Anthrow Circus

A Beautician’s Journey from Lost Identity to Rebirth


In the heart of war-torn Afghanistan, Zakia, a talented beautician, found herself at the mercy of the Taliban’s oppressive regime. Since retaking the country in August 2021, the Taliban has instituted increasingly draconian edicts that have clawed back freedoms. In July 2023, beauty salons were banned.

The closure of beauty salons, once vibrant hubs of empowerment for women, cast a shadow over Zakia’s once bright future. As she shared her story with Anthrow Circus, the depth of despair in her eyes mirrored the struggles of countless Afghan women whose identities have been systematically erased by the regime. The Taliban’s actions have not only affected the physical spaces but also the self-esteem of Afghan women.

Young Afghan Dreams: Three Sisters Share Their Artwork—and Future Hopes


“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” This quote from Disney’s animated film “Mulan” aptly describes Maryam, Khadija, and Fatima Kawsary, teenage Afghan sisters living outside of their home country and still cultivating their passion for art.

Afghanistan, Land of Invincible Women Resolute in the Face of Tragedy



If you’re a woman born and raised in Afghanistan, you live in war against nearly everything in life. Too often, even from your very first breath outside the womb, you are not really welcomed by your own family—or if you’re blessed with good parents, society and certain people’s mindsets work to steal the smile from your face.

Aliakbar Sakhi Pursued His Dreams for His Country to the End

Aliakbar turned 34 years old in June 2022. He was a loving father to three boys and a devoted husband to his supportive wife, Karima. Originally from Dushi, Baghlan, he was an IT expert and CEO of his IT consultation company. Aliakbar was heavily involved in charitable and humanitarian projects throughout his adult life. He founded HikeVentures Afghanistan in 2017 to help others develop skills in mountaineering, climbing, and trekking, and to enable people to safely enjoy Afghanistan’s unparalleled natural beauty. He was at the forefront of raising funds for underprivileged communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and collected and distributed aid to victims of natural and manmade disasters.

Looking for Greys in Nashville and the Women’s March

Story and Photos by JC Johnson

My first photo class, my professor taught me that a good black and white photograph has a pure black, a pure white, and every grey in between—a mantra I now repeat to my students. Just like with a cause that rallies people to the streets, a photograph is exposed with different variations of light in order to become a successful image. A good photo needs contrast. Without contrast, the image is flat, boring, and unmemorable. But too much contrast sacrifices image quality with loss of details and information.