Tala Raassi on Freedom Through Fashion

Courage comes in many forms. For Tala Raassi, Iranian-American designer and founder of a women’s fashion line, it came in the form of a miniskirt and high heels in conservative Iran. In the early 1980’s, the Ayatollah implemented a new Constitution, in which alcohol was banned, clubs were shut down, mixed parties were forbidden, listening to Western music became illegal and many other limitations were placed on the Iranian people, Raassi explains. “On the night we were arrested, I attended a small gathering,” Raassi says. “It was my 16th birthday. There was no alcohol, no drugs – just a gathering for a bunch of teenagers.” Five nights in jail and 40 lashes later, Raassi replaced her fear and helplessness with anger and a determination to find freedom through fashion. Fear is natural, but as you’ll hear in this chat between SUCCESS Editor-in-Chief Josh Ellis and Raassi, when we push ourselves to try in the face of potential failure, we are one step closer to our strongest selves.

This interview originally appears on the SUCCESS Talks Collection October 2016 edition.

Editor’s NoteSUCCESS Talks, the popular audio program included in every issue of SUCCESS magazine, is now available as a weekly podcast. Find SUCCESS Talks on iTunes, Stitcher and your favorite podcast app, and extended shownotes here on SUCCESS.com weekly. Sign up to receive updates whenever a new episode is released.



  • How Tala faced an unbelievable life challenge – enduring 40 lashes for simply wearing a skirt – with grace and courage
  • What motivates the fashion designer to create a better future for herself, and what you should ask yourself to create yours
  • How fear can make you do your best work
  • Why you should stop planning and just leap into your next big goal


Favorite Quote From This Episode:

“Many of the things that I’ve done in my life scared the hell out of me at first, but then sometimes you do your best when you’re scared and a little bit off-balance.” – Tala Raassi


SUCCESS Talks, the popular audio program included in every issue of SUCCESS magazine, is now available as a podcast. SUCCESS Talks features fascinating interviews with prominent business, creative and thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Anne Sweeney, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Barbara Corcoran. SUCCESS Talks focuses on helping the listener nurture and develop their mind, body and spirit. Each month is thematically different and includes key takeaways designed to help you achieve your biggest goals and live your true passion.

Catch up on all episodes at SUCCESS.com/SUCCESSTalks.




Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the director of digital content and social media for SUCCESS.com. She's co-host of the SUCCESS Insider and SUCCESS Talks podcasts. Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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