Just like a delicious meal, I am a combination of many different experiences and interactions—each new experience adds another layer of flavor.

Summer reminds me of Istanbul, where I learned to appreciate my dad’s afternoon simit.  

Vanessa Hidary on streets of New York City.

Vanessa Hidary is a Syrian-American actor, poet and writer from the Upper West Side. She wrote and has toured nationally with her one-person show, “Culture Bandit,” about fostering understanding between people from different backgrounds. Part of “Culture Bandit” is the poem “Hebrew Mamita,” which Hidary wrote after going through life being told that she doesn’t look Jewish. The phrase has become her nickname and calling card. Hidary’s work has appeared in HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and in Central Park’s Summerstage.