NICOLE CRENTSIL

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NICOLE CRENTSIL

Mental health campaigner, intersectional feminist, curator.

Nicole Crentsil is a curator, arts producer and creator of Black Girl Fest - the first UK festival for black women. She was in the Forbes 100 women to follow on twitter and linked in, is a TEDx speaker and a passionate intersectional feminist. We caught up with Nicole to ask her a quick few questions!

Stay Wild Swim  is all about empowering women in business, from working exclusively with strong female led brands, to asking our followers to model in our campaigns - we couldn’t be bigger supporters of the work you are doing in this space too. Can you give any advice to women in business wanting to set something up of their own?

Do your research. Before embarking on your business, research the market, understand and know who the key trailblazers are. That's not to discourage you from bringing your idea to fruition but instead to understand the current market so you can plan how to create your unique selling point. 

Across all of the work that you do, how does mental health underpin all of that? And what does mental health really mean to you? 

My mental wellbeing is at the top of every priority list. I think it's easy to get carried away with start up culture of always being busy, never sleeping and riding or dying your business. But honestly I didn't come to die for this thing. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labour and that involves being here mentally to enjoy it. Taking regular breaks, turning emails off on my phone and going for walks is imbedded in my calendar. 

When was the seed for Black Girl Fest planted and how dod you get from idea to realisation?

Funnily enough the idea for BGF started from a phone call. After sharing an experience I had at an event paired with a 3 hour phone call with my co-founder Paula Akpan, the festival was born. Both Paula and I are events / arts producers so it was honing in on our personal skills and networks to turn an idea into a real thing. We very slowly became two events producers to businesses women all within 2 years. 

How does community play a part in what you are doing to empower women?

Our community plays a huge part in everything we are doing. Our first festival was only made possible by the amazing contribution to our crowdfunder campaign. Without the initial support and continued support from our wider community, the festival wouldn't be what it is today. 

It’s easy to fall into the media trap of empowering one type of woman and thinking that we’ve sorted the problem. What’s the best way in your opinion to remain intersectional in our pursuit of female empowerment?

It's to understand that everyone has a voice, some are louder than others. Give the mic to those whose voices have been silenced. Don't speak for them, turn the volume up!! 

You curated an incredible exhibition called Unmasked Women, and founded a festival, Black Girl Fest, what’s next on the events agenda for you?

As a multifaceted creative honestly anything is possible. I do have some exciting projects up my sleeve so definitely watch this space.

We created Stay Wild Swim because of our passion for the ocean. How would you describe your relationship with the ocean?

I would describe my relationship with the ocean as distant but desired. I'm never close enough to truly experience her but it’s something I desire to be connected to. I started swimming again last year so super eager to get to on beach holiday to reconnect. 

Grace Bayley