Elle Weekender has been a blast. The monumental and aesthetically stunning Saatchi Gallery was the very home of the Elle Weekender, the first event presented by Elle Magazine that encompassed fashion, beauty and wellness. Few brands such as Charlotte Mensah, Philosophy, Charlotte Tilbury, Man & Dell, Cristina Cipolli and Wool and the Gang where present during this three day event. The 'Playroom' was a chance to unwind and have some fun. 
From bouncy pink beds covered in feathers, through showers that rained confetti, it was an Insta-opportunity that I unfortunately missed.  Lululemon classes were the perfect opportunity to exercise some yoga poses and sound baths. The beauty empire FeelUnique offered some great presents in the beauty room, just in time for Christmas.
As you probably saw from my Instagram stories highlights (@headenough) I had the pleasure to listen to a very interesting panel on Sunday. The theme was "The Power of Black Girl Magic" so of course I HAD TO BE THERE.

Broadcaster and entrepreneur June Sarpong discussed the power of the "Black Girl Magic" movement with model and entrepreneur Leomie Anderson and the founder of Dialogue Books, Sharmaine Lovegrove. The lovely authors of my new black bible "Slay in your Lane", aka Elizabeth Uviebinen√© and Yomi Adegoke should've been there as well but unfortunately had an emergency and couldn't participate. 

The emotions and pure joy in seeing three dope ass black women on stage is filling my soul still now, I'm telling you!  Few of the questions for Leomie and Sharmaine were how to work in prevalently white spaces, how to stop being labelled with the usual stereotypes, what does the phrase "Black Girl Magic" really means and what are the ways that our actions can really do change the black narrative.
Let me tell you a little bit about the panellists first!

Leomie Anderson is a British model and designer. She has been modelling since 2010. In 2015, she was selected to model for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show which skyrocketed her career. A year later she founded her own clothing brand, LAPP.
She was scouted twice but never really give enough attention to the modelling world. Once she realised that the agency that wanted to represent her was legit because was representing Naomi Campbell as well, she finally gave it a shot. 
Leomie was really candid and honest in sharing her experiences as a black model. Even if she frequents and got used to high end fashion shows & runways, she noticed that most of the makeup artists still didn't carry enough beauty products for black skins. 
Disappointing makeup results convinced her to bring her own hair and makeup products to shoots.
Her words really shed light on the fashion industry and how all that glitters ain't gold.
Sitting next to Leomie there was Sharmaine Lovegrove. With over twenty years' experience working with storytelling in a variety of different ways, Sharmaine has turned a passion into a career. She is the former Literary Editor at Elle, Co-Founder of Film & TV Adaptations Consultant, Dialogue Scouting and has owned a bookshop in Berlin where she established a network of English - language publishing and reading.
Sharmaine shared about her Jamaican roots, how she started her own bookshop in Berlin, how difficult it could be to be a women in a prevalent masculine and white environment and how se copes with teaching and leading young black entrepreneurs.

Both of these lovely ladies touched on the fact that as a black woman, intelligence and passion might seem intimidating to others. The structural racism that doesn't allow young black entrepreneurs to start and flourish in various careers is still very much present. 
I love what positive feedback I actually got from their words. Sharmaine's words "as a bookshop owner and black woman in power, I wasn't asking for permission. I was telling them what I was going to do". I really resonated with those words.
My confidence is a characteristic that people always envied. I do genuinely love that side of myself but sometimes I feel that it's all people can see. Knowing that I am not the only one in making certain assumptions and having certain thougths always makes me feel better.

This panel was everything I needed and more. Basking in a room full of other intelligent and talented black women really inspired me!
Thanks Elle for organising such thoughtful and interesting panels. See you next year!

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