As someone who’s spent the past ten years collaborating with creatives and brands on global campaigns, has earned a degree in Fashion Promotion, an MBA from Imperial College London and is a self-confessed ‘people-person’, the creative world has always felt like a natural fit.
But despite all the work I’ve put in and the success I’ve enjoyed, it took me years to feel like I really belonged.
No one should have to hide who they are at work. But like many Black and POC women, I found myself in this position pretty early on.
Be it straightening my naturally curly hair every day to look ‘smart’ or never telling any colleagues anything about my less-than-privileged upbringing. I began picking and choosing who I was at the office, all so I could ‘fit in’.
When you do what people expect no one questions whether you belong there. But no one considers your perspective either. From my viewpoint, all I could see was a clear lack of representation. Seeing great opportunities being unquestionably shared across the same narrow group of creatives was soul destroying.
But despite working with people who mostly looked nothing like me, I knew I belonged in this industry. As do all the other creatives who don’t ‘fit in’. So, after improving my understanding of bias and my own privilege too, I decided to stand up for those who are struggling to get into the industry because of their differences.
Starting with founding The Colour Balance in 2017, I became invested in creating opportunities for underrepresented photographers and I’m focused on making sure the industry is more diverse than the one we see today. And now working alongside my longstanding collaborator, friend and co-founder Victoria, Gather is the result of all our experiences. We are not only on the same page with what we believe in, but our individual strengths complement each other too.
Having spent the past decade working with and representing an array of photographers and directors, I’ve worked hard to build up the network and experience needed to bring brands together with talented, diverse and most importantly strategically effective crews and creatives. The industry may not have been made for me when I first started. But Gather is speaking up for those like me, and showing brands why having creatives who don’t ‘fit in’ will make them stand out.