In My Shoes With Champions of Pride Mentees
When it came to Pride 2022, our goal was clear: we wanted to celebrate - and elevate - individuality in a way that felt meaningful. To amplify up-and-coming voices and take the lead in bringing greater diversity to the creative industry.
So, we teamed up again with The Elephant Room, bringing back our confidence-boosting, career-building collaboration: the One Month Mentor programme. Together, we found ten incredible individuals from the LGBTQ+ community and gave them the opportunity to learn from mentors who have successfully walked the walk.
“I’ve felt massively supported throughout the programme. My mentor made me feel valued. We were able to have open conversations which was amazing.”
I’m Kobi, a 19-year-old photographer, creative director, and journalist.
My inspiration comes from music as well as other creatives like Virgil Abloh, Gabriel Moses, Quil Lemons, Ayishat Akanbi, Bimma Williams, Zane Lowe and Nadeska. I also thrive off fashion, black, and queer culture and music.
I also enjoy collaborating with fellow creatives.
I’ve felt massively supported throughout the programme; the concept of it being a safe space was made clear from the start. This really helped me to form connections and feel comfortable in sharing my thoughts and feelings. My mentor was great and made me feel valued - I was never an afterthought. We were able to have open conversations which was amazing.
I’m Nic. I live in London, although I’m originally from the Devon countryside. I work in the growth team for a large advertising network; it’s my job to attract and win new clients. I’ve recently taken on the role of Head of Pride to drive inclusion throughout the industry and provide a safe space for my colleagues and friends. I’m quite loud and not as funny as I think I am. You can find me on dance floors or swimming in the sea.
I’m inspired by creativity that either represents or creates change. Whether it’s essays that highlight gaps in representation or society, or songs that hammer home the message that it’s 100% okay to be you, these are the things that give me warm, fuzzy energy.
My name’s Anu and I’m a spoken word artist and actor from South London. I’ve been writing and creating practically my whole life. I’m hugely interested in the fashion industry and will be studying Fashion Communication at university.
My proudest moment was probably sharing my proposal with the team; although it was hard it felt really good to share my ideas and turn my camera on for the first time!
I’m Joe, I create bold branding and emotional interfaces for startups. I love working with bold colour palettes and I’m on a mission to find the best burrito on earth.
I feel like I’ve reached a point with what I’m doing, so now I really need to find a path and commit to it. I’ve been lucky to get to where I am, but I kind of just fell into it!
Enmanuel De La Rosa (Manie)
I’m a storyteller. Through acting, singing, and writing I find ways to celebrate my spirituality and culture. Born and raised in the Bronx, you can find me splashing in the fire hydrants or leading worship at my church.
My inspiration for creativity would be discomfort. I often have trouble communicating. At school, English teachers would always tell me I lack structure in my thoughts. I’ve found that when I’m creating, the structure looks a little different. Whenever I feel unable to communicate, I find ways to speak.
I’m a multifaceted creative with communication at the heart of everything I do. I create and produce marketing campaigns and events, write, and perform spoken word poetry.
I think everyone should be mentored. It was especially important for me because I haven’t had much exposure to people in creative jobs; being mentored has helped me to gain confidence and build connections that will have an everlasting impact on my career. Like many people, my family encouraged me to pursue a ‘practical’ job, but the truth is the world needs creative people, and the best way to understand how to navigate an unfamiliar path is to learn from those who have already walked it.
My proudest moment was when I wrote an article titled “We need to stop leaving mixed-race people out of the race conversation” which gained a lot of recognition. I had lots of people reach out to me who resonated with my experiences and took comfort in having their thoughts and feelings validated. Knowing that I provided reassurance to people I may never meet was a really powerful moment.
I’m a Nigerian Londoner; a photographer, researcher, curatorial assistant, and consultant. I’m continuously discovering myself as an artist. I document, archive, and connect. I preserve ideas cultivated from Black British living, with the aim of creating and sharing imagery to illuminate the magic in the mundane. The core themes of my work are healing, joy, and resistance, through the lens of softness.
Guidance from those you aspire to emulate is something that I think is such an important part of success. So much of my knowledge and experience has come from those further along in their journeys bringing me along for the ride.
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All images are owned by Tolu Elusadé @toluelusade please credit when sharing on any social/website