Karen Millen - Women Who Can

I recently collaborated with the team at Karen Millen for their ‘Women Who Can’ feature. The goal with their campaign is to champion inspiring females, hear their unique stories and prove that anything is possible with a fast of self-belief! So as you can imagine - I was honored to be asked to be a part of it!

Being in front of the camera is something I’ve been doing more of over the past year - featuring as an influencer where I often talk about my story or give advice. It’s a very different experience to being behind the camera but I’ve been enjoying the different perspective and the creativity involved.

We decided to do the interview and shoot from one of my favorite areas in London (Bloomsbury) at my friend Maggie Owen’s home. Maggie’s presence and home is always a comfort away from home and it’s here that I often find myself when I’m in London - catching up over a glass of wine or later dinner. So I decided it was the perfect place for the relaxed shoot scenario.

It was great to chat to the KM team about my feelings of being a women in a male-dominated industry and my advice on starting out. During the first few years of my career I’d often hide my feelings and put all of my energy into hard work and pushing forwards, despite me seeing a lot of my male peers jump leaps and bounds ahead of me, given opportunities I feel like I would never get.

Starting at 14 years old I had very very big dreams and goals of being an international photographer - a dream that was shown to me by growing up with the rise of social media and realizing the industry was a lot bigger than I thought. I was given an outlook and suddenly my small town seemed too small for me. I’d often be told by mentors (and college tutors alike) that I should think a little closer to home, to perhaps just focus on assisting, to think about my ‘steps’ first. Although I was supported by my parent’s and close friends, I often battled rejection in meetings and asked about my age (still, this is one of the first things I often get asked in meetings!). I was often told I was “young but talented and they would keep their eye on me”. Battling with big dreams and rejection is like being on a rollercoaster. I would invest all of my money into my career, stay up countless hours at night to research and retouch images, get on early trains to London for personal shoots and days of meetings. I would drink 4+ cups of coffee a day. I didn’t stop. I was so determined to make it in the industry that there was days where I’d let the frustration drown me. And then there was days where I’d set there and tell myself to get on with it and that hard work WILL pay off.. and it did.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s so many amazing male photographers out there that work super hard and they are doing fantastic things. I respect that. I respect hard work. However, I still feel there’s a lack of female photographers I our industry and there are many magazines and brands that preach they support females but then their entire roster of photographers that shoot for them are male. I’d like to see that change over the next few years.

Then we get to imposter syndrome - which I believe we all struggle with from time to time. There’s often times I get to set and wonder “Why me? Why am I here? What If I show that really I’m an imposter being here today and I can’t do what they expect me to do?” - all with that all familiar anxious feeling in my stomach. I want to tell you that we ALL struggle from this, even the best of us. We are human, we have emotions. If you’ve worked hard for anything in your life you’ll find that you’ll be questioning yourself when you reach a goal.

I am happy that brands like Karen Millen are starting to encourage more of the female gaze and opinion. It has also opened my eyes to being more aware of showcasing diversity and inclusivity in my portfolio. I want to show that every woman can be beautiful in front of the camera, no matter their age, ethnicity or shape and WHY NOT share that with the rest of the world?

You can watch/read the video from my day with Karen Millen, here.