Diana Olifirova shot by Kell Mitchell
“International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the wonderful women & working mothers around me. It’s about teaching my kids that we are equals and recognising women’s achievements no matter how big or small.” - Chloe Wright
Saabeah Theos shot by Kell Mitchell
Scarlett Montanaro shot by Kell Mitchell
“I’ve had to work ten times as hard for recognition." - Scarlett Montanaro
For International Women’s day, I wanted to bring awareness to and celebrate the strong working women I know, who either have forged a way in for themselves as a minority in their fields, or who have made a difference to others through their achievements.Women need to be seen as equals in the workplace, particularly in fields that are traditionally very male dominated. This is a celebration of the working woman.
Diana is a Ukrainian cinematographer, who has won many awards and accolades, including a BSC’s Emerging Cinematographer Award and a BAFTA Breakthrough.
Her credits include Heartstopper (Netflix), We are Lady Parts (Channel 4) and The Baby (HBO/ Sky). Diana is part of Illuminatrix - a collective of women cinematographers that supports
merging female talent coming into the industry, which is still very male dominated.
“I had to overcome a lot of challenges - first being a young female cinematography graduate in Ukraine, and two years later in the UK where I moved to do my MA at the National Film and Television school.
I found it hard to overcome the usual barriers that female professionals are facing; judgement that we are not capable, not strong enough (both physically and mentally) or not a good leader (or a too bossy one). Of course I made mistakes but step by step I’ve learned ways to ignore the judgements, deliver excellent work and move on and up.
It was particularly hard not having any women role models to look up to (I have plenty now) so I had to find my own authentic way of being a female leader.”
Saabeah is a filmmaker and actor who is currently working on a short film she has written, will direct and star in, scheduled to shoot in Ghana and London this year with a predominantly female team. The short’s central character Ama is based on Theos’ own internal struggles as a child of the diaspora, being two cultured and the complex struggle between them.
“It has been a long and hard journey. When you are a woman and black, the bar to being considered competent, for people to give you a chance or for your creative vision to be respected is so much higher. And I’m still nowhere near where I want to be and I know that journey upwards will be just as tough. But each step forward is a move closer, so I’ll keep these feet moving till I am there.”
Scarlett is a Creative Director in an advertising agency, an industry where only 3% of global creative directors are female.
“I’ve had to work ten times as hard for recognition. I started a non-profit back in 2015 which led me to speak on stages like TEDx and Cannes Lions, write for Huffington Post and get awarded by The Guardian. I had to do that so my industry would take notice! It shouldn’t be that way and I do my best to support young women coming up through the ranks as much as I can”.
Alice is a Civil Engineer and is currently working on Euston station as part of the enabling works involving the demolition and rebuild of the entire station. Alice is 1 of only 3 women out of her team of 100.
“I really love my job, but Civil Engineering is definitely a male dominated industry. I think there are more women coming into it nowadays, but I wouldn’t say it’s widely known or accessible to women as a career choice. So say if we wanted to go into it, we’d have to find out the information and push ourselves into it on our own - that needs to change.”
Chloe is a busy working mother of two. She runs her own antiques business but also works as an online Hypnobirthing teacher for Happy Parents Happy Baby Antenatal.
“International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the wonderful women & working mothers around me. It’s about teaching my kids that we are equals and recognising women’s achievements no matter how big or small.”
For more than 20 years, Dionne Smith has been revolutionising the hairstyling industry. She proudly specialises in creating stunning hairstyles for coily and curly hair whilst being super passionate about sharing her skills with others through educational workshops and online courses. Recently she was the personal hair stylist to Teyonah Parris aka Monica Rambeau in the new superhero film ‘The Marvels’ which is due to be released in November 2023.
Vicky is an Art Psychotherapist who helps those in social or health care settings living with physical and/or mental health conditions. Vicky provides a calm, creative and non-judgemental environment in which clients can safely explore their difficulties and experiences, bringing a stronger sense of meaning into their lives. Vicky’s therapeutic approach is person-centred and psychodynamic, and richly informed by a feminist philosophy.
Janice is a freelance Art Director, working in the fashion industry since the early 1970’s. Start- ing out as the Art Director of Honey magazine, she went on to work in advertising for fashion labels & was responsible for the first ever Next catalogue which started in 1988. Now in her 70’s, she is still working and currently in Morocco art directing a major fashion campaign.