International Women's Day 2016
Happy International Women's Day! For International Women's Day we want to celebrate the creative women who first inspired us to be the women we are now. The women we saw in the spotlight that gave us the permission to do what we wanted - whether we knew it at the time or noticed in hindsight.
Ngaio Parr, Co-Director and Founder – Gwen Stefani.
I was only nine when Tragic Kingdom was released, but I immediately fell in love with Gwen Stefani in her platinum-haired bindi-wearing glory. It didn't take long before I was wearing my hair in twisted buns for all special occasions, and started searching for the perfect polka-dot dress to replicate the one Gwen wears barefoot and begging in the 'Don't Speak video clip' (I'm still looking twenty years later).
As a bookish tomboy who didn't like the same things as the other girls, it was Gwen's contradictions that gave me the permission to own my weirdness. The complexity of her various identities and qualities – vulnerable yet strong, sarcastic and shy, insecure and available, feminine and badass – was everything I needed to make it feel good to be me.
Tess Cameron, Public Relations and Marketing – Tavi Gevinson.
I think most people have one of two responses to Tavi Gevinson: intimidation or inspiration. Both are completely understandable when you look at the list of all the diverse, professional milestones she’s accomplished in her 19 years (whilst graduating high school!).
When I was first introduced to Tavi via her fashion blog I for sure found her intimidating. She was reaching audiences and goals at age 12, 13, 14 that I was still dreaming of in my final years of uni. It hadn’t even occurred to me yet that attaining dreams of that scale were possible. And if that wasn’t enough - seemingly when she was at the apex of one industry - she moved on to the next, and seamlessly progressed through its ranks.
She made me take stock of what I wanted from my life and what I was willing to do to work for it. Why settle for one thing when, if you work hard enough, you could achieve all your dreams? The depth of Tavi’s heart, commitment and dedication to her (multiple) careers seems endless, and from that we can all learn a thing or two – even if she’s a decade younger!
Alexandra Winters, Co-Director and Founder – Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes.
In 1999 I had a crop top with a clock ticking over to the new millennium, was in my first year of double digits (10 years old) and had TLC’s album Fanmail on repeat. Left Eye (Lopes) was my idol. I learnt her raps, parted my hair in three sections and channeled that Y2K look as much as silver eyeshadow and blue lipstick would allow.
I didn’t know it, but her lyrics about being in control of her life, her identity, her decisions and her body were shaping my understanding of what it meant to be female. I was learning how to call out unjust situations ('No Scrubs'), resist dominant beauty standards ('Unpretty'), embrace independence and do my own thing ('My Life') and gender aside, be human ('I Get Lonely Too').
Meg Madden, Writer and Editor – Joni Mitchell.
I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell on Sundays. Some families went to church – we listened to vinyl and slept in and ate breakfast and read books. I actually can't remember a time when I didn't know the words to 'Ladies of the Canyon' or 'Heijira'.
And then when I was eighteen I moved away to the other side of the world. And for a long time, Blue was one of only three tapes I had. Sometimes you hear a song a hundred times, and then you hear it anew: 'I am on a lonely road and I am travelling, travelling, travelling...'.
The poetry of her songwriting is that it is all heart, and I understood then, as I do now, that it is the only way to be. Raw and brave with it all, truth and kindness. Joni is what I am drawn to and what I am drawn by at the same time.
Xenica Ayling, Digital Marketing and Social Media – Isobelle Carmody, JK Rowling, Tamora Pierce.
My creative writing life began with the help of three female authors: Isobelle Carmody, JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce. I was obsessed with their strong female characters – especially with the fact that they could all handle themselves in tricky situations. As a dorky, bullied kid I wanted to be those badass heroines, but didn’t have the confidence. So, one day I decided to write my own heroine.
Looking back, she was essentially me, but who I wanted to be. I wrote about her for three years and in the end I believe that I wrote my adult-self into existence. I’m still dorky, but now I’m the badass heroine of my own life.