In 2014, Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for girls education who survived a Taliban assassination attempt in Pakistan, became – at age 17 – the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Yousafzai and Apple are announcing a new partnership. The 23-year-old human rights activist will be producing content exclusively for Apple TV+.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told “CBS This Morning” she is the perfect addition to their streaming service.
“Well, I remember myself, as young as 11 years old, looking at myself in the mirror, trying to imagine there’s a crowd of people that I’m giving a speech, reminding people to speak out for their rights,” Yousafzai said. “And then I was there at a stage speaking at the U.N., speaking at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
“And today, you know, I just can’t believe that I have graduated from university, I have finished my education.”
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King said, “I look at you and I go, ‘Wow, you grew up! When did that happen?’ Look at you!”
“Well, that’s my question as well!” she laughed.
Yousafzai, completing a philosophy, politics and economics degree.
“So, just like everybody else, I took my exams at home, and then I graduated at home,” she said. “It was tough. And then you have two younger brothers and a family, and everybody is annoying you, and they’re coming to your room.”
“You sound like a lot of twenty-somethings,” said King, “because now you’re back, but you’re still living at home. You have younger siblings, you said, and people are annoying you?”
“Oh, 100%, they annoy me all the time! So, I have two younger brothers, and one is, like, 21, the other one is 17. Sometimes, you know, there are arguments,” she said. “But in the end, you know, we resolve all those fights. When you have brothers at home, and you are the only sister, and you want to make sure that your brothers learn about women’s rights and equality, you have to show that leadership in your house. I want to make sure that my brothers respect, you know, my values, my rights, and my opinion, and they need to treat me as a human.”
For Yousafzai, those values are the center of her work at Malala Fund, the non-profit she co-founded to break down global barriers for girls and their right to an education.
And today she is announcing an exciting new partnership for her next chapter.
“I’m very excited for this next project that I’m starting. I will be producing with Apple TV+, and I will be creating content that includes comedy and TV shows and documentaries and movies. And I am really excited for this part of my journey, because it will help me to reach young women and girls.”
“People that know you very well say that you have a tremendous sense of humor,” said King.
“I love comedy; I’m a big fan of it,” Yousafzai said. “I have watched, like, Tom and Jerry, and everybody knows Mr. Bean. So, there’s a sense of connectivity that entertainment industry is bringing into our lives. You know, recently I was watching this show, ‘Ted Lasso,’ on Apple TV+, he’s incredible. And he’s, like, a really funny guy. And he constantly was reminding me of my dad.”
“So, how did you decide that you wanted to partner with Apple?” King asked.
“I have met Tim Cook in person, and I know how passionate he is for women’s rights, equality and education,” Yousafzai said. “I had met so many people who say nice things but don’t follow up, but Tim was just very different. He literally, like, started supporting Malala Fund.”
Cook told King, “Apple TV+ for us is a platform for very impactful and creative storytellers that really want to connect with their audience and change the world in the process. And there’s no better example of that than Malala.”
King asked, “What was your first impression of her?”
“I met Malala back in 2017. You know, what I found was someone wise beyond her years. And I was all in. I wanted to work with her.
“We went to Beirut together, and I saw firsthand how the Malala Fund was helping girls, Syrian refugees, and I saw how Malala interacted with them and inspired them and lifted them up. It was one of the most moving meetings of my life.”
King said, “You and Tim Cook, you seem to have formed a very unique friendship.”
“Tim has been, you know, a mentor, a supporter,” Yousafzai said. “I still can’t believe, like, this is happening!”
“Hard work, Malala, does not seem to scare you,” King said. “We know you work hard, [but] I would like to know how you play. I heard this, tell me if this is true, that if you were stranded on a desert island, the soundtrack you would like to bring is ‘Phantom of the Opera’? Is that true?”
“Yes, ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ I am a big fan of musicals – you know, ‘Hamilton’ to ‘Phantom of the Opera,'” she replied. “And I hope that, you know, when things get back to normal, we can have those experiences again.”
“We all met you through tragedy,” said King, “and it’s because of your courage, really your courage in speaking out, that everybody knows your name, Malala. What goes through your mind when you think about that little girl?”
“To be honest, when I think about that little Malala, I get inspired,” she replied. “She was very strong and courageous, and sometimes I ask – I still ask – for her help. She had a few values that I have still carried with me – things will not change unless somebody, you know, takes a step and makes that change happen.”
“You once said this: ‘You’ll never know who stands with you if you don’t stand up first.’ And I like the message on that. What is your takeaway on this International Women’s Day?”
“Women must be really proud of themselves,” Yousafzai said. “They have worked so hard. Women globally standing up for their rights. Women are there, not just talking about women’s equality, but they’re participating in other movements as well, from climate change to, you know, gun control.
“And to all the young girls out there, I will remind you: believe in yourself, believe in your voice, and become the changemakers of this world. The world needs you.”