How has being Black, female and Neurodivergent shaped your career?
This isn’t an easy question to answer, having combined type ADHD has been both a blessing and something I have had difficulty navigating my career with. Before my diagnosis (and even for a while after) I blamed myself and my ‘laziness’ for my inability to perform like other people. Whether it was being easily distracted, missing deadlines, completing jobs at the very last minute or quickly losing interest in menial (but important!) tasks - there were a number of things that made me feel unworthy of my position or seat at the table. Then, there are the things that I love about my neurodiverse mind; my infinite bank of great ideas, my ability to engage with just about anyone, the abundance of energy I have as well as the community I have found with likeminded people. In my career I have been hired, let go of, promoted, looked over and appreciated.
Which industry do you work in and what do you love and/or loathe about it?
I work full time in the publishing industry. I love my industry because I am able to express my creativity in a number of ways; creating video content, interviewing dynamic people, testing the latest products and innovations, creating beautiful imagery and ultimately changing the landscape of beauty in the industry as a whole. There is barely a dull day.
The industry can be difficult to break into, getting a job within editorial isn't easy, especially a high fashion luxury magazine. The pay isn't the best, if you do not have a financially supportive family (something I didn't have) or an inexpensive place to stay (something I did have, I live in my family home), it can be difficult getting the experience you need whilst keeping yourself well housed and fed.
The fashion industry was, and still is, known for its discriminatory practices and outright exclusion of Black staff, thankfully things are now changing but a lot of work is still to be done.
How did you get into your job/industry?
I was jobless after leaving university. Everyone has gone on to their dream jobs whilst I went to work again at my university part-time job. I emailed and emailed my favourite publications, did my research, impressed them during the interview process and secured two short internships at great companies. Those were the stepping stones for the role I currently have at British Vogue. I remember seeing the role vacancy online and thinking “I can do this!”. Four interviews later, I got the job! Throughout the process I stayed true to my personality, completed the tasks to the best of my ability, I didn't have as much experience as the other applicants but my passion for the industry was undeniable. Three and a half years on, I’m still there!
Have you always wanted to work in your industry?
I’ve always loved magazines, obsessed actually, so I'm not completely surprised I’m now working at one. I love creating imagery, storytelling, finding out more about people, investigating and variety.
Does the work that you do feel like a good 'fit' for you as a neurodivergent woman?
Yes and no. I love that no day is ever the same, it keeps me from sleeping on the job! Writing deadlines are hard to meet sometimes, knowing that they are looming can cause me to panic, a lot. This year is all about solutions and finding strategies that work for me and my ADHD brain.
What advice would you give to another neurodivergent woman in work or life?
Take your neurodivergence seriously. By serious I mean not allowing anyone to make you feel that your experience is invalid, that the issues you run into are made up or things that ‘everyone’ deals with. Your neurodivergence is real and you always have the chance to start again and find solutions that work for you and the way your brain works.