Woman Crush Wednesday – October Roundup

Woman Crush Wednesday – The October Roundup

Every Wednesday on The B-Line’s Instagram I share a post on who I am loving following on social media at the moment. And here I am doing the first ever roundup from the past month of who featured and why.

So let’s introduce this random bunch of awesome women. Check back every month for more inspiring women doing weird and wonderful things. 

Baddie Winkle

  • 3.2million followers on Instagram
 

It’s all good 🌈🦋🌼

A post shared by 💞 BADDIE 💞 (@baddiewinkle) on

Baddie is bad aaassss. She has inspired a huge social media following with her unique sense of style. She wears what she wants, looks incredible doing it and never stops having fun travelling the world showcasing her iconic looks. Baddie even had a campaign with Missguided in the UK last year. Her fresh attitude towards dressing in your later years teaches us to never lose our sense of individuality and to remember: you can wear whatever you feel – whatever your age or size. It’s your body after all, so express yourself how you feel is right.

Jessie Ware

  • 226,000 followers on Instagram

 

 

When I realised I was being photographed for a men’s mag 🤣

A post shared by Jessie Ware (@jessieware) on

Jessie is class, sophistication, outspoken and talented, topped off with a down-to-earth sense of humour. 

Everyone loves music and everyone has their own connection with it – Jessie’s songs come straight from the heart. If you ever need to get in touch with your emotions put on some Jessie Ware and you’re there! Her new album Glasshouse saw her work through becoming a mum and in her own words:

The past couple of years have been eye opening and intense. Wild highs and nerve-wracking lows. I started a record, decided to become a mother, and then kind of restarted the record. This became Glasshouse. 

I’m now looking forward to seeing Jessie in March 2018 at the O2 in Newcastle (tickets arrived this week!) Having never seen her live before I’m looking forward to her chatty approach to connecting with the audience and unbelievable vocals!

Malala

  • Not on Insta – don’t worry about it she doesn’t need to be.

woman crush wednesday

This was a special #WomanCrushWednesday as it happened to also fall on #internationaldayofthegirl. As someone who has done so much for girls all over the globe there was no one better than Malala for this special edition. Earlier that week Malala started her course at Oxford University with a powerful message to girls everywhere: 

5 years ago I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls’ education. Today I attend my first lectures at Oxford.

It’s so important to remember there are girls in every country of the world that do not have equal opportunities to other girls elsewhere or their male counterparts. Malala does her best to remind people of that and work towards change for the better.

Polly Nor

  • 774,000 followers on Instagram
 

Long days & Short Nights

A post shared by POLLY NOR (@pollynor) on

Polly’s artwork explores the secret world of women and their inner demons. Sounds interesting right? Ohh it is interesting! Think drawings of women unzipping their skin to reveal their inner demons carrying out their private habits (check it out!). Polly’s work is now turning into a cult movement with a clothing line and fans even committing to getting tattoos of her artwork. 

I haven’t gone that far myself but I do now own the tshirt. Probably going to invest in a printed illustration at some point too. And would love to visit one of her interactive exhibitions. But no tattoos. Yet. 

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Career Crush: Travel, Work and Friendship

The summer time for many people means that the holiday you booked and planned months in advance is finally near. You get to go out and purchase new swimwear, research the best beaches and finalise your travel itinerary. 

We do this because let’s face it; work sucks. Holidays are when you switch off the work email and have fun with friends. But what if your holiday was your job, and your work colleague was your best mate? And you basically got paid to travel? Whaaaaaat?

Well that’s what Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman, or Tash and Dev as they call themselves, have achieved with absolute perfection, with their blog and brand, A Bikini A Day

A Bikini A Day Back Story 

It doesn’t sound like it was much of a rough starting point to the average girl living in the North East England as such, but it’s definitely a small-time to big-time success story. So, Tash and Dev were living and working in Hawaii shooting look books and videos for local swimwear brands. Sounds like a pretty good job so far, right?

Then they went travelling but kept their connections with the swimwear brands and started sharing pictures wearing said bikinis on the relatively new social network, Instagram. They took this simple idea and turned it into a fully fledged blog with travel and swimwear related content and named it, A Bikini A Day. Amassing a huge following this hobby quickly became a full-time job for both women.

A Day in the Bikini Life

OK so a comparison here would be helpful…

My social media: A snap of my lunch, quick video of my dogs and possibly a picture of my trip to the gym for good measure. 

Their social media: exclusive fashion party in the Hamptons, photoshoot on a beach in Turks and Caicos and definitely boat trips off the Amalfi coast. (I would love to share tons of their pictures but can’t because they aren’t my pics to share! – So head to their Instagram here or I have embedded a few Tweets of theirs throughout). 

This might make some people envious or slightly irritated. But these women are always working. The difference is they have managed to carve a career out of doing something they love and other people want too. In Tash’s own words:

“It’s a full-time, all-consuming job to be constantly creating content.” – Harpers Bazaar, 2016

Moral of the story is: find something you love and turn it into something that’s useful to other people too. 

A Blog that Works

With an endless stream of the type of share-worthy content everyone loves; from bikini reviews and healthy recipes, to the best suncreams and stylish beach bags, A Bikini A Day is a blog designed to fuel the ultimate traveller day dream. 

Starting out as photographers and bloggers themselves, Tash and Dev have continued to shoot and edit their own blog content, even with an audience well into the millions, located all across the globe. 

Making Waves

Tash and Dev now have their own bikini brand; Monday Swimwear. The reason for the name..?

“Because when you’re in a bikini on a Monday, you’re having a good day.” – Monday Swimwear

Fair play. As bikini experts they have managed to source the best fabrics in mix and match shapes and sizing to suit a variety of body shapes (only up to size 16 though I would mention as a downfall). But I really want one. They price at around £120 though, so this is unlikely for me. They also launched an activewear range; Monday Active and have multiple design collaborations with brands including Guess, Revolve and over in the UK, Missguided

Travel and Life Inspiration

If you’re looking for travel inspiration, or even if you have just booked a holiday, don’t forget to check in with A Bikini A Day blog as they have lots of tips for the best products for skin and hair protection in the sun as well as unique places to visit. Plus, if you have started working on a project with a friend that you love, just look at how it’s turned out for Tash and Dev – anything is possible. Dream big, work hard and have fun.

This Girl Can – and Phenomenal Women Will

Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign sparked a conversation a year ago that hasn’t stopped. It returned to our TV screens and social media a week ago and is already having phenomenal impact – especially with it’s new message to women; that it’s OK to start again. 

You’ve got two burpees left and your legs feel like two planks of wood, but you’re not stopping when every single person at the bootcamp is screaming your name. You sit down at the leg press machine at the gym and today, you’re going to push yourself a little more, so you move the metal pin down a notch pressing the heaviest weights you ever have *smug face. There’s never enough hours in the day, but a quick run around the block is better than nothing at all, so you go for it and with your short window, you actually achieve a personal best… 

This Girl Can

Lydia, 29, hated P.E., loves roller derby.

This Girl Can – but how do you get there?

Working out can fill you with an enormous sense of pride and achievement, but what about if you stop? When you stop for a week, a week can easily become a month and a few months all of sudden can become a year. The impending doom felt walking back into that class, gym or just stepping out solo on the tarmac, is enough to weigh heavy on anyone’s shoulders. Quite frankly, it’s awful. 

I used to go to dance school three or four times a week plus doing sports at school. During uni and my working life I’ve tried a few different things; I tried the gym and even going to dance classes again. But the gym was a whole new world of intimidating machinery and dancing felt embarrassing as I couldn’t do anything I was able to do all those years ago. Group classes at the gym were tough and without even a basic fitness level, (I smoke cigarettes and drink wine like it’s water) I started telling myself I needed to go to the gym alone before starting again at a group class, just to make sure I could do it (excuses, excuses). 

This Girl Can – and it’s OK to feel nervous

When I looked into the latest campaign for This Girl Can, I was actually relieved to see so many other people shared this feeling of anxiety about getting back into working out (not that I want people to feel anxious, but it’s nice to know you’re not alone).

“Many of the women we’ve featured talk about stopping, then starting again. It can feel like the hardest thing in the world to return after a few weeks off, when you fear you’ve lost ground or fitness, but we want to surface this as a discussion point, to say it’s normal to take a break, but that needn’t stop you for good.”

 – Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, Feb 2017

This year, I have a motivating factor that I’m getting married and I just want to be fitter and healthier. So I’ve started learning kickboxing, because I need something that keeps me focused on learning something new (running on a treadmill is mind-numbing to me). My partner and I also do a weekly strength and conditioning session together with our trainer. Plus, I’m starting to get into weights more at the gym in my own time. 

So I’ve finally found my way back to sport and more than anything I feel like me again. I always considered myself a busy and active person, and now I really am, plus I’m aiming to be the fittest I’ve ever been. Because, why not? 

This Girl Can

This Girl Can – and she’s going to make waves

Sport England has returned with it’s latest advert for the This Girl Can campaign to keep the positive momentum going and to continue to inspire and connect with a female audience – because believe it or not there is still a big gender gap in sport participation. 

“…the job is far from done. With a gender gap of 1.73 million fewer women playing sport compared to men, we need to keep getting the message out there that women come in all shapes and sizes and levels of ability, and they should all feel able to exercise and play sport.”

– Sport England chief executive Jennie Price, Jan 2016

This year, the target age demographic has widened; originally targeting 14-40 year olds, this year’s campaign focuses on 14-60 year olds. If the success of the original campaign is anything to go by, with a whopping 2.8 million women saying they did more sporting activity as a result of the campaign, (Sport England, Feb 2017) then this year’s is set to inspire even more, including that older demographic.

this girl can

Sue, 67, cold water gives her a buzz.

Just check out 67-year-old Sue who enjoys cold water swimming (!) To overcome the anxiety of getting back into something, or even starting something new, maybe consider what motivates you to be active then find the right activity to suit your lifestyle – there’s so much out there to choose from! There’s everything from aerial trapeze to rave trampolining, but cold water swimming is absolutely not for me. I couldn’t possibly think of anything much worse, but props to anyone that chooses to do this! 

This Girl Can – and nothing will stop her

Personally, I have always whinged about going to fitness classes. My mum used to tell me as she pushed me towards the car, “you’ll be fine when you get there” (a phrase that covered a multitude of foot-stomping situations, see also: ‘getting to school when feeling sick’). But I always was fine. In fact, I was more than fine, I was really happy. So take the advice from my mum, because ‘Mum knows best’ and tell yourself, ‘you’ll be fine when you get there.’ Then you can feel extra surprised when you feel phenomenal when you’re done. 

This Girl Can – watch the full advert

 Click to watch the full 2017 This Girl Can advert from Sport England.

Featuring words by Maya Angelou and soundtrack by Beth Ditto. 

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Three New Lady Adverts – Two Epic Fails & One Winner

When brands try to be ‘down with women’.

Back in the day it used to be cringe-worthy when brands tried to be down with the kids, but today I feel like we are in for an onslaught of brands trying to be down with women. Brace yourselves; this could get uncomfortable.

I saw three different brand adverts in the last couple of weeks that are getting in on the issue of the misrepresentation of women in the media. On a positive note, two thumbs go way up to big brands stepping out of their comfort zone and raising this subject. However, it also shows some brands haven’t quite got their heads around this utterly mind-boggling issue of the diversity of women yet.

 

Wrangler – More than a Bum

Yes, that’s the strapline; ‘more than a bum’. So many times in my life I have looked at my pair of jeans and said “you know what? I am more than my butt!” Finally, Wrangler has come along and addressed this burning issue that’s been affecting women globally for decades. OK, so you may detect a hint of sarcasm.

I actually watched this advert twice in a row the first time, because I couldn’t quite believe this was what a world leading brand, a group of professionals at the top of their game and what I would imagine would have required a lot of time and money, had produced. I started out with mild interest – a brand trying to talk to women – cool. Then the confusion quickly set in. The advert shows women in varied job roles and lifestyles – good, but then the background song is lots of women saying ‘bum’ repeatedly. And then they show close ups of women’s bums. I’m actually giggling a bit as I write this because I envision someone in a boardroom pitching this idea and somehow everyone looking at each other and nodding, ‘yes, this is it’, ‘this is the winner’. REALLY?!

I do feel bad for Wrangler as well though because people really went to town on them for this. Wrangler has tried to make a change, take a stance on a hot issue and unfortunately mixed its messaging in the process. It got so bad they have actually been accused of being sexist – the complete opposite of what they were aiming to achieve.

Having read their media statements (they had to issue statements because everyone was so ‘WTF?!’) I can at least see how their thinking started out. They wanted to move away from traditional jeans industry advertising approach, which for many years has focused on women’s figures, and so that’s how they arrived at ‘more than a bum’. However maybe they shouldn’t have actually used this SO LITERALLY in the advert, and continuously zoomed in on bums, and said bum. A lot. Bum, bum, bum, you’re more than a bum, here’s a bum, bum, there’s a bum. Bum.

Fingers crossed they get it right next time. Don’t give up Wrangler, you can do it!

Or Click Here to watch it on YouTube. 

Always – Rewrite the Rules

Next, here comes Always. Now this may be because it’s the advert that I see most frequently, quite regularly in fact, but I REALLY dislike this advert. At least Wrangler’s was laughable. There are two versions I have seen for this campaign now, one features a goalkeeper and another features a DJ – the premise being that having your period shouldn’t hold you back from doing the things you love. OK so far; you can see how having excellent sanitary products would be beneficial in either of these situations. But it’s what is said in the advert.

Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe says: “Because I’m a woman, do you think I’m going to crack under pressure or conquer the field?”

Well, personally Stephanie I wouldn’t think either of those things based on you being a woman.

DJ Pheobe D’Abo says: “As a woman, I can either step aside or step up the game.”

No Pheobe, you don’t even have to consider stepping aside just because you’re a woman, who told you that? Always, probably…

And then there’s the strapline: “Defy expectations. Rewrite the rules.” So, Always is suggesting that people expect women to crack under pressure and then probably just step aside. But with the right sanitary product you might just surprise people! *Facepalm*.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more said about this one to be honest…? It’s also such a shame as their previous ‘Like a Girl’ campaign hit all the right notes. 

 

H&M – She’s a Lady

Finally is the advert for H&M’s Autumn Collection 2016, which has actually received really positive feedback. Phew! The advert challenges society’s depiction of what makes ‘a lady’ and ‘ladylike’ behaviour.

The advert features lesbians, armpit hair, a trans woman, a muscular woman and lots more people and actions not normally associated with advertising, but very much associated with normal, everyday life.

Using this kind of imagery in a major ad campaign makes women feel proud and free, and for many women it’s the first time they have actually been able to identify with someone featured in a media campaign. Personally, I actually feel relaxed watching this advert, whereas with the Always and Wrangler adverts I feel my hands creeping up over my eyes!

Unfortunately H&M still has a long way to go with being completely sincere promoting an issue like this, especially considering the recent reports of exploitation of their factory workers.

 

Real Women For Reals

As brands try and find their feet in this scary new world of real women that don’t all look the same, think the same or want the same things in life, let’s hope it is a change that is here to stay. I hope it’s not just a fashionable topic that will also go out of fashion, because for women it’s real life. Dove made a bold statement in its advertising and hasn’t looked back. Other brands probably look at Dove as owning that conversation, but there are many different ways of taking steps forward. Brands: just be clear on the messaging, practice the ethics as a company as well as in advertising and hopefully you won’t hit a ‘bum’ note. WAHEY!

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S FIGHT CLUB

First rule of fight club? Everyone talks about fight club, especially when it plays out on social media.

It’s International Women’s Day and today of all days has seen several celebrity women get into a scathing Twitter spat. Whyyyyyyy????

This combined with other stories recently in the media has meant I have come to the conclusion that society just can’t get its head around a woman being openly sexual whilst also being smart and someone who should be taken seriously in their chosen profession. To me, this sounds like a joke when you say it out loud, but you can find examples of it occurring daily.

What’s more disappointing is seeing women make cutting remarks about other women publicly. In my opinion a woman should be free to do what she wants with her life and her career, as long as it makes her happy. However the constant sideways remarks will only promote that there must be an ideal woman, an accepted woman that we should all strive to be. But who is she? And isn’t that confusing to young girls still trying to work out who they are?

I particularly dislike the attitude that one woman’s success is seen as less admirable than another’s, which can only be based on subjective opinion and for some reason its acceptable to then tear this woman down – even if she’s at the top of her game.

Case in point: Kim Kardashian West tweets a nude photo – and two well-known female celebrities tweet disparaging comments. Kim is famous for her body; she has made a lot of money being positioned as one of the sexiest women in the world – this is her brand. However, Kim has also made even more money with her recent app developments. This move has made her a leading entrepreneur in the technology industry. Her endorsements, her products and her businesses are all based around beauty and sexiness – it would be bad business if the woman decided to not show her body. So why not just say ‘good for her’ and let her get on with it? If you don’t like it, don’t follow her social media accounts. But let’s not forget she is an incredibly successful woman who works hard every day for her success, and is also a wife and mother – and in my opinion that is something to be admired, not belittled.

OK so Kim Kardashian West may not be everyone’s ideal role model – but that’s just the point – there is no ideal role model. Whoever said we had to subscribe to being one type of woman is stuck in the past.   If you want to read some positive, business related press on Kim Kardashian West, then take a look at the below links. Then get over her nude selfie and get on with pursuing your own goals in life.

The most important point is to communicate that a woman can be who she wants to be, and we should applaud one another for our diversity – where one woman can be an astronaut another can be nude model – and that’s OK! The model doesn’t need to throw shade at the astronaut and the astronaut doesn’t need to put down the model – they can even be friends! What’s more, the astronaut could also be a model in her down time. Even though the media and society is obsessed with putting people in boxes, you shouldn’t have to hide femininity and sexuality to be seen as a serious or smart, and vice versa.

PEACE! Happy International Women’s Day.

  • Kim Kardashian West is interviewed at Re/code’s Code Mobile. Click to watch.
  • Article showing two different perspectives on Kim Kardashian West as a business leader. Click to read.