The FS! Creative team sat down with John Berry, Kansas City illustrator and creator of our FightSong! Heroes to chat about the incredible characters he created for us, his inspiration and what they bring to the FightSong universe.
Inspiration for Fariha Kapoor
John’s inspiration for Fariha Kapoor came from an increase in news about hijabi athletes and other comic characters. “With her design I was thinking about other comic characters as well.” A big source of inspiration came from the Marvel universe. “We had inspiration from The Runaways for that whole crowd scene,” John told us. “I was thinking about the hero Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel. She wears the hijab and she’s a hero.”
“She wears hijab and she’s a hero.”
John Berry, Character Design and Illustrator of Fariha Kapoor
What are Fariha’s dreams?
John was excited to “build around the idea of what an American athlete means.” A complicated character like the rest of the FS! Heroes, “Fariha is Pakistani-American and second or third generation and has a dream of playing in the WNBA. She’s an athlete, a really good basketball player and she’s taking the classic jock character and turning it on its head a bit.”
How did Fariha become a FS! Hero?
Fariha was bullied for her religion on the basketball court. Before a game, she overheard one of her less skilled teammates saying racist things related to her hijab. This hurt Fariha but she chose to ignore it and focus on the game. Unfortunately, with 30 seconds left on the clock, the same racist student chose to pull off her headscarf and make it look like an accident.
Rather than pummeling the ignorant student and getting in trouble herself, Fariha made a report to her counselor through FightSong and the offending student was disciplined and educated. Since Fariha felt targeted, betrayed and embarrassed, she also wanted to talk to her school counselor about the incident. Through the FS! App, she DM’d her school counselor to talk through her feelings. Through FightSong, her counselor offered her the support she needed when she needed it most.
Name: Fariha Kapoor
Likes: Basketball, Playing NBA Live 19, Trap Music
Dislikes: Dancing, Dresses, Makeup
Favorite Food: Chicken Biryani, Bananas, Nutella
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Green
About the Artist
John Berry is an Animator, Illustrator and Teacher currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. He received a B.F.A. Degree in animation in 2012 from the Kansas City Art Institute. Since graduation, he has worked as an Animator, Illustrator, Concept Artist, and a Graphic Designer. He has also been a teacher in KCAI’s Continuing Education department as an Animation Instructor since 2014 and joined the BFA program as an Animation Lecturer in 2018.