'Alter Ego': Israa Darwich opens up about hardships as a Lebanese American

Performing for Israa Darwich has always come with restrictions, but as Night Journey, she can truly be herself.


                            'Alter Ego': Israa Darwich opens up about hardships as a Lebanese American
Israa Darwich (Alter Ego Night Journey) as seen on 'Alter Ego' (Greg Gayne/FOX)
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Making the most of your talents is not always an option for everyone. Circumstances can often find themselves in your way and demand that you make heavy sacrifices to achieve your dreams. But, for those who want to be the next singing superstar, 'Alter Ego' offers them a chance to achieve said dream in its unique way.

With Alanis Morissette, Nick Lachey, Grimes and will.i.am as the judges, they encountered an interesting contestant named Night Journey. Night Journey's story is a relatable one and proof as to why representation and opportunities matter.

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For 19-year-old Israa Darwich, pursuing her passion has not been an easy journey. As a Lebanese American, she faces double the pressure -- performing is not a part of her religion or culture, and she has struggled to find acceptance for her dreams. She has also received backlash, having been told that singers don't look like her, and if she ever wants to make it big, she will have to take off her hijab, which she finds disrespectful.

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Despite all these hardships, she never gave up and wanted her music to radiate empathy and love. Night Journey is an extension of her own name, Israa, which means 'journey of the night' in Arabic. Performing with an alter ego allows her to prove that a Muslim woman can be a pop star without compromising her ideals or beliefs. She has always felt like an outsider, and this was now her opportunity to shine. With this being her first big audition, she was ready to give in and give it her best. Darwich performed 'This Town' by Nial Horan. You can watch her performance here. 

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When it came to the judges' critique, Darwich won Grimes over in a heartbeat, who loved her look and even stated that she was her favourite performance of the competition. Darwich joked that Grimes could borrow her look anytime and was truly honoured to be performing in front of her. Grimes and Alanis Morissette both believed that Darwich earned her spot on the Diamond, however, will.i.am and Nick Lachey was team Kingston Sol.

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Having entered a tie, it was up to the audience to decide who should stay on the Diamond. The audience picked Kingston Sol, which meant Night Journey was up for elimination. However, seeing that the audience didn't vote for her to be safe the second time around, it was up to the judges to decide. The judges picked Darwich over fellow contestant The Dawn Majesty, giving her the chance to make it to the next round!

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Catch 'Alter Ego' Season 1 on Wednesdays at 9/8c on Fox.