has this immense sense of humanity toward man, and yet finds herself (as we all are) in a position of being judged by other people.
“It’s like, people think that with [modern] art, it’s all over the place but actually you need a deep foundation of knowledge, training and understanding to be able to think beyond the normal.” I personally think that Ayaat has taken the last 29 years to build this foundation of knowledge, and now she is ready to branch out on her own to break society’s seemingly unnecessary rules of constraint that little bit more. “Everything needs to make sense to me” she explains. “You should action your [beliefs]. Thoughts lead to words which lead to action. People are always asking me, ‘but what can I do to make a difference?’ And I tell them, just your thoughts are enough. Keep your thoughts and energy positive.”
That’s a yotta positive energy.
Truth or dare Questionnaire
How would your mother describe you in one word?
How would you describe your mother in one word?
What is the most ridiculous question you’ve ever been asked?
Oh, so you ride camels and live in tents? (LA- 2011)
What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Decided to spend an entire day picking up stray cats in the street that were in bad shape – I ended up sleeping in the corner of my room that day with little to no access to my own home.
What is your theme song?
Growing up – Michael Jackson’s “Black & White”.
When in zen – Abdul Halim Hafiz’s “Ahwak”.
Recently addicted to – Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still.”
What word in the English or Arabic language do you wish you had invented?
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious–or Muse?! Whatever is easier to pronounce!
Where would you like to live? What is your dream retirement location?
Anywhere where I can sink my feet in the sand, munch on delicious food all day, learn a new language and enjoy a rich and colorful culture – INDIA. Maybe Bali, or Sicily – who knows?
What is the first famous quote that comes to your mind?
“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” – Rumi.
What animal best describes the kind of partner you’d be interested in?
I’m smiling as I’m reading this question – monkey? Nah, more like a husky dog.
What do you miss about your childhood?
Laughing and playing without a care in the world!
If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I wouldn’t, as I grew older I gradually fell in love with the meaning of my name.
How would you describe your handshake in one word?
Light and friendly.
What is the toughest part of your character?
My inability to accept ‘no’ for an answer or succumbing to the status quo. In other words, I can get pretty stubborn!
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Three come to mind – Rumi, Ghandi and Edgar Allan Poe.
What in the world do you least desire?
Those who do nothing while witnessing injustice.
What do you think is lacking in the world, which if there was more of would make the world a better place?
To teach our young that diversity is beautiful; to understand that there is unity in diversity and strength in our differences. To master goodwill and lead by example. To share the nationality of humanity and solidarity in peace. To always strive to do good and speak kindness.
Why do you think most girls/guys like you?
I love making people smile and laugh, people who know me well are always in for a crazy ride!
Finish this sentence: “Happiness is a thing called…”
Poetry, acting, boxing and Molokhiya.
Follow Ayaat on Instagram @yottamorgan and on LinkedIn as Ayaat Morgan. Photography by Sanaa Khaled.