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  • Info OFS

I Felt A Little Bit Taller

I used to be quite shy, a bit reticent to kind of take a lead in anything. I guess some people might

say I have imposter syndrome. I used to feel that, any minute now they’re going to find out who

you really are, and then all of sudden all of my achievements would just go out the window,

and I’m left like, why do I do this to myself? It’s easy to end up going down a route which is not

conducive to self-esteem and I certainly was walking down that road until certain things helped to

say, ‘don’t go down that road. No, no, no, no, no, this one’s much better’. I was just very lucky, very

fortunate, to have this experience in this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful place.

I felt really privileged to be approached to do any of the photos, especially the Spice Girls because

they are so iconic. I think it was fairly obvious my part would be that of Scary Spice because I have

kind of similar hair and stuff, so I just said ‘yes’ immediately. Getting ready it really felt like we were

preparing for our live debut. We had girly time together – the dressing, the make-up, the singing

–‘I tell you what I want, what I really, really want!’. Lucy [Crisis Arts Tutor] did my make-up. When

she said ‘I think you’re finished’ I went to look in the mirror and I was like, ‘WOW, oh my God, look

at me! Oh my God!’. And that little flame that was almost extinguished just went POW!

If I was having a kind of momentary crisis, like ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this’, I just used to think,

you can trust Rowan [Crisis Arts Co-ordinator] and Jodie [Crisis Arts Tutor] and all the others. If I

hadn’t had that trust and confidence in them I might have been very anxious about, you know,

what if I get it wrong? But they were like, ‘you’ve got it. I’ve got you’. So I don’t need to worry

about those kind of old fears or, you know, doubts about my ability to make it a success, because I

just trust that literally everything that they come up with has been really well thought through and

really well put together so that everyone feels, ‘yeah, that’s fine with me’.

I don’t know about the others, but this is probably one of the first times someone’s done a

shoot of me. Yes you can go and get your picture taken, you know, family portrait sort of thing,

but this was a big thing and you know Rory [Lead Artist] was this big sort of like photographer

who obviously is very experienced and knows how to get the best out of the people. It was very

exciting, very, very. We just did as many retakes as possible and just trusted that the result would

be incredible, and it was, it was incredible.

I felt very privileged to do this project and it really did give me a bit of a confidence boost, you

know? I felt valued, I felt valued to help create this. Even years after I will always remember and

take away with me that feeling, the sense of accomplishment - I belong, I have a place here, I have

much to contribute, yeah you did that, you. I felt a little bit taller, even though I’m not, but I felt a

little bit taller, I felt a very strong sense of pride.

Spice Girls are iconic and they represent a cross section of people. I think they help to send the

message of unity. No matter what background or colour you are everyone has an important

part to play. In the photo I felt that I wanted to portray that even though obviously we all have

different stories and different journeys with Crisis, we’re here together. It didn’t matter what your

circumstances were, you still had a sense of value and pride and a sense of, you know, still wanting

to look for the good things and take something positive. Being around and being involved with

other members helps you in some way and by giving away you kind of get it back in some sense.

I took a lot from the girl power movement, and the sense of empowerment it gave me when I

first heard about the Spice Girls. They were such strong, positive female role models, which I feel

that there’s just not enough of around. You could just sense that all five of us, we were imbued

with that. You know the awful saying ‘fake it till you make it’? So we were faking it, but you know

a little bit we made, we made it even if it was just for a project. There was real camaraderie and

encouragement towards each other. It was very empowering and I felt I got some of that power

from us all being together as girls. When I think about it it fills me with a sense of accomplishment.

To picture something is really nice, but to feel it is another matter.

I’ve got a daughter, she’s an architect. I know I should lead by example and I should stop this meek

‘oh well, never mind’- I don’t want her to think like that, feel like that. And so my every endeavour

is to help nurture those things that were just slightly neglected in me and want her to really be

empowered. Whether it’s as a young black woman or whether it’s as a woman entering a very

male dominated environment. I’m just very aware that we have an opportunity to actually...what’s

the word? I don’t want to say be rule breakers, but you know, be rebellious ones, if you know what

I mean. Cause it takes some brave soul to just say ‘I don’t buy that bullshit anymore’.

They’re going to turn ICON into calendars, merchandise and stuff. So those things are going to

be there in print for anyone to see. Somewhere they’ll be always this kind of record of everyone’s

involvement in making that happen. And it not only looks fabulous, it make us all look really...I

don’t know, like in some of the pictures, especially The Bullingdon Club, you know, it just kind of

elevates us so we are actually standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us and

that is a really lovely feeling. I wouldn’t have been able to have jumped on those big shoulders

hadn’t someone given me a little bit of a leg up - ‘there you go, get on there. Get up there and do

your thing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise’.

I’ve often said that while having four walls does help to make you feel secure, when you lose that

internal home, of belonging and self, then that’s when you’re in real danger of disappearing down

the plug hole. So whether you have four walls or not, coming to Crisis and doing things like this

project helps to maintain that internal home. You might be going through a lot of crisis in the

external world, homelessness and whatever, but you still have that sense that you are able to carry

on pushing, moving forward. It’s as if projects like this are just like a big plug – ‘you’re not going

anywhere, you’re staying right here and, what’s more, I think you’ll like it’. And they were right,

they were absolutely right.


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