Noor Tagouri, the host of the Barneys Podcast’s third season, has an agenda, and heaven help anyone who stands in her way. The journalist is nothing if not passionate and tenacious. She once filmed a documentary with a camera so old, Shaquille O’Neal, who was watching the show, decided to replace her video equipment.
Tagouri rose to prominence with “Sold in America,” her award-winning podcast investigating the sex trade, then gained further notoriety when Vogue misidentified her as a Muslim model with the same first name. Tagouri seized upon the opportunity to discuss bias, and how it impacts communities and the broader society. She became in 2016 the first woman to wear a hijab in Playboy.
Elaine Welteroth, editor and judge of “Project Runway”; the duo behind Diet Prada; Dapper Dan, and model and activist Jillian Mercado are Tagouri’s guests, with more to be announced. “I wanted to curate a season in which everybody was actively doing something to push forward the conversation and enlighten their community’s narrative.
“I feel like a lot of people are brought into spaces as tokens,” she added. “We wanted to flip the script and say, ‘These are the ones you need to be paying attention to.'”
Tagouri told Barneys her idea of interviewing subjects with diverse backgrounds, united by the common thread of wanting to improve the planet. “If I’m going to do a season, here’s how I’m going to do it,” she said. “[Barneys] gave me free rein. The conversations need to be heard; they’re raw, unfiltered and rooted in personal truths.”
The fashion industry needs lots of work. “What I’ve noticed is it’s easier to focus on gender,” she said, adding that doesn’t begin to address diversity or inclusion.
Wearing black-striped white tweed pants shot with gold, a red Redone turtleneck, beige Burberry scarf across her shoulders, and black Sadoq head scarf, Tagouri cuts a head-turning presence, yet adheres to principles of modesty.
“I love turtlenecks. This Dior necklace, I got at Cannes three days ago. We saw it in the window, and Adam [Khafif, her husband,] said, ‘You need this,'” Tagouri said of the heavy, gold-tone metal chain with two large gold-tone flower-pendants.
“I always wanted to be a journalist,” said Tagouri, who worked at newspapers and radio stations earlier in her career before becoming a television reporter for a small local news station in Maryland. She didn’t stay long, however. “I was expected to fit in a box that wasn’t me, and dress a certain way and talk a certain way. I quit.”
Tagouri said each of her subjects were “so special. Elaine Welteroth just published a book about her journey, and it felt like we were kindred spirits with similar paths.”