In the final episode of the series, we speak to Quannah Chasinghorse – the land protector, climate warrior and new-gen model who is making global impact with her dedication to environmental activism and advocation for Indigenous rights and representation. Her ancestry is Hän Gwich’in (Alaska and Canada) and Oglala Lakota (South Dakota), and, alongside her mother, the Alaska-based 19-year-old has fought for the conservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – a sacred place for the region’s Indigenous people and an important ecosystem that is under threat from fossil-fuel extraction. Chasinghorse’s inspiring work, which intersects racial and environmental justice, was recognized in 2020 with the Spirit of Youth Award; she also bagged The Women In Green Forum Youth Trailblazer Award earlier this year.
Chasinghorse’s foray into the fashion world came after being cast in a Calvin Klein campaign in 2020 that championed the importance of voting – and she has continued to make intentional, impactful career moves ever since. On social media, she calls for action on climate change and educates her followers about Indigenous ways of life. “Growing up, I never thought I was pretty enough, and beauty standards made me feel my Indigenous features weren’t beautiful,” she has posted in the past. More recently, she spoke of celebrating her heritage on the international stage, stating: “I can look at myself in the mirror every day, smile and see my ancestors smiling right back at me.”
Listen in as she talks about fighting for the causes she cares about, shaping her career in fashion, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
In this episode, we are joined by the spoken-word poet and writer Melissa Lozada-Oliva, who came to prominence after her electric performance of Like Totally Whatever won the National Poetry Slam Championship in 2015 – and subsequently went viral. Challenging society’s critical condemnation of young women and how they speak, lines included, “It’s, like, maybe I’m so used to speaking in questions because I’m so used to being cut off.” This exploration of the portrayals and policing of femininity and womanhood underlies much of Lozada-Oliva’s writing, which also intersects Latina identity, experiences of immigration, and where a sense of belonging comes from. This month, she releases Dreaming of You, a surreal, genre-bending story written entirely in verse, which traverses themes of loneliness, heartache, fandom and disillusionment. It is one of the year’s most anticipated novels and she is already working on a film adaptation. She also co-hosts the Say More podcast with fellow-poet Olivia Gatwood, in which they discuss, in their own words, “a lot of questions about things that don’t matter”. Offering a distinct and unique voice, Lozada-Oliva’s words resonate with her readers, listeners and global followers.
Listen in as she talks about viral poetry performances, her surreal new novel and the cult of celebrity.
In our fourth episode, we are joined by Elsa Majimbo, the Kenyan comedian and global social-media sensation. Majimbo’s star has risen to stratospheric heights in the past year after her straight-talking satirical videos (which often feature her eating potato chips, wearing tiny sunglasses and sharing an inner monologue direct to camera) went viral during lockdown. In addition to gaining a huge international following, including the likes of Rihanna and Naomi Campbell, she was named African Social Star at E! People’s Choice Awards this year; landed partnerships with major brands; and recently became the first comedian to collaborate with a high-fashion couture house following the release of her debut book, The Alphabet for Kids & Adults, with Valentino. Majimbo also hosts the Bedtime with Elsa podcast, in which she interviews inspirational people (such as Usain Bolt and Cynthia Erivo) from her bed. According to her Instagram bio, she is a “15X chess champion” and “professional bragger”.
Listen in as Majimbo talks about adjusting to her new-found celebrity, grocery shopping with Naomi Campbell and what makes her laugh.
In episode three we are joined by Tavi Gevinson – actor, writer, editor and cultural commentator; a bona fide millennial multi-hyphenate. Though only 25, Gevinson has been in the public eye for more than half her life. She started her fashion blog, Style Rookie, at the age of 11, then launched Rookie as an online publication a few years later. Written for and mostly by teenage girls, it became a much-loved tool for her peers to navigate the pressures and complexities of early adulthood.
Gevinson also has an impressive acting resumé, which spans standout performances in Broadway productions and the recent high-profile reboot of Gossip Girl, in which she stars as teacher Kate Keller.
But it’s the razor-sharp, thought-provoking pieces she regularly writes for global publications that really demonstrate Gevinson’s continued commitment to raising up the voices and experiences of young women. Earlier this year, she wrote an essay entitled ‘Britney Spears Was Never in Control’ for The Cut, which was a stark read on the treatment and exploitation of young women in the entertainment industry, touching on her own traumatic experiences. In it, she writes that she tries to “reach across time to give my younger self the language for what really went on”. This sums up a unifying theme of Gevinson’s work: a dedication to empowering the voices of her generation.
Listen in as she talks about being in the public eye for more than half her life, growing up for the Gossip Girl reboot, and how she dissects the treatment of women in the media.
Episode two stars Yumi Nu – the model, singer-songwriter and entrepreneur making strides both in and out of the fashion world. Having worked in the industry for more than a decade, her career skyrocketed in 2021 with major runway and magazine appearances. In March, she was featured in Sports Illustrated as a ‘Rookie’ and, a few months later, she covered American Vogue’s September issue as part of a group of new-gen talent who are leading the charge of a fashion revolution.
But the mark that Yumi is making goes far beyond a shoot or runway. She uses her accelerating platform to speak out on vital issues – from the importance of inclusive media representation to challenging reductive labels. Earlier this year, in the wake of horrific attacks on the Asian community, Yumi – who is of Japanese and Dutch descent – posted her support of the Stop Asian Hate movement and advocated for voices within the community to be heard.
She is taking change into her own hands when it comes to the fashion industry. Inspired by her own experiences and conversations with her followers, Yumi is developing her own ethically sourced, plus-size clothing line. A born entertainer with many strings to her bow, the multi-talented model, musician and now designer is also releasing new songs this year – further proof that she will not be put in a box when it comes to her career.
Listen in as she talks about a monumental year for her career, raising up her voice, and taking change into her own hands.
In our opening episode, we are joined by the inimitable Charli XCX, the music maverick and singer-songwriter who has redefined the pop landscape. Born Charlotte Aitchison, she started writing songs at the age of 14, and releasing them on Myspace. She adopted the moniker Charli XCX from her MSN Messenger handle and signed her first record deal when she was still a teenager. Fast-forward a decade and she’s now a multi-award-winning force within the industry, known for her own anthems and for the chart-topping hits she has written for fellow artists. Broadening the horizons of the pop scene, Charli XCX traverses the boundaries of ‘mainstream’ – and her fandom has grown from an online cult following to today’s global legion who call themselves her ‘Angels’.
As well as writing music, she also runs a label, directs music videos and manages developing artists. Earlier this year, she entered the podcast sphere, too, as host of BBC Radio 1’s Best Song Ever, in which she asks guests – from Beabadoobee to Mark Ronson – to share their top song choice for a variety of scenarios: ‘The best song to get through a heartbreak’; ‘The best song to be thrown out of a club to’; ‘What song would be played at your funeral?’
Indeed, she is passionate about using her global platform to amplify marginalized voices and, in 2019, was awarded Gay Times’ Honour for Allyship in Music.
Her fifth studio album will land in early 2022. The recently released first single, Good Ones, marks a new chapter for Charli XCX, in which the pop star embraces, in her own words, “all that my life has to offer in today’s world – fame, glamour, inner demons and global hits”.
Listen in as she talks about looking after her mental health, her hopes and dreams for the future, and breaking boundaries with her work.
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