Sadaf Ayaz knows what success on the big stage looks like. Ayaz is a sophomore at Hunter College, a published author and she’s only 17-years-old.
“I skipped two grades—once in elementary school, and once when I did 11th and 12th grade in one year,” Ayaz said. “People are usually surprised when they find out and immediately want to know how it happened. Some even label me as a genius, but I skipping grades is not due to being a genius but working hard.”
The 17-year-old, and self-diagnosed chocoholic who plans to major in Biochemistry and English, told The Tab, “I love the sciences and want to learn more about them and I chose English because I want to improve my writing and want to have a guided exploration of literature.”
Writing has been a lifelong passion for Ayaz that stems back to sharing her early poems and short stories with her family. Her sisters are also avid writers. Ayaz published her first book, “Crossing Red Lights,” when she was in 10th grade.
“Soon those short stories turned into pages and pages of longer tales and complicated plots,” she explained, “but what inspired me the most to write was my uncontrollable imagination and longing to live in a world where things were different.”
When asked about her book, she said: “[It’s] about a girl who is the only witness of her parent’s kidnap but due to medical injuries, she loses that memory. After the police cannot find them, she goes out to look for them herself, learning that in order to get the things you want in life you have to break the barriers and cross the red lights that you and the people around you put in your way to success.”
Ayaz understands the difficulty of getting published. She faced discouraging adults who advised her to wait a few years to take on the challenge. Despite their “advice,” she persisted. She read books, went to events for writers. And then, she met a publisher intrigued by her story.
Since then, Ayaz’s book has grabbed Hollywood’s attention. Her book was optioned for a Studio Feature Film and television series by five producers,” she said. “It was one of the most triumphant feelings of my life. To see people you admire take note of your work and see it valuable enough to invest in is an incredibly inspiring feeling.”
Although the young writer doesn’t know what will become of her book, she isn’t afraid to pursue her other passions, like becoming an entrepreneur. Ayaz is the midst of launching REV21, a Millennial company and magazine. She hopes it to be a mixture of Buzzfeed and New York Times, as an outlet catered towards millennials.
Ultimately, the ambitious teenager chose Hunter College because of it’s of its great, inexpensive premed track. Her goal is to become a surgeon, or possibly an oncologist, in the future.
Despite her literary successes and career goals, Ayaz is enjoying the ride. “The feeling you have as you hold your published book in your hands is indescribable,” Ayaz said. “It’s one of the few successes in your life that testify to your hard work and serve as proof of all the adventures you went on to make this happen.”