The Editor Talks | January
She’s known to her friends as a football fanatic, lover of food and is also the Founder of MAGNIFY. At the start of 2017, we sat down with our Editor Ruth to hear her thoughts on creativity, making time to reflect and her plans for this year.
LEARNING TO REFLECT
We often see on your Instagram, posts declaring your admiration for a few prominent women. Who inspires you the most and why?
Well I think many of us would agree, 2016 was a stand out year for the one and only Michelle Obama. Her grace, poise, determination, sacrifice for her family and intelligence inspired me so much and I’m sure long after she leaves The White House will continue to do so. Watching her episode of Carpool Karaoke she also seems like so much fun!
For you personally, what are you most excited for this year?
For the first time in a while, at the end of 2016 I took time out to reflect on the previous 12 months and write down my personal goals for this year and a strategy to see them come to fruition. For me, 2017 is about doing fewer things but doing them really well and giving myself more opportunities to learn and create. I’m excited to take time off and take up new hobbies such as photography, floristry and expanding my cooking repertoire! They sound like small things but doing things outside of my ‘work’ which I’m so passionate about is important to help me to stay inspired and curious.
What were your 3 biggest lessons from 2016?
Firstly I learnt that we all have so much power and strength in our own unique voice and we should never feel like we need to hush or be quiet – especially not to fit in or please people. Secondly, our challenges can bring about some of the most innovative and game-changing ideas as they force us to think differently. Finally I’m learning to not take things too personally. Last year, I became so distracted about little things and realised that they only served to cause me to lose my focus and drain my energy so essentially I’m trying to be more chilled this year!
BE A VOICE, NOT AN ECHO
What does ‘Be a voice, not an echo’ mean to you?
This was a phrase that resonated with me in early 2015 when we were preparing for one of our events and I couldn’t have imagined how timely it would be for the release of Issue 3. To me, the phrase means to not just stand up for what you believe in – but to take action and to speak up for that truth. So often, the easy option is to step back, to be quiet – especially because in life when you stick your head above the parapet, you are likely to face opposition and criticism. But, what I have also learned, is that standing up for what you’re passionate about is always worth it. There is strength and power in each of our life experiences and we should never think what we have to say isn’t valid or important.
Faith, feminism and fashion has come to define MAGNIFY in many ways. What role do these 3 play in your life and the brand?
The 3 F’s reflect my values in life and that of MAGNIFY. Faith to me is the foundation, it gives me a sense of purpose, identity and it’s a source of strength and inspiration. Feminism is a word I used to be wary of but I’ve come to embrace it and that in itself has been a journey. I went to an all girls school and the line in our school anthem we always belted out was ‘I’ll fear not what men say.’ In many ways, it never even occurred to me that as a woman, there would be any obstacles I couldn’t overcome because of my gender so I didn’t feel the need to label myself as a feminist. Equally, my life philosophy has always been about creating the new, rather than complaining about things I can’t change. I wanted to create a platform specifically for women as being one, (although we are all different!) I understood some of specific issues facing us as women navigating life in today’s world. Coupled with that for many, Christianity is seen as sexist, but through Jesus’ encounters in the Bible with women and my view about how God sees women as equal, I wanted to show that faith and feminism are compatible. I love meeting and hearing of so many women around the world who are innovating, collaborating and really kicking ass in every way and we love celebrating and profiling them. On the flip side, we see still in many cultures and contexts, gender is an obstacle to women being valued and achieving their dreams so it’s up to us to be a voice and support each other and not be afraid of embracing the word and concept of feminism. Lastly fashion for me is about creativity and I see it as a privilege to create something that is engaging with women in a meaningful way.
THE POWER OF CREATIVITY
Creativity is MAGNIFY’s theme for January. Why is it something you are so passionate about?
My faith and my understanding of God as the first and ultimate creator, inspires me to believe that there are endless possibilities when we use the gifts we have been given. I love working with different creatives from around the world to produce something that is new and different. With all of us, no matter what sector we are trying to make an impact in, because of the uniqueness of who we are, when we work to produce something that is authentic there will always be a beauty in that which always blows my mind.
What keeps you inspired to create?
Recently spending time out of my comfort zone – whether it be with people, or places or doing things I wouldn’t usually, stir my imagination. I am constantly making lists too, so whenever I think of a new idea I’m now in the habit of noting it down. However as a creative, the skill I am trying to master which is often elusive is learning to focus. Ideas will always flow but it’s about having the discernment and discipline to execute the ideas you have. Moreover, having a personal relationship with Christ and understanding that as long as I have the gift of life gives me a purpose to know that my life (and each of our lives) has meaning and we have been given gifts which can make an impact. One of the gifts I’m grateful for is vision and creativity so that spurs me on – especially when things get hard or overwhelming.
2017 FOR MAGNIFY
Finally, in what ways, do you hope MAGNIFY will impact its audience?
I hope that MAGNIFY will feel like a conversation between us and the community of women who are our audience. I want women to read our magazine or posts or come to our events and have a ‘me too’ moment where you feel like other women are on this journey with you and we’re figuring out what our questions are and some of the answers together.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Folaju Oyegbesan