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ThisIsMe our first issue

powered by Inclusive Networks


Edinburgh’s city oasis Five star luxury hotel and events venue in the heart of the capital

An oasis in Edinburgh City Centre… The Glasshouse Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel with cosy-contemporary interiors, warm Scottish service and consistently spectacular views of the city centre, Calton Hill or the hotel’s two-acre rooftop garden. ACCOMMODATION Combining Edinburgh’s finest history and City Chic lifestyle, the hotel boasts 77 luxurious rooms; each room offering a unique setting for guests to make a home away from home. Guests can enjoy in room facilities such as aromatherapy associates amenities, fluffy bathrobes and slippers, iPod docking stations, complimentary Wi-Fi and a Nespresso machine. All Suites include a dram of whiskey in the snug of which your suite is inspired by. DINING The Observatory offers simple, fresh, contemporary local Scottish cuisine. With floor to ceiling windows with stunning views of Calton Hill, guests can relax and enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner

Tuesday- Saturday. Sunday and Monday service operates in the Snug, which offers a lounge style dining experience. MEETINGS & EVENTS Choose from our seven event spaces, each with their own individual characteristics to make successful events. Whether you are hosting a boardroom meeting, theatre style presentation, gala dinner, award presentations, product launch or corporate event, we are on hand to help you create an event that will keep your guests talking long after the event! WEDDINGS The Glasshouse Hotel is the perfect venue to say ‘I do’ with a choice of five elegant wedding spaces, each offering a unique setting for your big day. Whether you choose to have a large or small ceremony or reception, the Glasshouse Hotel caters for weddings from 10 to 110 guests. With a range of packages available, we are confident we can find a package suitable for your requirements and budget!

2 Greenside Place | Edinburgh | EH1 3AA | T: 0131 525 8200 www.theglasshousehotel.co.uk


CONTENTS

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 6/ BEHIND THE COVER 7/ The IN List

FOODIES 8/ John Whaite 11/ Sandy Docherty / Tanya Burr 12/ Glasgow Foodie 14/ ...Makes us go OOOOH 16/ #ThisIsMe Rooftop Garden Party

THISISME 20/ Bianca del Rio (PICTURED) 24/ Indy Hothi 26/ Siobhan Corria 28/ Scott Barclay 30/ Funke Abimbola 32/ #THISISME AWESOME100 34/ Mark Vice 37/ Alice Carnegie

WIN a Kiehl’s hamper

38/ She Inpires Me 39/ Festivals In Scotland

page 36

DIVERSITY 40/ Inclusive Networks Awards 42/ Diversity News

SPECIAL FEATURES 44/ Networking Remixed 48/ Lisa Jay 50/ I Love Scotland Because... 51/ Scotland Stands With Orlando 53/ Molly Talks Labels

ENTERTAINMENT 54/ Reviews 56/ Jordan Gray 58/ Is Vinyl Really Better? 60/ Catherine Frot / AWESOMENESS 63/ IMANI WILLIAMS 64/ Justine Smithies 66/ The Out List 67/ ThisisYou 68/ Vengaboys / Pride 69/ Pink Lobster Dating 70/ Listings

SPECIAL SCOTLAND FOCUSED FEATURES

8-9 30-31 64-65 This Is Me / 3


INTRODUCTION A MAGAZINE FOR EVERYONE

#THISISME

WELCOME

A BIG WARM WELCOME TO THE FIRST ISSUE OF #THISISME

24,000+

What is #ThisIsMe?

#ThisIsMe is all about spreading the message that everyone should feel they can be themselves in every part of their life with no filters. With so much hate making the news around the world, this seems even more important now. We need to celebrate who we are, and be proud about it too.

Understanding that people don’t just fit into one group is vital - not just so businesses grasp the complexities of their employees’ and customers’ experiences but also to ensure they aren’t typecast or stereotyped in any way. This is an area where there is a lot of work still to be done. It’s integral that we avoid looking at things as standalone and we look at the further issues which people who identify with more than one protected characteristic face (sexuality, race, religion, disability...).

#ThisIsMe is all about spreading the message that everyone should feel they can be themselves in every part of their life with no filters

In this issue you’ll read about awesome people, role models, creative talents...from all backgrounds and sectors. I hope sharing these features will broaden all of our thinking. I hope you read something that inspires you. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported this first issue and our events to date. Collaboration has made this all possible. We have lots planned and I hope you’ll be a part of our #ThisIsMe journey, and watch out for some exciting upcoming media and event collaborations.

THOMAS ANDERSON Editor and Founder @thomas_thisisme

MAGAZINE | EVENTS | AWARDS | ONLINE In recognition of his work in the diversity field, Thomas was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He is an Ambassador for HIV charity George House Trust, a judge for the One4all Rewards Spotlight Awards and a board member for Scotland’s biggest diversity awards, the Icon Awards.

Find out more about inclusive networks at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk

WE HOPE YOU

4 / This Is Me

FOR CHARITY / COMMUNITY INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

THE MAG

Powered by Inclusive Networks, #ThisIsMe is an innovative, vibrant, community-focused initiative that will bring people from all walks of life together at exciting events, and through

SHORTLISTED

It’s important that businesses and brands understand multiple identities amongst their staff and customers. We can’t be shortsighted.

ENJOY

We’re doing our best to get this message to as many people as possible in a non-traditional way. We’re working hard not to put labels on what we do and we want our audience to be as diverse as possible. I hope by doing this people who may not have otherwise heard about some of the subject matters we’ll be covering will learn something new, and hear and see things from a different perspective. I’ve found that often in diversity forums we are speaking to the same people event after event and it’s often the people who need little influencing - they already get the value of embracing diversity and inclusion. We need more allies or, as we like to call them, friends.

@ThisIsMe_Mag | @IncNetworks

#ThisIsMe is also about giving social enterprises, network groups, charities and brands a platform to showcase their work.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS

“

Those who have followed us for a while may know that #ThisIsMe is a part of a community focussed organisation called Inclusive Networks, which I founded at the end of 2014 - with a good luck message from British institution Stephen Fry. We spent our first full year celebrating the achievements of workplace and community network groups via our award-winning website and thriving social media platforms. We also hosted our own events, including a panel event in London with Action for Children, John Lewis, EY and Ogilvy & Mather Group, as well as our very own awards event, which took place in Manchester in November 2015 and was sponsored by organisations including PayPal, EY and Fujitsu. In 2015 we celebrated the work of and supported over 100 network groups who champion diversity and inclusion all over the UK. It’s important to celebrate.

original and interesting media platforms, including this magazine and our own unique events - the first of which was supported by Kiehl’s. This collaboration continued with our Rooftop Garden Party on 2nd July.


NEW MONEY DOESN’T NEED A WALLET.

This Is Me

Pay on your mobile, anytime, from anywhere with PayPal.

PAYPAL.CO.UK/NEWMONEY Copyright© 1999-2016 PayPal. All rights reserved. PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. et Cie, S.C.A., Société en Commandite par Actions. Registered office: 22-24 Boulevard Royal, L-2449, Luxembourg, R.C.S. Luxembourg B 118 349. www.paypal.co.uk

This Is Me / 5


DREAMS CAN COME TRUE

BEHIND THE COVER TURNING AN IDEA INTO REALITY WITH THE HELP OF SOME NEON PAINT

EDITOR

THOMAS ANDERSON thomas@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk

Cover photography and art: Mark Vice | www.markviceart.com | @MarkViceArt | Model: Sonya Elder

DESIGNER

LUCIANO DEL VISCIO luckylucianouk@gmail.com

PHOTOGRAPHY CAROL-ANNE SHAW ELLIE MORAG JOHN DYER KAZUKI JAMES YEMI KING

FEATURE CONTRIBUTORS EMMA MYKYTYN EMMA ZIFF JORDAN GRAY JULIETTE PRAIS LUCIANO DEL VISCIO MARK VICE MOLLY ALDRICH-WINCER

SPECIAL THANKS TO

EILIDH CARMICHAEL JODENE ANDERSON JUDY LEE MATTHEW THATCHER SIOBHAN CORRIA ALL OF OUR SPONSORS, SUPPORTERS AND ADVERTISERS #THISISME IS PUBLISHED BY INCLUSIVE NETWORKS, A PART OF OUTINTHEUK LTD © Copyright OUT in the UK Ltd 2016. All rights reserved. Material is subject to copyright. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from OUT in the UK Ltd is forbidden. We’ve taken great care to ensure the accuracy of the information in this magazine but we cannot accept responsibility for omissions or errors within the magazine, including adverts. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of OUT in the UK Ltd. All information is correct at the time of going to press. Always check event websites before booking tickets/travel.

ADVERTISE WITH US Reach thousands of diverse people from all walks of life by advertising in one of our inclusive publications and on our website. We offer bespoke packages and opportunities to suit every budget. Our publications aim to inspire, celebrate and support diversity and inclusion.

hello@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk 6 / This Is Me

Follow us on Twitter @ThisIsMe_Mag & @IncNetworks | FACEBOOK /INCLUSIVENETWORKS


TEAM FAVOURITES

THE IN LIST THINGS WE LIKE. YOU MAY LIKE THEM TOO said: “Our main passion is equality. We’re not just creating cards, we’re empowering people and spreading a powerful message!”

DIVERSITY IN CARDS The selection of greeting and occasion cards on the shelves in stores around the UK has improved massively over the last few years. And if we don’t see what we like, there’s always the many sites that allow us to make our own (how many OK! mag cover style cards have you received?). Even in the fast moving technological and social media age, nothing truly expresses personal sentiment like greeting cards. However, there is still a lack of cards that embrace the diversity of the people who live throughout the UK.

Check them out and purchase the cards at www.equalfolk.com | @EqualFolk

GUILT FREE BURGERS & SHAKES Huge international businesses not paying the taxes they should seems to be a regular news story these days. So it’s always refreshing when we come across local and independent businesses who, despite increased overheads and competition from national chains, manage to make big financial donations to support charities and people in their local community.

British-born Nigerian Georgina Fihosy is the creative entrepreneur behind the African Inspired greeting cards company Special Touch Designs which seeks to celebrate the diversity of the UK. In a country that is so ethnically diverse, with over 12% of the population being from a BAME background, when Georgina stepped into major high street card retailers she struggled to find a range of cards that actually represented the ethnic diversity of the nation. She’s created a truly unique greeting card company that blends African and western cultures through contemporary designs. The first range of cards is called the ‘Live in Colour’ collection – a collection of 30 distinctive cards all individually designed and hand-finished in Georgina’s home studio in Kent. The fabrics have been carefully selected on the basis of their unique patterns and vibrant colours. These cards are an undoubtedly fresh and afrocentric addition to the greeting card market with a distinct urban edge.

The Boozy Cow restaurants in Aberdeen and Edinburgh donated £263,000 to five charities earlier this year. The restaurants, famous for their burgers and delicious boozy shakes, donate all their profits to charity. The Children’s Hospice Association (CHAS), the Archie Foundation, VSA (which focuses on social care), STV’s Children’s appeal and the Youth and Philantrophy Initiative Edinburgh, each benefit from donations this year. So the next time you’re in The Boozy Cow you won’t feel so guilty ordering their Holy Cow Burger and Chocolate Salty Balls boozy shake!

Check them out and purchase the cards at www.specialtouchdesigns.com | @specialtouchdgs

With same-sex marriage now legal in England, Scotland and Wales (hurry up Northern Ireland!) and there being more openness about talking about things like coming out and being transgender (but still lots to do), the selection of cards on offer to mark important milestones and occasions in most high street stores is still pretty poor. Just as well there’s a new independent company on the block that is causing quite a buzz with their quirky and cheeky designs. Say hello to Equal Folk, founded by Beatrice Sgorbani and Sandra Flynn, who both live in Edinburgh. Their illustrated cards stand out with their awesome designs that include quotes like ‘I fell into your booby trap’, ‘Straight out the closet’ and ‘Man, I feel like a woman’.

Find out more at www.boozycow.com @BoozyCow_Edin | @TheBoozyCow

The cards are illustrated by Charlotte Micklewright and Lubin Lone - both super talented. Equal Folk want to create awareness, start conversations, educate and contribute to equality on a wider scale. They

Have their wins inspired you to take up the sport? Share your role models with our readers.

GAME, SET, ROLE MODEL The annual Wimbledon tournament had us gripped this year. We could feel the excitement in the air as Andy Murray picked up the trophy for the second time and Serena Williams added her name to the winners’ board for the seventh time. After years of the the All England Club saying the grass was too dangerous for wheelchair players, Scotland’s Gordon Reid became a double Wimbledon champion - winning the wheelchair singles and doubles titles. Amazing all round!

Gordon Reid (right) and Alfie Hewett (left) celebrate victory in the men’s wheelchair doubles at Wimbledon

dejavu sans bold 9pt / 9pt CELEBRATE OUR COMMUNITY, WORKPLACE AND CELEBRITY ROLE MODELS : NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR OUR VERY OWN #THISISME AWESOME100 AWARDS (SEE PAGE 32), THE UK’S MOST INCLUSIVE CELEBRATION LIST - CELEBRATING

Dejavu 8pt / 9pt THOSESans WHOBook SELFLESSLY SUPPORT OTHER PEOPLE. WE BELIEVE YOU CAN’T CELEBRATE THOSE DOING INSPIRING WORK ENOUGH AND IT’S GREAT THAT THERE ARE OTHER AWARDS DOING JUST THAT. NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FOR THIS YEAR’S ICON AWARDS. THE AWARDS AIM TO REWARD THOSE BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS STRIVING FOR INCLUSIVENESS AND CHAMPIONING DIVERSITY IN ALL ITS FORMS ACROSS SCOTLAND. NOMINATE AT WWW.ICON-AWARDS.CO.UK BY THE END OF AUGUST. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? What should be featured on our next in list? hello@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk

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INTERVIEW FOODIES

This Is Me

STAR BAKER

John Whaite Author, TV Presenter, Cookery School owner and winner of the third series of blockbuster TV show The Great British Bake Off INTERVIEW BY THOMAS ANDERSON

8 / This Is Me

will you be watChing the new series of the great british bake off?


INTERVIEW FOODIES

This is my first cookbook - my first two books were baking books. I’ve had a great deal of input over the overall design - my partner designed it so I was able to have my say. The process of writing the book was very different to the first, which was a totally new experience for me. I was 24 and so many people were suggesting different things to me. But with book three, I was quite stubborn, because I wanted it to be a true reflection of who I am.

who are your favourite cookbook writers? I adore Diana Henry’s books - I love the way she writes and her recipes are stunning. I’m a huge fan of Nigella (Lawson) too, and I enjoy everything she writes. And I love Nigel Slater. And you can’t beat a bit of Elizabeth David!

Your career has taken many directions since winning Great British Bake Off. Columnist, presenter, author... and you’ve recently opened your own cookery school. Where did the idea for opening John Whaite’s Kitchen come from? I was renting a kitchen in Greenwich for an astronomical price to teach classes. I went back up north one day, to my family farm, and realised we had a beautiful old barn sat there doing nothing. So I took it over and renovated it. It’s a gorgeous 400-year-old barn, so it oozes character and cosiness.

How do you turn a dream into a reality? Was it all plain sailing? Not at all. We had so many hurdles: planning permission, owl and bat surveys, highways surveys, and the like. But that gave us more time to think carefully about every minor detail, and the result is something I’m immensely proud of. I did all the interior design too, so it really is John Whaite’s Kitchen.

Can anyone book a place to come and learn new skills in the kitchen?

FACTS

BAKE-OFF

Of course. The days are quite hands on, but everyone leaves with piles of food and beaming smiles. We start with coffee and croissants while we chat around the table. Then it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get working. The classes are about six hours long, and we all sit down to a late lunch after we are done. I enjoy it, my staff enjoy it, and the students enjoy it. You can find out more at: www.johnwhaiteskitchen.com

How on earth did you manage to write and publish a book, record your TV show ‘Chopping Block’, open a cookery school, keep up with your other TV and media commitments...and have a life outside of this... all in such a short space of time? I’m a work-a-holic. But I do have a very supportive partner and family, which takes the pressure off. I’m good at getting things done, I don’t like to procrastinate, and the key is to compartmentalise. I still have days off, I have to.

were you encouraged to follow your dreams by your family when you were growing up? I was. They had no choice, I was such a demanding child. I pleased myself. My poor parents!

Do you ever have self-doubts professionally and personally? All the time. I couldn’t sleep recently, worrying about how the show and book were going to be received. But then I remind myself that I can’t do anything about it, so there’s just no point worrying.

What’s your most cherished possession? I’m actually not very materialistic. I love nice things, but I can easily walk away from them. All I need is my family and boyfriend. I sometimes feel like dropping everything and going on a really long travelling tour, but life pops up and gets in the way.

“I sometimes

feel like dropping everything and going on a really long travelling tour, but life pops up and gets in the way

We’d love to know more about your new book ‘Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients’

What’s your favourite place to relax and switch-off? Do you switch off easily? No, I don’t. I need to turn off the phone to switch off. I started yoga recently, but got bored of being so close to sweaty spandex folk. I’ve started playing the guitar and I find that very meditative. But there are times when I just need to get back to my family home and relax.

What are you most Proud of? My cookery school. To see it transform from an old barn to a cookery school was awesome.

1. Filming for THE Great British Bake Off is only done at weekends so the bakers can continue working during the week. Filming can take up to 16 hours a day. That’s a lot of baking!

Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite, published by Kyle Books. RRP £18.99. 2. To make sure there are no false starts when filming, the tech team bake a Victoria Sponge in each of the ovens before filming begins. No working ovens would mean a lot of soggy bottoms!

Keep connected with John @JohnWhaiteBakes | www.johnwhaite.com

3. Nadiya Jamir Hussain’s win in 2015 attracted a record audience of more than 15 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV show of the year.

ThIs Is Me / 9


This Is Me

ONCE UPON...

HERE E L A S N O S TICKET

Friday 26-Monday 29 August 2016 Tickets & further info at bigweekend.manchesterpride.com manchesterpride 10 / This Is Me Raising money for LGBT and HIV charities and organisations in Greater Manchester Registered charity 1117848


INTERVIEW/ FEATURE FOODIES

Sandy Docherty

AN EXCLUSIVE RECIPE FROM BAKE YOUTUBE ME SENSATION

TANYA BURR

PHOTO: BBC

RHUBARB & CUSTARD MUFFINS

Sandy was a favourite of many on the 2015 series of THE Great British Bake Off. She’s now developing her new ‘Baking Down Barriers’ @DiversityChamp1 website to ensure everyone can enjoy the many benefits Most senior black lawyer in theof UKbaking. and role model

Funke Abimbola

When I came up with the idea for a rhubarb and custard muffin I was so excited. Rhubarb crumble with custard is one of my all-time favourite puddings, so to take those flavours and put them inside a soft pillowy muffin was a no-brainer!

www. bakingdownbarriers.co.uk | @SANDYDBAKES

What motivated you to apply to be a part of the Great British Bake Off phenomenon? Gosh! When I think of an answer to this question I have to think hard. It just seemed like the most natural thing to do. I was sat with my dog wondering how do I approach my 50s? The rest seemed to flow. I knew that I didn’t have the self-confidence and self-belief, I’m far too random and abstract. But family and friends saw something in me that I didn’t and encouraged me.

Why do you think the show is so popular? Baking talks, it breaks down barriers. Food is something everybody can share a common interest in. I talk and counsel students at a large secondary school in Bradford and sometimes to ice break a situation I ask them what their favourite dinner, pudding, ice-cream etc is. It really lets them see that we all like eating. Baking is not aggressive and I think the world is looking for something that is not aggressive and a little less ‘cut throat’, despite Paul Hollywood’s demeanour (he’s a pussycat really).

When you were growing up, what did you dream of doing as a career? This is a tricky question. I always wanted to be a chef; I love playing and creating with food. It doesn’t always go to plan and I’ve made some complete disasters. The only person I looked up to when I was growing up was my dad. He believed in me despite always wanting me to ‘play it safe’ - he needed me to be in a career he could understand and he didn’t quite ‘get’ the world of food. He was a massive character in my life and I put my whole trust in what he thought I should do.

Were you encouraged by your family to follow your career dreams and go for it? My family have always supported me, but I suppose we were a family who ‘played it safe’. Higher education and employment were the order of the day. Being self-employed or freelance didn’t happen within my family. Not boring by any means, just different thinking.

We’d love to know WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 25 mins. You’ll need a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tray. Makes 12. Ingredients: 300g rhubarb | 35g caster sugar | 300g self-raising flour | 150g light brown soft sugar | 1 teaspoon vanilla extract | 200ml buttermilk | 1 egg | 2 tablespoons vegetable oil | 100ml ready-made custard ....and you’re off! Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/GM4. Line the cupcake/muffin tray with paper cases. Wash and chop the rhubarb into chunky pieces, then arrange in a shallow dish and cover with the caster sugar. Set aside to macerate for 15 minutes. Mix together the flour and sugar, then add the vanilla extract, buttermilk, egg and vegetable oil and combine to form a smooth batter. Add the rhubarb, reserving 12 pieces to decorate, and fold through the mixture. Divide half of the batter between the muffin cases, then top each one with a spoonful of custard. Carefully add the remaining batter to each case to cover the custard, then pop a rhubarb piece on top of each muffin. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

What’s next for Baking Down Barriers is “I’m not sure”. I’d love it to have legs and take me to pastures new. I want it to be about people’s ideas, questions and thoughts. A website for the masses to see that cooking and baking are for everybody and not just ‘those that can’. I want people to cook and bake to express their gratitude or thanks towards others. Nothing says thank you like a bag of biscuits or loaf of homemade bread; to have a dinner party with fantastic results plus having lots of fun; to feel successful about what people produce. We all need to feel successful to give us the drive to achieve greater things. Baking and cooking are the answer, giving that ‘quick fix’ success. To lead to a radio or TV show or a book would be the icing on the cake!

Do you want to contribute to this magazine? email hello@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk

3.5

million YouTube subscribers

Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr is published by Michael Joseph. RRP £16.99 www.tanyaburr.co.uk @TanyaBurr

This Is Me / 11


GUEST FEATURE

GLASGOW FOODIE A PRETTY AVERAGE DAY... LIFE AS A FOOD & DRINK BLOGGER

Emma’s top 3 places to grab a slice of cake in Edinburgh and Glasgow ___________ Treat yourself to the best that Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer by visiting Emma’s fave places. Plenty of carby sugary goodness!

We start off with Twelve Triangles. Just off Leith Walk on Brunswick Street, Twelve Triangles is all about doughnuts. The doughnuts change daily with flavours from peanut butter filled (OMG) to traditional jam stuffed plus other sweet treats. It’s a dinky place and you’ll need to get there before they sell out.

A day in the life……

EMMA MYKYTYN I should be really smug, I eat food and travel, but I’m not. On the outside it’s an ideal life: I don’t need to be up and out for a mind-numbing 9-5; I get to travel a fair bit and eat at the newest places in Glasgow and Edinburgh. OK, it is a great gig! Just let me tell you about the indigestion and lack of time (OK, the motivation) to go to the gym! Most days the first thing I do is just the same as everyone else in the world, checking those emails. Seeing what is new in the world and if anyone is needing an answer to a question quickly. Whilst emails are downloading, I’ll pop open a few more tabs and take a peek at Twitter and Facebook, this is where the day soon disappears… aww cat videos… must... pull… away… I have a huge whiteboard in the room with a ‘to do’ list on it, new places to visit, images to be tweaked, copies of receipts and more. Basically my brain written down. It can get a bit messy! 12 / This Is Me

Twelve Triangles, 90 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh, EH7 5HU

Lovecrumbs is the big sister of Twelve Triangles and is cake heaven. Located on the Pubic Triangle at West Port, they serve delicious cakes and tea and coffee. No sandwiches and soups to get in the way of you stuffing yourself silly with their incredible cakes. Lovecrumbs, 155 West Port, Edinburgh, EH3 9DP

My Home Bakery in Partick is the place to go if you love cake. The shop is full of both sweet and savory delights. How can you resist a cake named Mango Volcano? With its truthful quips adorning the walls (“cut it in half, and it’s just half the calories”), gooey cakes and great coffee, you may be there a while. My Home Bakery, 59 Hyndland Street, Glasgow, G11 5PS

Most of my time is taken up re-sizing images and putting together the copy for the site. It can take a good chunk of the day, if the computer is playing nice, to get a post together the way I want it. I also get my partner Mark to check if he wants to add anything to it before scheduling each post. By this point it’s lunch time and if I’m lucky I’ll be meeting up with someone who wants to talk about food, be it a PR person or restaurant wanting to pick our brains about something or simply chilling out with a friend in a local café. It can be a varied life and it’s good, no two days are the same!

“If I have a meal to review, I’ll sort myself out to try and look like I haven’t sat in my pyjamas all day!” After lunch it’s back to the house, maybe sorting some graphics for a widget on the site, scheduling posts, scheduling tweets. A lot of time is spent on admin of this kind – the less glamourous side of the job. It’s been a great job to learn new skills. From putting together pitches to editors to getting my head around Photoshop. If I have a meal to review, I’ll sort myself out to try and look like I haven’t sat in my pyjamas all day! I’ll check over their menu and head out. After a couple of hours it’s back to the house. Look out the rennies, have a mint tea and download the images ready for tomorrow. Pull up the iPad, check emails, Instagram and twitter, then onto my guilty pleasure of Reddit. De-stress by not thinking about food and hoping that a rough red wine doesn’t come back to haunt me! Keep connected with Emma

www.foodieexplorers.co.uk @glasgowfoodie

do you want to share your average day with our readers? @thisisme_mag


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This Is Me / 13


TEAM FAVOURITES FOODIES

Food and drink that makes us go ooooh! ICE ICE CHOCOLATE

NOT SO UGLY

This is a drink that definitely doesn’t live up to its name. As the producers say, “Ugly isn’t dressed to impress. It’s not lightning bolts, clever jingles and zingy catch phrases. Nope, that’s not us. Refreshingly, it’s just sparkling water infused with natural ingredients. And that’s it. No sugar, no sweetener and nothing artificial. Honestly. If that makes us Ugly, then so be it.” Ugly sparkling unsweetened water comes in two delicious flavours, Grapefruit & Pineapple and Lemon & Lime.

We’re a big fan of chocolate brand Choconchoc and we were all smiles when we spotted their Ice Lolly Shaped Chocolate set, including chocolate versions of two of our fave ice lollies Fab and Twister. The incredible detail on each chocolate makes this a great gift for any food lover, or to simply enjoy yourself. Handmade from milk and white Belgian chocolate, these gluten free chocolates are the same size as the regular ice lollies you would buy from the ice-cream van. The perfect addition to any picnic hamper. Exclusively available at www.choconchoc.co.uk £15 for the chocolate set, 140g

FILL UP YOUR BASKET WITH THESE

AWESOME DELIGHTS EDITOR’S

PICK

Available at Selfridges, Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic and at www.uglydrinks.com RRP 99p, 330ml can

IN THE MIX

MAKE A SPLASH

Edinburgh Gin, which is crafting the Gin renaissance, has launched a ‘taste of Scottish seaside’ with their Seaside Gin line - just in time for summer. Distilled with foraged seaweed, scurvy grass and ground ivy from Scottish land and sea, the unique gin boasts a sweet yet refreshing salinity. Seaside Gin is the result of a long-standing partnership between Edinburgh Gin and HeriotWatt University’s MSc in Brewing & Distilling; a partnership that seeks to push boundaries and bring the science of distilling to the fore. As part of the project, students were tasked with scouring the east coast in search of botanicals that would encapsulate a taste of the Scottish shoreline. Available at selected retailers throughout the UK and at www.edinburghgindistillery.co.uk RRP £35, 70cl

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Absolut wants to stir things up with the launch of Absolut Mix, the latest of the brand’s acclaimed series of limited edition bottles. Inspired by the six colours of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride flag, the design’s semi-transparent triangles allow the bottle’s colours to overlap in distinct ways when viewed from different angles. This intersecting effect symbolises the connection that is created when various unique individuals mix together. Designed in collaboration with artist James Ostrer, this release builds on previous Absolut limited editions that were intended to stir-up conversations about diversity and acceptance. The bottle’s design hints toward both the 2008 and 2015 Absolut Colors editions developed in collaboration with the Pride flag creator Gilbert Baker, as well as the 2009 No Labels edition, a bottle with no labels or logos, which celebrated the potential of a world where people were accepted for who they are, rather than by any labels - amen to that! Available at Selfridges. Limited edition release £21.99, 700ml

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OUR ROOFTOP GARDEN PARTY

OUR ROOFTOP GARD EN PARTY 2 nd J ul y , T he G lasshouse , E dinburgh

Jordan Gray, role model and star of The Voice UK, entertained guests at British LGBT Awards finalist Inclusive Networks very first #ThisIsMe Rooftop Garden Party in Edinburgh on Saturday 2nd July 2016. It was Jordan’s first ever performance in Scotland too, and what a performance it was! 120 guests representing diverse communities from across Scotland enjoyed a fun afternoon of music and free treatments from leading brands Kiehl’s and Fake Bake in the stunning rooftop garden at The Glasshouse 5* hotel in the heart of Edinburgh - with stunning views of Calton Hill. Guests were treated to delicious nibbles from the hotel and gourmet popcorn company Joe & Seph’s, as well as drinks from Scottish brands Crabbie’s, Ogilvy Spirits, Foal, and global brand Vita Coco. Our guests were definitely “feeling awesome up on the roof”, as a few guests remarked.

Thomas Anderson, Founder of Inclusive Networks and #ThisIsMe, said: “Inclusive Networks was proud to host our very first #ThisIsMe Rooftop Garden Party at The Glasshouse hotel in Edinburgh. It was fantastic to see so many people come together on a day of celebration in the city. Thank you to our supporting partners who made the event possible and demonstrated their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the heart of Scotland’s capital city. I look forward to welcoming lots more people to our next event.” The event was hosted as part of Inclusive Networks’ series of #ThisIsMe engagement and ‘networking remixed’ events to bring people from all walks of life and sectors together, to celebrate diversity and to be a place to encourage collaboration. We believe we’re all stronger together.

Edinburgh-based artist Mark Vice exhibited four new pieces of art, produced especially for the event. Find out more about the ‘Eden Collection’ at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/mark-viceintroduces-his-eden-installation

With authentic community engagement, and giving back to and celebrating those that help others at the heart of what Inclusive Networks is all about, the majority of the tickets available to the event were donated to local charities, community groups, individuals in the creative and media sector and local social enterprises.

Jordan Gray closed the event by wowing the crowd with a very special performance that included her unique interpretation of hits by Coldplay, Johnny Cash, Culture Club, and many more, as well as her new single ‘Hang With The Happiness’.

The #ThisIsMe Rooftop Garden Party returns in 2017 and will be a part of the programme for Inclusive Networks’ new ‘Scottish Diversity Festival’, taking place at locations across Scotland in Summer 2017.

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CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS WWW.INCLUSIVENETWORKS.CO.UK


IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE GLASSHOUSE

PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY

Follow us on twitter @thisisme_mag for future event updates

This Is Me / 17


OUR ROOFTOP GARDEN PARTY

The Glasshouse rooftop garden our stunning venue

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awesome photos taken by yemi king, john dyer and carol-anne shaw


This Is Me

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Bianca del Rio INTERVIEW: THOMAS ANDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY: MAGNUS HASTInGS PAINTING: MARK VICE

Drag superstar and winner of Season 6 of hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race

IT’S BIANCA! WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP, WERE YOU ENCOURAGED TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS?

one in particular that stood out and made me think, “Oooh, that’s who I want to be.” It all just kind of led to this world.

No. I wasn’t asked to follow anything, which I think is the reason I have. It was quite the opposite. I don’t think I really knew what I wanted to do and I think people’s idea of what I wanted to do was a little scary for them so my family didn’t encourage it at all. Because they were against anything I was doing, it kind of pushed me to go further.

HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL BEING A ROLE MODEL YOURSELF TO MANY PEOPLE?

DO YOU WISH YOU’D HAD MORE SUPPORT FROM YOUR FAMILY? I have no regrets at all. That’s how things play out. I think, as a gay man, too many people at a certain point in their lives blame everything on the past, like “Oh I had a horrible life.” I had a great life growing up. By no means were my family super supportive of what I was doing, but they also didn’t know what the hell I was about. I was so different from my other siblings - I’m the fourth out of five. I think it played better for me later in life. Because throughout it I found other things I wanted to do. It wasn’t a bad thing. I’m grateful for the life I had and it all gave me a sense of going out and working at things on my own and becoming super independent. If I’d had people around me when I was growing up saying “You’re wonderful”, “You’re great” and “We love you”, I think that would have definitely made me far worse than I am.

DID YOU HAVE ANY ROLE MODELS GROWING UP? I didn’t see anyone doing what I was doing but I definitely had an appreciation for so many people. I loved Joan Rivers, obviously, Don Rickles, Cher and Madonna. There were pieces of all of them that were huge influences on my life and drag career. I always say my drag look is based on Joan Crawford and Bozo the Clown. There was no

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It’s hugely flattering but I laugh at it. Of course, I still look at myself as being 20 years old, I turned 41 in June and I’ve been doing drag for 20 years! It’s kind of surreal. But thanks to social media and people finding all these old photos of me, I go “F*ck, it was that long ago.” I do think it’s great and since I did Drag Race it’s been amazing to hear the stories lots of the younger people have experienced. When I was growing up there wasn’t a show that was that gay, influential and popular. At that time RuPaul had a talk-show but it wasn’t as globally accepting as Drag Race is. I was doing my show, I can’t remember what city it was in, but there was a young boy, 13 years old, who was sitting there with his grandmother. He was in a wig and heels and he was like, “My grandmother brought me to the show and we couldn’t wait to see you.” I think that’s amazing. To have your grandmother support you like that and to come to the show together and sit and laugh and hear the nasty things I have to say. So I definitely think we’ve come a long way and I think it’s amazing that anyone would look up to me. I don’t think of myself on that grand scale at all.

EQUAL MARRIAGE IS NOW LEGAL IN AMERICA BUT WE STILL HEAR OF INSTANCES WHERE LGBT PEOPLE ARE PERSECUTED AND DENIED EQUAL RIGHTS. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING? Because America is f*cking crazy. There were states where you couldn’t marry a gay man but you could f*ck a dead animal. It doesn’t make any sense. I think that’s what’s unfortunate

about it, we live in a world now, America in particular, where things just don’t make sense. Even if something seems right, even if they do allow gay people to get married and have a proper service, there’s going to be someone in some organisation that’s going to have something to say about it. They’re going to boycott…they’re going to petition…That’s the world we live in. Everyone wants to rally and everyone thinks they know better than everyone else. It’s all very conflicting and it’s a difficult situation to be in. And it’s also kind of crazy. You look at the politicians right now and who’s running for President and no matter what you say, it can be used against you and you offend groups of people…the Christian’s are upset… the gays are mad because you’re not supporting them. You really can’t win and I blame social media because we have to hear so much about it because it’s in our face on a daily basis. I’m all for everyone having equal rights, it makes the most sense. If you’re not interested in marrying a gay person then why the f*ck do you care? Go and live your straight life and that’s fine.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR TAKING PART IN RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE? I have to say I was working before Drag Race and to get to work in drag for 18 years was pretty amazing for me. I joined Drag Race on two levels. I didn’t want to do drag for too much longer and I thought why not take a chance. And also, I’d seen a bevvy of people I was aware of on the scene who were absolutely, positively horrible and untalented getting the exposure from the show. So after seeing those pathetic bitches get these amazing opportunities I thought, “F*ck, what do I have to lose. That bitch is pathetic.” That helped a lot. Seeing less fortunate drag queens given an amazing platform. I was like, “F*ck them. Let me try it.” I live in America where people like Kim Kardashian are famous and she’s the biggest piece of shit there is. So anything is possible. Maybe if I hadn’t of

www.thebiancadelrio.com | @thebiancadelrio


I’m all for everyone having equal rights, it makes the most sense. If you’re not interested in marrying a gay person then why the f*ck do you care? Go and live your straight life and that’s fine.


INTERVIEW INTERNATIONAL DRAG SUPERSTAR

I’M CLOWN REALNESS

had those 18 years doing drag before the show I wouldn’t have had the balls to try it. Sadly, now for a lot of the younger drag queens their only goal is to be on Drag Race. You’ve got to experience some things and you have to try things out. I think that experience is the only thing that helped me in the competition. If I were 20, it would have been a different story but doing it at the age I did was great for me as I had lots of life experiences under my belt when I went in there. I always say give anything a try. I’ve said yes to many gigs throughout my life where I thought they’d be the best thing ever and I’ve also done some shit that I’ll never do again. If things on Drag Race hadn’t of turned out the way they did I still would have been grateful as it was a great experience and I had a great time and I have amazing friends from it.

WHAT ARE YOUR HIGHLIGHTS SINCE THE SHOW ENDED? I’m supposed to say, “Just winning was wonderful”, but I was paid to say that. But really, first and foremast it’s super amazing the global scale that people watch that show. To travel the world and do my own show and have people sit in a theatre to pay to see me talk shit is pretty amazing.

The circumstances are probably what are most appealing to me. Obviously getting to be interviewed by Joan Rivers, who I’ve really truly admired tremendously, was a huge big deal to me. But just getting out there and working and being in a theatre where there are 1400 people who have paid to see you and you get to do it night after night. I’m so lucky. Who gets those experiences? I pinch myself each night I get to do it.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? For me, that I’m still alive. I mean, I drank and I’ve said some things where I thought people would have shot me by this point. I guess Drag Race would be one. It all happened so quickly and then it aired and my life really went off running. As I watch the new seasons, I’m like, “I was in that TV set…I was in that moment.” At the time I didn’t really get any time to really think about it as things happened so quickly and I was concerned and wrapped up in so many other things. But now I sit back and go “Wow. I went in, did it, and out of fourteen people I was able to win.” That’s kind of crazy and surreal. I guess the object is to go in and win but I didn’t think I would, so it’s nice to now go “Wow. That happened.” Doing the show we didn’t get to hang out with one another, we didn’t really know what was going on. I was just happy to make it through each day. I didn’t know what the plan was and also - knowing the formula of the show - I wasn’t an underdog, I didn’t cry, I didn’t lose my mind, I didn’t have family members who left me at a bus stop. I didn’t think they would let me win because I wasn’t sympathetic and I didn’t seem that green or that young. I was in brilliant company in the final, with two very talented people. Anyone could have won. It was an amazing ride.

WHEN ARE YOU AT YOUR HAPPIEST? When I’m working. It’s definitely not the next morning after a show as that’s the worst, getting on that plane. But truthfully it is when I’m working and realising that I’m getting to do what I’ve always wanted to do and to have people supporting me. It’s kind of nice. I thought after I’d done my last show, The Rolodex of Hate, that we travelled with and did 93 performances, I thought “Oh god, people are going to be sick of me.” After the shows ended I thought I’d take a few weeks off to reassess my life and immediately people were like “Where are you? What are you doing?” It hasn’t really slowed down since the shows ended and I’m still doing other things. It’s surreal that so many people are interested in seeing me again. I’m excited to get back on the road and I’m excited to do a new show.

Not Today Satan UK Tour Bianca will be performing at venues across the UK in February 2017. Full details at: nottodaysatan.seetickets.com

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watch out for Bianca’s movie ‘Hurricane Bianca’


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

What do Pride events mean to you? It’s usually hot outside and it’s a bunch of drag queens sweating in the sun, but it’s all for a good cause. I come from a time when doing Pride events was really risky, not so much by the town letting you do the event, but by putting yourself at risk from the people coming to watch. You didn’t know if you’d be gay bashed, or run out of a club - there was often such a backlash against the people out celebrating and performing. Now it’s so different. The power of the world. You just need to look at the powerful and influential LGBT people on our television screens. When I started out 20 years ago, this just didn’t exist. There were people on TV who were obviously gay (but not out), and huge pioneers and big drag performers like Charles Pearson, Jim Bailey, that were working in the 1960s doing drag and going out on a limb. But they didn’t have the opportunity to be as proud as we get to be.

Do you have a message for anyone who identifies as LGBT+ and has no friends to attend a Pride event with, but they really want to go? It’s important to be around other people and to socialise. It’s important to be around other people who are like you too. Your family and school friends may not understand you, but there is a big world out there, and people who will. I remember being a young kid and my family didn’t understand who the f*ck I was but once I went in to the theatre, which was basically a gay pride everyday, I was surrounded by a bevy of amazing people who taught me all about gay culture, without me really knowing it was gay culture. It was ok to be me. It was ok to be artsy. It was ok to make costumes...and shine.

don’t really live it or walk the walk. 99% of the people who write nasty things on my Facebook page or troll me on Twitter would never say it to my face. It’s fascinating, as that’s all they now do and it becomes a fight. They think it’s their right. I’m like, “I don’t even know who the f*ck you are and you’ve got such an opinion of my life.” That’s what I think is quite fascinating. Back in the day you had to go up to somebody and say “I don’t like you” and then they’d punch you in the f*cking face. If you don’t like me, don’t watch me and don’t comment on my page. I hate the Kardashians but you don’t see me calling them out and blowing up their page. I couldn’t give a shit!

Have you ever been to Scotland? I have indeed, and I drank quite a bit. I’ve been around. I came to Glasgow and I remember we were in a very hot club and there was no

I get a sense lots of the young kids today don’t really know how far we have come. I’m old enough to know first-hand - Pride events really do mean a lot to me. There was a time when drag queens were just drag queens, they didn’t think too much of it. Now we have huge celebrities like Alan Cumming and Ellen DeGeneres who are out and have huge careers and lead pretty normal lives - this is a big thing. When I was growing up all I knew about was the gay cowboy and a bunch of queens. We’ve come a long way and now is a time to celebrate. But we still need to keep working harder and put ourselves out there as much as we can.

Do you think it’s important LGBT+ people know about the history of the LGBT+ movement?

Do you have a message for anyone going to a Pride event this Summer? Have fun, be gay...don’t go to North Carolina! Seriously, go out, celebrate and be respectful. There’s always someone standing watching going, “Oh, look at those gays and look at how they’re acting.” Be responsible. If you want to be a hot mess, do it at home. Go out and have a good time, but don’t run yourself down. Make it through the day and realise you’re a part of something special.

You really don’t know where you can go unless you know where others have been

Just because you may be having a tough time with your family, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other people like you who exist in the world. There are people who will help you, but you gotta get out there and meet them. They’re not just gonna come and knock on your door. Get out and experience life. Get off that god damn computer at home, it’s a completely different world on there. I didn’t have that world when I was a kid and I’m grateful that I had to go out there and find my peers and ‘family’, so to speak. It totally changed my life. We live in a world where everyone is on their phones and everybody is on social media and seeking attention that way, all this really doesn’t matter unless you’re standing up for something in ‘real life’. There are so many people who just type all this bullshit but they

air conditioning in the dressing room and I thought I was gonna die. There was very bad lighting for the meet and greet, I remember that.

MORE DRAG RACE AWESOMENESS

Check out our interviews with Drag Race royalty Courtney Act and Michelle Visage at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/entertainment

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW NEXT? HELLO@INCLUSIVENETWORKSUK.CO.UK

This Is Me / 23

I think every young person should know about history in general, whether it’s gay history or anything else. We live in a world now where you can just get on a computer or smartphone, push a button and you can find out anything you want to know. Sadly, a lot of people don’t do their research. Look at the queens on Drag Race! They’re like, “I don’t know how to sell...” - but it’s a requirement you asshole! But, it’s kind of fascinating that people really don’t do their homework. There is so much you can learn. You really don’t know where you can go unless you know where others have been. It’s important to learn as much about different things as you can, even if it’s a subject you don’t 100% agree with. It’s not just gay rights, it’s culture in general. I think straight people should learn more about gay rights too. It’s important.


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

ThisIsMe

Indy Hothi Economist, humanitarian and art lover

Indy is an economist for EY and provides strategic, economic and policy advice to Government and private sector clients. He has a huge passion for making the world a better place. He’s been involved with many charitable projects and initiatives including becoming a trustee for international NGO, Khalsa Aid, which provides humanitarian aid in disaster zones and war zones. He has a keen interest in the Arts and recently co-founded a social business, ‘Hothi & Othi’. How would you describe yourself in five words? Energetic, fun, honest, introvert and a nerd.

Were you encouraged to follow your dreams by your family when you were growing up? I was always encouraged by my family to follow my dreams (up to a certain extent!). When I was younger I always wanted to be involved with video games in some way, shape or form due to the huge influence they had on my childhood.

Has your career been plain sailing? As a 27 year old, I’m relatively early into my career (five years). There have definitely been some challenges along the way - I always try to tackle them logically and with a level head. During

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tough times I always try to remember how hard my parents and grandparents worked and the sacrifices they made for me to be where I am, it always gives me the energy to persevere.

Did you have any role models growing up? As a young kid I never really had any significant role models aside from my parents. I’d be a fan of sports personalities or movie stars but never saw them as role models. I think it was because I never came across anyone I could truly connect with in some way. I definitely don’t see myself as a role model and in some instances when I’ve been referred to as one I find it very strange and my school friends certainly find it amusing. It’s really flattering to be considered one and at times it makes me feel like I have an additional level of responsibility to ensure I uphold the values of a good role model.

As a Sikh, do you think there are enough visible Sikh role models in the media, in business and in the community? There is definitely a lack of Sikh role models right across the spectrum. The fact that the Sikh community jumps for joy when there is a visible Sikh in any public facing position to me highlights the lack of, and more importantly the desire for strong role models. There are however, some absolutely fantastic individuals doing great work such as Ravi Singh, the CEO of Khalsa Aid, and Peter Virdee who has built a £4bn property empire around the world. I feel it’s a case of getting more mainstream recognition of individuals such as these.

Find out more about Indy at www.indyhothi.com | @indyhothi


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

Indy’s favourite... TV Show: Spartacus Sport: Muay Thai Sweet treat: Bounty Video game: Mortal Kombat

You do an astounding amount of charity work. What motivates you to get involved and support these amazing causes?

If you could be teleported back to spend ten minutes with your 16 year-old self, are there any words of advice you’d give yourself?

It’s definitely a drop in the ocean compared to what others do! I’ve been able to travel the world and support humanitarian projects in countries such as Haiti, Bosnia and more recently the refugee crisis has taken me to Serbia, Croatia and the Middle East.

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams! There will be doubters all around you but don’t let that stop you from doing what you want.

Charity work is something that has always been instilled in me by my parents and grandmother from the Sikh concept of ‘Sewa’, which means selfless giving. After I graduated from university I spent some time travelling across Asia and South America. The level of inequality really hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt it was so unfair that literally one side of a street people would be living in luxury and on the other in extreme poverty.

Currently my car, a Nissan 350z. It’s the first car I bought myself and brings me great joy when I drive it at the weekend.

As I began my professional career as a consultant, I realised one of my most valuable commodities was my time and skills. As a result I would provide pro-bono advice to charities and this is how I got involved with international humanitarian projects with UK-based charity Khalsa Aid which is founded on the Sikh principle of ‘Recognising the whole human race as one’. The charity provides humanitarian aid in disaster zones and civil conflict zones and is led by a charismatic CEO, passionate team and wonderful supporters all around the globe. It’s been an absolute honour to work beside them. You can find out more about them at www.khalsaaid.org

Have there been any moments that have been hard for you deal with during this work?

After I graduated from university I spent some time travelling the world across Asia and South America. The level of inequality really hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt it was so unfair that literally one side of a street people would be living in luxury and on the other in extreme poverty

I’ve had some extremely difficult moments and also met some truly wonderful people, both of which will stay with me for a lifetime. Without going into specifics, one thing that always amazes me is the resiliency of us as humans. I’ve been in a number of situations where people have literally lost everything around them, their possessions, loved ones and home – but still find a way to push on.

What are you most proud of professionally and personally? Personally, one of my biggest achievements was graduating from university and securing a job to be able to support my family with day-to-day costs of living. It may seem silly to some, but being able to provide for my parents who have sacrificed so much over the years for me to never go without and get an education is really satisfying.

What’s your most cherished possession?

What’s your favourite place to relax and switch-off? Definitely the gym. It’s a place to let out my frustrations for the day and to take my mind off things.

We’d love to KNOW more about Hothi & Othi Hothi & Othi is a social enterprise which supports emerging artists around the world by providing a platform to showcase their work in addition to providing pro-bono consulting. It’s an initiative I co-founded with a very close friend and business partner, Manraj Othi. It really came out from a passion of supporting people and being a patron of the arts. Both myself and Manraj had been supporting artists in London through our experience of working with galleries and we thought to ourselves “Hey, let’s make this official and really put a strong vision behind it to build a family of artists.” We’re in our first year of operations and have already hosted some amazing exhibitions, including one with the Mayor of London. We’ve got some exciting plans but I can’t divulge them right now, you’ll have to keep an eye on the website! www.hothi-othi.com

Is there a connection between art and faith? Most definitely. Art is a form of human expression and it can transcend so many barriers. At a simplistic level, we as humans are visual and every single faith has a visual representation of its belief, which is a form of art in itself. For Sikhism, art is an intrinsic part of the faith, from the Sikh scriptures being written to be sung, to a long history of poets from all faiths and backgrounds being able to recite and share poetry at Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple).

Professionally, it was passing my chartered accountancy exams with ICAS. They were a tough slog but I feel they really gave me a strong business grounding that will last a lifetime.

INDY is one of our judges for the inaugural #ThisIsMe Awesome 100 awards

Indy was shortlisted for the ‘Network Leader of the Year’ and ‘Inspiring Member of the Year’ awards at our 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards This Is Me / 25


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

This Is Me ThisIsMe

Funke Abimbola

@DiversityChamp1

Most senior black lawyer in the UK and role model

Siobhan Corria

Head of Inclusion at Action For Children

How would you describe yourself in five words? Passionate, reliable, straightforward, lively and fun.

You’ve had a varied career. How did you end up in the role you’re doing now? I had worked in youth justice, as a social worker with looked-after children, and I was an elected councillor before I was appointed as Head of Inclusion at Action for Children - one of the UK’s oldest and largest children’s charities.

Are there still barriers that prevent or make it harder for women to progress up the ranks in workplaces around the UK? I think barriers still exist, but by promoting equality and inclusion across organisations, the barriers can be broken down further. Women are still traditionally the main carers for children and relatives, and although women are more engaged in employment there is still a nagging feeling that women should put a hobby or interest behind the home and the children. This needs to change.

Can you tell us about when you’ve experienced sexism in your life? It happened all the time when I was in politics, but the most frustrating thing was that people just didn’t realise they were being sexist or biased because they had never challenged their own thinking. Men found it difficult to accept that I consider myself to be on an equal footing and I wasn’t afraid to question decisions and challenge experienced politicians.

Support must be authentic if it is to contribute to significant change

The sexism that I experienced in politics gave me a real insight into how it feels to be excluded and how it makes you feel. I started to doubt my own ability and confidence and just generally felt upset all the time. I had made the decision that I was going to look for a job so when I saw the advert with Action for Children, I knew this was the perfect move for me as I feel so passionately about inclusion and what it means to individuals and organisations. I spend a lot of my time out and about around the UK, delivering workshops about topics such as unconscious bias and equality and diversity. I also spend quite a bit of time writing guidance around inclusive practices and I also have responsibility for our ambassador programme for young people.

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How can we remove these barriers?

WHat’s your most cherished possession?

I think it’s as simple as challenging when you don’t see gender balance in a piece of work or a project, and avoiding stereotypes. For example, it drives me wild when I see politicians talking about childcare, but only with women. It’s stereotypes that reinforce these barriers faced by women.

My iPhone without a doubt. It makes my life so much easier and you’re never far away from what’s going on in the world. I love the fact that it allows me to keep in touch with my kids so easily.

Men have a role to play in this too?

I never really switch off as even when I physically finish work I’ve got two very active children to deal with. I really switch off when I fall asleep. When I’m awake I’m constantly on the go.

Men definitely have a role to play and if they get it, then they are extremely strong allies for women. But the support must be authentic if it is to contribute to significant change.

What’s your favourite place to relax and switch-off?

Siobhan was shortlisted for the ‘Head of Diversity & Inclusion’ award at the 2016 Excellence In Diversity Awards. @SiobhanCorria

Siobhan is one of our judges for the inaugural #ThisIsMe Awesome 100 awards


tikka’s Celebrating inclusion at

travels Action for Children

UK SAILING Action for Children congratulates everyone who made the shortlist at the inaugural Inclusive Networks Awards 2015.

CHALLENGE 2016 WWW.ACTIONFORCHILDREN.ORG.UK

actionforchildren.org.uk

actnforchildren

Registered charity nos. 1097940/SC038092 Company no. 4764232. Produced by Action for Children 10/2015 15/16 0321

actionforchildren


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

ThisIsMe

Scott & David were the first samesex couple to get married in Scotland Scott (pictured right) with his husband David

Scott Barclay Chair of the Icon Awards and Epilepsy Awareness Campaigner How would you describe yourself in five words? Passionate, loyal, decisive, stubborn and independent

You speak around the UK about living with epilepsy. What is epilepsy and how does it affect you? Epilepsy is the world’s most common neurological disorder. It basically means those who live with the condition will have a tendency to have seizures that can be caused by a whole range of things, whether that be an acquired brain injury, being born with the condition like mine or even a brain tumour or stroke. It affects me every single day because I still have seizures as my epilepsy isn’t always controlled with medication. My seizures can be tonic clonic ones, which is what most people probably associate with a seizure: the ones where you can be convulsing. However, there are over 40 different types of seizures, of which I take 9. These can range from having absences where it can look like I am in a little world of my own to myoclonic ones where my body can spontaneously jerk. I even take atonic ones - probably the easiest way to describe these is my brain sends a signal to my body to tell it to shut down, similar to a computer rebooting, and all my muscles simply stop working so I collapse, my body is completely limp and I’m unconscious for up to a few minutes. As you can imagine it can be very dangerous depending on where this happens. Unfortunately, I have suffered some serious injuries during seizures. I have fractured my skull, broken countless bones, been in a coma and in my 20s I was even in a wheelchair for years, completely paralysed, when doctors told my family I would never walk again after

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suffering a spinal cord injury after a bad seizure. Thankfully I proved them wrong and after years of rehab and learning to walk again on a zimmer and then walking sticks, I now have full use of my legs.

Do you think there is enough understanding and awareness of epilepsy in communities around the UK? Epilepsy is one of those conditions that everyone has heard of but very few people really know what it is. For example, 500,000 people in the UK live with the condition. That’s 1 in every 100 people. I was shocked to learn more people have epilepsy than have MS, Type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s combined, but the awareness is just not there. That is why I have been raising awareness in Scotland for the last few years. It wasn’t that long ago that people with epilepsy were sent to live in asylums. Did you know that as recently as 1980 people with epilepsy in America were banned from marrying? Can you believe that? That’s because they still thought epilepsy was contagious. There are so many strange laws that still exist in the statute books today, even in the UK. For example, it’s against the law for people with epilepsy to be within a certain distance of Big Ben? This goes back to the days of witchcraft when they thought people with epilepsy were possessed. What we have to do is break down the stigma, which will help those with epilepsy find and keep employment. I have tried to do that and thankfully with the help of some big employers leading the way things are changing. However we still have a long way to go.

How can we help increase awareness and understanding? There is so much we can do. The easiest thing to do is to simply support those in the community and workplace so they don’t feel ostracised. If we just accept that people having a seizure is actually more normal than what we like to think, it will go a long way. Accept that those having a seizure cannot help it and try not make them feel embarrassed when they do.

“If we support those in the workplace who have the condition then not only will they feel happier, they will feel safer in work too” There are loads that employers can do too. When you think 1 in every 100 people have epilepsy, that’s a massive part of the workforce. If we support those in the workplace who have the condition then not only will they feel happier, they will feel safer in work too. A lot of large companies are starting to record absences resulting from a seizure (or any disability for that matter) differently from how they would record other absences and that is a fantastic move. Many people feel pressured to go back to work sooner than they are able to in case it goes against them. These companies deserve credit. Scott was presented with the ’Inspirational Community Champion’ award by charity Young Epilepsy in 2016. www.epilepsy.org.uk www.epilepsyscotland.org.uk

follow scott on twitter @scottbarclay11 | www.scottbarclay.uk


This Is Me

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INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

ThisIsMe

Funke Abimbola

Absolutely, barriers still do exist for women lawyers and progression to the more senior ranks. Unfortunately, societal conditioning means that women are not encouraged to be assertive or to self-promote yet this is very important to be successful in business. Women are judged very differently and less favourably when they demonstrate those behaviours (compared to men) so are less likely to put themselves forward. We struggle to be effective networkers yet networking is a core part of career progression as it improves visibility. I do a lot of work supporting women lawyers through the Law Society’s Women Lawyers Division and our main focus is on networking.

mentor women lawyers at all stages of their development and my main message is that they need to be more bold and courageous in pursuing their goals.

Is enough being done in schools and in the working environment to tackle racism?

The business model and culture in law firms also needs to change. There should be more of a focus on driving value for clients rather than looking solely at chargeable hours as being the value proposition for clients. A focus on chargeable hours rewards inefficiency, in my opinion. As a client to law firms, I do a lot of work influencing other senior inhouse lawyers to push for this change.

There are certainly a number of organisations that exist to try and change perceptions and mindsets around this. For example, I am a speaker for Speakers4Schools, focusing on providing motivational talks to state school children. My talk is always about my personal leadership journey and race issues are a part of that. However, there are so many deeply ingrained societal issues linked to racism that I do wonder if the government is struggling because of this.

Agile working needs to be fully embraced without any stigma attached to it. Men are increasingly just as likely to want to work flexibly as women are. There is so much technology available to enable agile working - there’s no reason to be present in the office at all hours to meet client needs. Driving a cultural shift along these lines would make a real difference for women lawyers.

There are different race issues faced by each ethnic group. For example, Law Society statistics confirm that, even within the BAME community, African solicitors are three times less likely to progress to partner level compared to their Asian colleagues.

Agile working needs to be fully embraced without any stigma attached to it. Men are increasingly just as likely to want to work flexibly as women ARE

Women lawyers can also be very confused about what form of leadership style to adopt. Another issue is that, because carer responsibilities tend to fall more on women than men, women are far more likely than men to need to work more flexibly. Yet the concern is that, by asking to work flexibly, you would be considered to be less committed to your job and, therefore, your career. So many women lawyers simply do not bother to put in a flexible working request and end up leaving law firms altogether, a real loss of talent and potential. Sadly, career progression within law firms is still all too often linked to those who are seen as being free of personal commitments and always available to clients. Women lawyers really lose out because of this.

How can we remove these barriers? Focused leadership coaching and mentoring for women lawyers is key to upskill women and help them to be more assertive, to promote themselves more and to network more effectively. The work of the Women Lawyers Division is a good example of this. I also coach and

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Have you ever experienced or witnessed racism? Yes, I did experience racism when I was entering the legal profession. Despite a good law degree, stellar grades and only needing to secure 6 months’ pre-qualification experience (usually, the Law Society requires 2 years training before you qualify), I struggled to secure the 6 months’ experience. An element of this was, undoubtedly, due to the fact that I have an obviously African name. I decided to cold-call the corporate partners at law firms directly to secure interviews and was able to get the 6 months’ experience that way. Once they heard me on the phone and met me in person, it was a different story. I also experienced racism when I went for a job interview for a corporate solicitor role. The receptionist assumed I was there to interview for a secretarial position, simply because I was a black woman. She was very embarrassed when I explained that I was there to interview for the solicitor’s role. This is more unconscious bias than racism but assumptions were made about me simply because I was a black woman.

Are there still barriers that prevent or make it harder for women to progress up the ranks in the legal profession?

My solution would be to establish a government-backed diversity organisation focusing not only on race but also other barriers posed by under-represented group. Each diversity strand would have multiple initiatives focusing on school children, university/higher education students, entry-level candidates, qualified professionals etc. I would see this organisation working closely with the Department of Education and other government departments, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, charitable organisations and social enterprises focused on each diversity strand and cohort. There would be partnering with organisations that focus on providing work experience to disadvantaged students. For example, I would dearly love to see the legal profession’s PRIME initiative made more broadly available - it is a great model that works, securing valuable work experience for school students within the legal profession. Unfortunately, I am not sure that such a co-ordinated initiative exists and am regularly frustrated by the duplication of effort in some areas and the way in which other areas of need remain unmet.

FOLLOW FUNKE ON TWITTER @diversitychamp1


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

THE Most senior black lawyer IN THE UK How important is social media to you? Much of the diversity work I do within the legal profession has a London focus, yet I am not actually London-based. Using social media, I am able to promote various causes and highlight certain issues. It’s a really powerful tool. I am often triple booked for events and I’m able to follow what’s happening remotely. Technology has really empowered me in my diversity work and social media is a huge part of this.

Have you met any inspiring people as a result of social media? Yes, I have met amazingly inspiring people through social media. I have developed a large network of friends working in the diversity space across different industries. It is always interesting meeting them in person, having initially engaged via Twitter or LinkedIn! It is like meeting an old friend given the rapport and common ground established via social media.

Are there any negatives to social media? Occasionally, I have seen some messages misinterpreted, which is a real pity. There is no real substitute for face-to-face interaction but, of course, that is not always possible. I have never been trolled or bullied online but do know people who have been and this is a huge downside. People can hide behind social media and say some awful things that they wouldn’t have the courage to say face-to-face. So social media does need to be used responsibly. We all need to be mindful of respecting each other and being courteous with our messaging where possible.

Funke was named ‘Inspiring Member of the Year’ at the 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards. Award presented by Val Risk of Fujitsu.

Funke is one of our fabulous judges for the inaugural #ThisIsMe Awesome 100 awards

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OPEN NOW

NOMINATIONS ARE

This Is Me

TY OF YORK THE UNIVERSI NETWORK TS EN UD DISABLED ST

tive bank The Co-opera network proud together

EY RK O TW EY SIKH NE

Y The ROYAL NAV k networ COMPASS

Y T I N U M M O C R U O E T BRA E L LET’S CE S E O R E H E C A L AND WORKP ESOME100

#THISISME AW

WE HAVE WIDENED THE SCOPE OF OUR 2016 AWARDS TO BE EVEN MORE INCLUSIVE AND TO CELEBRATE MORE AWESOME PEOPLE. THIS YEAR WE’RE CELEBRATING AND REWARDING THE INSPIRING AND OFTEN SELFLESS WORK AND SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS OFFER OTHERS. Whether this is volunteering, being a shining light and inspiration to others, fundraising, supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in our communities or beyond. We’re calling the list our dedication list – perhaps the most inclusive celebration list in the UK. Help us celebrate and reward them! Presented by Inclusive Networks and in association with children’s charity Action for Children, the ‘#ThisIsMe Awesome100’ list is open to everyone and we want to celebrate and recognise awesome people from all walks of life and from all over the UK.

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We all know someone who works tirelessly to support local grass roots and community projects and champion diversity and inclusion. People who fundraise for charity and community groups at every opportunity. Individuals who support workplace, social and professional network groups on top of their already demanding day jobs. These are people who inspire others, despite their own struggles, and people who are just generally awesome. How many times have you said “They deserve a medal” about someone who has done something great?

networks and colleagues, and encourage them to nominate those people who are truly awesome and deserve the recognition.”

Our awesome judges will review all of the nominations and will present the #ThisIsMe Awesome100 list in a very special issue of this magazine – as well as publishing the list online. From the top 100 we will choose individual winners for each of our special categories. We’ll then celebrate the inspiring individuals at special #ThisIsMe celebration events in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh in February 2017. We can’t wait!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Thomas Anderson, Founder of Inclusive Networks and the #ThisIsMe Awesome100 awards said: “We think it’s time these people were celebrated, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. But we need your help! Please spread the word of the #TIMAwesome100 and share amongst your friends, family,

THE SPECIAL CATEGORIES ARE: Inspiration of the Year Volunteer of the Year Fundraiser of the Year Diversity & Inclusion Hero of the Year Workplace Hero of the Year Community Hero of the Year Celebrity Hero of the Year Special Recognition

NOMINATE AT www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/thisisme-awesome-100/ by 13th November


This Is Me

Diversity makes us who we are At Tesco, we know that diversity makes us stronger. By working together, we can better understand and respect each other’s needs. Which helps make Tesco a better place to work, and a better place to shop. Because in our family, everyone is welcome.

proud supporters of

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INTERVIEW AWESOME ARTIST

ThisIsMe

Mark Vice

Awesome artist and designer of our front cover

Eccentric but still with it.

Did you always have an interest in art when you were growing up? Yes! Making art has been a massive part of my life since a very young age. I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t working on something creative and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I deviated slightly and studied pop music at university – but looking back I’ve always been more of a visual person!

Were you encouraged to follow your dreams by your family? Absolutely. I am lucky to be surrounded by such a creative and supportive family unit – they’ve really set me on the right track. My gran taught me to paint, my parents sent me to weekend classes at art school and my sister studies fashion, so we are a very creative bunch. The one thing I remember my parents constantly telling me was “do whatever you want to do, do what makes you happy”, so it doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Thank god they didn’t force me into a 9-5 career. That could have been disastrous!

Did you have any creative role models growing up? I’m told we shouldn’t idolise but to hell with that...Madonna was, and in many ways still is, at the centre of my creative

world. I remember my mum would constantly play all of her back catalogue - Madonna, Like a Prayer, Erotica, Bedtime Stories, Ray of Light, American Life - I could probably name every lyric! The thing I love most about Madonna is her ability to act as a visual curator. Throughout her career I think that her magpie approach has produced some innovative work and I love that she is still bringing new things to the table. She is a total rebel and a big risk taker, qualities that I greatly admire.

If you could be teleported back to spend ten minutes with your 16-year-old self, are there any words of advice you’d give yourself? “Pick something and f*cking stick with it!” I think if I had made the same commitment to art when I was 16 I could have done some really great stuff by now. My advice would definitely be to master your field before trying other things - it will be an easier path.

Do you ever have self-doubts professionally and personally? I think we all have doubts in our lives but I believe it’s what makes our achievements and moments of success more thrilling. Sometimes I feel that not having a visual art degree means I won’t be taken seriously as an artist, but then I think ‘f*ck this’ and get on with it. I hate being told what to do and to do things in a specific way so, when I remind myself of this fact, I know for sure that I shouldn’t put myself through an academic system again. Aside from that, long discussions with my partner and a bottle (or two) of wine always helps quell any doubts.

WHat are you most proud of? My proudest moment to date is probably selling artwork to a client in New York. For me, it’s amazing to take an immaterial idea from your head, bring it into existence and then send it halfway around the world to hang in someone’s house.

What’s your most cherished possession? I’m a non-materialistic kinda person so this is a tricky one. I only buy people perishable gifts that must be eaten or used within a given time frame because I think we need to stop filling our homes with crap. If I had to pick something it would have to be my MacBook as (sadly) my whole life pivots around it!

I think we all have doubts in our lives but I believe it’s what makes our achievements and moments of success more thrilling

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How would you describe yourself in five words?

Find out more about Mark and buy his awesome artwork at www.markviceart.com


Photo: Andy’s Lifeblood BY MARK VICE

GETTING TO KNOW MARK Favourite cake: Red velvet (has to be moist) Favourite TV show: American Horror Story Favourite 80s movie: Beetlejuice Your guilty pleasure: Baddie Winkle (you gotta look her up!)

follow mark on twitter @MarkViceArt

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COLOUR ME IN designed by

mark vice

WIN Put your skills to the test and colour in the famous Scottish mouthwash bottle AKA Irn-Bru. Once you’re done, share your pic with us on our Facebook page or Tweet us. Facebook /InclusiveNetworks Twitter @ThisIsMe_Mag The best entry will win an awesome Kiehl’s hamper worth £80. Competition ends 31st October 2016


INTERVIEW AWESOME TALENT

This Is Me ThisIsMe

FunkeCarnegie Abimbola Alice

@DiversityChamp1 @AlloluneAlice

Most seniorbrooch black lawyer the UKcrafter and role model Illustrator, maker,in general and cinema dweller

How would you describe yourself in five words?

What’s the arts and crafts scene in Edinburgh like?

When are you at your most creative?

Creative, cinephile, enthusiastic, maker and tacky.

I’m not sure if I’m directly part of ‘the’ arts and crafts scene in Edinburgh; I’m not sure if there is just one ‘scene’. It’s more like people form their own smaller collectives throughout the city. But that’s great because it means that there is constantly a variety of creative things happening all over the city. I love Edinburgh. I am fascinated by people and there is such a wide variety here so it’s a great place for people watching and being inspired! And, as someone who is a film obsessive, the Edinburgh International Film Festival is always an excellent experience. So even though Edinburgh is never really directly referenced in my work, I’m definitely influenced by it. As for being inspired, really anything can bring about an idea for a project - film, people, music, buildings, colours, packaging and so on.

It really depends, it comes in waves I’d say. Quite often it’s just after I’ve seen a film that has really engaged me.

Did you always have an interest in art and all things creative? Yeah definitely. I used to draw out stories about my Barbies when I was a kid. But for a while when I was a bit older I didn’t think it was a viable option as a career. Then I realised there was nothing else I would want to spend my life doing.

Were you encouraged to follow your dreams by your family? I’d say so, I come from a fairly creative family so that helped a bit. I do think for a while they were unsure but I managed to show them how determined I was/am to work as a creative.

Did you have any creative role models growing up? I found I was always more into films, music and fashion. I wasn’t particularly interested in the ‘art world’. I admired street artists, such as Miss Van and artists that I found online that would draw weird girls such as Danny Brito and Wish Candy (who I both still love). Today there are so many people I look up to: my own friends; comic artists like Babs Tarr, Kevin Wada, Phil Noto, illustrators like Laura Callaghan, Josan Gonzalez, and Helen Jo; installation artist Pip & Pop; photographer Petra Collins...I could name hundreds more!

How would you describe your art/craft style? I’d say my style varies depending on what I’m working on, but pop culture is a common theme along with bright colours. I can’t say I have a piece of my own work that stands out as meaning the most to me, it’s always art from friends or bought from artists I admire that mean more to me.

I love Edinburgh. I am fascinated by people and there is such a wide variety of people here so it’s a great place for people watching and being inspired!

What’s your favourite part of Edinburgh? My all-time favourite building in Edinburgh is the old Odeon cinema on Clerk St. I love the front of that building and I’m constantly hearing that they’re going to knock it down, or they’re going to refurbish it and turn it into a cinema again, or turn it into student flats. I would love to see it get restored and put in to use again, just so long as it doesn’t get knocked down I’ll be happy! My favourite place to be anywhere, anytime is the cinema, and in Edinburgh I adore both the Cameo and the Filmhouse. For food and a catch-up I love Wings Edinburgh (their chitauri sauce is so good) on Old Fishmarket Close and 10 to 10 Delhi on Nicolson St is amazing too.

A selection of Alice’s ‘Girl Gang’ brooches. Available from her Etsy store. RRP £12

Find out more about Alice and buy her awesome products at www.allolune.com

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WHO INSPIRES YOU?

“We are far more united, have far more in common, than that which divides us.” Jo Cox MP

SHE INSPIRES ME

SHE INSPIRES ME

SHE INSPIRES ME

SOME FRIENDS OF #THISISME SHARE WITH US THEIR FEMALE ROLE MODELS AND THE AWESOME WOMEN WHO HAVE HELPED SHAPE THEIR LIFE AND CAREER. JOE MCELDERRY

HEATHER PEACE

My mam has played a huge part in getting me to where I am today. She works a lot with me, she helps a lot with decisions that I need to make. She’s been a huge inspirational woman in my life. I’ve got a lot of very inspirational women in my life. I’ve got a big family of aunties on both sides, my mam and my dad’s side. There are a lot of very strong women in my family. I’m very lucky.

I’m going to say what so many people say, my mum. She always made me believe I could do anything I wanted to do if I worked hard enough. I wasn’t really aware of gender being an issue that held you back because it wasn’t part of my family. It was me, not my brother, who played football, for example, and my parents came to support me. We were both supported in whatever we wanted to do. I grew up surrounded by mostly boys, playing games on the street through the summers and I just never saw myself as being in anyway slower, weaker or less than and I just always competed to the best of my ability. My grandmother was also a formidably strong woman in every way, including physically. She got on with things, always worked hard, nothing was too much trouble and she was the backbone of our family.

Singer and performer

LISSIE

Singer and songwriter I wrote a female anthem called “Daughters” for this year’s International Women’s Day. I have been very inspired by my mother. She is so open and loving. My sister is also a huge inspiration. She has dedicated her life to helping others and is so wise when the time comes for some real talk. Also, when I was young and did musical theatre, there was a woman named Carol-Anne who was just so cool and interesting and meeting her made me want to learn more about the world outside of my surroundings. There are some female actresses like Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand and Carrie Fisher, who I also find to be quite inspiring even though I’m not an actor myself. Women who keep it real interest me!

CECE PENISTON Singer

I would have to pick my mom. My mom has been the best woman I have ever met in my life, and I’m not saying that just because she’s my mom. She has been my rock. She’s been very involved in my career and helped me make the right decisions. She gets on to me and gives me the good, the bad and the indifferent, and she pushes me and gets excited when I’m excited. That’s what I love about her. She’s my hero.

Singer and actress

RICHARD & ADAM

Singers, Britain’s Got Talent Our biggest inspiration with our singing and career has been our Nan. Without her we wouldn’t be doing it, it’s that simple. She’s been with us every step of the way and she’s been incredible. She’s been unbelievable. As well as our Nan, Adam and I both have girlfriends. They’ve been a massive support for us both. When you’re fired in to the situation of being in the limelight, the people closest to you often find it the most difficult. Our girlfriends have been amazing. We don’t believe in getting too involved in the whole showbiz spin and we lead pretty normal lives. Our family and girlfriends have helped give us a really grounded environment. We go home and everything is so normal. That’s important so we always keep the right frame of mind and think about things logically and we don’t get too swept up in that world. We have strong foundations.

International Women’s Day takes place on 8th March every year. It’s a global day that celebrates the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. More at www.internationalwomensday.com 38 / This Is Me

follow us on twitter @thisisme_mag & @incnetworks


FEATURE SOMETHING FOR ALL THE FAMILY

Edinburgh: Festival City Have fun with friends and family, meet new people, enjoy diverse entertainment and sample delicious food and drinks by checking out one of the many festivals taking place across Edinburgh this summer.

EDINBURGH BOOK FESTIVAL

EDINBURGH MELA

THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL

Over 220,000 people enjoy the international festival each year - with over 100 million people watching the coverage worldwide. This year’s event will pay tribute to HM The Queen’s 90th birthday while celebrating ‘Tunes of Glory’ - showcasing music, dance and display from around the world.

Throughout its history, the book festival has grown rapidly in size and scope to become the largest and most dynamic festival of its kind in the world. The event will see more than 800 authors contribute to over 700 events, including novelists, poets, scientists, philosophers, sports-people, illustrators, comics creators, historians, musicians, biographers, environmentalists, economists, Nobel and Booker prize-winners and many more. There are events for just about every age and interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion. The festival’s home, the leafy Charlotte Square Gardens, is a wonderful space in which to sit, talk, think, play and be entertained. You can see a favourite author, join in a workshop or debate, enjoy a brew in the café, a beer or a wee dram in the Spiegeltent, or simply park yourself on the grass (with or without a book) and soak up the buzzing atmosphere. You can also purchase books in one of the two independent bookshops in the square.

13TH-29TH AUGUST, CHARLOTTE SQUARE GARDENS

5TH-27TH AUGUST, CASTLE ESPLANADE

With the unforgettable sight and sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums performing against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the spectacular production will include the New Zealand Army Band and Lochiel Marching Drill Team, in the company of His Majesty The King’s Guard from Norway, the Imps Motorcycle Display Team alongside the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces Band and Drill Team. Described by many as the ‘greatest show on earth’, the event is one not to be missed. Performances Monday to Friday at 9.00pm and Saturday at 7.30pm and 10.30pm. There is no performance on Sundays. Find out more and book tickets at www.edintattoo.co.uk

Entry to the garden is free and everyone is welcome. You may need to purchase tickets for some events. Find out more at www.edbookfest.co.uk

EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO

EDINBURGH MELA 27TH-28TH AUGUST, LEITH LINKS

The Edinburgh Mela seeks to embrace all of Scotland’s diverse communities and cultures. Visitors will enjoy the very best in world music, dance, and the wider arts from around the world, with the express purpose of promoting understanding between people and advancing the cause of community coherence. You’ll enjoy delicious food and treats in the bustling ‘Global Food Village’, a colourful and vibrant market place with lots of fantastic independent producers showcasing their products and a lineup of diverse entertainment that is sure to have you smiling. Free event. Find out more at www.edinburgh-mela.co.uk

Edinburgh is often referred to as the world’s leading festival city. Other festivals in the city this summer: Edinburgh Art Festival 28th July-28th August www.edinburghartfestival.com and, of course, the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe 5th-29th August www.edfringe.com

SAY HELLO TO THE SCOTTISH DIVERSITY FESTIVAL Inclusive Networks is proud to introduce the very first Scottish Diversity Festival. Founded by Thomas Anderson, the first festival will take place at locations throughout Scotland next Summer. The festival will celebrate our diverse communities and will see Inclusive Networks collaborating with awesome groups, events, people and charities around the country to bring you a programme of innovative and exciting events and engagement initiatives. We have lots of exciting and fresh things planned to showcase and celebrate diversity and inclusion. Keep updated on Facebook: /ScottishDiversityFestival and Twitter @ScotDiversity WHAT WILL YOU BE GETTING UP TO THIS SUMMER? TWEET US @THISISME_MAG #THISISMESUMMER

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This Is Me

AN EVENING OF CELEBRATION

NETWORK GROUPS SHINE AT OUR INCLUSIVE NETWORKS AWARDS

Network Leader of the Year University of Bradford, N-Able, Cath Rose & Gill Cockburn

Further entertainment came from Ri Ri’s Dance Academy and singer Maria Kelly. Our inspiring guest speakers, apprentice 2014 candidate Sanjay Sood-Smith and founder of Girls Out Loud, Jane Kenyon, delivered two awesome speeches.

Collaboration of the Year BNY Mellon’s Prism Network & George House Trust

New Network of the Year (Joint Winner) Standard Life, Young Persons’ Development Network

We’re delighted to introduce you to our winners, as nominated by you and decided by our awesome judges. Well done to all of our amazing finalists. New Network of the Year (Joint Winner) Action for Children, Celebrate LGBT

The awards were PROUDLY sponsored by Paypal, EY, Tuk In, Action for Children, Fujitsu, Barefoot Wine, Wearethecity, Contracts IT, Girls Out Loud, Manchester Pride, Canal St, Diversity Jobs and Inclusive Employers.

Professional Network of the Year Citymothers & Cityfathers

SUPPORTING CHARITY

Inspiring Member of the Year Funke Abimbola

Social Network of the Year Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus

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FOLLOWING THE EVENT WE DONATED £1000 TO OUR CHARITY PARTNER DITCH THE LABEL.

Health & Wellbeing Network of the Year Lloyds Banking Group, Access Network

Network Team of the Year Tesco, Out at Tesco

Network Engagement Initiative of the Year Transport for London, OUTbound

View the full list of winners at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/our-in-awards-2015-winners

PHOTOGRAPHY: ROPE WOLF PHOTOGRAPHY

Employee LGBT Network of the Year PWC, GLEE@PWC

Over 200 network group representatives and allies attended our inaugural Inclusive Networks Awards, the first ever awards dedicated to network groups, at Band On The Wall in Manchester on 19th November 2015. it was an event with a difference. The unique awards were all about celebrating and rewarding the work and positive impact of network groups from all diversity strands and from all sectors. Guests were welcomed by the sounds of the Caribbean from the awesome Steeldrumband and the welcome bubbly was served by Barefoot Wine. Our host, Kate McCabe, was a hit with the crowd and provided lots of laughs throughout the night.


INCLUSIVE NETWORKS AWARDS

CELEBRATING NETWORK GROUPS

these pages are dedicated to darren batey. taken too soon.

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DIVERSITY NEWS

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance” WEARETHECITY, THE FOUNDERS OF THE UK’S ANNUAL RISING STAR AWARDS, HAVE ANNOUNCED THE 100 INSPIRING WINNERS OF THEIR 2016 AWARDS. THE AWARDS AIM TO SHOWCASE THE PIPELINE OF FEMALE TALENT IN THE UK AND TO CREATE ROLE MODELS ACROSS 20 DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES AND PROFESSIONS. THE AWARDS FOCUS ON CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF WOMEN UNDER A MANAGEMENT LEVEL REGARDLESS OF AGE. INCLUSIVE NETWORKS IS A PROUD MEDIA PARTNER. VIEW THE FULL LIST AT WWW.RISINGSTARS.WEARETHECITY.COM

Photo: Warren Media

YEAR OF THE DAD IS A CELEBRATION OF THE DIFFERENCE A GREAT DAD CAN MAKE. IT’S A YEAR OF CELEBRATION, INSIGHT AND COLLABORATION TO PROMOTE THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERS IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT MEN TO BE THE DADS THEY WANT TO BE. ORGANISED BY FATHERS NETWORK SCOTLAND, ONE OF INCLUSIVE NETWORKS 2015 AWESOME NETWORKS, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH A RANGE OF ORGANISATIONS, IT IS SUPPORTED BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT AND RUNS UNTIL THE END OF 2016. FIND OUT MORE AT WWW.YEAROFTHEDAD.ORG

EARLIER THIS YEAR MI5 WAS NAMED NUMBER ONE IN LEADING LGBT CHARITY STONEWALL’S TOP 100 EMPLOYERS LIST FOR 2016. IN SECOND PLACE WAS LLOYDS BANKING GROUP (PICTURED), CLOSELY FOLLOWED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES. THE LIST IS COMPILED FROM SUBMISSIONS TO THEIR WORKPLACE EQUALITY INDEX, A POWERFUL BENCHMARKING TOOL USED BY EMPLOYERS TO ASSESS THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROGRESS ON LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT) EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE. DOES YOUR EMPLOYER FEATURE IN THE TOP 100? VIEW THE TOP 100 AT WWW.STONEWALL.ORG.UK

BEHIND THE NETWORK BEHIND THE NETWORK THE DEFENCE STAMMERING NETWORK IS THE FIRST SUCH NETWORK IN ANY ARMED FORCE IN THE WORLD. JIMMY LANG MBE, CO-FOUNDER, TELLS US MORE. WHAT IS THE DEFENCE STAMMERING NETWORK? I had wanted to develop a support network for people who stammer (PWS) in the Army and I found out that there was in fact a group on Facebook named the British Army Stammering Society or BASS for short. I got in touch with Emmanuel Ottih who was coordinating the group and we both wanted to take this further as the group was not doing so well and had very few members. Around the same time I also met Walter Scott who is a civil servant for the MOD and he was interested in doing something similar. After a few email exchanges and phone calls we agreed to go big and we launched the Defence Stammering Network (DSN). Being a Defence network means a wider audience and potentially more members than only having an Army network. WHY IS THE NETWORK NEEDED? Stammering is often very misunderstood and it is still very often the one disability which appears to be acceptable to mock in public. Education and awareness of stammering is important. I believe that many PWS do not reach their full potential as they don’t know where to seek advice from, and those who they do ask for advice have no idea where to access the type of support PWS need. The DSN is of great use in terms of finding out about therapy, inspirational stories and support groups which are not widely advertised. We bring people who stammer in the military and MOD together in order that they can share their experiences.

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Jimmy (left) pictured with his Armed Forces colleagues

HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN THE NETWORK WAS SHORTLISTED FOR TWO INCLUSIVE NETWORKS AWARDS? Being shortlisted was a wonderful feeling as it was confirmation that all our work and effort was being recognised by others who appreciate what we do. To be Highly Commended was a great honour as we were up against many well established networks and groups. This gave us all a real boost as I feel that stammering does not get nearly enough recognition that it should. The awards were great, I attended them with my friends from the Royal Navy’s COMPASS Network. I really enjoyed myself and it was a great venue. I hope that this is not the first or last time the DSN are involved with the awards, the Highly Commended award and the Awesome Network title really add value to the DSN and what we do. The Defence Stammering Network was shortlisted for two 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards. ‘Network Team of the Year’ and ‘Health & Wellbeing Network of the Year’ – where they were Highly Commended. Read our full interview with Jimmy at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/defence-stammering-network Follow the network on Twitter @DefStammer

share your diversity and inclusion news and updates with us


DIVERSITY NEWS

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde

23rd september

Bisexual Visibility Day

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

REMEMBER, SHARE, EDUCATE Don’t forget the ‘B’ in LGBT

Celebrate’s success at the 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards is an absolute high for me. That was the moment I realised how far we had come, and how invested I had been personally in our work. The network has a small but dedicated committee of both LGBT staff and straight allies, who have worked really hard to get us to this point. I was incredibly proud to accept the award on behalf of those people, and every member and supporter of Celebrate who has attended events, engaged others in discussions on LGBT issues, and made us feel proud to bring our whole selves to work, something that not everyone is able to do.

If you have a Twitter account, why not be visible and tweet your support on the day - it will mean a lot to your members that identify as bisexual. Find out more at www.bivisibilityday.com

the bisexual flag

CELEBRATE, A FANTASTIC EMPLOYEE NETWORK GROUP THAT’S LEADING THE WAY

First observed in 1999, the day is a call for the bisexual community, their friends and supporters to recognise and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, culture and people. Individually and collectively people celebrate and mark the date in all sorts of ways: dinner parties, flag-flying, talks, film screenings, masked balls, balloon launches and more. How will you mark the day in 2016? Some ideas could include flying the bisexual flag from your building, printing out the flag and displaying it around your workplace with some facts and images of famous bisexual people, hosting an event with the theme of bisexuality or publishing an article on your intranet about the day.

Claire Cahill, Chair of Celebrate - the inclusive employee LGBT+ network group at charity Action for Children. She’s pictured with their 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards award for ‘New Network of the Year’. Follow the network on Twitter @CelebrateLGBT

October

AUTHENTIC SENIOR SUPPORT

Black History Month

Network groups at Fujitsu were finalists in five categories at our 2015 Inclusive Networks awards. These include their inclusive LGBT+ network Shine being finalists for LGBT+ Network and Network Event of the Year and their Gender Network being a Finalist in the New Network of the Year category. The chair of Fujitsu UK & Ireland, Michael Keegan (pictured), was also shortlisted for Network Champion of the Year and the chair of Shine, Martin York, for Network Leader of the Year. ______________________________

During Black History Month many organisations remember and celebrate the inspiring and influential people who have shaped the past and contributed to making today’s society more inclusive. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the history and heritage of our communities.

Fujitsu were also a proud sponsor of the 2015 Inclusive Networks Awards.

email us at hello@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk

So many trailblazers to remember and celebrate

Find out more at www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk

October

Down Syndrome Awareness Month Change attitudes

During the month of October, celebrate people with Down syndrome, spread awareness and make people aware of their abilities and accomplishments. It’s not about celebrating disabilities, it’s about celebrating abilities. Find out more at www.downs-syndrome.org.uk

OUR JAN ‘17 ISSUE

WILL BE A SPECIAL LGBT HISTORY MONTH AND WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH EDITION. BE A PART OF IT!

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This Is Me

“Great time at the #ThisIsMe networking diversity event at Kiehl’s. Thanks for the hospitality and new connections.”

Hala Ousta

Diversity Manager, Scottish Football Association

ThisIsMe ON THE EVENING OF 17TH MAY 2016 OVER 100 PEOPLE JOINED US AT OUR SOLD-OUT #THISISME ‘NETWORKING REMIXED’ EVENT AT KIEHL’S STORE ON BUCHANAN STREET IN GLASGOW. THE VIBRANT AND INFORMAL EVENT IS THE LATEST TO BE ORGANISED BY INCLUSIVE NETWORKS AND FOLLOWS OUR POPULAR WORKPLACE PANEL EVENTS AND INAUGURAL INCLUSIVE NETWORKS AWARDS.

“At Stonewall Scotland we believe in acceptance without exception. The Inclusive Networks #ThisIsMe event was a fantastic opportunity to bring people together to celebrate diversity and strengthen relationships across organisations working to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country.”

Catherine Somerville

Campaigns, Policy & Research Manager, Stonewall Scotland

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This Is Me

We aimed to create an event that celebrated diversity and was accessible to everyone, from all walks of life, and one that didn’t attach a label to it. It was important to me that the event didn’t feel intimidating for people to attend, especially if they’re not from a corporate background or coming along by themselves, and the Kiehl’s store in the heart of Glasgow was a perfect venue

Our guests included representatives from a diverse range of organisations, including DELL, the Scottish Football Association, Scottish Government, Glasgow Airport, PPA Scotland, Stonewall Scotland – and many more. Many local businesses, entrepreneurs and awesome people from the thriving Scottish creative sector also attended the event that many guests said was a “breath of fresh air” to the current networking scene in Scotland and complimented the more established corporate feeling events well.

attend, especially if they’re not from a corporate background or coming along by themselves, and the Kiehl’s store in the heart of Glasgow was a perfect venue. We worked hard to deliver a completely free event that was unlike any other and, from the feedback, I’m happy we delivered that. Our guests enjoyed quality face-to-face networking where they met new people, caught up with friends and expanded their professional and social networks. The atmosphere was really buzzing.”

Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution in the Scottish Government, showed his support and represented the SNP. He proudly had his photo taken with our #ThisIsMe branding and spoke to guests throughout the night. Thomas Anderson, Founder and Managing Director of Inclusive Networks said: “We created the new #ThisIsMe networking remixed events to add more fun and unpredictability to networking events that can often be a bit samey, cliquey and, in the words of many people I’ve spoken to, ‘a bit dull’ – there are of course some exceptions to this.” “We aimed to create an event that celebrated diversity and was accessible to everyone, from all walks of life, and one that didn’t attach a label to itself. It was important to me that the event didn’t feel intimidating for people to

The event was kindly supported by global brand Kiehl’s and children’s charity Action for Children. The free event was networking with a difference, with guests enjoying free drinks, nibbles and entertainment over the course of the evening. These included a welcome glass of prosecco and sweet treats from restaurant Gusto, delicious rum cocktails (and mocktails)

Thank you to everybody who supported the event

from Sugar Dumplin BBQ & Bar, colourful fruity vodka cocktails served by Keglevich. The Coors beer and Rekorderlig cider was generously supported by the Icon Awards. Lisa Jay, Manager at Kiehl’s Glasgow store said: “Kiehl’s Glasgow were absolutely honoured to host the first #ThisIsMe networking remixed event. Recognising diversity and supporting our community is what Kiehl’s have celebrated since our humble beginnings in New York in 1851. It was a pleasure to welcome our new friends to Kiehl’s. A huge thanks to the incredibly inspiring and talented Mark Vice for his “Andy’s Lifeblood” art commemorating the event and Andy Warhol’s love of Kiehl’s. Huge thanks to our friends at Gusto, Sugar Dumplin and Keglevich for keeping our guests refreshed!” Our awesome DJs, Lucky Luciano and DJ KRN, spun the vinyl on the decks throughout the night and Edinburghbased artist Mark Vice exhibited a number of his amazing pieces of art, including his new ‘Andy’s Lifeblood’ piece that was especially produced for the event – a big hit with our guests. Our awesome host Mike Shy (he’s not so shy) did a great job too! Guests didn’t leave empty handed, receiving a goody bag that included Kiehl’s products, a limited edition miniversion of Mark Vice’s ‘Andy’s Lifeblood’ piece, vouchers and more.

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This Is Me

ThisIsMe ThisIsMe WOULD LIKE TO THANK

“Fabulous event night at Kielh’s Glasgow with #ThisIsMe. I was happy to donate some of my artwork for the raffle, a taste of Glasgow. I am one of the Sotheby’s International Young artists of 1999 so it was interesting to meet with the next generation in my field. I loved meeting the new and very happy owner of my work, it’s not often I get to meet with clients as galleries deal with negotiations and transfers.”

“It was a great pleasure attending the #ThisIsMe networking event by Inclusive Networks. The event set up was more than convenient, relaxing and energising because of the conversations you have with all of these other positive minded people. On a Tuesday night, it’s a well-timed, gentle way to gather future prospects, meet new talented people and enjoy the good vibes.”

Sintija Bluzma

#TartanMarketing

Yvonne Taylor

Glasgow-based artist

“Fantastic event and a great addition and benefit for the Glasgow business community.”

Bob Fazlali

Agency Account Manager at Gaydio

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We help our clients to increase their social impact, ďŹ nd their voice and make a real dierence. Visit: www.bold.scot Call: 0131 618 7705 Email: hello@bold.scot


INTERVIEW AWESOME BUSINESS LISA (SECOND from the RIGHT) PICTURED WITH HER TEAM

ThisIsMe

Lisa Jay Manager, Kiehl’s Glasgow, Buchanan St

Born in Glasgow and of Portuguese, Sri-Lankan, Scottish and Irish heritage, Lisa has been a part of the beauty industry for over 20 years. SHE is the Manager of the awesome Kiehl’s store on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS? Honest, impatient, decisive, excitable and happy.

HOW WOULD YOUR TEAM DESCRIBE YOU? I asked the team to describe me and they said strong, passionate, understanding, trustworthy and like Jasmine from Aladdin.

“I have found A mix of coaching, time and task management and leading by example are key to a successful business and a happy team”

WHAT’S YOUR MANAGEMENT STYLE? I have found a mix of coaching, time and task management, and leading by example are key to a successful business and a happy team. Listening to our team and patrons, and sharing ideas of how we can evolve the business and services here in Glasgow. Teamwork is of the highest importance because together everyone achieves more. We have a great team in Glasgow with some wonderful personalities. They all work incredibly hard and are so passionate about their Kiehl’s Customer Representative role. I feel very lucky to have such a fantastic bunch of people to work with daily.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

YOUR STORE IS A GREAT SUPPORTER OF CHARITY AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES. WE’D LOVE TO KNOW A BIT MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE RECENT THINGS YOU’VE SUPPORTED

Learning. Every day is a school day at Kiehl’s and we have the most incredible Education Team, headed by the fabulous Gerwyn Powell in the UK. It truly is the most informative training and most customer service focussed coaching I have ever experienced. The charitable pillars at Kiehl’s, as well as the incredible formulations, are what attracted me to work for the company. Customer service is of the highest importance to myself and the team and we want our patrons and guests to feel at home in our store. Kiehl’s has been around since 1851 and I love the rich history and heritage that we have and sharing that with our patrons on a daily basis. Morse Laboratories helped develop the first fluoride treatment, were instrumental in the development and distribution of penicillin, and created an aloe vera cream that was used to treat radiation burns during World War II. These are some of the inspirational stories we are proud to share.

Globally Kiehl’s has raised over £3.5 million amongst our three charitable pillars - HIV research, children and the environment. We have raised £1.3 million for HIV charities and over £200,000 for the Rainforest Alliance. It feels amazing to be able to participate in that fundraising at store level. In the UK last year, and this year, we are working with MTV and their HIV charity Staying Alive. Last year we hosted an in-store fashion show with Model Team Scotland and local designers. We were lucky enough to work with some incredible local artists who created bespoke art for the event and, as always at our events, a complimentary bar - this time courtesy of Carounn Gin. We are hoping to go bigger and better this year so stay tuned! We also support fundraising and awareness at awards shows and are looking forward to being involved again in this year’s Icon Awards, supporting diversity within the community. Fay, my Assistant Manager,

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is super focussed on our philanthropy efforts and is excellent at event ideas. Together we are excited to work on some fantastic new ideas for 2016.

FOR SOMEONE WHO HASN’T TRIED KIEHL’S PRODUCTS YET, WHY SHOULD THEY GIVE THEM A GO? Simply because the products do what they say. We work with scientists and dermatologists on our formulations to ensure that they are truly efficacious. My skin has never been better and I have worked for some amazing brands. We have such a passion for our local communities and Kiehl’s charities. We are always giving back at a local level I think that is so rare these days.

WE’D LOVE TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE WILL KNOW….SPILL A SECRET! I have my own nail varnish called L-Jay, by a brand called Filthy Gorgeous who I used to work for. It’s a delicious peach and it looks incredible with a tan. I also delivered a friend’s baby. That was definitely the most incredible experience of my life.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY GETTING UP TO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING? I love to travel. I have visited over 52 countries and countless cities around the world. I love to immerse myself in local culture and I believe travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Check out Kiehl’s awesome products at www.kiehls.co.uk @KiehlsUK

speak to lisa about kiehl’s glasgow corporate hire & Services: 0141 221 2152


This Is Me

SCOTTISH POTATO

VODKA

Ogilvy’s potatoes grow a short tractor ride from where they’re transformed into vodka. Everything is undertaken on our own family farm to form a small-batch local liquor of international quality (we aim for class production rather than mass production). www.ogilvyspirits.com This Is Me / 49


ALL ABOUT YOU

I LOVE... SCOTLAND WHAT SCOTLAND MEANS TO YOU SNAPPED OUT & ABOUT IN GLASGOW, JUNE 2016

What do you love about scotland? tweet us @thisisme_mag or email hello@inclusivnetworksuk.co.uk

George

KAT

The people are the friendliest and the scenery is breath taking. I travel outdoors so much and it has the best camping spots in the world, ideal for outdoor pursuits.

We have one of the most amazing hard-core dance scenes in the world.

Jeremy & Lila

ALIEN

RUBY

As a street musician, the crowds on Buchanan Street are so friendly and I’m allowed to play my saxophone. As an artist, people really love my work and they encourage me.

I landed in Scotland from a far off planet to a warm welcome, cool people and a very creative world.

I have got great friends, my family are the best and because I live here :-)

GARY

MELISSA

As an athlete I am so proud of how Scotland supports new up and coming athletes. People working together for the common good is what Scotland does best!

Being an Irish girl living in Scotland is the best! Our banter is very similar and working at Manhattan Nail Bar in Glasgow allows me to meet some amazing people.

DID YOU KNOW?

ZAN Scotland is a great community for all things geek culture and underground movements.

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Scotland is the most gay-friendly country in Europe. A survey by campaigning group ILGA-Europe that measures equality and human rights found that Scotland would top a European league table after meeting 90% of the criteria laid down. Three Scottish political party leaders identify as being LGBT+, Ruth Davidson (Conservative), Kezia Dugdale (Labour) and Patrick Harvie (Green).

2 3

Stockbridge in Edinburgh has been named the best place in Scotland to settle down in the 2016 Sunday Times Best Places to Live in Britain guide. The picture-postcard area won the accolade for its friendly locals, village feel and top-rated primary school. We love exploring the awesome charity shops in the area. Mhairi Black, SNP MP, was named one of music magazine NME’s 2015 People of the Year nominees for showing that ‘you can change politics’. She was named alongside Adele, Nicki Minaj and JJ Abrams in the publication’s annual People of the Year list. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “She’s so incredibly talented. If she wants to be, she’s a future SNP leader.” Go Mhairi!

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What should our next ‘i love...’ topic be? hello@inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk


LOVE IS LOVE

At 2.02am on Sunday 12th June Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old self-appointed lone warrior, walked into Pulse nightclub (an LGBT+ venue) in Orlando, Florida, and murdered 49 innocent people. The mass shooting, the worst in American history, was calculated to create fear and division. According to his own father, Omar was angered at seeing two men kissing, making the LGBT+ venue his target. As news broke of the tragedy, the world united, with many vigils being announced around the UK to allow people to show their solidarity for those affected, including Cardiff, London and Manchester. In Scotland, in the week following the shooting, vigils took place in Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Stirling. Inclusive Networks organised the ‘Edinburgh stands with Orlando’, vigil that took place on the evening of 15th July in St Andrew Square. Thomas Anderson, Founder of Inclusive Networks said: “We had to make the vigil happen to bring people together to remember and show our respects to those whose lives were taken, those injured and to send our love and thoughts to their family and friends. It was a very visible demonstration that love is a stronger force in the world than hate and love is love.” The vigil was opened by Edinburgh-based choir Loud and Proud and the Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus, who sang a number of songs, including The Rose and Rise Like A Phoenix.

Speakers from Stonewall Scotland, the Equality Network and United Against Fascism then took to the platform to speak to the 1000+ people who gathered in the pouring rain. 23-year-old Tobias Wishart, from Leith, gave an emotional speech on behalf of a friend who lost someone close to them in the massacre. Scotland’s political parties came together on the evening to show their respects and to send a strong message that Scotland stands by those affected, and there is no place for hate crime. Those present at the vigil included First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Kezia Dugdale, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, and Patrick Harvie, Co-convenor of the Scottish

At the vigil Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can’t tell you how important it is to me to be with you here this evening. The last few days have been horrific and heartbreaking beyond words but it has also been inspiring. All across the world we have watched people come together in solidarity. That is the comfort I hope you, and the LGBTI community across the world, take from these expressions of solidarity. We stand here tonight united, proudly in defiance of hate and with a very clear message – love is love. “Tonight I want to say three things – firstly, to express my sympathy with all of those who were affected by the horror. Those lives weren’t lost, they were taken by someone motivated by hate. “Secondly, I want to call out what happened in Orlando for what it was – a homophobic hate crime, targeting people simply because of who they choose to love. “Thirdly, I stand shoulder to shoulder with our LGBTI community now and always. “I am really proud of the the progress we’ve made in Scotland in the last few years…the proudest moment of my career was when we passed the equal marriage act…but there is no room for complacency. Until we live in a world in which no young person feels hatred, discrimination, prejudice or fear because of their sexuality or gender identity we still have work to do. I pledge to you tonight we will continue to do that work until we live in a Scotland that is truly equal.”

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON SPEAKING AT THE EDINBURGH VIGIL

Louise Thomas, owner of The Street in Edinburgh - a popular venue with LGBT+ people - was the first speaker and asked that we all “stand proud”.

Green Party.

SCOTLAND STANDS WITH ORLANDO

“I want to call out what happened in Orlando for what it was – a homophobic hate crime, targeting people Simply because of who they choose to love.” Nicola Sturgeon

Ruth Davidson said: “As a woman who moved to Edinburgh to be herself, I know how important LGBTI venues are for people who want to be themselves. “We stand in Edinburgh in a place where we feel safe and stand in solidarity with people around the world. “We will become stronger because we have stood here tonight, because we have shown those people that would conduct hate upon our community that they will not win because love wins, love always win.” The names and ages of all 49 victims were read out by members of Scotlands LGBT+ community and a one minute silence followed. The vigil ended with both choirs coming together to sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow with many people singing along.

Photos by Ellie Morag - @EllieMorag. thanks to black light for the sound & staging

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NOT JUST FOR A RAINY DAY HIV Services As Diverse As You Are ght.org.uk 0161 274 4499 52 / This Is Me


SPECIAL FEATURE WHY DO WE FEEL THE NEED TO PUT LABELS ON PEOPLE?

This Is Me

FunkeAldrich-Wincer Abimbola Molly Most senior black lawyer in the UK and role model

@DiversityChamp1

Our awesome blogger talks labels

Could you define your identity in one word? Maybe. Personally, I can’t. My identity is made up of lots of things. My occupation, family, education, hobbies and values are all contributing factors to how I describe myself. I would say that it is near impossible to describe yourself using any single category or label. I recently attended an event which taught attendees how to design a ‘verbal business card’. In the professional world it’s really important to be able to articulate what you do in a quick and clear way when networking (your elevator pitch). You are competing against other candidates or potential service providers and you’re trying to sell your skills! In these circumstances, labels might be necessary. We can’t get away from the fact that humans have this need to categorise. We categorise objects in order to understand and identify them. In the same way we categorise people, including ourselves, in order to understand social environments. When we are able to understand people and add some context, it tells us more about them and we learn more about ourselves. With categories come social norms and behaviours that allow us to assign others and ourselves to groups.

I have mixed feelings about this. Generally, without having to give it much thought, I would say I’m not a big fan of labelling other people. Those assumptions we make can be restrictive and oppressive. Stereotypes and presumptions are never good. For some people, categories or ‘labels’ are really important for their identity and where they feel that they belong. The difference here is that they are labelling themselves. The label is the choice of the individual to describe their own identity. When the label is being forced upon them by another person and society, this is where it gets dangerous. For me, whether or not a label is a good thing depends on its purpose and who is benefitting from it. If it helps an individual learn to love themselves and have a sense of belonging, I am all for it! If the label is pushed onto an individual, born from ignorance and laziness, I’m not a fan.

“My sexuality is not the most important thing about me” Cosima Niehaus, Orphan Black.

Another important thing to remember when talking about labels is that we can all have more than one. We all belong to a diverse range of categories. It can be really frustrating when others fixate on one label you identify with. Labels and categories are rarely mutually exclusive. Allow yourself and others to explore different labels. These can also change over time, identities (whether that be sexuality, gender, religion or values) will grow and develop as you do. We are all complex beings, made up of a mass of contradictions and that’s a big part of what makes humans so beautiful.

We are all complex beings, made up of a mass of contradictions and that’s a big part of what makes humans so beautiful

“

Molly is a Business Management & Marketing undergraduate from Sussex who is passionate about social enterprise, corporate social responsibility, equality and inclusivity. Molly began blogging in 2013 and writes about a range of topics that are close to her heart including education, social media, the ageing demographic, the LGBT+ community and the challenges faced by young people entering the business world.

30 SECONDS WITH MOLLY What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the projects and organisations I have been working with for the duration of my placement year. Throughout my year in industry I gave presentations, organised events, designed and implemented strategy all for organisations that have a social cause at the core. Not only did I feel that I had developed as a person, but I also undertook meaningful work that will make a difference. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Always be nice to people. Be a giver, not a taker. If you could go and have a word in your 15 year old self’s ear, is there anything you’d tell yourself? Stop worrying so much and enjoy the present. Only good can come from working hard and it will pay off in the long run.

Follow molly on twitter @maldrichwincer | mollyaldrichwincer.wordpress.com

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MOVIES AND MUSIC THAT THE #THISISME TEAM ARE TALKING ABOUT

FOR

ZOMBIE FANS

The Founders Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

In cinemas from 5th August 2016. Kaleidoscope Entertainment

The Founders documentary tells the captivating story of the 13 women who, in 1950, founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) after years of struggling to even be recognised as athletes. It really is a true underdog story that’s particularly pertinent in a time when, more than 65 years later, we’re still discussing whether women should be allowed in clubhouses. Whether you’re a golf fan or not, this story is for anyone who believes in equality and defying the odds. They were not supposed to be athletes, they were not supposed to get paid to play and they were most certainly not supposed to call the shots. But in 1950, 13 amateur women golfers battled society, finances and sometimes even each other to stake their claim to become professional athletes by creating the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland recently hit The headlines after it lost its right to host future Open Championships when members voted to continue refusing entry to women. The Founders could not come at a more pertinent time.

Bright Light Bright Light Choreography Out on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, Digital and available to stream now. Self Raising Records Rod Thomas a.k.a Bright Light Bright Light has pulled in the big guns for his third studio album. The album features three songs with icon Elton John, including the album’s awesome first single ‘All in the Name’ - as performed on The Graham

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Norton Show. This is a pop album, and a rather great one too. ‘I Only Want To Please You’, featuring Ana Matronic, has an intro that wouldn’t be out of place on a 90s era Pet Shop Boys album. Scissor Sisters star Jake Shears and actor Alan Cumming also feature on this awesome album.

Out on DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD now. Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is a fresh twist on Jane Austen’s widely celebrated novel. A mysterious plague has fallen upon 19th century England, the land is overrun with the undead and feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) is a master of martial arts and weaponry. Casting aside personal and social prejudices, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) must unite on the blood-soaked battlefield to rid the country of the zombie menace and discover their true love for one another. When we

sat down to watch the movie, we’ll be honest, our expectations weren’t too high. These feelings quickly disappeared a few minutes in as we got caught up in the craziness of the reimagined twist on the classic story and we love all things zombies. Screenwriter and director Burr Steer has done an awesome job turning the literary world of Pride and Prejudice into a world where the undead live amongst the living – that is until they come face-to-face.

EDITOR’S PICK

Boulevard

Out on DVD, Digital HD and VOD now. Kaleidoscope Entertainment Nolan (Robin Williams) is a middle-aged, married banker, whose life is the very definition of average and unfulfilled. One night, driving home, he does something impulsive, and picks up a young male hustler Leo (Roberto Aguire); a relationship develops, not based on sex, but Nolan’s loneliness – Leo is “just someone to talk to” he admits. As Nolan becomes more attached to Leo, he puts his married life, and his career and reputation, in jeopardy.

HIS FINAL LEADING ROLE

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ENTERTAINMENT RECOMMENDED

Oscar-winner Robin Williams, in his final leading role, gives a sensitive, heartbreaking performance as a meek man finally trying to be true to himself after a lifetime of living a lie. It is a deeply moving and engaging film, examining the complexities of love and relationships, and the difficult choices people have to make. It’s never too late to be your true self and live the life you want to lead. Robin is truly brilliant in this movie.

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INTERVIEW THE VOICE STAR JORDAN GRAY

ROLE MODEL


SPECIAL FEATURE: WRITTEN BY JORDAN GRAY

It’s a question I’m asked all too often – mostly shockingly, in a live mid-morning interview by the presenter of a regional BBC radio station in the build-up to my Voice UK Blind Audition. A real woman? Like f*cking Pinocchiotta? But in this case, just as a lie catalyses the growth of one appendage, another shrinks to align with a perceived truth.

“a lot of women have penises. a lot of men have vaginas.” This was one of the first things my specialist said to me. And it’s absolutely true. The times they are a-changin’. To define our entire socio-psycho-economic identities by a protuberance, or lack-thereof, between our legs is outdated. Man = penis. Woman = vagina. It’s prehistoric. And yet the pressure on Trans people is still so immense to conform to this model that the desire to undergo surgery becomes standard and goes unquestioned.

“ There is no rule which

states a transgender person’s personal journey need involve medical or surgical intervention whatsoever. And for those that do, the methods are numerous

“When are you gonna get the surgery to make you into a real woman?”

N IO T C U R T S N O C UNDER For many people, Cis and Trans, the fabled ‘Op’ is viewed as the finishing line on this binary-defying expedition. But the Trans journey is not a defined set of bullet points. There is no rule which states a Trans person’s personal journey need involve medical or surgical intervention whatsoever. And for those that do, the methods are numerous. I, for example, medicate with synthetic oestrogen and will be opting for breast augmentation. But I won’t be undergoing Gender Affirming Surgery, formerly known as Gender Reassignment Surgery, formerly known as a ‘sex change’… formerly known as ‘the snip’, ‘the chop’ and other various juvenile permutations.

JO R D A N G R AY er activist makes a Voice UK star and transgend this latest binary-defying stand with pioneering photo shoot.

I am no less of a woman for having a penis. And perhaps more importantly in this case: I am no less ‘Trans’. Plus my girlfriend likes it just fine... and it’s much easier to operate. And yet, even though I am proud to make that stand, until recently I still felt the need to justify a boob-job. As if they come as a package. But now I know better. ‘Boobs and a bulge’: perfectly natural, perfectly beautiful. Indeed, for many, it’s a winning combination. And so this shoot, titled ‘Under Construction’, is a dual-layered metaphor. On the surface, I myself am still both physically and spiritually ‘under construction’. The flip-side of the metaphor deals with the Artist as a ‘construct’ – everything about this industry hinges on audience perception. My time on the telly and the aftermath – everything is engineered to tell a story. The disturbing part is how little relevance the ‘truth’ of that story has on its dissemination. We consume the truths we find most palatable. The journey of a transgender person is one with which, in essence, everybody can relate and aspire to. It’s about transformation. Defying expectation. Victory against the odds and a strong sense of self. But the ‘finish line’ has not been accurately determined. I will not be ‘redeemed’ by mutilating myself to fit a cis-normative stereotype. Until we divorce genitals from gender in our minds, there will be confusion. I am proud to make that stand. Photography – Ray Burmiston | Hair & Makeup – Nicola Schuller Article and Model – Jordan Redford Gossamer Gray Retouch by Edd Coates & Ryan Beeden

Follow jordan on twitter @talldarkfriend

This Is Me / 57


FEATURE IS VINYL REALLY BETTER? PICTURED DJING AT OUR KIEHL’S GLASGOW EVENT

Having DJed in Scotland (among other places) for over 10 years, I have experienced a bit of a love/hate relationship with vinyl. I taught myself to mix on CD decks, initially seeing vinyl as a gimmick. This was the mid-noughties, when the mighty Pioneer CDJ decks were replacing turntables in clubs left, right and centre. As CD decks and digital controllers became more advanced, DJs enjoyed being spoilt by features like looping and live remixing. I saw no benefit to playing tracks on vinyl instead of CD. Bear in mind I’m just a wee fella so I simply can’t manage lugging boxes of records around! ‘Digital’ DJs have access to thousands of tracks during their gigs instead of just dozens like back in the day. However, over the years, the more I actually practiced playing vinyl, the more I loved the feeling. I have been hugely influenced by disco music, and the majority of the records I own are original disco singles. I came to love the ritual of sliding the record out of the sleeve, flipping it to check what side was the A side, and placing it on the spinning platter. This is the exact same process that Studio 54 DJs did in the 70s and 80s. My personal connection with disco music, and that era in general, is strengthened each time I place that needle on the edge. The extra skill, time and dedication it takes to line up a perfect mix is something that is lost on purely digital DJs, I feel. And for all of vinyl’s shortcomings, such as skips, scratches, the weight and the expert knowledge needed to balance the needle properly (many vinyl DJs will know the value of a penny in this case) there is an air of legitimacy and timelessness when you see someone spinning on two 1210s instead of playing MP3s off a USB stick.

is VINYL

Really Better?

Edinburgh-based DJ + Designer

my special records

However, in an age where any DJ worth their salt can edit tracks or create unique bootleg mashup tracks for their crowds (which I certainly enjoy), it seems that despite the resurgence of vinyl in recent years, digital DJing will continue to be the medium of choice for the vast majority.

The Source ft Candi Staton You Got The Love (1986)

Jackie Moore This Time Baby (1979)

Dirty Funker Disco Sucks (2002)

No, this is not the version you are thinking of; not the 90s version which sampled Frankie Knuckles – Your Love, who in turn sampled Elektra – Feels Good (Carrots & Beets). This is the highly obscure and very rare original from 1986, which was never digitally reissued. Not found on any of the streaming sites, nor on any CD (that I know of), this is one of the few records I splashed out on and imported from America (and I think it’s still the best version out there!).

Freemasons and Amanda Wilson had a massive club hit in the mid-noughties with Love On My Mind. This Time Baby was where they got that powerful string sample from.

This was one of the first records I ever bought. A very sexy purple bootleg sampling my favourite Prince song, Controversy. The track ironicly opens up with a sample from ‘the world’s largest anti-disco rally’ following on to a chant of ‘disco sucks,’ which, despite being not true (IMHO), I can’t help to chant along to when I play it!

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This is definitely my most treasured record (I actually have two copies) as it was the favourite song of a very dear friend of mine who passed away. I play it every chance I get.

A truly infectious record with a huge peak-time sound.

CONNECT WITH Lucky @luckylucianouk & www.house-mixes.com/profile/lucky luciano


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INTERVIEW FRENCH ICON

TEN-TIME CÉSAR AWARD NOMINATED ACTRESS

Photos: Larry Horricks

Catherine Frot 1921, NOT FAR FROM PARIS, A PARTY IS BEING HELD AT THE FAMOUS MARGUERITE DUMONT’S MANSION. NOBODY KNOWS MUCH ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS MARGUERITE EXCEPT THAT SHE HAS DEVOTED HER WHOLE LIFE TO HER PASSION: MUSIC. AS SHE TAKES CENTRE STAGE, SHE SINGS ENTHUSIASTICALLY BUT TERRIBLY OUT OF TUNE. WHEN A PROVOCATIVE YOUNG JOURNALIST DECIDES TO WRITE A RAVE ARTICLE ON HER LATEST PERFORMANCE, MARGUERITE STARTS TO BELIEVE EVEN FURTHER IN HER TALENT. THIS GIVES HER THE COURAGE SHE NEEDS TO FOLLOW HER DREAM – TO PERFORM IN FRONT OF A CROWD OF COMPLETE STRANGERS. FEATURING A POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE FROM TEN-TIME CÉSAR AWARD NOMINATED ACTRESS CATHERINE FROT, MARGUERITE IS A TOUCHING AND LIGHTHEARTED FEAST FOR THE EARS. A RUNAWAY SUCCESS IN ITS NATIVE FRANCE, AND FEATURING MUSIC FROM MOZART, BACH AND VIVALDI, MARGUERITE WILL LIVE IN YOUR HEART LONG AFTER THE CREDITS ROLL. a cinemagoer, I think the only films that have generated a similar emotional response to Xavier’s are those of Maurice Pialat. Both film makers have a way of mixing fiction and reality so that the viewer can no longer distinguish one from the other. It is very unnerving. And that’s what I love.

MARGUERITE MARKS YOUR BIG RETURN TO CINEMA AFTER A THREE YEAR ABSENCE. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT? It all began during the previews of Haute Cuisine, which was released in September 2012. I was chatting to the distributor and they told me that they were also releasing Xavier Giannoli’s Superstar. I mentioned that he happened to be one of my favourite French directors and that I had seen both The Singer and In The Beginning and had loved them both. I said that I would love the opportunity to work with Giannoli. He must have got wind of that conversation, because three weeks later I received a first draft of the script for Marguerite. Then everything moved very fast. I invited Xavier to come and see me perform on stage in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. I think that was when it clicked for him. In fact, after the performance, Xavier told me that Winnie could have been Marguerite’s cousin. I knew the film would take a long time to get proper financing because of the cost of the sets, the costumes and the need to recreate the Paris of the 1920s, but I was prepared to wait. I had made many films in recent years, so I was happy to wait and concentrate on the theatre. Xavier kept me regularly updated about the film’s progress. I always knew that

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HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THE PART? Marguerite would be an extraordinary role to play.

THE CHARACTER OF MARGUERITE IS INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS. DID YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HER AND HER OPERATIC VOICE BEFORE READING THE SCRIPT? No. I really discovered this woman and the story of her life when we were making the film. In any case, I didn’t want my contribution to be just pure imitation, especially as this wasn’t a biopic. As far as I’m concerned, Marguerite is not Florence Foster Jenkins, so when it was time to get into character I tried to distance myself from the real person. I wanted to try and get into Xavier’s mind, to understand how he works. As

Xavier sent me a copy of the book The Female Tragedians Of The Opera: From Rose Caron To Fanny Heldy, The Sacred Fire Of The Goddesses Of The Palais Garnier 1875–1939, which was a great source of inspiration to me. The photographs that illustrate this book are referenced in the film and in Marguerite’s appearance as a diva. I also took singing lessons so that I was able to perform Mozart’s Queen Of The Night and Voi Che Sapete and Bellini’s Casta Diva, among others. I learned them all by heart. At first I thought I could just sing them out of tune, but the vocal range was so high that they needed serious technique. I put a lot of pressure on my vocal chords trying to reach those high notes, so Xavier decided that it would be best if my voice were dubbed during certain singing scenes. From there on in I had to master the art of lip-synching. continued>>>

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INTERVIEW FRENCH ICON

WHICH IS HARDER, SINGING IN OR OUT OF TUNE? The hardest is to sing out of tune well; to find beauty in something that’s bad. As Kyril and Lucien rightly say as they leave Marguerite’s private concert at the beginning of the film, “She sings divinely out of tune, sublimely out of tune, wildly out of tune.” Xavier invited me to a session in the studio to appreciate the offkey singing of the person who was dubbing my singing voice for the film. I have great memories of that afternoon.

MARGUERITE IS ABOVE ALL A VERY LONELY WOMAN, REJECTED BY HER HUSBAND Music is her real passion, but it’s also a way for her to fill an emotional void. Her husband talks about her as if she were a monster. “Why does she need to bellow like that?”, he asks his mistress. He even admits that he is ashamed of her. Yet Marguerite is doing all of this for him. She wants him to look at her. Marguerite is naive, and that is why she is such a complex character. Unbeknownst to her, she makes the people around her face up to their own lies. There are those who want to laugh at her and those who are there to use her, but in the end they are the ones who are most touched and most moved. They all end up believing

that she can really achieve her goal, until reality catches up with them on the night of the concert.

“I really discovered this woman and the story of her life when we were making the film. In any case, I didn’t want my contribution to be just pure imitation, especially as this wasn’t a biopic” YOU ARE TRULY IMMERSED IN EMOTION THROUGHOUT THE FILM. IT’S AN AREA THAT YOU HAVEN’T EXPLORED SO MUCH IN YOUR FILM ROLES. YOU ARE BEST KNOWN AS AN ACTOR WHO CAN AMUSE THE AUDIENCE I have acted in film dramas such as Chaos directed by Coline Serreau, The Page Turner by Denis Dercourt and Mark

Of An Angel by Safy Nebbou, but it’s true that Marguerite is different. Xavier wanted all that emotion, and a feeling of unease. I don’t always recognise myself in this film, I look so funny, and yet it’s me. I feel the unfathomable depth of the character and the film. It really touches me.

THE WHOLE FILM SEEMS TO PLAY ON CONTRADICTIONS AND PARADOXES Xavier is one of the few filmmakers I know who is very talented at playing with paradoxes. His film is both funny and tragic, as is the character of Marguerite. She is both alone and surrounded by people, in love and cheated on, sad and full of life. Is she as naive as she appears? Are the other characters as cynical as they seem? These complex ambiguities are what make this film so powerful.

The Financial Times Total Film MARGUERITE IS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FROM ITUNES & OTHER VOD SERVICES NOW

MORE AWESOMENESS things that have landed in our inbox FABULOUS DARLING Outrageous comments, bad behaviour and, of course, the flamboyant outfits. Eddy and Patsy are back in ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ (out now), and to celebrate their partnership, Coca Cola have unveiled limited-edition Diet Coke Absolutely Fabulous themed bottles and cans. And they’re just as fab as you’d imagine, sweetie darling. Inspired by the glitz and glamour of the muchloved comedy, the designs are decorated with a striking image of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the stylish duo, Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone.

And for another excuse to hit the shops... you can also get your hands on limited-edition Diet Coke Absolutely Fabulous 250ml Alu bottles from Liberty London and Boots stores nationwide, whilst stocks last.

FOUR LETTER WORD Four Letter Word presents The Growing Up Issue. Thought provoking, entertaining, affordable luxury. The magazine brings you awesome inclusive content from international contributors, looks at what we, as humans, are made of and examines some lives less ordinary. Media that’s a different kind of space. Check it out! Find out more at theFLW.com @TheFLWMag

THE MTV PRIDE 2016 ‘PARTY MIX’ IS HERE Summer is here. The awesome people at MTV Pride have released the ultimate Pride Party mix. The mix was played from the InterMedia Network float in this year’s Pride in London parade. It features classic songs by Alcazar, Sia, Drake, Destiny’s Child, Zara Larsson, Kylie and Little Mix…and many more awesome songs to give you the summer feeling! Listen to the awesome Party Mix at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/mtv-pride2016-party-mix/

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This Is Me / 61


Out of control Chloe, Games Design student

At Cyrenians we aim to change public perceptions about poverty and those excluded from family, home, work or the wider community. Through the services we provide, we’re supporting people as they make real changes to their lives, and to their futures. We can only continue our vital work with the support of businesses and individuals like you, who want to give something back to their communities. Find out more about how your organisation can make a difference to people like Chloe, and help others on the edge of society fulfil their potential. fundraising@cyrenians.scot

www.cyrenians.scot


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MUSIC

IMANI

WILLIAMS

You’ll already be familiar with Imani Williams’ incredible voice when she featured on Sigala’s chart smash ‘Say You Do’ earlier this year. She’s just released her own debut single ‘Don’t Need No Money’ featuring Sigala and Blonde. it’s awesome! Interview: Thomas Anderson Photo: Robert Gershinson

How would you describe yourself in five words? Bubbly, clumsy, hardworking, friendly and a foody.

Your debut single ‘Don’t Need No Money’ is awesome. We’d love to know more about the song The single features Sigala and Blonde. I’ve worked with Sigala loads and it’s amazing to have a second song out with him. It’s an uptempo, happy song and a great anthem for the summer - if we get one in the UK!

The video looks like it was lots of fun to film It was amazing. I went to LA to film the video, I love LA. I worked with a really amazing team. It was a long day but we got through it.

Is this style of music representative of the songs that will feature on your debut album? I would say my album is going to be a mixture of different things. It’s going to be quite eclectic. There will be lots of pop music on there. I’d describe my sound as anthemic and pop. Pop is such a broad umbrella of genres. There will be lots of different influences and sounds on the album.

How did it feel when you first heard your own song being played on the radio? Wow. It was quite a cool experience. I was in Jamaica shooting the video for ‘Say You Do’ and my manager told me the song was being played on the radio. We stopped shooting and we huddled up

around a phone and listened to the song being played. It was the most amazing feeling.

How did your collaboration with Sigala come about? I’ve been working with Sigala since I was 14 and I signed with management, we have the same managers. We wrote ‘Say You Do’, and then my new single ‘Don’t Need No Money’. I love all of Blonde’s songs too and I’ve wanted to work with them for a while so I was happy to hear they would be featuring on my new single. It turned out great.

“Everyone is really loud and the reaction gives me loads of energy. They’re so fun!” Who would your dream collaboration be? That’s such a hard question. I’ve always said I’d love to work with Tinie Tempah, his melodies are really cool and his flow is sick. The Weeknd are really cool too. If we’re thinking big, Justin Bieber would be amazing.

Is there a song by another artist that you wish you’d written? We always talk about this when I’m in the studio. It’s literally the hardest question you could ask a songwriter. I would have to say ‘Emotions’ by Mariah Carey. It’s a really cool song. She was such a big part of my childhood when I was growing up. Her music inspires me a lot.

TWITTER: @ImaniOfficial | FACEBOOK: /ImaniOfficial | INSTAGRAM: Imani

Who are your musical influences? I’d say a lot of the late 90s and early 00s chart stuff. Like JoJo, TLC, Mariah Carey... the great people. And also Beyonce. I love her, who doesn’t? There was one song I always used to sing into a hairbrush in the mirror to...Crazy In Love. I did the whole walk from the video and pretended I was in the video. It’s such an iconic video now.

You’re performing at various Pride events this summer I’m playing at lots of Pride events this summer. I did Birmingham Pride recently and I’ll be performing at Brighton and Manchester Pride events too...and lots more. I love the vibe of the events. Everyone is really loud and the reaction gives me loads of energy. They’re so fun!

Growing up, did you have the support of your family to follow your musical dreams? Definitely. My mum was the most supportive person in my life. She comes everywhere with me to this day. She has really taught me to work hard for what I want. Seeing her doing the same has really helped and inspired me. Having her honesty, and a good team, are probably two of the most important things I need around me, especially in the music industry.

‘Don’t Need No Money’ is available to download and stream now. Sony Music Entertainment

This Is Me / 63


INTERVIEW ROLE MODEL

INTERVIEW BY THOMAS ANDERSON

JUSTINE SMITHIES Justine Melanie Smithies, 43, is transgender and proud. A wife and mother to three children, she lives in the North East of Scotland in the small coastal village of Cruden Bay just 10 miles south of the white fish port of Peterhead. She works as a marine electronics engineer for local company Woodsons of Aberdeen Ltd. Over the last twelve months Justine has shared her inspiring story across the UK and in the press and has become a role model to many people.

How would you describe yourself in five words? Shy until you know me.

Over the last 12 months you’ve been a visible transgender role model. How did you first get involved with sharing your personal story? Two weeks after my genital reconstruction surgery I was housebound and not allowed out when my son Cameron, who was four days away from his sixteenth birthday, fell from cliffs in our village and sadly passed away. He was a fun loving, dare devil kind of person so I wanted to do something that he would have wanted to do and at the same time to see if I could raise a few pounds for Stonewall Scotland, a charity close to my heart as they help train people from all walks of life on LGBT+ issues. Knowing I hate rollercoasters and would never jump off the top diving board in the pool, I felt the need to do a skydive from 10000 feet as Cameron would have been proud and there if he could. I started to collect sponsorship money, not thinking I’d raise more than £30-50. To my surprise I raised £2300 and 90% came from the fishermen of the North East of Scotland. And they knew what it was for too.

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Anyway, after my skydive, Daniel Aldridge of Stonewall Scotland got in touch and asked if I’d like to speak at their upcoming conference. I immediately said no, as I had never spoken in public before and neither did I want to. I hated my voice and what I had to say wasn’t worth listening to in my eyes. Anyway, after a few conversations he convinced me that I would make a good keynote speaker so I guess I just humored him, and the rest is history! Now I speak at events all over the UK.

It must have been very hard for you to put your thoughts on to paper, and then deliver them to a room full of strangers? It was extremely difficult to try and write a keynote speech. I had never written or felt the need to do so. I was terrified at the thought of delivering my speech in front of 200 plus people. When I actually stood up at the podium I was physically shaking and my voice started to tremble. Even today I still feel the same way but it is not going to stop me. If I can help just one person then all that fear has been worth it.

Just be yourself Why do you think it’s important for you to share your story and journey with others? I think it is very important to show that it can be OK. No matter who you are and how you identify, anything is possible and the world is becoming a more accepting place. Don’t hide away for most of your life as I once did, just be yourself.

How have your friends, family and colleagues reacted to this? My wife Julie rolls her eyes in disbelief every time I say I’ve been asked to speak at another event. Don’t get me wrong, she is extremely proud but she can’t believe how people are interested in hearing about our lives, as we see them as really boring. We’re nobody special and just the same as everyone else. I have an amazing support network around me which includes mine and Julie’s family and our friends of which I have made so many more since transitioning and being more outgoing.

follow justine on twitter @JustineSmithies


RELUCTANT ROLE MODEL

r and he Justine family awesome

(reluctant

)

Role model

Has your relationship with family or friends changed since you transitioned and you’re NOW more visible for your diversity and inclusion work?

Glasgow and Edinburgh which is a long way to go for help. This is the reason that with the help of Cornerstone Scotland I setup Just Be Yourself, an LGBT+ support group. We currently have monthly meetings in Peterhead.

Before I even came out I was very reclusive. I went to work and then came home and looked after my family. I hated myself and became very depressed. I never did simple things like going for a coffee on my own or travelling on a train alone because I felt so socially awkward. So now at the age of 44 I’m only just starting to do things that everyone else has taken for granted throughout their lives. I feel comfortable enough to go and have a coffee alone or fly down to London. I know it sounds silly, but that was my life. So now I’m more outgoing and, friends would say, the life and soul of the party.

We’d love to know more about Just Be Yourself.

You live in A small community and your day-job is in a maledominated environment. Have you received any negativity or experienced transphobia? I have not really had any issues at all. At first some of the fishermen didn’t understand and were wary of me but I didn’t run away and helped to educate them and show them I’m still me - and it basically worked. I’ve made more friends now than I ever had before.

Is there enough support for transgender people, or those who are unsure, in our more rural communities? There is not a lot of support up in this neck of the woods. All the support is based in

The idea came from the lack of support around where I live, and this is true of many LGBT people. I have a website, www.justbeyourself.org.uk and anyone who identifies as LGBT+ is welcome to attend our monthly meetings. We have just started but there are lots of exciting things planned for the future, we need more support so please get in touch.

How does it make you feel when people call you a role model and inspiration? I still feel very embarrassed when people say that as I am really no one special. There are far better inspirational role models out there. I am proud to be called that, it’s just I feel we are all the same.

Did you have any role models growing up? Growing up there weren’t too many trans role models. I did see Prince, Freddie Mercury and The Pet Shop Boys as role models during my teens though. As I was growing up they inspired me by just being themselves and not caring what people thought about their sexuality and style. Around the time of my transition my role models included Sarah Savage, Drew Ashlyn, Lewis Hancox, and Fox Fisher.

discover more at www.justbeyourself.org.uk

Later I looked up to Ayla Holdom who, by just being herself, said it was OK to be yourself at work and be accepted. I think LGBT+ role models are hugely important to everyone by showing people this is what you can achieve and that you really have no need to hide at home or work as anything is possible. Just be yourself.

If you had to pick your single proudest moment from the last 12 months, what would it be? Getting the first standing ovation at the Stonewall Workplace Conference. It was suggested that I don’t speak last as planned and that Therese Proctor from Tesco would read last - so as to not end on a possibly poor speech.

What’s next for you? Who knows? As long as people want me to speak and attend events etc then I’ll keep doing it. I’m not going to stop campaigning for LGBT+ rights and I’m going to make sure that Just Be Yourself is available to support others in the community.

Do you need to chat to someone? www.stonewallscotland.org.uk www.scottishtrans.org www.allabouttrans.org.uk

This Is Me / 65


DIVERSITY FAVOURITES

THE OUT LIST

Photo : baxterphoto.co.uk

THINGS WE LIKE. YOU MAY LIKE THEM TOO

MANCHESTER GOES DRAG-TASTIC FOR GEORGE HOUSE TRUST

POP ‘N’ OLLY MAKE IT EASY TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT DIVERSITY

On 2nd July Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, welcomed the George House Trust’s (GHT) second annual drag ball. Hosted by the vivacious Jonathan Mayor, the evening showcased an array of drag queens. Amongst the entertainment and fundraising Jo Hancock, chair of GHT, spoke about its work and determination to ensure no-one has to face HIV alone and guests heard first-hand experiences of people living with HIV. The event raised over £8,000 for the HIV charity.

Olly Pike produces Pop’n’Olly, a fun, creative and comical online children’s art show and YouTube videos about all things diversity and inclusion that are aimed at children. We’ve been a big fan of his work for a while and have featured lots of his work on our website.

Find out more about George House Trust at ght.org.uk

STONEWALL SCOTLAND LAUNCH THEIR NEW ROLE MODEL GUIDE LGBT charity Stonewall Scotland have published an awesome guide called ‘Role Models - Being Yourself : LGBT lives in Scotland’. In his introduction to the guide, Colin Macfarlane, Director, Stonewall Scotland, says: “Being a role model is a choice other people make for you. It is when they see something in you that resonates, something aspirational, or perhaps very normal. Something that says to them, this is possible, whatever this might be. In this guide you will read some powerful and inspirational stories from people across Scotland. Some of them might strike a chord with you, others might just be interesting stories. Everyone’s role models are different. These are some of ours.” You can download the guide for free at www.stonewallscotland.org.uk/scotland-lgbt-role-models

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He has published two books, ‘Prince Henry’ and ‘Jamie: A transgender fairytale’ - a story of determination, hard work and transition. Speaking about Jamie, Olly said: “We see Jamie at the beginning of the story not quite knowing what is wrong, but just not feeling right in the body he has. However we see over the course of the story, a transition into the person that Jamie always was inside.” Find out more about Pop’n’Olly, download awesome resources and purchase the books at www.popnolly.com

SQIFF RETURNS TO CELEBRATE QUEER FILM The Scottish Queer International Film Festival a.k.a SQIFF returns to Glasgow from 29th September to 2nd October. The festival’s goal is to get people watching, talking about, and making more queer films. The organisers of the not-for-profit festival want to screen movies that people might not otherwise get a chance to see and to create inspiring and informative events while challenging inequality and barriers to accessing the arts. There is sure to be a packed programme of screenings, something for everyone. Find out more and keep updated with all the festival announcements at www.sqiff.org

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# T h i sIsY ou

ALL ABOUT This IsYOU Me

#THISISME IS ALL ABOUT CELEBRATING WHO WE ARE, NO MATTER OUR DIFFERENCES. LABELS ARE FOR CLOTHES, NOT FOR PEOPLE. ALL SMILES RUTH AND DEREK SAY #THISISME Members of Scottish Parliament support our launch

Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution at Scottish GOVERNMENT, SNP

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE #THISISME BOARD FROM WWW.INCLUSIVENETWORKS.CO.UK/THISISME, TWEET US USING THE HASHTAG #THISISMEUK OR EMAIL YOUR PICS TO HELLO@INCLUSIVENETWORKSUK.CO.UK YOU MAY FEATURE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF #THISISME!

find out more about #thisisme at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk

Ruth Davidson MSP, Leader of the scottish conservative & unionist party

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This Is Me / 67


WE HOPPED ON THE VENGABUS WITH THE

VENGABOYS

PRIDE 2016

WITH HATE CRIMES AROUND THE UK RISING AND SO MANY HORRIFIC ATROCITIES AGAINST MINORITY GROUPS HAPPENING AROUND THE GLOBE, LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER (LGBT+) PRIDE FESTIVALS FEEL EVEN MORE VITAL. THE EVENTS ARE COLOURFUL CELEBRATIONS OF DIVERSITY AND A TIME TO REMEMBER THE PROGRESS MADE AROUND EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LGBT+ PEOPLE AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO PUT CURRENT CHALLENGES ON THE RADAR OF MORE PEOPLE. IN THE LATE 90s AND EARLY 00s THEY WERE RIDING HIGH IN THE CHARTS, ACHIEVING SEVEN UK TOP10 HIT SINGLES, INCLUDING THE HUGE NO1 HITS ‘BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM’ AND ‘WE’RE GOING TO IBIZA’ AND TWO TOP10 ALBUMS.

our producers…Whatever they write and produce, there’s always this gay thing about it. IF YOU COULD BE TELEPORTED BACK TO 1999 IS THERE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO YOUR 1999 SELVES?

YOU’VE PLAYED LOTS OF UK LGBT PRIDE EVENTS OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. WHY DO YOU ENJOY PLAYING AT THESE EVENTS?

KIM: That’s an awesome question! We would say keep on doing what you’re doing. It made us who we are today and we are very happy with that. Oh, and say yes to the proposal Madonna made us back ROBIN: We’re very fortunate to get in 2001 to cowrite an album with so much love from the global gay her. community. We would be nowhere without our gay fans. We realise DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL we’re very lucky to live in such FAVOURITE VENGABOYS TRACK? an open society as the Netherlands. We’ve played Pride events KIM: It’s a close call between in Eastern Europe where we and ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’, ‘We’re our friends had to face anti-gay Going to Ibiza’ and ‘We Like To protests. We still don’t understand Party!’. Even though the first two why somebody should oppose were number one hits in the UK, something personal like your I think the latter is our all time sexuality. Donny and I are out and Vengaboys party favorite. When proud! For sure we will be back we perform this song on stage the at one or more LGBT events this crowd goes totally mad. summer. Be sure to check out our tour schedule on Facebook or our we like website. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC IS SO POPULAR WITH THE LGBT COMMUNITY? DENISE: Hahaha…There’s something strange going on with

68 / This Is Me

to party!

The Vengaboys are playing shows around the world throughout 2016. See if there’s a show near you at www.vengaboys.com

20TH AUGUST

WARWICKSHIRE PRIDE www.warwickshirepride.co.uk 20TH - 21ST AUGUST

FREE PRIDE, GLASGOW

www.facebook.com/freeprideglasgow 20TH - 21ST AUGUST

GLASGOW PRIDE www.pride.scot

26TH - 29TH AUGUST

MANCHESTER PRIDE www.manchesterpride.com 28TH AUGUST

SOUTHAMPTON PRIDE www.southamptonpride.org 3RD SEPTEMBER

LEICESTER PRIDE www.leicesterpride.com 3RD SEPTEMBER

READING PRIDE

www.readingpride.co.uk 17TH SEPTEMBER

CUMBRIA PRIDE, CARLISLE www.cumbriapride.org

23RD - 25TH SEPTEMBER

BOLTON PRIDE

www.boltonpride.co.uk 1ST OCTOBER

CHESTER PRIDE

www.chesterpride.co.uk

WHAT EVENTS WILL YOU BE ATTENDING THIS SUMMER?


ARE YOU A FAN OF DATING APPS?

FINDING YOUR PERFECT MATCH Juliette Prais, Founder of Pink Lobster Dating, and Emma Ziff, Director of Pink Lobster Matchmaking, talk dating apps If people are really shy they can go on an app and feel like they can have some sort of connection. Whether or not the person on the other side is real is another thing. We have heard that on some apps up to 80% of the users aren’t real - with some sites setting up fake accounts or paying people to be users - and in some cases ‘robots’ replying to messages. Dating apps can be fun though, but lots of people see them as a bit of a game as well. We don’t like the ‘swiping’ apps like Tinder as they dismiss people purely on their looks and it’s like you’re trashing people for the littlest things. There are more apps popping up that can be a bit more personal. Tinder is a very visual app which we’re very much against. There are apps where you need to have a mutual friend on Facebook - which is more positive as it’s a little deeper. On apps there’s a much bigger number of people visible and it’s quite easy to get excited thinking there are thousands of people to choose from. Some people may think that’s a good thing. But lots of those users will be fake and, of the ones left, are they on the apps for the

same reason as you, or just for a laugh or purely sex? Apps can open up the dating scene to people who live in the middle of nowhere, and can’t get to events easily. As apps are often completely free, with premium upgrades available on many, a lot of people go on them for a laugh with their friends, with no intention of ever using it for its real purpose - and often to make fun of other users. It’s very easy to set up a profile, without any checks or verification from the people behind the apps. They are literally open to anyone. As gay women, we’re really concerned about people going on the apps and being exposed in a way they have little control over. What if someone was at university and still in the closet? Their profile is there for the world to see. We hear of people taking screen shots of profiles and sharing them across other social media platforms. There is a risk people can be outed to their friends, family and colleagues - and they have no control over this, other than not using the app or having a

profile with no image. Most of these free apps have no levels of safety built in to them, leaving the users very vulnerable. A lot of apps now are connected to Facebook and they say that’s their security check, but we all know anyone can set up a Facebook account and upload any image they choose. How many notifications have you seen about fake accounts or people ‘stealing’ other users identities on Facebook? Facebook is not secure. We prefer apps that are connected with an established website where you have to enter lots more personal information. Although these are vulnerable too. Remember the big news story about the Ashley Madison website hack, exposing thousands of users’ data for the world to see? It’s brilliant that we live in a world where there are lots of ways we can meet people, but sometimes there is too much choice. We hear all the time that people are becoming fed up of dating apps and looking at more real, face-to-face ways to meet new people. We feel everything in life comes in full circle.

If you choose to use dating apps, here are a few tips. They may also be handy if you’re dating FACE-TO-FACE

1If you’re using dating apps we’d recommend 4 Only ever meet someone in a public place. you didn’t invest too much time getting connected in the virtual world. If you strike up a positive connection with someone, arrange to meet the other person as soon as possible in a safe place that you know.

2 Speak on the phone before you actually meet face-to-face. By speaking to them on the phone you’ll quickly find out if you have an actual connection with them. After the call you may decide a date is no longer of interest to you, or them.

3 Be careful what number you give out in the

first instance. You don’t want them ringing your home landline - things could get tricky if the date doesn’t go to plan (or you live with other people). If you’re serious about dating and finding a partner, we recommend having a dating mobile. Buy a cheap mobile and keep it completely separate. Worse case scenario and you receive calls and texts you really don’t want, you can change your SIM or phone quite easily.

Tell a friend or family member where you’re meeting too. Your safety should be your number one priority.

5 Ask your date for their full name and Google

them. Obviously don’t tell them you’re doing this. You’ll soon see if they’re a real person. You’d expect to see something about them even a link to their social media profiles.

8 Keep the date informal and short. Coffee

dates are always good and if you don’t click and they’re not for you (or vice versa), then you’ve only wasted half an hour and you can move on. Lesbians especially love very long dates. We’ve had women come to us and say their date was ten hours long (that’s not including any sex) - far too long. If you spend too much time with the person, you’re not left with the exciting feeling of finding out more about them.

9 6 Check out their social media accounts. If you If the first coffee date went well and you can see their posts, Twitter being more visible, you’ll get a sense of what type of person they are and what their interests are too. This may help with conversation starters too.

7 Be prepared for the person you’re meeting to

look a bit different than they do in the photos they may have shared with you. We all like to share our best photos but lighting and angles can have a big effect on how we look. They may be using an old photo too - we’ve all done it!

www.pinklobsterdating.com | @femmedating

choose to meet again, do something fun, and something you’d want to do anyway. Whether it’s going to an exhibition, a walk, a music concert...then even if things don’t develop further, you’ve done something you want to do and you haven’t wasted any time.

10 It’s not about the money. Do something

that’s free. Dating can be very expensive. Going for a dinner on a date is the worst thing you can do! You don’t want to see someone eating, it’s very formal, you’re stuck in one place...and who pays?

This Is Me / 69


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LISTINGS HANDY GUIDE

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To get listed, email us at hello@ inclusivenetworksuk.co.uk and we’ll be in touch.

70 / This Is Me

LOOKING FOR A JOB

LOOKING FOR A JOB

THINGS TO DO

CONTRACTS IT A specialist technology recruitment agency offering a unique and integrated approach to IT staffing for the corporate and public sector around the globe. www.contractsit.com

R U COMING OUT Real life coming out stories from LGBT+ people. www.rucomingout.com

EDINBURGH GAY MEN’S CHOIR A fun, supportive, social group for gay men that also raises funds and awareness for local charities and causes. Representing our community through song and giving gay men an opportunity to express themselves. www.egmc.co.uk

DIVERSITY JOBS Connects people to employers who place high importance on a mixed staff population. www.diversityjobs.co.uk

CHARITIES ACTION FOR CHILDREN They speak out fearlessly on behalf of children, and work to make sure they have the love, support and opportunity they need to reach their potential. www.actionforchildren.org.uk ALBERT KENNEDY TRUST Supports LGBT+ homeless young people in crisis. www.akt.org.uk ALL ABOUT TRANS Positively changing how the media understands and portrays transgender people. Stories, media interactions, resources and support. www.allabouttrans.org.uk CANCER RESEARCH Fund scientists, doctors and nurses to help beat cancer sooner. They also provide cancer information to the public. www.cancerresearchuk.org DITCH THE LABEL One of the UK’s largest, most ambitious and pioneering anti-bullying charities. www.ditchthelabel.org GEORGE HOUSE TRUST Based in Manchester, the charity provides services to people living with, and affected by, HIV. www.ght.org.uk LGBT FOUNDATION A national charity delivering a wide range of services to LGBT+ communities. www.lgbt.foundation MERMAIDS UK Family and individual support for teenagers and children with gender identity issues. www.mermaidsuk.org.uk MIND Extensive collection of information about mental health and related topics. Mind is a national UK charity with many regional branches. www.mind.org.uk

SAMARITANS The charity to contact when you need someone to speak to, at any time day or night. There’s no waiting lists, and no assessments. www.samaritans.org STEPHEN LAWRENCE CHARITABLE TRUST Supporting young people to transform their lives, overcoming disadvantage and discrimination and into ambitious careers as professionals. www.stephenlawrence.org.uk STONEWALL Campaigns for the equality of LGBT people across Britain. www.stonewall.org.uk THE PETER TATCHELL FOUNDATION Seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally. www.petertatchellfoundation.org The charities featured on this page have not been charged to feature in our first issue.

GORGIE CITY FARM A free-entry community owned initiative that aims to educate inner city children and adults about farming and food production. They also aim to promote social inclusion by providing volunteering opportunities for all. 51 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh EH11 2LA. Tel: 0131 337 4202 www.gorgiecityfarm.org.uk

SERVICES BLACK LIGHT Provides a comprehensive range of light, stage, sound and AV services. Whatever your project requirements, our team of professionals can help. www.black-light.com


PART OF OUR FAMILY

Let’s celebrate together

w. www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk t. @IncNetworks f. /InclusiveNetworks


#ThisIsMe Issue 1  

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