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4 minute read

Nylah

Thick-skinned Softy | Life of the Party | Mother’s Mini Me

Photographed by Kristine Boel / @kristineboel
“When I grow up I want to be an anesthesiologist. My teacher always said that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. And I’m scared, because that will mean keeping somebody’s life in my hands, and if I kill somebody, that’s a lawsuit. I go to the top school in Brownsville, which I know is not the best area, with fighting and sometimes shootings, but I am still happy to be at my school.”

“ I wanna braid hair. I wanna do nails. I wanna bake. I wanna dance. Those are the things I wanna do. I actually taught myself how to dance. When I started out, it was a nightmare, but now it’s like a dream. Practice makes perfect!”

“When I’m home, I’m playful. When I’m out, I have to be mature. Today, I was walking to the store, and this boy yelled, ‘I got balls in my sack,’ to me. I’m 12! As long as you don’t put your hands on me, I don’t care, but yeah –I can’t be playful when I’m outside. If somebody push me, you’re gonna get a punch in your face.”

“I was allowed to walk to the store across the street for the first time when I was nine to get tissues. My grandma was so hyped. She was watching me on FaceTime as I walked over to the store. She kept saying, ‘Oh my gosh, my Nylah is growing up.’ I was like, okay, grandma.”

“I went with Grandma to Times Square. I remember asking why people were taking pictures. She explained that they were tourists. I was like, well, there ain’t nothing to take a picture of. She laughed and said, ‘That’s because you live in New York.’ Everybody goes to Times Square, because every time you watch a YouTuber, and they say, ‘We’re coming to New York’ the first place they go is Times Square. I’ll never understand why.”

“Wanna hear a story? This made me so mad! The other night, I was sleeping in my bed. It was 2:00am. My mom woke me up and told me that it was time to get up for school. I mumbled and was like mm, okay, I’ll get up soon. But I wasn’t gonna get up until she literally dragged me out of there. I was still asleep! Then she laughed and said, ‘I’m just playing with you. Come in to my bed.’ I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock. It was 2:32 in the morning. ‘Why are you waking me up?’ I yelled. I jumped in her bed, and she was trying to cuddle me and tickle me. I got so mad! But I get on my mom’s nerves sometimes as well. We’re best friends. We live here by ourselves. We play and we have our little inside jokes that nobody else knows. She’s strict if she needs to be, but she’s fun if I behave well.”

“We have slang that we use at school. We don’t say ‘come through’ anymore. That’s some old lady slang. People say, ‘we lit,’ or, ‘we valid’. I like to say, ‘you know the vibes,’ like we have the same thought or agree on something. It’s a feeling. When you know the vibes, you just know it. For example, If my friend asks if we’re hanging out, I’d be like, ‘yeah, you know the vibes’.”

“What do I like to do in New York? I like to get ice cream, and I like to bowl. I just found out the other day that I was really good at bowling. I also wanna go sky diving at this place called iFLY. They put you in this tube, and then the air comes, and you flow out into the air.”

“ If it’s 2am, 3am, 4am, no matter what time it is, you’re gonna hear a honk in New York. You’re gonna hear people yelling. You’re gonna hear screaming. You’re gonna hear banging from upstairs. It’s true what they say about New York, like, nobody sleeps.”

Q&A

What neighborhood do you live in? Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Favorite neighborhood? Brownsville. It is where I grew up and lived my whole life.

Favorite street to stroll? 34th street. Most of my favorite stores are there, I get to shop.

Favorite restaurant? I love the sticky shrimp and wing combo at Dallas BBQ. The one in Downtown Brooklyn, on Livingston St, is my favorite.

One place in the city all kids your age should visit? Sky Zone, it’s really fun.

How to be(come) a New Yorker? You have faith in yourself, be alert, able to move fast, and be valid so no one will punk you.

Your New York soundtrack? Milly Rock by Bobby Shmurda. That song makes everyone want to do the dance. Also Computers by Bobby Shmurda. That’s the Brooklyn anthem. When it comes on we all dance and go crazy.

Visit Nylah at home in a 3-minute video: quotedmagazine.com/nylah