ROSEÉ Series - In Conversation with Vanessa Woode

To celebrate four years of ROSEE, we are bringing you the ROSEE Series. Series of interview from remarkable people who are not afraid to live and lead in colourful style. We hope their bravery, strength and courage inspire you to live your life in full and in colour. We hope their stories inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us.

A legal consultant, podcaster, foody at heart, sister and friend, Vanessa is not afraid to lead in colourful style. We speak with Vanessa on the topic of fashion, her reality of living in the diaspora and inspirations behind UNCOMMON Podcast.

Your admirer for African inspired fashion

African inspired fashion – by African women (because we know the difference if it’s not by African women).

I believe African inspired fashion is an ode to who we are as African women. Living in the diaspora, we are constantly inundated with images that do not look like us, clothing that do not represent us and lifestyles that we aren’t accustomed to. Our fabrics, our styles, aseobis, gele’s, gowns and kaftans. Whatever it is, it represents us – our home – our people.

There is no better feeling that dressing up in your African gear. There is such a confidence that comes from that. You can walk down the street and know that you’ll turn heads- not because what you are wearing is ‘revealing’ per say – but it exudes YOU. It exudes confidence, it exudes the power and roots that is ingrained in us. That voice that tells us ‘Be proud of who you are’. That is the power of Africa inspired fashion.

Who I admire? There are two consistent designers I continually root for and support. First, and not to be cliché but I do have to say ROSEÉ is an inspiration. Your work is consistent, reputable and also long lasting.

Secondly, Mazzprints is an amazing sustainable and fashionable designer that I really admire. Her vulnerability is eminent through her work.

On her reality of living in the diaspora

could write a whole essay! Living in the diaspora is living in the constant state of ‘more’. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have here – and I acknowledge my privilege in that way. However, there comes a point when you realise there is more. There is more to life than working to pay bills, taxes, and brunches (even though we can never go wrong with mimosas). Again – I state my privilege because I know a lot of people would love to be in my position. However, I also recognise that no matter the length of my stay in another man’s land, it’s not my home.

I originally came from Sierra Leone and Ghana, and in both countries, I experienced the greatest luxury of all – belonging. The sense of knowing that these are my people, my home, my land. This surpasses any other desire.

So, in short – living in the diaspora is knowing that there is a significant part of my past that is who I am which can neither be replaced – but I am in the limbo of proving to all those who came before me that I can adapt, assimilate and make those who will come ahead of me proud.

On the inspirations behind UNCOMMON Podcast

UNCOMMON Podcast is something that is dear to me. Now that I am talking about it – I realised how much my fear of the mundane has stopped me from fully pursuing this. For the past 6 months I thought to be successful you must put the hobby aside and focus on what brings the cash. Which is true, but I think about it and podcasting is not just a hobby. It’s a release and a reckoning for me. I know it’s making an impact in the ear of those who listen – so I guess what I hope it accomplishes is what I experience when I create an episode. A sense of reckoning and release to the listeners.

For aspiring individuals looking to follow a similar path in business

I would say that don’t live your life the same repeatedly and think you are okay. There must be growth, evolving mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have realised that each day is not the same. There will be times when all you think about is pursuing that goal/dream/business – and there are other days when other priorities come in. I want people to understand that having your head in the clouds does not mean your feet cannot stay planted on the ground. These two aren’t mutually exclusive. Continue dreaming/pushing and reaching and the work will be worth it.

Finally, I will say, I love seeing other African women win! When one of us wins, we all win – that is the mindset of black sisterhood.

To see more of Vanessa’s work, follow her Instagram page at @_nessawoode and @_uncommonpodcast. You can listen to her podcast on Spotify, Apple and all other podcast platforms. Her Latest podcast titled “No Time Like the Present” is out now.

Thank you, Vanessa!


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