Mona Chalabi

On sending spreadsheets viral.

Issue 37


Arts & Culture

  • Words Tom Faber
  • Photography Mary Kang and Heather Sten


Not long into my interview with data journalist Mona Chalabi, I find myself telling her all about my first heartbreak. It’s not what you’d expect from a conversation with someone who spends their time interpreting facts and figures, but Chalabi’s interest in drawing out personal stories has become the defining aspect of her work with data. It informs her hand-drawn aesthetic, which combines illustration with data visualization to inject humanity and emotion into statistics.1

Chalabi first gained popularity on Instagram while she worked a journalism day job; her colorful data visualizations have since been published in The New York Times and The New Yorker as well as The Guardian US, where she now works as a data editor. She has also created documentaries—one of which, Vagina Disp...

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