Nadia Shanaa

Nadia Shanaa


Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Spain with her two parents and brother Omar. Nadia’s parents run a local grocery store, and, in the back, is their family home. Her Muslim family has strong values regarding gender and familial roles. Nadia has been an obedient daughter, following her parents’ strict traditions. But her brother Omar is a rebel; he sells drugs and hides his homosexual affairs from his parents.

Profession… new student at Las Encinas, an elite private school where the children of the wealthiest families attend. Going to her previous school San Esteban wasn’t an option for Nadia; the roof collapsed due to faulty construction and injured Nadia and two other students. To make amends, the building company gave Nadia and two other injured students scholarships to attend Las Encinas. Nadia is incredibly intelligent and plans to use the opportunity to improve the lives of herself and her family.

Interests… winning an academic trophy. At Las Encinas, a trophy is given at the end of the year to the student with the highest GPA in their class. Another student Lucrecia was a shoo-in for the award before the arrival of the scholarship students. Nadia is now a serious contender, and the trophy has become a motivating factor for many of her decisions.

Relationship Status… in a love triangle. Nadia’s competition for the trophy, Lucrecia, will do anything to humiliate her—so much so that Lucrecia asked her boyfriend Guzmán to seduce Nadia. But what started out as a dishonest scheme is turning into true passion. Guzmán and Nadia are falling for each other, much to the dismay of Lucrecia. As Nadia says to Guzmán, "Am I a challenge or a bet you made with your friends?"

Challenge… fitting in. Nadia sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of her classmates—not just because she is poor, but also because she is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and wears a hijab around her head. The other students view Islam as archaic and oppressive, and some even make racist comments about Nadia being a terrorist. Nadia is trying her best to assimilate to the school, and her personality is evolving. But as Nadia says, “Maybe I haven’t changed. Maybe it wasn’t me before.”

Personality… highly motivated and self-confident. Nadia knows who she is and what she wants to do probably better than anyone else around her. But her tunnel vision does sometimes blind her from opportunities to have fun and expand her horizons.


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