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Retro Tight Sweat by Andrea Barber

March 21, 2017

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Equality Is Tight

March 7, 2017

“Intersectional Feminism is the view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation and ethnicity.” Intersectional feminism was term introduced by…

“Intersectional Feminism is the view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation and ethnicity.”

Intersectional feminism was term introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It explains that feminism does not represent just one view and that we need to listen to and acknowledge the lived experiences of everyone. Check out our Reading List for some helpful articles that break down intersectional feminism and explain just how fucking necessary it is.

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fucking equality baby

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first ever Tight Town Hall. Inspired by International Women’s Day and fuelled by the desire for social change, our community came together to discuss intersectional feminism, privilege, the power of art, micro practices, and larger actions that we can incorporate into our daily lives. Facilitated by Keighty Gallagher, Gowa Kong and Kate Lollar with a special performance of the Women’s Warrior Song by Jody Okabe, the evening was filled with meaningful dialogue that continued after the event ended.

We want to acknowledge that organizing this event was a learning experience. We are not experts, nor are our panel of creatives (to which we didn’t want to use the word ‘panel’ as we really wanted the conversation to be about the audience). We were NOT as inclusive or intersectional as we should be. But we will do better. We have to do better.

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the event. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out their interviews below.

Stay tuned for more information and follow up events.

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INTERVIEWS

Rachel Ricketts is a writer, grief coach, death doula and founder of loss&found – an online platform supporting folks through loss and grief of all forms. As a loss sur-thriver and self-proclaimed recovering lawyer, she’s merged her love of advocacy with her passion for helping others in their most dire time of need. Rachel loves donuts, dancing and all things meta-physical. Follow her @lossandfoundxo.

Joy Pecknold is the Western Editor of FASHION Magazine, a freelance writer, and Tight Club’s resident comedian. Follow her @joypecknold

Beth Richards is the founder and creative director of Beth Richards Swimwear. Inspired by the Bardot era of beach culture, Beth took it upon herself to change the way women feel about swimwear by challenging the world’s idea of beauty and providing confidence and empowerment “one-piece” at a time. Follow her @bethrichardsswimwear

Tracy Ho is the College Relations & Membership Outreach Coordinator of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU). Follow her @tray_ho

Pippa Mackie is a Vancouver-based actor/writer/producer who has written and performed in a award winning plays, and starred in feature films and television shows. Follow her @pippamackie

Gillian Damborg is the Creative Director at Luvo Inc and a Musician (Sunshine, Jody Glenham and the Dreamers). Follow her @gilly_bean

Maggie Boyd is a ceramic artist based who makes and teaches pottery for community members. She illustrated one of the tshirts and made a Tight Club Mix in honour of the event. Follow her @maggieboydceramics

Chantelle La Violette is a maker of all trades who hand-embroidered our Equality Is Tight Tshirts. Follow her @channylavie

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100% OF THE PROCEEDS DONATED

A special thanks to Maggie, Chantelle and Beth. Three limited edition t-shirts were sold at Tight Club with 100% of the proceeds going to charity.

The Censor Graphic Tee was a part of Beth’s debut collection in 2012 for the girl with a rebel heart. All proceeds will be donated to Planned Parenthood, a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. 

All proceeds from Maggie’s illustrated tees will go towards UNYA (Urban Native Youth Association), a registered not-for-profit, Canadian charitable organization that addresses Indigenous youth concerns. This local charity is helping Vancouver’s Indigenous youth explore their personal goals in a fun, safe and healthy environment. 

All proceeds from Chantelle’s hand-embroidered tees will be donated to One Girl Can, a registered charity based in Vancouver that provides educational opportunities for girls living in highly marginalized areas of Africa. Since 2008, One Girl Can has been working directly with the schools and communities in Uganda and Kenya, building and rehabilitating schools, funding secondary and university scholarships, and empowering students through ongoing mentorship. 

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READING LIST

The Grief Inherent in Being Black and Feminist by Rachel Ricketts

How to Survive in Intersectional Feminist Spaces 101

Befriending Becky: On the Imperative of Intersectional Feminism

Why Our Feminism Must be Intersectional (and 3 ways to practice it)

A Frank Talk With Jessa Crispin About Why Modern Day Feminism Is Full Of Shit 

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VANCOUVER ORGANIZATIONS

Thank you to Charlotte Kingston of the BCCLA who attended the Tight Town Hall and provided the contact information for the organizations below.

The BC Civil Liberties Association is Canada’s oldest and most active human rights and civil liberties organization. They work in the courtroom, the classroom, and in the streets to achieve greater equality, liberty, and justice.  Last year they had more than 30 active court cases, organized 40+ public events, appeared before Parliament dozens of times, and shared legal and know your rights guides with 10,000+ people.

They love volunteers, and are currently looking to pair up with some creative folks to design some new swag. Find us at www.bccla.org or email Nathanel@bccla.org to talk volunteer and/or donation opportunities.

Union of BC indian Chiefs 

UBCIC is a leading actor in the fight to protect BC’s Coast and stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Become a Coast Protector here.

Aboriginal Front Door Society

Restoring respect, dignity, and pride for Aboriginal peoples. Donate or volunteer at www.abfrontdoor.com/

PACE Society and WISH drop-in centre 

Providing support and transition services to sex workers in the downtown eastside. As many sisters and mothers continue to go missing, these organizations provide frontline support.

Carnegie Community Action Project 

Works mostly on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver so that the area can remain a low income friendly community. As residents of the neighbourhood, it would be great to see Tight Club members working to ensure there is still space in the community for low-income residents.

No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories 

Support for migrants, and the end to immigration detention in this country.

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre 

The mission of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for women from all walks of life, who live and/or work in the Downtown Eastside.  To achieve this goal, the Centre provides supportive surroundings with meals, counseling, advocacy and programs which nurture and empower members. Hosts of the 26th year running Women’s Memorial March. If you came out for the women’s march, consider marching in this important memorial march for women lost in the DTES which happens annually on February 14th.

Sanctuary Health 

Seek to collaborate with communities and service providers in the Coast Salish Territories (Greater Vancouver) to create safer access to services for all people based on need rather than status. Working to make public institutions safe for undocumented people or those with vulnerable immigration statuses by working to ensure that teachers, doctors, and municipal police officers are serving residents, rather than handing over individuals to Canada Border Services.

Pivot Legal Society 

Pivot is a legal change organization that works for sex workers rights, drug policy, police accountability and housing and homelessness in the DTES. They are close friends of BCCLA and do important work. Check them out!

Black Lives Matter – Vancouver 

Black folks and allies working in solidarity with communities seeking justice from racialized violence.

Salaam – Vancouver: Queer Muslim Community 

Salaam: Queer Muslim Community is dedicated to creating space for people who identify as both Muslim and queer and trans.

QMUNITY 

An LGBTQ community centre located in the Davie Village neighbourhood of the West End.

Chinatown Action Group 

Get active where you sweat! These folks are working to ensure that longtime residents of the neighbourhood aren’t rendered homeless because of gentrification in the neighbourhood. Support their push to ensure that affordable housing remains part of the neighbourhood plan for Chinatown.

VANDU 

Vancouver is in the midst of one of the most heartbreaking public health emergencies of the last many years. Support frontline workers who aim to decrease overdose deaths in our community. Last year 922 people died. We must all do more to protect our community from the opioid crisis. Donate to support their work.

Megaphone!

Megaphone is a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by homeless and low-income vendors. Vendors buy the magazine for 75 cents and sell it for $2, keeping the profit and earning a sense of pride and dignity. More than just low-barrier employment, Megaphone teaches writing workshops to its vendors who write some of the pieces in the magazine. If you get a chance, check out their incredible poetry night each year.

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MORE IMPORTANT RESOURCES

So I Had An Abortion 

A safe space for people to share their stories in an effort to motivate more people to talk about abortions freely, without fear or stigma.

We Need To Talk 

Because as a matter of urgency we need safe spaces to awkwardly, messily, uncomfortably talk about gender and racial equality. Next discussion March 21 at 6pm.

Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (Westcoast LEAF) 

Westcoast Leaf advances women’s rights (and general equality rights) through legal cases, legal clinics and a wide variety of workshops for adults and youth on topics like sexual discrimination/assault, knowing your Charter (i.e. equality) rights, and navigating your way though family law matters.

Shishi Rose 

“In order to evolve we must learn new things, hear different perspectives, and find a new worldly narrative. As a person who grew up in an environment where i did not recognize my own power, where my voice was often silenced, i want people to recognize the power that they hold. And in my efforts, i recognize my own.”

Ghost In The Shell Video 

Movies aren’t real, but they affect real people.

 

Please email info@tightclubathletics.com with any links, resources or stories that you would like to share.

 

Photos by Bree Sopatyk 

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Equality Is Tight with Rachel Ricketts

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Rachel Ricketts is a writer, grief coach, death doula and founder of loss&found – an online platform supporting folks through loss and grief of all forms. As a loss sur-thriver and self-proclaimed recovering lawyer, she’s merged her love of advocacy with her passion for helping others in their most dire time of need. Rachel loves donuts, dancing and all things meta-physical. Catch up with Rachel at www.lossandfoundxo.com or Instagram @lossandfoundxo.rachel11. Tell us about your career path and how you started loss & found?

My career path has certainly been an untraditional one, but in hindsight everything has worked out in perfect order. I am a “recovering” corporate and entertainment lawyer, meaning I worked in private practice for 4 years until one day I couldn’t walk into my office without hysterically crying and realized I needed to make a change.

I knew deep down that my purpose was to give back to the world and put my talents and skill-sets toward helping others, but I wasn’t sure how. Then, in the summer of 2015, my mom moved into a hospice.  After enduring nearly twenty years of being debilitated by Multiple Sclerosis, she had finally had enough and death became her ultimate wish.

The experience of helping my mom die and learning how confusing, isolating and disheartening dealing with death, loss and grief eventually led me to establish my website loss&found, and become a certified death doula and grief coach. Through writing and coaching, I strive to alleviate the pain and isolation so many people feel when dealing with loss and grief and help illuminate and de-stigmatize those experiences.

2. Do you have an accomplishment that you’re most proud of?

The accomplishment I’m most proud of was helping my mother die. Assisted suicide was still illegal at the time so my mom, her doctor and I had to get really creative and persistent in helping my mom achieve her ultimate wish – which was simply peace.

In the end, she starved/dehydrated herself to death as that was the only way she could finally achieve the solace so she desperately deserved. I helped her by fighting for her right to be sedated through that process and ensuring that the hospice and her caretakers checked their biases and opinions at the door to make her feel as comfortable and physically, emotionally and spiritually supported as possible throughout her transition.

I miss my mom with every day, but helping her finally find freedom was an honour and a privilege and is without question the proudest achievement of my life.

3. What does “equality” mean to you?

Equality means achieving a time and space where the most oppressed segments of our population, being people of colour, women, the differently abled, LGBTQ, impoverished etc., have the same rights and opportunities as the most powerful and privileged. It means taking an active and honest look into the systems of power, privilege and patriarchy, how they work to oppress certain populations and taking the hard steps to understand and dismantle them.

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4. Being a female writer, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

I don’t feel I’ve had to overcome any particular obstacles as a female writer. I think given the topics I write about – death, loss, grief, etc., being a female is an asset as it’s more socially acceptable for a woman to raise these topics and approach them with vulnerability, compassion and care.

I think any obstacles I feel in my writing is a result of being Black. In my experience, people are prone to undermining what people of colour have to say, and what our experiences are. I am often told (usually by White folks) that I shouldn’t be triggered by “this”, or that I need to be less sensitive about “that”. Its infuriating in a way I can’t truly put into words – that someone feels its right and just to tell me how and what I should feel about oppression when he/she usually has zero experience with what I’m speaking of, and aren’t doing a damn thing in their own lives to combat their own power and privilege and dismantle the cycle of oppression that I’m addressing.

5. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

Honour your feelings. As women we are so prone to downplaying when shit isn’t working out or feeling good, and we’ve been socialized to ignore the alarm bells that our intuition sends ringing through our hearts, ears and bellies.

If something isn’t sitting well with you – take the time to acknowledge it. If that guy is giving you a creepy vibe, or your friend is being a sexist/racist asshole, do not be afraid to speak up (assuming you feel safe to do so). Don’t let people make you feel like you’re too emotional, too sensitive or flat out crazy. You’re not. It is okay to FEEL. In fact, its very fucking necessary. And stuffing it all down won’t help, I assure you.

I hear so many women saying they don’t feel justified in feeling what they feel. They don’t feel their loss was “big” enough to warrant feeling sad. Or they don’t feel they have it as bad as someone else and thus shouldn’t complain. I say – fuck that. Feeling unjustified about your emotions won’t stop the emotion, it just leads to a shame spiral. So honour what comes up for you, whatever it is, and listen to the wisdom in those feelings. We are so fucking wise – we just need to learn to heed to a kind of wisdom that isn’t validated in our society. Yet!

rachel326. What are you inspired by right now?

Women! Lol. Throughout this nightmare that is the election of a Trump administration, the way in which I’ve witnessed women come together, support and validate one another and strive to find fucking solutions has been mind blowing. Men are out there doing amazing things too, don’t get me wrong (shoutout to da mens); but in my day-to-day, it has been women who have been pushing really hard to help move this world where it needs to go. Feminine energy, love, compassion, empathy – these are the things we need to help heal the monstrosities in this world.

7. What scares you?

Trump! And the fact that someone like him and his administration can exist and be backed by so many folks. To me, it all stems from a lack of understanding about one another and the fact that we all have way more in common than we do differently.

What scares me most is feeling as though we may never actually be able to bridge the divide. I am an eternal optimist so I really hope we can, but in the private discussions I’ve had with people on some of the key issues, I am very fearful of the level of defensive attitudes, animosity and lack of awareness or education that exists. It has been very challenging to get people to hear what I have to say when they refuse to challenge their own power and privilege and how that plays a part in all of this. Again, unfortunately, the majority of resistance in my experience has come from men. So we really need to find a way to have them hear us. Really, truly hear us.

8. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

Tired. I feel so. fucking. tired. I saw a funny meme that was like “oh NOW White women are up in arms about the state of the world!?…welcome to the Black experience!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that women of all colours are now coming together and wanting to help address the big important issues stemming from inequality. But its important to acknowledge that Black women have been up in arms for a looooong time, and we’re tired. Of fighting, of explaining, of not being heard, and of constantly being pegged the “Angry Black Woman” for simply voicing our opinions. That shit has got to stop.

My hope is that through sharing our stories, and listening with open ears, compassion and empathy we can start to make some real headway on the big issues this world is facing.

 

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9. How have you used your writing as a political voice? What issues have you addressed?

I think most of my writing is quite political. The first piece I ever had published by Huffington Post was about my mom’s experience trying to hasten death in a climate that deemed it illegal. I wanted people to know how awful that experience was for her – and for me – and that so many other patients and families will still have to endure what we did under the current legislation since it doesn’t necessarily grant people like my mom the right to die because her death wasn’t “reasonably foreseeable”.

In my writing about loss and grief I seek to open the door for others to feel safe and comfortable to share their grief and honour their loss, no matter its origin. Loss and grief are not simply relegated to the realm of death – its so much broader than that. To talk about all the things we as a society like to sweep under the rug like death, grief, miscarriage, divorce, depression, loss of health, abuse, identity crises – you name it. To me that is a political act.

10. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

Taking care of myself first and foremost. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a divine responsibility and in the midst of being bombarded with really harrowing news and images – its vital that I take the time to check in with myself and give myself what I need.

I learned the hard way that you can’t truly take care of others when your cup is empty – so I make sure I get enough rest, have support systems in place (i.e. – kickass girlfriends who #feelme), get into nature, meditate, sweat, chillax, however and whatever feels best and right for me to get grounded at the time, I do it. Then, and only then, can I start to think up solutions and hone in on how I can best be of service to others.

My caveat, is that it’s important not to get stuck in the self-care stage. You gotta get intentional and ask yourself why you’re engaging in whatever it is you’re engaging in. Don’t let yourself off the hook or trick yourself into thinking that you’re helping the world solely by taking care of yourself – you’re not. It’s a 2 part process, i.e. – how can I best care for myself SO THAT I am better equipped to care for others/the world.

11. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

Share our stories. Now, more than ever, we need to come together as a community and learn about people and perspectives that differ from our own. It can be really easy to get caught in a bubble where our views and values aren’t challenged because everyone around us is in agreement. Even Facebook just regurgitates the shit we wanna hear.

I challenge each and every one of us to get out there, find someone with a perspective/viewpoint/life experience that differs greatly from your own, and share stories with them. Help them understand why you feel and think the way you do, and be open to listening to their perspective as well.

We need more empathy and compassion and to come back to the remembrance that we are more alike than we are different. Stories allow us to humanize each other and our experiences and hopefully help raise more understanding so we can start to come together to help get where we need to be.

 

photos by Bree Sopatyk 

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Equality Is Tight with Beth Richards

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Beth Richards is the founder and creative director of Beth Richards Swimwear. Inspired by the Bardot era of beach culture, Beth took it upon herself to change the way women feel about swimwear by challenging the world’s idea of beauty and providing confidence and empowerment “one-piece” at a time. Follow her @bethrichardsswimwear 

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1. Tell us about your career path. When did you start Beth Richards and how did the idea come about?

I moved to Vancouver for a design job and had no idea that there was a beach culture here. It was then I was faced with the “what am I going to wear” and realized just how limited the swim options were. There was a choice (even just 6 years ago) from ill-fitting/poor quality American Apparel to expensive Burberry check suits and really not much in between. It was that moment that I saw a tremendous opportunity to change attitudes around swim as a culture but also it’s design. I really wanted to elevate the current options so that it felt like a statement as much as a functional item.

2. Do you have a favourite piece that you have designed? Why?

Most of my faves are the ones that are never commercially successful which is funny to me. They include this seasons Loren suit that has a flamenco type sleeve, the one shoulder-padded Audrey from a couple of seasons past. I have a few in the works that will likely push these ones aside.

3. What does “equality” mean to you?

Equality means that men, women, people of different colours, countries and faith are treated all the SAME. When I read that back now this day in 2017, it seems like a very basic concept and the fact that white men for the most part control the world is heartbreaking.

 

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4. Being a female artist and entrepreneur, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

I would say first and foremost is being taken seriously. When going to the banks etc etc needing help or asking for things. Too often women are categorized as being bitches if they are assertive in decision making or negotiating.

I’m lucky to be in an industry with a lot of women around me so I’m sure I am lucky in many ways as well.

5. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

Don’t take no for an answer, everything is negotiable.

6. What are you inspired by right now?

You know in all honesty this was a tough season to get through. I’m not going to lie I was (and in some ways still am) in a state of despair after the US election wondering just how it all happened that we are further from my core values as ever. Although I’m lucky to live in Canada the wave of uncertainty and protectionism and nationalism is around the world is real. The only choice I had was to breathe in negative and push out positive. So I would say I’m inspired by ACTION.

beth outside7. What scares you?

There are so many things to fear today. As a white woman of course I have it better than many but to think things can get worse in such a short period of time is frightening. That minority groups feel, and are, less safe now. That such ugliness has been somehow normalized. That young women will likely have more unwanted advances by men who think they are worth less/property. That all our rights and privileges are on the brink of being taken away.

All that might sound dramatic but I can’t believe we got here. That the world is so greedy and imbalanced and that the majority still pretend to be “God” fearing people. I can’t believe decency may be a thing of the past.

8. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

Clearly not optimistic. But I try every day to get through it. I often feel I should be doing more, that there is more frivolity in my work compared to many who are suffering.

I really hope that generations to come will be able to innovate and create bridges and that there is a bright light out there ready for the world stage.

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9. How have you used your art as a voice? What issues have you addressed?

At the end of the day I am trying to do whatever I can to create change. Whether it’s helping women feel better about what they see in the mirror or to raise money for planned parenthood I’m trying. This collection was inspired by women and they will always be my ultimate muse.

Accepting our bodies imperfections and all, as sensual as they are, as nurturing as they are. It’s this effort too that we must re-shape how the world sees us, and our bodies. That no, as much (we love) and have the same time in a day as Beyonce, most women have a very hard time living up to those standards. That this body is armour. And that no one can take the power of this body away from us, no matter how hard they try. No one would be on this planet without the power of a woman’s body and mind.

10. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

Gratitude has played a huge role. I certainly remind myself DAILY of what I have and why I cannot take this opportunity for granted. I often meditate and breathe deeply. Light candles, listen to classical music, and look to the universe, and my heart and gut to guide me. During these dark times I turn to light and love.

11. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

Resist. We need to unify and use our voices now more than ever. Vote, be present, protest what is not right because as we have learned with a blink of an eye progress could be at stake.

 

photos by Bree Sopatyk

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Equality Is Tight with Tracy Ho

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Tracy Ho is the College Relations & Membership Outreach Coordinator of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU). Follow her @tray_ho

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1. Tell us about your role at Douglas College.

My official title is the College Relations & Membership Outreach Coordinator of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU). The best way to describe my skills and what I do is ‘an inch deep & a mile wide’ meaning I do  A LOT of things in my job but isn’t ‘specialized’ in any one thing. I provide support to the elected student representatives on their goals from individual advocacy to campaigns on accessible education, to communications via traditional channels, as well as with  online tools, with the students membership, college administration, government and the public, to training on issues around consent and anti-oppression and media relations – I organize people, events, logistics, budgets and dabble in a bit of graphic design. I also hold the portfolio of the DSU Ombudsperson where I provide advice and support to students who need clarification on college policies, assistance with grade and conduct appeals or complaints.

The best part of what I do and what I value the most is the mentorship that I provide to the students that I work with, providing them with training and guidance on how to navigate the politics and political systems to achieve their goals and to help them become leaders on campus and in their communities. Watching the students I work with developing their confidence and skills is the most rewarding.

2. Do you have an accomplishment or project that you’re most proud of?

Such a hard question! There are quite a few accomplishments and projects that I am very proud of but the most recent is the new Campus Sexual Assault Policy that will be implemented at Douglas College this spring. The work that was done towards the implementation was the efforts of many at the College, from faculty members and administrators to students and the Students’ Union so I can not take credit for this but it was a real collaboration among many groups on campus. It will help address specifically sexual assaults, a piece that was missing on campus. Along with the implementation of the policy, there will also be an education and awareness component on consent that we will be developing for new and returning students. I am very happy and proud to see this coming onto campus at this especially as it so topical and needed.

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3. What does “equality” mean to you?

Equality to me is similar to what feminism means to me, which is the freedom to make our own choices, to live our lives, to exist and be liberated from the social confines that oppress us in the many identities we hold. From one of my favourite writers, who puts it so succinctly:

“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

4. What obstacles have you had to overcome?

I recognize that I have had a very privileged life as a second generation Chinese-Canadian who’s parents immigrated to Canada at a time that was much easier to migrate here than the current climate.

It was challenging growing up in Canada as the first child of an immigrant family, not to say that I had a tough life, I do recognize the privilege I had and have in my life. I was well taken care of and had everything that I needed. My parents were self-employed by the restaurant business my grandfather brought over from Hong Kong, we were well fed, well clothed and well housed. I had lots of family around me all the time. As the first child of an immigrant family, and a girl, there were certain expectations and roles for me to fulfill and specific ways I was supposed to be. I am expected to act and behave a certain way, I was to surpass any academic success that my parents ever achieved, I was to be the best in everything, I was to grow up in Canada with traditional Chinese cultural expectations. I realize now that my parents were so hard on me is because they wanted and know that I can be better versions of them. These expectations were hard for a little girl trying to fit in and as I became a teenager, I tried desperately to shed my Chinese identity so I can be ‘more Canadian’ – it was a very conflicting time in my life to reconcile my want and desire to be like everyone else and my heritage. Compounding this was never seeing yourself represented in media and popular culture and the feeling of erasure. It seems so trivial but as someone who had no one really to identify with, I had a very difficult time understanding and figuring out who I am.

Since then, I have shed that baggage and embraced all parts of myself and identity. I try my best now to honour my heritage, my family who did so much to give me and my brothers such a wonderful life and how we can blend all of the cultures that we are a part of into our lives everyday.

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4. What obstacles have you had to overcome?

I recognize that I have had a very privileged life as a second generation Chinese-Canadian who’s parents immigrated to Canada at a time that was much easier to migrate here than the current climate.

It was challenging growing up in Canada as the first child of an immigrant family, not to say that I had a tough life, I do recognize the privilege I had and have in my life. I was well taken care of and had everything that I needed. My parents were self-employed by the restaurant business my grandfather brought over from Hong Kong, we were well fed, well clothed and well housed. I had lots of family around me all the time. As the first child of an immigrant family, and a girl, there were certain expectations and roles for me to fulfill and specific ways I was supposed to be. I am expected to act and behave a certain way, I was to surpass any academic success that my parents ever achieved, I was to be the best in everything, I was to grow up in Canada with traditional Chinese cultural expectations. I realize now that my parents were so hard on me is because they wanted and know that I can be better versions of them. These expectations were hard for a little girl trying to fit in and as I became a teenager, I tried desperately to shed my Chinese identity so I can be ‘more Canadian’ – it was a very conflicting time in my life to reconcile my want and desire to be like everyone else and my heritage. Compounding this was never seeing yourself represented in media and popular culture and the feeling of erasure. It seems so trivial but as someone who had no one really to identify with, I had a very difficult time understanding and figuring out who I am.

Since then, I have shed that baggage and embraced all parts of myself and identity. I try my best now to honour my heritage, my family who did so much to give me and my brothers such a wonderful life and how we can blend all of the cultures that we are a part of into our lives everyday.

5. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

My advice for girls and other women is to trust themselves, whether that is in their ability, their intelligence, their experience or their instincts – we as women are so conditioned to doubt ourselves and to ask for validation from others, we need to be confident in who we are because that is half the battle in facing any challenge that we will ever encounter in this life.

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6. What are you inspired by right now?

I am super inspired not by any big initiatives or movements but by the everyday acts of resistance and acts of humanity that is happening all around us. I see the students on my campus organizing for better access to education, I see artists utilizing their craft to get political messages out and inspiring others to join social movements, I see and hear amazing dialogue at spaces like Tight Club about intersectional feminism and it makes me remember that as individuals, we can change the world but when people come together and listen to each other and support each other – we can affect the communities around us which then leads to greater global changes.

7. What scares you?

What worries and scares me the most is the disconnect between the social changes we want to see and the political powers that have the ability to change things. I worry that politicians are so focused on being politicians that they forget that they represent and make decisions on behalf of all citizens that they represent and not just the special interests that they think they serve. I worry about a government that dismisses the needs of the marginalized because they wield not power and voice, and that we regress as a society. But I am also hopeful because I am hearing different people in different circles talking about the political process and the need to take part to vote for change. And I think we will act, we will hold the people in power to account. We’ve been getting louder and louder lately, I think they’re starting to listen. And if they don’t, I say we burn down all the systems and rebuild 😉 Who’s ready for a revolution?

8. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

See what scares me 🙂

9. How have you used art as a political voice? What issues have you addressed?

As someone who has a deep appreciation for art, I have shared a lot with friends and family to show them a perspective that I connect to. For me, I have always found it difficult to express my experience and feelings about race, as a ‘model immigrant’, the issues I face are very different from other people of colour but they are so real. I recently shared a video about representation that hit home really hard and I find sharing pieces of art to help me express what I usually am not able to put into words.

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10. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

Allowing myself to take a break and rest is something that I haven’t always done, but after getting burnt out after university, I realized that self-care is NECESSARY. We can’t support others and make social changes if we are not good to ourselves. Taking a break from media is also OK, it’s good to disconnect and recharge, it’s ok to binge watch Netflix and listen to really bad hip hop, spend hours on silly Buzzfeed quizzes, take a nap and then get back at it. We can be super hard on ourselves and it’s easy to feel guilty, but guilt is not useful. Get that out of our heads, reconnect with our community, be with people that love you and keep doing that work that feeds our souls.

11. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

The one thing that we can and should do is allow ourselves to get uncomfortable, to open up our minds, to unlearn and relearn what we think we know. We all need to challenge the things that we have been socialized to think, told to think or just do. We need to try to understand and accept other people’s perspectives and lived experiences. We can make a difference, even if it’s small, by understanding each other better, finding common ground and working to uplift and strengthen our movements together.

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Equality Is Tight with Joy Pecknold

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Joy Pecknold is the Western Editor of FASHION Magazine, a freelance writer, and Tight Club’s resident comedian. Follow her @joypecknold

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1. Tell us about your career path and how you became the Western Editor for FASHION Magazine?

I started on the marketing communications side of things, because that seemed more practical. In the early 2000s, I started up a blog in my spare time. It was really just for shits and giggles—95 per cent of my audience was my friend circle. But I loved it so much, I started looking into how I could make coin doing it. I started contributing small blurbs to online women’s publications, and that grew into an editor appointment with one of them. I went for the FASHION gig in 2011 when friend and departing Western editor Rebecca Tay recommended me.

2. Do you have a story that you’re most proud of?

Subject matter-wise, a profile on Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean—she’s such an inspiration. But as far as a personal experience, my travel story on Chile because I accomplished my first high mountain ascent there.

3. What does “equality” mean to you?

It’s the human baseline. That gender, race, sexual preference, economic bracket etc. does not diminish a person’s value or hinder their freedoms and opportunities. I think we need to go further though. It’s been so unjust for so long that the scales should tip the other way, the oppressed should be lifted up and brought to the front of the line. While I’m a woman, I’m also a middle-class member of the most oppressive race, so I’ll be slotting myself in somewhere near the back.

4. Being a female writer, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

Simply being a working journalist these days is quite a struggle. Pay is approximately 35 per cent lower than what it should be to keep up with inflation. And that’s for men. Women make about $0.82 for every $1.00 a man does. But I’ve been lucky, the majority of my obstacles have been self-imposed.

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5. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

Well, this goes for everyone, but the Golden Rule is my maxim of choice. It can be phrased differently, but in essence “treat others as you wish to be treated.” It applies to all areas of life, and addresses both personal and collective choices. Also, you can probably afford to doubt yourself less and love yourself more, so please do those things.

6. What are you inspired by right now?

The same things that usually inspire me, but are especially profound right now. Female comedians. So ballsy. Also because humor helps me process tragedy. Art, more than ever. Art can give us the truth in the most meaningful way, where it’s mulled rather than force-fed. Nature, because, duh, it’s spectacular, but it also lives with chaos and order, seeming contradictions, like it ain’t no thing.

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7. What scares you?

Apathy, because when we stop caring, injustice flourishes. Greed, because I think it’s one of the world’s biggest problems, particularly in North America, and from it so many other problems stem. And pride, it’s negative definition, also known as unchecked ego, because it’s so subtlety dangerous. A dictator is the full, horrible expression of it, but we all have to fight it from within—that selfishness that leads me to think I’m better than someone else and right about everything.

8. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

Overwhelmed. But I think we’re awake in a way that we weren’t before and that’s encouraging. It’s infinitely more difficult to slay a dragon you can’t see.

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9. How have you used your writing as a political voice? What issues have you addressed?

I wouldn’t say I’ve addressed many issues explicitly in my career, but I feel that changing. However, when I profile someone I aim to portray them in a nuanced way, honouring their idiosyncrasies and avoiding one-dimensional portrayals. I’ve preferred having political discussions face-to-face because I feel like it can lead to greater understanding, but I’ve dabbled on my social channels.

10. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

See question #6. Also, Motown music because the songs make magic out of heartbreak.

11. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten was to start with one issue, something you’re really passionate about, be it civic or national or global, and get informed and invest time and resources. There’s so much going on that it’s easy to be overcome to the point of paralysis.

 

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Equality Is Tight with Pippa Mackie

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Pippa Mackie is a Vancouver-based actor/writer/producer who has written and performed in a award winning plays, and starred in feature films and television shows. Follow her @pippamackie

pippa header1. Tell us about your career path and how you became an actor?

I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actor. It was always the goal. I snuck onstage any chance I got as a young child (there is video proof). At 17 I was accepted into the National Theatre School of Canada Acting Conservatory in Montreal and that was that. What I couldn’t predict was how much more I would end up doing. I started to write my own work. I started to host comedy shows. It is so important to me that as I continue on this career path, I always engage, write, and perform work that I find challenging and vital.

2. Do you have a piece of work that you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of the satirical comedy “The Progressive Polygamists” which I co-wrote, co-directed, co-performed and co-produced with my creative partner Emmelia Gordon. It started as a small 10-minute comedy sketch we performed at Café Deux Soleils in 2011 and blossomed into a full-length show that ended up touring across Canada for years to come. We received 5 star reviews pretty much across the board, sold out almost every show, and won several awards. We were using satire to address the issue of polygamy and we were connecting with audiences through comedy. We’ve now performed the show close to 100 times and each time I don my polygamist dress, poof my hair, and stand in front of a full audience, I am floating on air.

3. What does “equality” mean to you?

I hear the word “equality” and my first thought is: We’ve got work to do. I’ve got work to do.

4. Being a female artist, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

As a female actor in film/tv/theatre the obstacles are built into the system. When it comes to theatre a lot of the plays (especially the “classics”)  are generally written by old white dudes. In a cast of 15 characters… two are women. Two!!! These plays will keep being produced (because they are wonderful pieces of literature) but theatre companies need to start gender blind casting. Shakespeare’s plays are a great example. It is important to continue to produce Shakespeare (for so many reasons) but don’t forget that at the time he was writing his plays, it was illegal for women to be actors. Their opinions weren’t in the room.  Most of the history books, plays, documents of that time were written by men, therefore a women’s life at that time is not preserved the way a man’s is.

(this is just one example of too many obstacles)

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5. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

One of my family mottos is: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

We are waking up every morning, looking at our phones and BOOM! Another shit tornado flashes on the screen. President grabs pussies. Pence wants you to abstain. It’s enough to drive anyone bonkers. What do we do?! We engage in the community. Use the skills you possess and get going.

6. What are you inspired by right now?

A few communities I am a part of inspire me. I spend a lot of time at Tight Club and it has become a safe and fun place where I can put my phone down, get my sweat on and enjoy the company of other rad people. I also have a group of actor/writer friends who make me laugh and are constantly finding new ways to express their opinions in creative and healthy ways.

7. What scares you?

The rights people have fought for will be revoked. Rights that our grandparents and parents worked for.

8. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

A GIANT SHIT TORNADO is sweeping across the world and we are going to need a big ass plunger.

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9. How have you used your art as a voice? What issues have you addressed?

As a writer I am most inspired by real life women’s issues. I’ve now written 6 plays (both short and full length) and each one is a dark comedy about a women or women who have been wronged in one-way or another (a lot of which are wrongs of a sexual nature).  My play Truance is a true story about a 17 year old girl who ends up going to jail for giving a blow job to her high school crush in the State of Georgia due to harsh sex laws. The Progressive Polygamists sheds light on the child bride sister wives and their insular community. I’ve written about Stephen Harper and a deer fucking and breaking up. I’ve written about a pipeline and abortion protester. I’ve written about a woman with an axe furious at the men in power around her. I like to approach difficult issues through comedy. ‘Cuz let’s be honest, we all need to fucking laugh sometimes.

10. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

Just last week I co-hosted an evening called Alternative Facts: Untruth Your Learning at the Emerald where we got 6 left wing writer/comedians to attempt to argue for the radical right. I have been feeling so overwhelmed by the media that I wanted to get everyone off their phones and into a bar with half price drinks and real life arguments. It was a full house. The evening was cathartic and funny as hell.

11. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

We don’t all have the same skills. We are all different. Whatever you are good at, I encourage you to use your strengths to express yourself. I have pen, paper and a stage/screen. Go to plays, comedy shows, host living sessions in your home and choose a topic to discuss. Don’t forget to look up from your phone and listen to someone else’s story. Engage and listen.

 

photos by Luc Roderique and Valerie Legere

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Equality Is Tight with Gillian Damborg

March 7, 2017

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement…

Tight Club is a community of creative minds, and so we reached out to female artists in our community to participate in the first ever Tight Town Hall – Equality Is Tight. We wanted to discuss how they use their work as a voice for social change and how it can help propel a movement and inspire people to act. Check out more about the event here.

Gillian Damborg is the Creative Director at Luvo Inc and a Musician (Sunshine, Jody Glenham and the Dreamers). Follow her @gilly_bean

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1. Tell us about your career path and how you became a creative director?

I went to Langara out of high school for Fine Arts and quickly realized I would never make it as a fine artist and at the same time fell in love with the structure and organization of my design classes. That led me to Emily Carr where I got my Bachelor of Communication Design.

After school I had a couple of jobs at smaller design firms around the city as well as freelance gigs on the side – working on brochures for hospitals and banks wasn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be so it was important to keep up fun creative freelance work on the side.

A few years later a pal of mine from Emily Carr reached out said I should apply at lululemon, and I spent the next five years there with some pretty amazing people and projects. I always thought I would work at some big agency, but to be honest I have loved working in house. I like being connected and working with different departments and areas of the business, rather the just servicing a client in one area for one project.

After five years my time at lulu came to an end fairly abruptly (that’s a long story – over wine!) and so I was on the hunt for a new gig. I had been following Christine Day’s career (former lululemon CEO and lady boss queen) and saw that she was at Luvo Inc., a frozen food company focusing on real, wholesome food. Turns out it was my lucky day and they had an opening for a graphic designer. After my interview, they offered me the role as Creative Director and I was in shock. For a long time I didn’t believe that I was good enough for the role, or that it was too soon in my career to have that kind of responsibility. But they saw something in me that I didn’t at the time and have supported me the whole way. I feel so lucky and privileged to work at Luvo and help build the brand. The leadership is predominantly female which hasn’t been the case for a lot of places I’ve worked, and they are really inspiring and engaging. The role is challenging, but it’s never boring so I’m happy. Plus I’m way more into food than yoga.

2. How did you get into music? Is it hard to find time with a full-time job?

I have always been into music, inspired by my dad who is a huge music and stereophile nerd (his master bedroom is a music listening room). I sang in musicals and played piano as a teen but had stopped after high school. At 24 I got out of a long-term relationship and needed a new creative outlet, so I joined a gospel choir. Around that time I ran into my friend Trevor Risk at the Biltmore one night, and he asked me what I was up to and told him about the choir. Turns out he was looking for a singer and keyboardist so I said “Me! Me!” and the next thing I know I’m nervously at my first practice with some guys who would become some of my closest friends. I met Jody Glenham through them (we share the best drummer in the world, Adam Fink) and she had me join her band as a backup singer.

How do I balance it? I don’t feel like I do any of the work really, so it’s easy! I show up, someone tells me what to do and sing, and I do it. I’d say it’s often hard to balance with all my other hobbies too, like being in the East Van Baseball League, or the Royal Vancouver Book Club, and other hobbies. But honestly I’m one of those people who says YES all the time as I want to experience all that life has to offer (cue cheesy music). I’m so grateful for it all.

3. Do you have a piece of work that you’re most proud of?

There really isn’t one thing that stands out, and not because I think I’m brilliant and perfect and everything I create is amazing – that’s far from the truth. Overall, I love what I have done at my jobs, but that’s what I’m paid to do. I would say I’m most proud of the work I do for friends and family and the business they are building. Helping my loved ones achieve something big feels great. At work what I’m most proud of is my team and the relationships I have – that’s the hardest part of what I do and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

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4. What does “equality” mean to you?

Equality to me is recognizing the needs and diversity of all people and treating everyone with respect and fairness. It’s creating a space and a society that gives the same opportunities to everyone, whenever possible. It’s being recognized as a human before anything else. It’s when we stop comparing ourselves to others because we don’t have to. It’s basic human rights for all. Of course some will succeed more then others, and some have better luck, but I think if we have the basics covered it’s easier for everyone to have a fair chance at a good life. And it’s certainly a work in progress.

5. Being a female artist, what obstacles have you had to overcome?

If you had asked me this 5 years ago I wouldn’t have had an answer. I’m a pretty strong person and when I was subjected to sexism, or the feelings of inequality I just brushed it off and moved along. I’m also a blonde, white girl from the west side so life hasn’t come with as many obstacles as it has for others. But I will say that even as a really strong person with a strong foundation, I still didn’t think I was good enough to accept the role of Creative Director when it was offered to me. It took me turning down the role and accepting another where I ended up working under someone who had way less experience then me and I realized, “Wait a minute, I can totally do this”. I understood then how important it was for me to work with people who saw my potential and valued and celebrated it – especially when I doubted myself. I realized I wanted to lead and be led at the same time, not just one or the other.

I do think this doubt in my abilities is an inherently female trait. Women are statistically less likely to apply for a role unless they feel 100% qualified, where men are confident about their ability at 60%. I now understand that a creative approach and not “checking all the boxes” is actually ok, and maybe even better for your prospective employer. I heard great quote last night at Fall for Local’s talk on The Side Hustle from one of the panel members Adam Nanji who said that “you should set unreal goals, and set realistic expectations” – I’m going to live by this!

gillian quote6. Any piece of advice that has helped you that you would pass on to other girls/women?

I think having a female mentor or two is one of the most important things you can have. Even if it’s a friend or a peer, that’s great! Especially when you’re struggling or don’t think you can do something on your own, understanding you don’t have to. Team up with someone, ask for advice and always come from a place of learning even when your ego is saying “who does this b*tch think she is”. Then one day you get to be the person people ask for help… and that feels pretty good.

7. What are you inspired by right now?

All the women in my life. I mean Beyonce is pretty awesome but really it’s just some down to earth, badass babes. From Winnipeg to New York to Toronto to Vancouver I have some seriously amazing female friends who I go for advice when it comes to issues of the heart, mind and body. I would be nothing without them. Every one of them has really found their stride and it’s so cool to see what they are all accomplishing and we help each other get to where we need to be.

8. What scares you?

I think I’m worried about the state of the world and bringing children into it, but I try my hardest to turn that fear into fuel so I can solidify and live true to my personal values in a way that inspires positive change elsewhere.

9. How do you feel about the current political climate in the world?

The same as everyone else I know… annoyed, confused, scared, pissed off and exhausted. But the flip side of that is feeling super inspired to take action and make small changes every day.

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10. How have you used your art as a voice? What issues have you addressed?

This is something I’m working on this year with some cool ladies. Until now I think I’ve supported a lot of other people with their passion projects and developing their voices, so this year it’s finding mine again. Stay tuned – it will involve music and art for sure.

11. What is a coping mechanism that has helped you deal with the craziness of the news and current events?

There are a few things like being careful about where I get my news from (no thanks Facebook) and coming from a place of empathy rather then judgment. Less talking, more listening (that’s is a constant struggle for me…). And of course I work out at Tight Club and expel some of that built of anxiety.

12. What is one thing that you think we could do to make a difference?

Continue promoting body positivity and self love because it all starts with the individual. If you can inspire people to do that, they will go out in the world and create positive change for others. It really starts there.

 

photos by Bree Sopatyk

On The Booty Beat by Andrea Barber

March 6, 2017