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#HerStory: 'NEGARAIN' Finding Her Way, Her Place, And Her Voice

Meeting powerful women like NEGARAIN is the start of where true change begins. Her story of finding her way, her place, and her voice is a journey full of resilience and empowerment. A true inspiration for all! We are so grateful to have this opportunity to share the story of Negarina Cooper. Follow along to read #HerStory.



Growing up in Iran, my journey really began at the age of 22 when I decided to move to Italy, free myself from the chains of an oppressive government, and venture out to find myself in the world. Throughout my young adult years, I worked hard to earn my way and create a better life—but I struggled to earn fair and legal pay based on my born identity. Eventually, I moved to the U.S. and achieved more and more prestigious positions, up to a senior media buyer and now as The Development Officer at the Toledo Museum of Art.


Experiencing an initial culture shock when coming to the U.S., when I visited Toledo, I immediately felt a sense of belonging that I had been seeking for a long time. This city is full of so much diversity and inclusivity. I was able to easily find other women who could relate to and understand me—gaining friendships, partnerships, and kinships with beautiful, successful women who have cultural origins from around the world. The Toledo community has been integral in helping me build my life and grow roots in a place I am proud to call home. Feeling this sense of belonging feels so wholesome, and it’s something I want to help others find as well.


Recently, I have also been able to start my own business and pursue my passions of singing and teaching yoga—two forms of expression that are not allowed in my home country, it is illegal, in fact, and you face jail time for it. Living the blessed life I do here now; it’s hard to believe that women back in Iran cannot be artists or athletes and own their personal beliefs: they are forbidden from living or speaking their truth. I was too outspoken and spirited to accept that as my reality, and now that I have found a place where I can use my voice for my art, I was able to record and release a vocal album without any resistance.

My past inspires me to inspire other women to not be ashamed of their sexuality, spirituality, femininity, or artistry; to fight for their freedom; and to be proud of exactly who they are. I strive to educate, engage and empower women in order to create a harmonious future that supports the advancement of women around me or across the world in my homeland Iran.

Life is too short and too precious to waste. Start learning who you truly are and take an intentional breath followed by your intentional step towards your beautiful “YOU”

Negarina Cooper and her beautiful mother at Women of Toledo’s 2023 International Women’s Day.

Connect with NEGARAIN


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