Posted on Jul 29, 2019
Haute Hijab Staff
If you're a viewer of our vlogs, you may remember Executive Assistant and Office Manager extraordinaire Ardis Barrow as one of two Haute Hijab non-Muslim team members who fasted one day this past Ramadan! She missed her beloved coffee, but she did it to learn more about how and why our Muslim team members fasted. That's one of the many things we love about Ardis, who keeps our office (and Ahmed and Melanie's professional lives) running smoothly, takes care of a million things so everyone at HH can do their work and serve our customers and communities effectively.
Ardis says she's not particularly religious, and her friends were surprised when she joined a Muslim-owned company. But, she says she has learned so much at HH from the work ethic and company values. She also has an array of hobbies, life experiences and interests, some of which may surprise you, including her childhood pets! Get to know Ardis as she answers 15 fun (and a few deep) questions in our ongoing summer team-focused series - "15 Things You May Not Know About ... "
Ardis Barrow, in a photo that takes our breath away!
1. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Either reading (mostly fiction or history) or going to art museums.
2. What are your hobbies? What are your dream hobbies?
Oh my goodness, I have so many hobbies! It’s out of control. I love making things, so anything creative (oil painting, needle felting, life drawing, singing, dancing, etc). I also have A LOT of dream hobbies. I am obsessed with the idea of falconry - I would love to have a few falcons. Also, horseback riding and bee keeping. Maybe I just want to have a lot of dangerous pets?
3. What is something you hate doing?
That would be a close tie between dishes and taxes. Dishes - because they never end and are an inevitable part of cooking and eating (both things I love), and taxes - because they’re just the worst. I dislike bureaucracy and paperwork.
4. If you could eat something on an endless loop, what would it be?
Mexican/Tex-Mex. It creates a lot of opportunity for avocado, and I’m into that.
5. What feeds your soul/when are you at your happiest/best?
Ardis as a child curled up in a mighty redwood tree in the forest.
When I’m in the woods. I basically grew up in a forest, and I spent most of my time there. I’d hang out there all day by myself, building forts and fairy villages. (Gosh, this really explains a lot.) It’s still the place where I feel the most grounded and at peace.
6. Who do you look up to the most and why? (living or dead)
I look up to artists and creatives who just “did the work” during their lifetimes. We admire so many artists today who were often unrecognized while they were alive, and it’s easy to dismiss the reality of what that daily slog may have been like. Those who stayed true to their vision and work while being ignored, dismissed or mocked. I find it an inspirational reminder to try and stay focused on just doing the work and not overthinking it.
7. What is something, if you could go back and change in your life, that you would?
I’m not by nature a nostalgic or regretful person. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about things that have already happened, because all you can do is learn something and move on. I guess if I went back in time I would certainly do most things differently, but not out of a sense of failure - more so I wouldn’t have to do everything the same way twice!
8. What is your biggest challenge in life?
Probably staying focused. I tend to get really excited about new projects, ideas, skills, etc. I like to spread myself thin and explore in a lot of directions, but it’s sometimes to the detriment of deeply diving into something and really following through on it.
9. What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
At one point in middle school I had 14 bantam (miniature) chickens. It all started when I brought three chicks home from school without asking my parents. We DID NOT live on a farm. We lived on less than an acre of land and most certainly were not cleared to own livestock. I cried and told my dad, “We will have fresh eggs every morning if only I can keep them!” Unfortunately, I had chosen the chicks for their dramatic markings and colorful plumage - they ALL turned out to be roosters. There were no eggs and many cock fights until I hatched more eggs in our TV room and ended up with some hens. They followed me everywhere I went and would come when I called them.
10. What is that big dream thing you want to accomplish in life? Or if not one thing, a few things?
I’d like to start my own business someday ... and succeed haha. I had a freelance mural business for years but never full time. I’d love to someday create my own pre-printed murals or wall coverings on a larger scale. I’m learning so much at Haute Hijab from Ahmed and Melanie everyday, and being able to watch how they run this business has been inspirational and valuable.
11. To the non-Muslims at Haute Hijab is your favorite OR not-so-favorite thing about working at a Muslim-owned company? Or, what is one thing you’ve learned that surprised you about Muslims?
I love it! I think some of my friends were surprised that I took a job at a Muslim company because I am particularly not religious. I was nervous at first that this might be an issue, but quickly learned that the company values are very in sync with my own. I was most impressed with the Ramadan fasting. I did one day of fasting with Alice (our marketing manager) and it was so hard to concentrate! Our Muslim employees fasted for a whole MONTH and were far less dramatic about it than Alice or I.
12. What does a typical Friday night look like for you?
Honestly, since I got a puppy it is mostly going home to walk him and then hanging out with him and my boyfriend. We’re old fuddy duddies now.
13. What’s the strangest or most fun family tradition you have?
Well, growing up my dad was a professional photographer. Before everything was digital, photographers would end up with thousands of discard film slides at the end of the year’s edits. So, every couple of years we’d get together with his best friend (also a photographer) and his family to do a massive slide burn. We’d pile all the slides into a mountain in their backyard in Virginia and then light them on fire! The drama of the ”lighting ceremony” escalated year after year. At the last event, my dad’s friend rode his horse to the top of the hill holding a torch. He then lit a brazier attached to a zipline that sped down the hill and ended in the pile of kerosene soaked slides. It was quite a night.
14. Cat person or dog person (or some other kind of animal)?
Ardis with one of her roosters as a child on the left and as an adult with her dog on the right!
DOG! I have a schnoodle puppy named Lafitte, and he is the love of my life. We named him for the famous pirate Jean Lafitte, who was a total rogue and saved the city of New Orleans from the British during the war of 1812.
15. If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be and why?
I’m not sure I have a slogan, but I’ve always liked this quote: “Learn to handle hot things. Keep your knives sharp. Above all, have a good time.” - Julia Child, as paraphrased by Tom Robbins
Seems like good advice for life as well as cooking.