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Queer Persian Artist Gia Woods Responds to the Youth Questionnaire

By Alyssa Shapiro

Gia Woods is a queer woman, a musician who grew up in a traditional Persian household. In 2016, at the age of 18, Woods wrote her first single, “Only a Girl,” which served as a coming-out message to her parents, friends, and everyone else who was listening—the song has made an impact with over 10 million views on YouTube.

With the release of her first EP, Cut Season, Woods performs a mental spring cleaning, diving into issues of ego, bad habits, and naivety. Released today, the music video for “Naive,” sees Woods melding the darkest parts of her life with the performative, cinematic world of pop in a video she co-directed with Jenna Marsh.

Gia Woods responds to a selection of questions from the YOUTH QUESTIONNAIRE below.

Question 4: When were you recently perfectly content? 

Last year I was getting out of a pretty heavy breakup after a four-year relationship, and I was left with all this emotional baggage that I hadn't dealt with. It wasn't until I started writing my EP Cut Season that I started to finally feel like myself again. I was always a bit codependent and afraid to be on my own, but during that time I started to write the project, I felt so content with myself and embraced being alone with no distractions. I love it now. I don't even recognize the person I was before in some ways.

Question 6: What does pride mean to you? 

Pride to me means being unapologetically yourself without any filters. It means celebrating the parts of you that make you unique. There’s a lot of power in feeling pride in yourself because it also empowers others to be true to themselves. I feel honored to use my platform to empower others and celebrate the progress we've made as a community! 

Question 7: Describe something that inspired change in your perspective. 

This whole quarantine, as I’m sure it has for everybody. It’s made me realize how valuable and precious time is, and [allowed me] to appreciate the little things. When I look back on my life before this I think, “Did I really spend my time doing this or doing that?” For instance: meetings; I love being face to face with someone, don’t get me wrong, but in Los Angeles, a meeting means traffic, and someone’s always late or waiting for the check. It’s time that could be spent elsewhere. Zoom meetings are so much more efficient haha. 

I’ve also spent more time with my family. With my career, it can easily become so fast-paced to where I forget to make that extra effort to see my loved ones more. Now I've spent the most amount of time possible [with them] and I'm enjoying every little moment of it. I've learned things about my mom that I never knew!

Question 10: Describe your relationship with your ego. 

I would say that my relationship with my ego has gotten so much better in the past couple of years. I think a lot of maturation happens when you acknowledge that you have an ego and can decide when and if it’s getting in the way. We all have one, one way or another. So yea, whenever I’m getting upset, I have to think whether it’s just my ego being bruised or not. 

Question 18: Which is richer: your inner life or outer? Why? 

My inner life is richer because I have such a strong relationship with myself. I don’t care about those material things that a lot of people are distracted by. I used to be, but I realize it gives you sort of an empty feeling. So when I focused on myself and improving who I am, I became a lot happier.

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Photo courtesy of Jenna Marsh