Community activist and Grenfell campaigner
What has inspired you most this past year?
The resilience of people. The adaptability of children. Our NHS. The world coming together in the middle of a global pandemic to protest injustices, to uphold our human rights and to hold people and companies to account.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Oh, everything. This last year and a half has felt a bit like a reset; a chance to do things again with a new enthusiasm and outlook. I’d love for this to be the start of a new world - one that puts our climate crisis first, one that believes in education for everyone, one in which everyone has clean water, one that believes in true equality for all regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs, sexuality. It’s an exciting time - I hope the pause the world had was enough to kickstart this new world.
What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing women today?
Lack of education in poorer countries, lack of maternity rights including adequate affordable childcare and a decent maternity pay, lack of women in leadership positions, violence against women and unequal pay in comparison to male counterparts. We’ve got a lot of work to do!
Why is it important to support and champion women?
Women have always had to fight harder to be heard, acknowledged and seen. We’re no longer just mothers and homemakers but also Business women, entrepreneurs, creatives, life savers and so much more - and so often we are still overlooked, put down and left out. Everyone needs to come together to support women - we need men to be right there alongside us and in the forefront in the fight for equality. A fairer world ultimately benefits everyone and I want a world in which everyone can reap the benefits, and you aren’t left out because of your gender.
Whose words and views inspire you?
Women around me - I’ve always learnt so much from women.
So many stories to tell, lessons to learn and differences of opinions to explore if you’re open to them.
Is it important to celebrate cultures outside of our own? why?
We live in such a multicultural and diverse world now - to be open, curious and celebratory about other cultures is to be accepting of all those around us. I love to travel the world, taste new cuisines, hear new languages and learn about other ways of life. The world is a wonderfully brilliant place; each place and person is unique and special - I feel it’s our duty to celebrate it all. How can we truly grow as individuals otherwise?
What do you love or remember most about Morocco?
Morocco is my favourite place on earth. I’ve been more times that I can count. Every single time I go back, I find myself in a state of mesmerisation. It’s truly a magical place with tales of times of before and things a new. It’s spectacular in its culture and cuisine, it’s majestic scenes from the mighty Atlas Mountains and the Amazigh people who open their homes to you, to the hustle and bustle of the markets of Marrakech, the chilled coasts of Essaouira to the beach of Agadir - there’s so much to explore and immerse yourself in. But I think one of the things that I always come away with is the spirit, generosity and friendliness of the people - you meet as strangers and leave as lifelong friends. I think I’ve cried almost every time I’ve had to leave. Such a special place.
What has changed your shopping habits over the last year?
I was pregnant for the first 9 months of the pandemic so buying maternity clothes and baby stuff became an online occurrence - I couldn’t go and try anything on and I couldn’t test baby products. So I had to become really strict in my purchasing - buying only things I knew we absolutely needed (returning things was more difficult than before) and also being really strict with myself in terms of buying sustainable items of good quality that I felt confident weren’t hurting the planet and were good for my baby and I. Since having the baby, those rules have stuck and I feel I’m buying more sensibly than ever.
If we adopt one new rule about shopping better, what would it be?
Be conscious in your purchasing. Garment workers must be paid a decent living wage and materials must be sustainable. Fast fashion is quickly adding to the climate crisis. We buy, buy, buy (and often cheaply) with no thought to those who have made the clothes we wear. Then we’re on to the next thing, with no thought to where our clothes end up - and it’s unsustainable. We have to slow down and be responsible with our fashion choices. 350,000 tonnes, that’s around £140 million worth of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year. This equates to more than 30% of our unwanted clothing currently goes to landfill. How insane is that? It’s got to change.
Do you have any mantras or quotes you live by?
Speak only kind words to yourself and about yourself.
Treat others how you’d like to be treated.
I am enough. I am grateful for this body that carries me through life. I honour and respect myself. I am a beautiful person. I am worthy of love and affection, and I show it to myself first.
Do your affirmations every day!
Who was your role model growing up?
I’d say my grandmother who passed away last year - her life was about spending time with her family and those friends who brought her joy. Gosh, she was something special and I miss her every day.
Her humour, feistiness, advocation and thought for others is what I think about most with her. She would always speak up if she believed something wasn’t right - I think I’ve learnt that from her. She was THE organiser of picnics in Holland Park - friends near and afar. I want to be more like that - bringing people together and creating memories that last a lifetime. Her style was lots of linen, silver rings and gorgeous necklaces. She was Swedish but a woman of the world - loved a fridge magnet from any place I visited! She was definitely a silver wearer, whereas I’m more gold - interestingly when she passed, there was a gold bracelet and a gold wedding ring (her mother’s) that were passed onto me. I love that I can wear those pieces and it feels like I’m carrying a part of her with me every day.
Who is your style icon now?
I’ve always loved the simplicity and grace of Audrey Hepburn’s style. But nowadays I think I take inspiration from everyday women I see around me - I’m all for comfort (love my trainers!) but love to see people have fun with fashion too. I love the confidence in that.
Which Mish Mish product have you got your eye on?
Erm.. all of them! I love the Earth Positive organic cotton Tees - such a simple everyday staple but versatile enough to wear with trainers or heels, jeans, a skirt or even a pantsuit!
But my favourite thing has to be the Handira coat (and the cape!) - how gorgeous are they? I love the uniqueness of each one, handmade, hand -loomed AND by Amazigh women - it feels as each has its own story to tell.
…AND the Choice bracelet - my gosh, we are spoilt for choice!