Bahare Salehnia is adjusting to a brand-new culture. The 27-year-old hails from Iran, leaving her home nation for Great Neck eight months ago. Now living in Glen Cove, Salehnia is an Instagram influencer. With 2.1 million followers on her account, @baharesalehnia, she teaches photography tips to people in her native tongue, Farsi.
Salehnia travels across Long Island and New York City to provide new, fresh advice for people. It’s a much different path than her life in Iran, where she holds a civil engineering
degree. But she found her calling.
Salehnia is working on a special project to help people go viral in Iran, tagging them and sharing their stories on her Instagram page. The project, entitled, “A Stranger’s Project,”
will help shed light on what the Iranian people are truly about. Fortunately, Instagram has a translation option, making her posts available in English with the click of a button.
The Instagram star’s life on Long Island hasn’t been easy, though. She hasn’t seen her husband, Sorush Darzi, in eight months due to the pandemic’s travel restrictions. She hopes he’ll be able to arrive in America soon. Until then, Salehnia is determined to spread her passion for photography and helping others across the globe. Long Island is the perfect place to do exactly that, and she stops by to tell us about her true passion.
Q: What has your journey been like up to this point?
A: After I got my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, I began to take photography classes in Iran and some here with Peter Coulson. I started to put my portfolio on my
page. After a while, I noticed I like to teach photography to other people. I took some online classes to teach photography. People started asking if they can take photos with their phones if they don’t have a camera. I wanted to speak a lot and do something
good. I wanted to teach them how to take photos with their phones on my page. It took one year and a half to get to 500,000 followers. Then, I moved to New York. I was visiting
New York for five years, and in eight months I’ve gone from 500,000 to two million followers.
Q: Why do you believe your page is so popular?
A: People like me and they like when I speak to them. People tell me I inspire them. I don’t know how I do that, but they tell me that. I try to teach something good, not just something everybody knows. It’s about posing, how to take photos and how to do it on your phone.
Q: How different is life for you in Glen Cove?
A: The environment is really different from my country. But here, I have more options to make videos and more locations to go to. My whole life hasn’t changed much from my country. I got married three years ago and because of COVID, I haven’t seen my husband
in eight months. It’s really hard.
Q: What is the project you’re working on to help people in Iran?
A: I thought that it would be great to start taking photos of couples and ask if they were me, would they to back to their country or stay here. After I started taking photos of
couples, my family started loving this project. This is helping people get famous in my country. It feels good that I can bring a smile to other people’s faces. I’ll tell them my
name is Bahare and here’s my Instagram with two million followers. They’re really happy to
become part of my project. I think it makes them feel good.
Q: What’s your goal with your page and with this project?
A: I love writing. I love to know other people’s stories. I love to share them with other people. I want to know what everybody’s thinking and I believe photos can speak even
more than words. I love to share their stories in photos. When people see their photos, they can see their stories. It makes me feel human that I care about other people.