Okay, so we first spotted poet, founder of lifestyle magazine for writers: Four Hubs and super style 'spo, Theresa Lola at the unveiling of Millicent Fawcett's statue in Parliament Square, waaaaay back in April. We just kinda HAD to send her our shimmering Fawcett Society collaboration Girl Power Earrings, designed especially for the UK's leading charity campaigning for gender equality. Fast foward to August, as we sit down and talk everything from activism to "awkward teenage girl stories." Oof, we've all been there!
CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT YOU DO IN FIVE WORDS?
I document life through poetry.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER POETRY?
I always loved writing, growing up my mother emphasised reading novels, I always had a book in my bag, and I eventually fell in love with telling stories. I studied poetry in school, and after being attending a secondary school trip to a poetry festival I realised poetry was the perfect vehicle in needed to document my plethora of awkward teenage girl stories.
FROM PODCASTS TO PLAYLISTS, WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO INSPIRE YOU?
I listen to a range of music, my playlist has Afrobeats, HipHop, Soul, Classical music, rock, everything! I used to play the piano, and classical music influences the way I compose my poems, the idea of a theme expanded and climaxing throughout a piece of work is interesting. I love hip-hop because of its grit, soul and the self-awareness of the rapper, I assume this confidence when I write and perform to make me forget my nerves for a second.
In terms of podcast, my favourite is The Poetry Magazine podcast, it’s a poetry magazine based in the US, what I love is how detailed the discussions on the poems are, I love hearing writers casually discuss the composition and relevance of their work, it encourages you to be a better and more aware writer.
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY REGARD AS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Graduating with a First Class degree in Accounting and Finance! I considered dropping out or switching courses when I started because I initially found it too difficult. I wanted to be a writer and had started spending a lot of time away pursuing it during university time. Still, I pushed through and knew I didn’t want the degree to go to waste and I wanted to prove to myself that I could be resilient and gain skills in both fields, a business-driven creative mind. I also ended up meeting the most amazingly creative people in university.
WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
The best decision I ever made was making the conscious decision to enjoy life! I try to go on holiday every year, either with family or friends. When all is gone, love still stands.
Until my twenties I let fear overwhelm me during the road to realising my purpose. I was incredibly shy when I was young, and if not for a friend eventually forcing me to enter a poetry open mic whilst in university, I would have remained an anonymous blogger Poet.
HOW DO YOU RELAX?
I love watching stand up comedy specials, my favourite comedians are Dave Chapelle, Jamie Foxx and Monique. Laughter eases me tensions and allows me to just loosen up from the intensity of writing poetry.
I also love fashion! So I am usually on Instagram planning my future outfits because multitasking is a virtue ha!
WHICH TATTY DEVINE PIECE IS YOUR FAVOURITE AND WHY?
I loveeeee the Girls Got Ideas Scissors Necklace, mostly because it signifies my life as a writer, the process of cutting up all your experiences and pasting it into a page to create a poem, a piece of work that tries to condense and expand that experience into something impactful.
But also as an accessory, it adds a bit of an edge to your outfit, and that’s the kind of style I tend to go for!
Tobi Kyeremateng is a theatre, festival and live performance producer based in South London invested in facilitating significant artistic interactions using socio-political activism, community engagement and artistic collaboration. She has worked with key arts organisations such as the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Apples and Snakes, and more, as well as delivering workshops and talks.
One thing I love that she currently does is raises money for young black people to see theatre shows, especially ones with their representation, she recently raised funds to take 100 people to see Nine Nights.
Francesca Babb is the Editor In Chief of ASOS Magazine and she has done an incredible job in making ASOS magazine accessible and one that truly represents the vast talents of young people in the UK especially, and it displays them on the same platform as the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Yara Shahidi. It has become the UK’s most quarterly read fashion magazine.
Bernardine Evaristo is an award-winning author of eight books and numerous other published and produced works that span the genres of novels, poetry, verse fiction, short fiction, essays, and more. She has built a lot of sustainable foundations for young writers especially poets in the UK. She founded the Complete Works programme which is responsible for increasing the publication of BAME poets in the UK, one of the poets from the scheme was Warsan Shire who went on to write the poetry for Beyoncé’s Lemonade album! She also founded the Brunel International African Poetry Prize centres on the recognition and advancement of African writers, and *cough cough* I won this year’s one.