We spend half our lives at work (at least 45 years, to be exact) so it’s important to be career-happy. Whether you’re a City high-flyer or a primary school teacher, we all have one thing in common: we want a role that’s interesting and rewarding. And that’s where Barbie comes in.
For more than five decades, the iconic doll has inspired generations of women to believe that they can achieve their dreams. As we played with her and dressed her up in every imaginable uniform as children, she encouraged us to follow our ambitions. Nurse, police officer, dentist, even rock star, she proved you really could do anything. She wasn’t just ‘Ken’s girlfriend’ – she even went to space four years before man walked on the Moon, and ran for President!
This year, Barbie’s creator Mattel is launching a new campaign called Barbie I Can Be, working with Government organisations and educational specialists to help future generations to realise their ambitions (visit www.barbieagirlthing. co.uk to find out more). As part of this campaign, Barbie is setting out to help grown-up women who already have careers, but who feel they’re not yet achieving their maximum potential. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be introducing six leading lights in a variety of industries. These female success stories will be answering questions on how they got to the top and giving advice and tips on how to achieve your goals. So meet our first three mentors and check back next week for more brilliant advice...
THE ENTREPRENEUR: Sharmadean Reid is a brand consultant, stylist and the owner of hip hangout Wah nails
Why do you love your job? Every day I’m learning about the society we live in.
What makes you jump out of bed on a cold, grey monday morning? The thought that whatever I’m doing will lead to an opportunity that brings me one step closer to my dream house in LA. My dog, Sascha, also licks my face and feet incessantly until I get up.
Who inspires you? Powerful women. It could be as wide ranging as the She-ra cartoons in the ’80s to Melanie Griffith in Working girl, to someone like Cindy Gallop, who is my hero. I love Dorothy Parker, who assessed culture in the same way I do, but expressed it with witty short stories and poetry. I just love strong women who are too clever to resort to being a total bitch to get what they want in life. The latest cover of our Wah Zine is entitled Which Kim Are You? and has Kim Deal, Kim Gordon, Kim Wilde, Lil’ Kim and Kim Kardashian – from punk to princess. I respect them all.
Top tips for success? Act interested. Even when I’m exhausted, I’ll always engage in conversation as if that person is the most exciting person I’ve met that day. Sure enough, I often find out something genuinely interesting. When I started out, I always used to get rehired because of my ‘energy’. People like to be around happy, buzzy people. And you should always be nice. To everyone. Only insecure people shout at those they think are subordinate to them.
What are you most proud of? I’m not sure if I have achieved my one great thing yet. I am so happy with the success
of my nail salon, but we still have far to go. I will be happy when I can enter Government and make real, definitive change to people’s lives. I’ll be proud if I could lower the rate of teenage pregnancy, or get more inner-city kids into museums. That would make me happy. the entrepreneur...
THE DESIGN GURU: Alice Rawsthorn is design critic of the international herald tribune, has published a book about YSL and is a broadcaster and public speaker the design guru...
Why do you love your job? It’s endlessly interesting, challenging and enjoyable. It enables me to think and write about something I’m passionate about – design – and to share my enthusiasm with other people. Design influences, and is influenced by, so many different areas of our lives, from politics and the environment to fashion and technology, that I never get bored by it, because I constantly have to reassess my ideas.
What makes you jump out of bed on a cold, grey monday morning? Lots of things. I’m naturally happy, optimistic and energetic. I can’t imagine ever wanting to hide in bed rather than getting up to start the day.
Who inspires you? It sounds cheesy, but it’s the memory of my grandmother, who was just as intelligent as me – if not more so – but had no chance to benefit from it as a working-class woman of her generation. Instead, she worked as a cleaner to put her children through university. top tips for success? The best pieces of advice that I’ve been given are all old- fashioned homilies. ‘Be true to yourself.’ ‘Do as you would be done by.’ And so on. Very George Eliot, but very relevant.
What are you most proud of? Hopefully, that I was true to myself, did as I would be done by and always jumped out of bed happily on Monday mornings!
THE FASHION TRAILBLAZER: Lulu Kennedy is founder and director of Fashion east, the ubercool platform for hot new design talent
Why do you love your job? I love my job because... it’s rewarding and fun! I get to meet and work with really talented creative designers, help them in the early days of their careers and watch them blossom. My team is really tight and we work hard but know how to have fun. They are all such characters and no two
days are ever the same at Fashion East HQ.
What makes you jump out of bed on a cold, grey monday morning? To be honest, leaving my car parked on a yellow line, so the fear of a parking ticket gets me up! Jokes aside, it is undoubtedly because I am dying to see my colleagues and get cracking on the week. We’re always working on so many exciting ideas that by the time I’ve had a coffee and brainstorm with the team, we are all happily in our groove and oblivious to the fact that it’s a Monday.
Who inspires you? My friends, colleagues and the designers I work with. They never fail to surprise me. I also love Grace Jones and her refusal to conform, Mae West’s one-liners, and my grandad, who was a true gent, a man of his word and incredibly stubborn!
Top tips for success? Always stand by your values and don’t lose sight of your vision – if you believe in it enough, other people will too.
What are you most proud of? That I did my bit to help. And was a lover, not a fighter.
How to WIN an invite to our amazing Power Brunch!
Do you need a confidence boost to ask for that longed-for promotion? Are you agonising about switching careers? Or are you thinking of taking the plunge and setting up your own business? Whatever career stage you’re at, Barbie wants to help.
Some of the country’s most inspiring women will be attending a fabulous power brunch on 25 June – and you could be invited! To be in with a chance of being one of the six lucky Grazia readers joining our elite panel of movers and shakers, simply write to firstname.lastname@example.org and sum up in no more than 100 words why you should be selected for help with your career dilemma. The illustrious panel features the three icons interviewed here, Grazia’s very own editor-in-chief, Jane Bruton, plus three more inspirational figures – check back next week to find out who! Good luck!