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Shadi Jafari

Jafari Shadi Jafari graduated from UC Irvine last year with a double major in International Studies and Literary Journalism. She was very active on campus: she was the Managing Editor of the Human Rights Journal; the President of the Iranian Education Fund; and the Humanities Representative for Legislative Council, where she authored various social justice policiesto reduce hate speech on campus and foster greater tolerance among UC Irvine students.

Her piece on the current conflict in Syria was nominated by the Literary Journalism program for The Atavist's college writing competition. Another article she wrote on hate crimes in Orange County for Professor Amy DePaul was published in the Voice of Orange County, an investigative magazine.

She is currently applying to graduate school in Political Science and hopes she can continue to use her voice to document the lives of others.

The Story Behind the Story:

Writing about the prostitution scene in Santa Ana was just a thought I had while in class, wondering who I should shadow next; I never actually thought a prostitute would be open enough to talk to me. With the deadline to pick my next topic quickly approaching I just thought, Why not give it a shot?

One night at 10:00 my best friend and I decided to drive toward Disneyland and see if we could see any “transactions” taking place. Sure enough, it didn’t take us long to find women with high heels and short skirts roaming the streets in the freezing weather. We parked the car behind a McDonald's on the boulevard and just decided to watch and see what would happen.

Five minutes later, a pickup truck parked next to it with a man sitting in it. I didn’t think much of it until a woman walked up to his window and started talking to him. Somehow the deal went south and he ended up leaving without engaging her services. She then spotted my friend and me awkwardly sitting in the car, staring at her. To my excitement and horror she started walking toward us. From that moment on we established a relationship of mutual respect and she was happy to have someone telling her side of the story. That’s how the story of Chanelle came to be.