Suleika Jaouad is an American motivational speaker, advocate and writer. She has written essays, reported features, and commentary for The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, The Vogue, and NPR, among others. She is a New York Times bestselling author, along with an Emmy Award to her name.
Jaouad was born on July 5, 1988 on the Lower East Side of New York City to immigrant parents. Her mother is Swiss and her father is from Tunisia, North Africa, where her parents currently live. She said in one of her interviews that her family rented out their house at the end of each school year and used that money to travel during the summer. They went to different countries from Nicaragua to Mexico. She said in one of her interviews that she found those trips extremely embarrassing because most of the other kids went to Disney World for their vacations.
But now she feels that her unconventional upbringing has played a big part in her life and she wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Suleika attended the Juilliard School’s pre-college double bass program and received her BA with top honors from Princeton University, where she majored in Near Eastern Studies and a double minor in Gender Studies and French. During her time at Princeton, Jaouad worked on several human rights campaigns for the Center for Constitutional Rights, Oxfam and the African Union. She also completed an MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College and studied abroad in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, where she researched and wrote about women’s issues.
Career of Suleika Jaouad
After Princeton, Suleika moved to Paris, where she worked as a paralegal and dreamed of covering global conflicts as a journalist. But life had something else ahead of her and she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of 22. While in the hospital, she began writing the acclaimed New York Times column and video series “Life, Interrupted” and has since been a fierce advocate for people living with illness and other forms of adversity. She was given only a one in three chance of survival and after nearly four years of chemotherapy, a clinical trial and a bone marrow transplant, she is now cancer-free.
Her remarkable story of grief, aspiration, hardship, resilience and a search for community and meaning is chronicled in her new book, Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of Life Interrupted. It is dedicated to friends “who crossed the river too soon”. Suleika has also served on Barack Obama’s presidential cancer panel, the National Advisory Board of the Bone Marrow and Cancer Foundation, and the Brooklyn Public Library’s Arts & Letters Committee. Her amazing public speaking, reporting, and advocacy skills have taken her everywhere from the United Nations and Capitol Hill to a maximum-security prison and two-room schoolhouse in rural Montana.
Awards and other work
She received the Red Door Advocacy & Community Service Award. She is a notable speaker at various high schools, universities, hospitals, corporations, fundraisers, and professional events. Suleika travels the world teaching writing and wellness workshops. She taught in the Narrative Medicine Program at Columbia University. She has been featured in NPR’s Talk of the Nation, NBC’s Weekend Today, CBS News, The Paris Review, the Los Angeles Times, and Darling Magazine, among others.
Suleika has launched and founded a “community creativity” project called The Isolation Journals to help others turn isolation into artistic solitude during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, she gives weekly writing prompts to about 100,000 people. She is also developing The Reckoning, a podcast about “moments of great reckoning, good and bad”.
Suleika Jaouad Biography
|Real name||Suleika Jaouad|
|Date of birth||July 5, 1988|
|Age (from 2022)||32 years|
|Birthplace||New York, New York, United States|
|Height||in feet inches – 5′ 7” – in Centimeters – 170 cm|
|Weight||in kilograms – 62kg- in pounds – 136 pounds|
|Secondary school||Princeton University|
|Who is her husband?||Jon Batiste|
Jaouad and Jon secretly married in April 2022 after living in New Jersey for a long time. Jon is a renowned jazz musician and she met him at band camp when she was 13. She has been in a committed relationship with Jon for over ten years now. Still immunocompromised, she remains semi-isolated, socializing only with a small “quaranpod” of friends.
When Jaouad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she spent five years of her life in the hospital documenting her treatment for the New York Times. After she recovered, she embarked on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country with her new best friend Oscar (a scruffy terrier dog). She went all out to meet some strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital.
Jaouad is very active on social media and continues to update her followers on various platforms including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. She has verified social media accounts with a following of 47.1k on Instagram and 18k on Twitter. She also has a website under her name www.suleikajaouad.com where she describes herself as a “New York Times bestselling author, Emmy Award-winning journalist, Creator of the Isolation Journals, & TED Speaker”.
Suleika Jaouad Net worth
Suleika may have made a lot of fortune through her career which has now spread in various fields. However, she has not officially revealed her exact salary, annual income and net worth to the media. Talking about her longtime boyfriend has earned himself a net worth of $4 million throughout his career.
- She had only a 35% chance of long-term survival when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009
- She survived and writes and then speaks extensively about her medical experiences.
- Jaouad began researching all the great artists who had created masterpieces while bedridden, such as Marcel Proust, Frida Khalo and Henri Matisse.
- She began writing in the hospital, recognizing that what started as a blog from the hospital bed turned into a weekly column and video series she wrote for the New York Times.
- Suleika was artist in residence at Ucross, Art Yard and the Kerouac Project.