Sereena Abbassi

What’s your full name?

Sereena Abbassi.

How old are you?


Where were you born/brought up?

Born in London, though brought up in South London, Croydon and Berkshire.

What do you do for a living?

I help people better connect to themselves so that they can better connect to each other – I work in diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

What’s your ethnicity?

Mixed race, black, brown – British Jamaican and Persian-Iranian.

How did your mum and dad meet?

KFC in Catford.


How old were you when you became conscious that people saw you differently? What impact did that have on you?

It was only when we moved to Berkshire in year 9, people would stare, I was convinced they thought that I was famous!

Describe your most memorable moments when you were made aware of being mixed race.

I suppose it’s when you’re a child and people question/are shocked that either of your parents, are your parents.

Do you feel your parents prepared you for life as a mixed race person?

Good question – I think so. I think they prepared us well for being a mixed race person in a cosmopolitan city.

What ignorant comments have you heard about being mixed-race that really rile you?

That you need to choose which race you belong to.

What do you wish people who aren’t mixed-race understood?

That you don’t need to choose – you can be Switzerland.

Do you think mixed race people/families are well represented in the media?

I would like to see more variation in the type of mixes, rather than just the more familiar black and white.


Back in the late 19th century/early 20th century being mixed race held a stigma, as it was clear proof of interracial relations which was seen as an affront to society’s morals. Do you think it’s easier nowadays to be mixed race or is it more that racism has become subtler?

Undeniably, we’ve progressed as a British nation, though we definitely can’t get complacent – the work never stops.

Is being mixed race a burden or a blessing for you?

All blessing!

Have you felt a struggle with your identity? If so, how did you deal with it and if you are now at peace with who you are, how did you come to a place of self-acceptance?

I’ve never struggled with my mixed racensess, though I’ve definitely struggled with elements of my culture(s). Within my Iranian side I’ve struggled with the anti-blackness that sits within parts of Asian culture - this is something that doesn’t get spoken about. I do not relate to my Jamaicanness, to obviously be distinguished from my blackness; I’ve always been more drawn to my Africanness, rather than Caribbeaness. I think that there are a few reasons for this. One reason being that I feel that African and Asian Culture share more similarities, and I was raised with a very strong Persian-Iranian identity. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I think I need to get my younger self to give me some advice, if I’m honest, she was dope!

Is there anything more you would like to say?

You can feel more of one thing one day, and more of another the next, and it’s all good, all is well, it’s just a different expression, and all of those expressions are yours.