January 4, 2019

Just before she went to bed on election night, Farrah Khan was convinced she had lost in her bid for the Irvine City Council.

“About 12:30 (a.m.), we were still looking at the numbers and I was pretty much stuck in third,” Khan said. “I was like ‘I worked so hard, came so close, thought I did all of the right stuff, had the outreach.’ Then, I was like ‘all right, it is what it is.’ I went to bed.

“At 2:30 (a.m.), I get a phone call. It was my campaign team saying, ‘Get up, look at the numbers. You’re in second.’ I’m like ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Khan won, becoming the first Muslim to the Irvine City Council. She was sworn last month.

Although she lost in her initial run in 2016, Khan believes the landscape changed for the better for Muslim candidates. However, she said this election came with new challenges, particularly the false narratives, lies and prejudice promoted by Donald Trump and his ilk.

“They felt emboldened, felt empowered to come out with bigotry and hate like never before,” Khan said. “That was really different because when I ran the first time it wasn’t there.”

Personal: She and her husband, Imran, a chef, have lived in Irvine for almost 15 years. They have four boys.

Professional: Executive director of Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council and a businesswoman

Last book read: ‘“Brown is the New White” by Steve Phillips

Quotable: “I come from a belief where you do what you can to benefit as many people as possible. Whether you do it at home or whether you do it outside at work, you continue that good work and that you help people. And that gives me so much satisfaction.”