Seven Women On The Moment They Found Their Voice
Each of these talented women excel in their chosen field, but more importantly have a voice they are unafraid to use - and we wanted to know what was behind that. Did they experience a certain trial, was it a by-product of necessity, what propelled them to step out? From fashion to fighting climate change, all seven of these women have walked diverse roads that lead to the discovery of their voice, and it’s an honour to share their stories here.
Tash from TalkPeach:
“My voice came from my own trauma. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and I became pretty vocal about my battle. I had to, being diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer is isolating! I had to find women who had battled or were battling, no one was out collecting money on the streets for us, no rugby teams decked out in our colour. I mean in all honesty I had no idea there were 5 gynaecological cancers, which is crazy as in New Zealand 1 woman dies of ovarian cancer alone every 48 hours, that's higher than our road toll, so why so quiet? The lack of awareness is frightening, and if you’re diagnosed, the feeling of having the cancer no one talks about is just an added layer of pain on top of what's already an extremely dark time.
My voice is loud, it’s loud for the women who have battled and lost, for those who battled and won, and those who will sadly face this battle, I don't want another woman to feel the isolation I felt, and I want all women to know the signs and symptoms so they can better take care of their gynaecological health and so we can reduce late stage diagnosis statistics. I’ve founded Talk Peach gynaecological charity and we believe it's time to smash the taboos which still exist and squash that stigma which prevents potentially life-saving conversations”
Zeenat from Sauce:
"I can’t remember the exact moment I found my voice, heck, I don’t even know if I have found my voice! But I do know the moment when I made a shift from a person that was: isolated and disconnected from her culture to someone who is now unapologetic about representation while embracing the complex nature of identity, which is always shifting, especially as I get deeper into my own history, and the unique and diverse history of the country I now call home. I am an immigrant and my unique perspective and experiences is what fuels my curiosity and elevates my work in fashion. My vast tapestry is now my biggest strength! Instagram and my community made me realize how special and unique that is and finding that acceptance in me has given me the biggest strength to find my voice."
Kristine from Miss Crabb:
“I think certain times in life you find your voice, it’s about making decisions. Your decisions are your voice. I have felt strongest when at a young age I decided to pursue making clothes, or over my career when I’ve made bold creative decisions, it always works out best. Also when I decided to stop Miss Crabb, what big thing to say to myself and my followers. As a Libra I can be quite indecisive and buzzy so decision making is incredibly strengthening for me. At the moment I’m finding my new voice, balancing creative life with motherhood and also providing an income and all this newness has opened up for me. It has involved a lot of listening, to my inner voice.”
Emily 瑩煕 from Reemi:
“In March this year, was the first time a Pākehā person acknowledged the exact mixed heritage in me and expressed that I might not have had the same experience as a Pākehā person. This kōrero has begun the journey, of me finding my voice in my bi-racial identity, straddling two worlds and belonging to neither. Aside to my cultural voice, I think a lot about, the voice of me, Emily 瑩煕, and how our inner worlds and minds are the foundation for what comes out in the external. Our voices are really reflections of our inner quiet and there’s never been a moment per se where I have ‘found it,’ as it’s a journey of finding it in the still, the hope in the spaces between, the habitual grit, and often, being a friend to heavier times”.
Makanaka from Afrodaze:
“In small ways I feel like I connect to my voice every day. As people we aren’t static; neither are our identities, what we like, what we want and what we need. It’s all ever moving and ever changing. As such I find that my voice is connected to all that. My father says I was a why kid, never afraid to ask questions or assert my opinion. Around 10 that voice diminished when we migrated and my silence in an attempt to assimilate became the inheritance of displacement. At around 17, my father gifted me Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and that changed my life. It felt like something unlocked in me and for the first time since I had arrived on New Zealand soil I was okay with being African. At 23, I spilt my guts in an attempt to assert that I was a creative interested in exploring the taboo, in exploring self-love, intimacy and above all a sensual being interested in exploring that. As a result I, self-published diary entries glossed over as poetry (LOL) and felt in my body for the first time since I was 14. Now at 26, I feel I am connecting to my voice by transforming and evolving more and more into the truth I have also known.
I hope I never reach a space or a place in my life where I have "found" my voice because it means that I would have lost something that was always there. I have always said our voices are the voices of the baby mama’s mama’s mama, which is essentially the mothers that came before me. We have so many stories buried within us, some have been forced down due to the silencing that occurs systematically and socially, so I intend to keep unlocking that voice. The voice was never lost, the volume was just lowered”.
Sophie from School Strike 4 Climate:
“I found my voice through connecting with others and creating a space for them to find their voices. The climate crisis is an existential threat and it is often easy to feel paralysed and feel like your voice doesn't have power. When I found my voice was when I was working with others for a common goal of climate justice. I found my voice out of fear. I still get nervous when speaking up and using my voice but it makes me far more anxious to think about the future we have if people don't find and use their voices now”.
Abbey from 2D Love:
“I think there’s actually a bit of loss that comes with finding your voice. Sometimes it’s not until you lose some of the people, places, and things you thought were a part of you that you start to get a sense of who you really are underneath it all. And eventually, through the grief and chaos, the little pieces of your life start to connect together into something that’s new, yours, your own. In my early twenties I’d often let older, more experienced people speak for me, but it was actually after a moment of betrayal that I realised I had something of my own to say. So despite the hurt, I’m actually thankful for it, because it taught me to trust in my own creative vision. It also motivated me to move to Auckland to make my first film, so it’s actually been the best thing (as weird as that may sound)”.