She believes it is the beginning of the ‘I Am Enough’ era for women. Which is why Samata, creator of the global women’s collective THE TRIBE, launched THE TRIBE Empowerment Journal. “We have to create the spaces which tell women to say ‘I am enough’ – because no one will say it for us.”
text: Gwen Teo
photos: Max Herridge / THE TRIBE™
It’s an exciting year for the creator of the global women’s collective THE TRIBE, the movement that has attracted more than 14,000 followers since it has launched two years ago – and that’s just on Instagram. After taking some time off this year to focus on her new role as a mother, entrepreneur and author Samata (who prefers to be called just by her first name) now shares how, over the past year, she has ‘poured a lot of real-life experiences’ into the creation of the journal that she hopes will encourage women ‘to be kinder to themselves about themselves, and each other’. In 2016 the British-born Ghanaian entrepreneur created THE TRIBE because she felt there wasn’t a space to celebrate ‘who we already are’. So much seemed to be focused on what we could be and who we could be and how taking XYZ steps will get us there, Samata explains. “Essentially, we are taught that changing ourselves will lead us to empowerment, and as important as growth is, I don’t believe that that celebration and growth have to be mutually exclusive. If we don’t accept and celebrate ourselves and our wins, big or small, then we aren’t acknowledging the power we already have. Also, if we don’t celebrate ourselves, then what is it all for? It’s like we take all this training we are being offered – this course, that mentorship, this journey – and get to a great destination and still won’t stop and say ‘well done to me’. We have to create the spaces which tell women to say ‘I am enough’ – because no one will say it for us.”
In a recent interview with The Merit Club Samata says one of the lessons she lives by is to ‘do what others won’t, to get tomorrow what others don’t’. So it may come as a surprise to find out the entrepreneur isn’t always that focused on the things she wants to achieve in life. “I am just giving things a go. I think about the fact I have this one life to lead, and I want to at least try.” That approach seems to be successful so far for the creative woman who works across fashion and media. Samata is also known for her work as CEO of Red Carpet Green Dress, a campaign founded by Suzy Amis Cameron that showcases sustainable fashion on the red carpet at the Oscars. In 2013 Samata’s first book was published: Fashion Designer’s Resource Book. Despite the exceptional life she seems to lead for someone who just gives things a go, Samata revealed in the TRIBE newsletter this week that besides ‘overall pure love’ those real-life experiences mentioned earlier also include less happy moments, like being ‘super down’ for a year. Last month she opened up on her personal Instagram account as well, and wrote about how she has ‘battled between expressing who I am and wanting to toe the line in the name of acceptability’.
So did the decision to open up like that on Instagram make her feel more vulnerable than she had anticipated? Samata: “Yes, it did at first but I had this moment where I said, either I am going to speak more openly on these platforms, or I just won’t use them. Otherwise, you are holding yourself back and after a while, even if everyone else is happy, you aren’t. Being vulnerable is being brave, if you ask me, and we all need to be brave more often. When someone asks us how we are, if the moment is right, we should start to tell the truth instead of just saying ‘I’m good’. We are all running around trying to seem OK when actually, sometimes we really aren’t. It’s liberating to be able to say that and work your way back to being good.”
"Being vulnerable is being brave, if you ask me, and we all need to be brave more often"
Samata hopes women who use the journal will be encouraged to open up more to themselves. And, as a result of doing so, to be inspired to do things for others as well. When asked if women need more support from other women or from men, Samata says she believes women need support from both, but that support from women is like an amplification which men can’t replicate. “That is not bashing men, it’s just stating that as women we understand women, we know what is lacking, or why something hurts, in a way that no one else can. I want the journal to be something which reminds women, firstly, that they already are amazing, but secondly, that the women around them or who they have not met need that same reinforcement and support too. It doesn’t have to be about what men can or can not offer, this is just a space for women to reinforce other women.” The 432 page journal, which is filled with what she calls ‘thought-provoking self-care content’, has made its creator realise something important about herself as well. “Whilst writing in it, I learned that I am way too self-critical, almost to a crippling point. I need to ease up on myself, and use kinder words in my self-talk for the benefit of my soul.”
"Whilst writing in the journal, I learned that I am way too self-critical, almost to a crippling point"
‘Because of him I can and I will’
With an already impressive career that’s expanding more and more, this summer Samata also embraced the one role that can’t be compared with anything else she does: the role of being a mother. Her own mother taught her how much a single woman can achieve. And now Samata wants her son to know that ‘he can go for life to its fullest’. “I want him to know that I will never be a barrier to his dreams but a trampoline to help him up. I also want to teach him how to talk to himself in the best way possible, so that he has self-esteem and courage.” ‘Because of him I can and I will’, she stated in her instastories earlier this week. “Motherhood has meant that I start my day full. It’s hard to describe but I guess I would not have known I was missing something before because I did not have it – but now it really doesn’t matter how the day goes, I know I will start and finish it with the fullest feeling. Also, with someone depending on you, it has pushed me to want to give my son someone to look up to and to provide the best for him. My husband and I both do. So my motivation is coming from a more intense place which makes me get out of my comfort zone so much more that I would ever have dared. People used to tell me I was brave before, I didn’t see it. Now I have to be.”
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