inspiring ladies of london
Thursday March 8th is International Women's Day and to celebrate we wanted to highlight sisters all over the world doing things to raise the game. From the creative to the technology-minded, from the pioneers to eco-warriors, here are 10 women in London we seriously cannot get enough of and who continue to inspire us to new levels.
We love that award-winning British novelist Zadie Smith has resisted the publishing industry peer pressure to go on social media, saying: “I want to have my feeling, even if it’s wrong, even if it’s inappropriate, express it to myself in the privacy of my heart and my mind. I don’t want to be bullied out of it." Her latest work Feel Free is a thought provoking array of essays and journalistic pieces, which date from 2010, and cover a range of subjects from Brexit to Jay Z.
Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet revolutionised luxury e-commerce retail when she launched the site back in 2000. After selling to Yoox for $775 million in 2015, she now is co-chairman at Farfetch and last year welcomed her first "much longed for" son at 52-years-old thanks to a surrogate. Image: @nat_mass
Liv Little is a 23-year-old Editor-In-Chief of gal-dem, a magazine (online and in print) and creative collective comprised of over 70 women and non-binary people of color. She launched it in September 2015, while at University. She says: "I wanted to create the sort of channel that I always wished existed..." Image: @nikao @LivsLittle
Model Jourdan Sherise Dunn (born 3 August 1990) was discovered in Hammersmith Primark clothing store in 2006. A mother at age 19, she's beautifully open about her struggles and vulnerabilities- despite posing for the likes of Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent. Dunn opened up on Instagram following her spring/summer 2018 campaign for American designer Brandon Maxwell, saying: "The truth is before I shot this campaign I was in a deep state of self-doubt and depression. Everything was a struggle for me. My insecurities had me questioning myself every day. What am I doing? Where am I going? Will I ever be hired again?"
Hélène Darroze is a French chef, with two Michelin stars, who runs the restaurant in The Connaught in London's Mayfair but is also in charge of the banquets, afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, two bars, and room service. Hélène's secret to success in the kitchen: “you don’t need to shout to get your point across.”
HANNA NAIMA MCCLOSKEY
Hanna grew up in Wembley in North West London and, after working for The Royal Bank of Scotland, and living in Israel-Palestine, Italy, USA, Sudan, Syria, she founded Fearless Futures in 2014. The UK's only company engaging directly with girls and young women with the focus on intersectional feminism and leadership. Her life's challenge? To address the root causes of inequities & grow powerful female leaders.
Pippa Black & Joan Murphy
When Pip Black and Joan Murphy set out to create Frame in 2009, they were tired of sterile (and depressing) gyms. Their positive approach to health and fitness was developed on workouts and sequences that they loved themselves and had fun creating. The ‘drop in’ and pay-as-you-go Frame Card model means that anyone can rock up at a time that suits- and it’s arguably changed London’s approach to fitness forever. Since the first Frame opened in Shoreditch, they've been rocking them out to keep up with demand, there's now Queens Park, Kings Cross, Victoria and -since January 2018 - Frame Fitzrovia and Frame Hammersmith.
Livia Firth has raised the bar for sustainable and ethical fashion by encouraging celebrities to partake in the Green Carpet Challenge to amplify a brand's environmental principles. Consulting with the likes of Stella McCartney and Gucci, Firth was the reason Gisele Bündchen turned out to The Met Gala in green. Yet she is also passionate about women's rights and has another initiative: The Circle, with singer Annie Lennox, to overcome poverty and empower women around the world.
CEO and tech designer Jessi Baker is launching a London-based initiative with a global mission: to deliver meaningful change to commerce through open and accessible information about products and supply chains. Meaning you'll be able to scan a product and see exactly where it was made and how it got to you. It's going to be a game-changer!
With a feminist attitude and love of hip-hop, when Sharmadean Reid launched WAH nails as a side-hustle in Dalston in 2009 it had so much sass that she's now got a global manicure empire, a book and an MBE. Since she has launched Future Girl Cop, an enterprise which teaches girls how to take their business ideas big and inspire a new wave of female CEOs.