Fresh off the release of her LP, Better Mess, Ashley Zarah is continuing to share her stories and truths with a new music video for the featured single “Fakin’ It.” “Fakin’ It” is about facing the painful truth of a very uncomfortable situation, one that Zarah admits she was in denial about for a very long time. “I used to call it a physical altercation because I was convinced that’s what it was – but now I force myself to call it by its real name – it was sexual assault,” says Zarah. “I used euphemisms for a long while because it was easier to process. I didn’t have to feel the truth as much.”

Recognizing that she was using denial as a survival mechanism, Zarah slowly came to realize that her mental health would suffer if she wasn’t honest with herself about holding people accountable for their actions. “Mental health is dependent on so many factors, but a substantial one of them is facing truth and then acting accordingly. Looking at the cold, hard facts. Admitting who is accountable for what on paper – with no emotional attachment – and ultimately? Asking ourselves if we really want to be where we are anymore.”

The music video for “Fakin’ It” visually represents these truths coming to light, both literally and figuratively. Utilizing contemporary and classical Persian dance, the choreography reflects the relationship and mimics the physical fight of the sexual assault as Zarah and her fellow dancer Yai Ariza personify trauma and healing at war. Zarah is seen constantly trying to run away in the beginning, but remaining shackled and bested by Trauma until she is brave enough to face it in the fight sequence.

“Confronting traumatic events is a very draining and often terrifying healing process. There is an inner violence when both dealing with the pain and evolving from it, and that is why the choreo is so aggressive, because I wasn’t going to lie and make this look like some stake-in-the-ground, success story about overcoming adversity and reclaiming my strength – it didn’t and has never looked like that,” says Zarah. “I’m bare faced and stripped of all my Ashley Zarah glamour – I’m a human in pain.” “Fakin’ It” can be viewed on all major platforms and heard on Zarah’s newest album Better Mess.

“Faking it” means going against what your mind and body really wants to do or say or think. When we stifle our truth, we just perpetuate the problem. Don’t “fake it” – the truth is simple, it’s healthy, and it’s only hard in the beginning.

– Ashley Zarah

Ashley Zarah is an Iranian singer/songwriter and Dark-Pop performer hailing from Los Angeles, CA. Merging millennial pain and pop culture, she is convincing pop listeners to feel something honest again, the way she felt during the emo wave in the early 2000s. As a young kid who struggled to identify with those around her, Zarah decided to invent a space of her own; one that welcomed color into life’s darkest truths; hence, the home of Dark-Pop.

Dawn Jones is the curator of the V13 imPRESSED Column. Previously known as imPRESSED Indie Music Blog, Jones and her team joined forces with V13 in 2020 to collaborate on an exclusive column on V13's site (imPRESSED) to bring a niche focus to the rapidly evolving indie music genre. Dawn is also the founder of Pressed PR - a boutique PR agency that focuses on PR for independent creatives. Pressed PR’s team works on a variety of campaigns partnering with independent filmmakers, independent artists, and independent labels. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, and many others.