The House of Vans in Waterloo was host to the first ever #OperationGlowUp event which set out to celebrate young women who have successfully made a name for themselves in creative industries. Considering it was a pilot event, there was an impressive turnout with attendees ranging from men and women, young and old with a great sense of celebration and excitement in the room.
The event was hosted by Operation Glow Up Founder and Youtuber, Tiye Walcott and singer/songwriter Eve Yasmine. The panel included women that work in creative industries who have all got to where they are today through hard work, determination and a true passion for their craft. It included Amina Habeeb, a fashion blogger, stylist and content creator who has worked with the likes of BET and MTV. Grace Medford, a former A&R representative for Syco and NowTV presenter and producer who runs her own blog and got her first taste of working within the music industry by running the social media for a local club night and finally Yara Shaikh, a content creator for the likes of The Guardian and Channel 4 who is currently working with the U.N after graduating from University of The Arts, London in Journalism and if that isn’t enough, she is due to start her MA at Harvard University in September. A university she said she applied to for “banter”.
Each of these ladies shared their insights on how they got to where they are today and why it is important as a woman to make sure you are heard. A common theme amongst all their remarkable stories was one of really doing what drives you and what you are passionate about. If you are not happy in your current situation then get out. As fashion blogger Amina put it to the audience- “there is always a way”. A point each of the panelists picked up on was the role of Higher Education in getting to where they are today. “I didn’t even want to go to University,” said Grace while Amina added that her degree has nothing to do with what she does now. But does she regret going? Not one bit.
The night wasn’t just about the panel and their working lives. Questions varied from relationships, mental health, infidelity and self-love and the audience was both vocal and passionate in expressing their views on a whole range of topics. Nothing was taboo or off limits and a healthy debate was had about supporting each other’s dreams and making sure you are able to grow both with your partner but individually too.
Operation Glow Up’s aim was to not to just showcase and celebrate the achievements of women who have smashed through the glass ceiling and who now control their own careers occupying roles as decision makers and business owners, but it was also to inspire. The audience was made up of young women and men all either working in creative industries or aspiring to do so in the future. By the end of the evening you got the sense that something special took place. You saw people get passionate, excited and you saw them realise their true capabilities because the people on the panel were just like them.