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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Selected Student Profile: Salma Siddiqui

Senior Salma Siddiqui goes in search of food samples at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Photo courtesy of Siddiqui

Q: What languages can you speak?

I’m fluent in English, conversational in Mandarin (from immersion preschool and high school) and Hebrew (from elementary and middle school). I can also read and write Arabic (from Sunday school) and Urdu, but can’t speak either. Since I can understand Urdu, I can also understand Hindi.

Q: Since you have grapheme-color synesthesia [involuntary association of letters and words with colors], can you explain what color your name is?

‘Salma’ is pink, teal and pale yellow in diagonal pinstripes.

Q: Does the visual change by the language?

Actually yes! The colors are different in Mandarin because my Mandarin name sounds different: ‘盖쁜’ (Song Hui) which is pink and like burnt orange. And it’s a lot more blunt. In Arabic, the colors are the same — still pink, teal and yellow — but now it’s like marbled. But in Hebrew, my name ‘שלוה’ (Shalva), because of the sounds, is pink, yellow and then pale-green instead of teal.

Q: What’s your favorite trend?

I’m not a trendy person… just kidding! I really love the bows on everything. It reminds me of my first horse show when I was 10 where I wore these really big pink bows in my hair.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it—

A hedgehog! But they’re illegal in California.

Q: Did you look that up?

I did look it up. Because they’re legal in Oregon and people smuggle them through the borders. I once met this guy on Castro who was playing his guitar and sitting next to him was a hedgehog. And I was like, “How do you have a hedgehog? They are illegal in California!” He goes, “I have a buddy… he drives a minivan… I can give you the info….” And then my parents said no.

Q: Would you rather serve on the Supreme Court today or have helped write the Constitution?

Helped write the Constitution. Having a woman of color involved in writing our founding document would have been amazing and could have altered the course of history in many ways.

Q: What’s your favorite sport?

Formula 1 and equestrian. One thing I really like about riding is that it’s one of the very few sports that’s super female-dominated now even though originally it was all male. I’m hoping Formula 1 will get there someday.

Q: If your life was a movie, who would you want to narrate it?

I think Zendaya would do a good job. Also, though, Taylor Swift: I want to hear what she thinks. I would give her full creative liberties, and it would be a musical and she would write songs which I could sing.

Q: What’s a motto you live by?

“If not now, then when?” I find it applies when you’re scared to do something. I find that it helps to remember that you only get one life — but not “YOLO,” which I think is not a good way to live your life. It’s like “do it for the plot.”

Q: How would you distinguish the three?

I would say “If not now, then when?” is Gen X, YOLO is millennial and “do it for the plot” is Gen Z.

Q: Do you identify as Gen Z?

I’m firmly Gen Z. I am very anti-millennial culture. But I would say that I am both Gen Z and Gen X. My quarantine hobby was crocheting.

Q: Farmers markets or museums?

Farmers markets because free samples.

Q: Speaking of food, what are you allergic to?

Like, avocados, cherries, artichokes, tree nuts, apples, and nightshade (so tomatoes, eggplants). Some of these are very minor — like I’ll still eat avocados because I like guacamole but it makes my tongue itchy.

Q: Do you have any superstitions?

I always listen to the same song before a mock trial round. It’s “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. It puts me back to freshman year when some of the seniors would play the song before a round. The song has just played at important moments in my life… and I don’t particularly like it.

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About the Contributors
Amber More
Amber More, Creative Director

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 1

Favorite aspect of journalism: watching everything come together from the first draft to print

Interests outside of school: rock climbing, Pop Culture, and Formula 1

Class of 2025

Geoffrey Franc
Geoffrey Franc, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: Telling people's stories and learning about the world through them.

Interests outside of school: history, running, and Mock Trial

Class of 2025

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