Former CNN anchor, Hala Gorani, has said that, while she grew up in the U.S. in an Arabic-Syrian family, she hid much of her Arabic identity to avoid being discriminated against.

In a new interview with CNN, Gorani, 54, says that she changed some details of her resumé as a young journalist, such as going by her mother’s last name rather that her father’s, and not always being open about the fact that she speaks three languages.

“That was a very deliberate move on my part,” Gorani tells the network. “When I was in my 20s — so this was in the ‘90s in Paris, I had just graduated from a pretty elite university in France thinking, ‘Okay, this is kind of going to be an easy journey now.’ “

She continues: “So I put together my resumé, and on the resumé was my name, Hala Basha … and I had Arabic as a spoken language, and I wasn’t getting any call-backs. And so one of my friends from school said, ‘Listen, I would recommend that you remove the Arabic.”

“So I removed that. I took Gorani, which was a Western-sounding name,” she tells CNN. “I added a photo, [I’m] blonde and blue-eyed, don’t look Arab, and I removed the fact that I spoke Arabic, which is grotesque, because it’s an asset. It should not be seen as a liability.”

The Emmy award-winning journalist is the author of the new book, But You Don’t Look Arab: And Other Tales of Unbelonging, which details her time as a war correspondent and news anchor as well as her own search for identity as the daughter of Syrian immigrants.