8 March marks International Women’s Day – sassy sisters unite! We chat to all-round uber femme Kirsti Hadley, founder of GRL PWR Gang, about her icons, personal advice and why women still need to fight for their rights…
What does Girl Power mean to you?
It means girls helping girls, building each other up and giving each other confidence instead of feeling threatened and seeing each other as competition.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
What’s really brilliant about IWD is that social media and the press give us the opportunity to reach a global audience with our collective message and it’s also an opportunity for us all to hear what is important to other girls across the world.
What empowers you?
Actually, being told that I can't do something weirdly empowers me, it’s like a red rag to a bull. Incidentally my kid is exactly the same at age 5. Exercise. GRLPWR GANG. Family. Friends. Love. New ideas. Enthusiastic people. Also, never underestimate the power of a great hairdo and a shit hot outfit.
Who is your fave kick ass female, and why?
There are SO many and lots of them are friends but my classics are always Dolly Parton, Kate Moss, JK Rowling and Vivienne Westwood for blowing stereotypes out of the water, pushing boundaries and living their lives on their own terms.
We always try to have an eye on using any influence that we have to affect change and help girls too so any woman out there using her voice to make a difference has my huge vote, Meryl Streep at the Oscars, Molly Gunn (@selfishmother) raising bags of cash for various charities through her ace sweaters and T-shirts, Josephine Naughton (@helprefugeesuk), the list goes on and on and I hope that it’s actually becoming the norm, if I was able to create a law it would be that every business have a social conscience and give something back to the world.
What inspired you to make the collective?
It initially came from one simple thought. I'd be more successful now had I had help when I was starting out, I didn't actually know what I wanted to do until I was in my late twenties and have taught myself everything I know, so I wanted to take that thought and make a difference if I can. The vast majority of us in the collective (if not all) work solo, so I wanted to create a support network for us all too, a pool of creatives that could all collab with one another and generate new venue streams that none of us could alone. The aim being to help girls break into the creative industries but also to help all of us create more work for each other too. The old-fashioned way was that you viewed other girls doing the same thing as you as competition but I hope that GRLPWR GANG and other similar organisations and collectives are proving that’s definitely not the case anymore.
What one person would you love to join Girl Pwr Gang?
Kate Moss, JK Rowling, Dolly and Viv of course!
What was your favourite banner at the Women’s March?
We LOVED that march so much, it felt really empowering and the fact that 100k women came out to march in London alone sent a very strong message to the world. I LOVED "Bruv you look like a wotsit", ALL of the Carrie Fisher resistance banners, We Will Overcombe, This Pussy Bites Back, and (if I say so myself) my own, which I nearly didn’t do as I was worried it wasn't serious enough, but I'm glad I did as it raised quite a few laughs on the day. Uh Oh Urine Trouble (based on the old Shampoo lyrics).
What would be your one message to all girls out there trying to get into the creative industry?
Just get started, put yourself out there and get a feel for the industry - it doesn't matter if what you do to begin with isn't your end goal, the relationships you build along the way will be as invaluable as the experience you gain.
What does female friendship mean to you?
It’s essential - I think we'd all go a bit mad without it, a girl can understand a girl in a million ways that a man cannot. I think that also most of our first crushes were probably our girlfriends - we definitely fall in love with our mates and a lot of the time that girl love is longer lasting than our romantic relationships - Sali Hughes recently wrote a brilliant piece for The Pool about this - have a google.
Why is Girl Power important in today’s world?
Because we have unfinished business, in the year 2017 we STILL don't have equality and we owe it to ourselves, our predecessors and future generations to keep going until we get there.
If you could go back in time what would you tell your younger self?
This is a question I always ask everyone else and I've really struggled to answer it! I'm a real live in the moment person and a doer SO maybe I'd tell myself to have a bit more of a plan and that you don't have to say yes to every opportunity that comes along. There will ALWAYS be another one just around the corner. Also, every ending is the start of a new beginning, never be afraid of an ending. AND I'd also tell myself to buy the biggest house I could afford as soon as I moved to London! That last one was actually a great big OOOOOOPS!
What do you think is the toughest thing about being a female in the creative industry?
I think it’s still getting to the top of the ladder and maternity doesn't help that one bit, @motherpukka has an amazing campaign going at the moment to bring in flexible working, as a mum myself I cannot believe that women still have to fear that they may not get their old jobs back after going off to continue the human race OR that a flexible working option that is already a proven business model in other countries is not readily available. GET ON IT UK!
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