I don’t claim to know much / Except soon as you start / to make room for the parts /That aren’t you; It gets harder /To bloom in a garden…” — (Bottle It Up) -Sarah Bareilles
Alana Hayes grew up on the East Coast with her family in Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2017. There, Alana completed a major in English literature and another major in women and gender studies. While attending UMBC, she also took on, and completed, a minor in medieval and early modern studies to really drive home her love for the humanities.
Throughout college, Alana always displayed a deep interest in travel and other cultures. She worked and volunteered for many cultural and non-profit organizations such as UMBC Hillel, the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM), Silk Road Dance Company, and Sephardic Heritage in DC (SHinDC). It is no surprise that after completing her degrees, Alana applied — and was accepted — to a grant program that allowed her to go live abroad in Haifa, Israel. She spent eight months in Haifa working for the Arab-Jewish Cultural Center, Beit Hagefen.
While living abroad, Alana took the opportunity to travel to nearby countries, such as Jordan, Egypt, and Greece. To date, she has visited seven countries outside of the U.S., including Mexico, which shares a border with her current home state of Arizona. Along with culture and travel, she also has a passion for history, which was instilled in her by her mother. The next two countries Alana wants to travel to are Italy and Ireland. This is because her mother’s side of the family came to America from these countries. Alana would like to learn more about her heritage, especially after having had the chance to explore so much of her Jewish heritage throughout, and even after, college.
Outside of travel and culture, Alana’s main passion is writing. She loves writing poetry, short stories, lyrics, and thought pieces on her blog. She sees writing as the medium where she can most comfortably express herself and just have fun. Alana’s poetry has been published with online publications including the Night Music Journal (volume 5), Indolent Books – What Rough Best (online series), and write, bitch, write!. Along with these publications, she self-published three poetry ebooks, which can be found on Kindle. She was also a guest on the poetry podcast, Poets and Muses, back in March 2020, where she discussed her poem, The Book of Vashti in honor of the, then upcoming, Jewish holiday of Purim.
Currently, Alana is enjoying spending time hiking, exploring, making new friends, and getting to know her current home state of Arizona. She’s also excited to be getting into editing as well as having time to dedicate to her creative pursuits such as running her blog womanasriot.com and completing her first album of music, which centers around storytelling and exploring perspectives outside of her own. If you’re interested in learning more about Alana you can find her across multiple social media platforms under @womanasriot.