International Women's Day 2020

Today is about celebrating you, and the women that support us with their talent, smile, and drive. Join us on our imaginary couch to chat with five uplifting women we've had the honour to get to know along our journey.

Abena Boamah-Acheampong

You founded Hanahana Beauty, a natural, transparent, and sustainable beauty brand. What was the thought process behind it?
I was teaching middle school and high school algebra while finishing my master's in counseling psychology when I started hanahana. At first, I would say curiosity about the shea butter industry and learning more about myself was the inspiration but now it’s hanahana mission that continues to inspire me. Hanahana Beauty is an all-natural, skincare and wellness brand with a vision of disrupting the global beauty industry.

Our mission is to empower black women globally by creating sustainable access to income and healthcare for Ghanaian shea butter producers. So for me, I look at that by creating ways of sustainability, access and transparency in everything we create from products to curations and from producer to consumer. 

 

What do you want people to feel when they use Hanahana Beauty?
I think hanahana makes people feel confident in their skin, they feel like they have natural glow. 

So you model, take pictures, manage a beauty brand, host a podcast... how do you keep up?
My friend Fenn sent me the productivity journal. It really helpful and even I don't use it everyday the methods they use, I use daily. I also think just taking time to better myself everyday helps. I like to start my morning early and have 2 hours to myself to meditate workout, write, devotion just to prepare for the day. 

When things get hard, what makes you power through?
I think the understanding that at the end of the day, whatever I think is the plan there’s a bigger plan and to be confident that it's all gonna work. 

What does empowerment mean to you? Do you have examples of empowered women around you?
Empowerment means to be inspired to be better and do better to inspire others. I have so many examples from my mom and aunties to my friends and mentors. 

The most important for you: success or happiness?
I would say creating moments of joy daily is the most important - because when I think about how I want to achieve success, happiness attributes to that. 

What is your favourite way to take care of yourself?
I love to go to the beach, right at sunset. 

What footwear do you feel the most confident in? 
I love a nice pair of White Forces or any cute open toe back heel - it gives me a boost of confidence every time I step out. 

Your favourite Kat Maconie piece?
The Leah is my all-time favorite but the Delphine in black comes a close second.

 

 Follow Abena here.

 

 Zandra Rhodes

@Chris Bissell

You've been creating art and fashion for 50 years. How do you keep being so inspired and inspiring?
I have inspiring friends such as Duggie Fields and Andrew Logan - they cheer me on! I also surround myself with young, creative and enthusiastic people. I try to see lots of exhibitions but it never seems to be enough! I stay true to myself and my own Zandra Rhodes DNA.

What do you do to always stay ‘on'?
I wish I had an answer! I always seem to be working and don’t relax enough. But when I do I am gardening on my terrace - my beautiful camellias are currently starting to appear! I also try to host dinner parties with my friends in the weekends. I have a giant round table in my rainbow penthouse which is perfect for it!

What do you want people to feel when they see your designs?
I want people to feel happy when they see my designs. I always say that the Zandra Rhodes woman is empowered and unafraid - she is tough and soft at the same time. A bit like my designs and how I juxtapose lamé with chiffon materials.

What does empowerment mean to you?
Fearless, unapologetic and strong! Someone who knows what they want and is not afraid to get to where they want to be!

What is the most valuable thing you've learned?
My favourite saying and something I live by is: good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better, best!

What footwear do you feel the most confident in?
Unfortunately trainers, but that is my age! I still find ways to glam mine up though - sequins and rhinestones with a hot glue gun are a sure way to DIY!

 

Follow Zandra here
 

Ana Leovy


@Louisa castellanos

To start with, how are you?
I'm great thanks for asking! Excited to be doing this.

What are the main themes in your life right now?
Dreams, wellness, relationships, reconnecting with my loved ones and exploration.

Your art is so colourful and joyful. What is the thought process and inspiration behind it?
I don't have one specific formula when it comes to creating an artwork. Every day there are tons of different things that inspire me, from the colours at the super market, to a dream I had, a quote I read, a song, a movie, a conversation with a friend, a photograph… Some days I feel more inspired than others, on those I find myself lacking of inspo I work the hardest and sketch like crazy. I never throw away any doodle, I like going back to them after a while and rescue ideas I once thought wouldn’t work. When it comes to colour I have no rule whatsoever, I let the colours guide me when I start painting.

What do you want people to feel when they see your paintings?
Joy. There are so many ugly things going on that I just want to create scenes where people can escape and get lost for a second without thinking of all the badness in the world. Hopefully they feel inspired, and connected somehow.

You've got a lot of engagement when you post on socials. How do you explain that?
Social media can be crazy! I feel super grateful for all those who follow and support my work, it brings me up to read their comments, see their reactions, and share thoughts. It has given me amazing opportunities of connecting with people all over the world, however, the amount of followers and likes are very subjective for everyone, and it can often feel like it's never enough.
Unfortunately it can also bring me down sometimes when engagement is not what I expected, I hate that something that has given me so much can also make me feel so empty. I pour my soul on every project and when I share it to the world it is inevitable not wanting people to react. But you cannot let it define you or become your “talent parameter”. I know, easier said than done, right? I just try to post on a regular basis and connect with my followers as much as possible, but without letting control the way I create. I try to remind myself every day that I am lucky enough to earn a living by doing what I love and never take it for granted.

What do you do for yourself? How do you take care of your wellness?
I feel my best self when I workout, eat healthy, stay hydrated and sleep! Doing all these keep me energised and motivated to wake up early and I feel fresh enough to paint for hours. It is very important to me being able to wake up early because it is my favorite time of the day. I love quiet mornings with coffee and a piece of paper so I can sketch, that’s like meditation to me, its very soothing. I also try listening to what my body wants, sometimes you need a hug and connecting with people to recharge energy, other times I need to be alone with a box of cookies, pizza and a movie… it is healthy learning to take breaks and not being too hard on myself.

Who / What supports you?
Painting is what keeps me focused and in touch with my emotions, I can rely on it any time, any day. And of course my friends, family, other fellow artists and even strangers on social media that follow my work can be very uplifting and supportive!

What does empowerment mean to you? 
Being able to laugh and enjoy life without holding back. 

What footwear do you feel the most confident in?
Heels, I love them! Although I am not able to wear them regularly, since I am mostly barefoot at my studio...

Your favourite Kat Maconie piece?
Aya. Stunning! The kind of shoes that make you feel special. I am lucky enough to have a pair, and every time I wear them I receive lots of compliments about my shoe ware.   

Follow Ana here.

 

Enam Asiama

You're an incredible black, LGBTQ+ advocate, plus-size model. How do you promote self-love? Do you think there's an improvement towards acceptance in our society?
I have found out that in this journey of life self-love is choosing to show up in the world. I can tell that I radiate joy the most outwardly when I am socialising, in person. Being able to show up in spaces the way that you want to and feel the way that you want to, safe, at the same time respecting how everyone else shows up in this world. As a model, I cannot speak for the fashion and beauty industry but I can speak on how there has been more efforts to be inclusive of new types of bodies, plus or otherwise, and stories being represented in the media, print, billboards, runways and even in the teams. 
 
There's so much engagement around everything you share. How did you create such a supportive community? 
I am thankful to have my online platform, having an online presence is so special. I enjoy being able to share projects that I have been a part of and project I have curated myself. Sharing my creativity and having so many people connect, comment and discuss the visuals is such an overwhelming positive feeling. I have held a lot of conversations in DMs which have all been people reaching out to me to tell me how much they appreciate my posts, how it’s helped them and to give that love right back. 
 
What do you want people to feel when they see your pictures?
I want people to see my joy and how openly I celebrate my beauty and all the space it takes up. I want them to see themselves in the spaces I am in, and to feel inspired and safe, even if it's just for a second, on my page. I know not everyone accepts my 'fatness', but those opinions will not ever matter.
 
You seem so happy, throwing your gorgeous smile around. What do you do to feel well and joyful?
I feel so comforted and at ease when I listen to music. For example when I am on set, the first thing I make the team know is that if the right music is playing we will have the best images - so I can confirm that most of the time when I am grinning from ear to ear in my photos, it'd because great music was playing. I love a lot of things to be honest, I feel the most joyful when I am around family and close friends as well as singing.
 
What / who do you find inspiring?
I find a lot of inspiration in most of the women I am around - from my mother, sisters, my best friends and close friends. I aspire to become like my favourite artists, writers and musicians as I was raised learning about their stories and history. 
 
How do you choose the project you want to be part of?
For the most part, I go with my gut. However, I also set out in my career as a creative to make sure that I help put out image for people that look like me, and by people that look like me. I have been able do both and for that I am happy, because working with people who just understand, respect and genuinely care for bodies that look like mine is a blessing.
 
What footwear do you feel the most confident in?
My first loves will always be heels, a good strong, stable, chunky heeled pair of sandals - I have not always been able to enjoy wearing heels, as they can be super uncomfortable after a while. However, as an adult I have been able to find heels that support my weight, are true to size and are a cute design that work with most outfits. I have grown to love sneakers - bright colourful vibrant ones - just like me!
 

Follow Enam here. 

 

Helen Bullock

To start with, what is a good day?
A good day is waking up to a tidy apartment (rare), and making it to 8am yoga (frequent), but as I'm far from a morning person, I always feel immensely proud!
 
How do you balance everything in your life... or do you?
I've got a lot better at doing this. I totally love a night in, which is essential when I've tried to cram a trillion things in the week before. I've also realised that you can slot extras in to your day, such as an hour or so of your own work... I used to feel I needed a whole day to dedicate to this, but I've found  that even if I do a bit it feels nourishing. I'm often working to briefs, and deadlines, so making sure I'm doing something for no reason other than to follow a thought is really important to help keep the balance.
 
What do you want people to feel when they see your art?
Uplifted.
 
You like to collaborate with people and brands. How do you choose the projects that interest you?
Well, usually it's the client that chooses me... and it's usually always a great fit, so I accept with open arms! Aside from the brand aesthetic, it's really important that I work with lovely and like minded people, so yes! That's a factor in the decision.
 
You're often sharing art with others in workshops, events... What is your thought process behind that? 
Well... I think it's great to give people the confidence to go ahead and draw, and to open their eyes to their own talents.
 
What does empowerment mean to you? Do you have examples of empowered women around you?
Empowerment is strength, it's the knowledge of your own capabilities, and the courage to use your own voice. I'm surrounded by so many awesome women. I think we empower and build each other.
 
What is an 'accomplished life' according to you?
Oh! There's a societal norm of what that should be, but I'm far away from that! Instead, for me, it's living to the full. Taking risks. Being brave. It's friends family and experiences! Cheesy, yes, but I just want to feel like I've truly lived!
 
What footwear do you feel the most confident in?
Trainers, because I'm ready for action, or heels, because I love the height and the glamour; with that brings power!
 
Your favourite Kat Maconie piece?
Jackie, Marianne and Wendy are total babes!
 

Follow Helen here.