Back in the summer I was asked by Lynn Tabbara, the curator of TEDxCoventGardenWomen, whether I’d ever considered doing a TEDx talk. I’ve watched countless TED talks over the years, so it wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to do one, I just hadn’t thought it was a real possibility. TED talks are delivered by doctors and scientists and New York Times-bestselling authors, aren’t they? But when Lynn asked me if I’d do one, after a moment of hesitation, I said “yes, of course, wow, amazing, thank you so much asking me!”
In the last two weeks before the day of TEDxCoventGardenWomen, my talk changed dramatically. Thankfully, I had access to an amazing coach, Nicky Moran, who really pushed me to a place that I was trying to avoid in order to craft a truly authentic and powerful talk. I definitely cried at certain points, and a week before I was on the verge of quitting but I did it. And I’m so, so, so grateful I did.
This is an important talk for me personally, but also I hope for others as well. Do not let shame and fear define your reality, you are much more than whatever people believe about you.
Thanks to the amazing TEDxCoventGardenWomen team who were so encouraging and welcoming and made the day amazing, and the rehearsals that much bit easier. Thanks also to other the brilliant Ginger public speaking coaches who gave so much feedback during our rehearsals. Make sure you also watch the rest of the talks from the day, because everyone was absolutely amazing.
“When the annals of history are compiled, what will 2016 be known as? The year of Brexit and Trump? The year Prince and Bowie passed on? Or perhaps we’ll just know it as the year before the year when the fecal matter really hit the fan.”
+ Donald Trump and white fragility
+ the pending apocalypse
+ your fave (so-called) Christian public figure is trash
+ ‘The Mask You Live In’, Damilola Taylor and Amanda Knox
+ BBC 2’s Black British programming season
+ renting wigs
Let me be honest: the first time I got an email from MTV about Teen Mom UK, I was a bit…sceptical. The American Teen Mom series has had its fair share of controversy, and I was wondering what they hoped to do with the British series. The second time I got an email, I went into the MTV offices for a meeting and I was pleasantly surprised – and encouraged – by the generally positive and sincere motivations.
From the outside we often have the idea that “reality TV” is purposefully exploitive, but with Teen Mom UK, I think there is a real opportunity for a wider conversation to be had about the “issue” of teen pregnancy and motherhood. Of course, this will only happen as long as we put aside our preconceptions and the ingrained stereotypes that our society holds so dear, and maybe I’m naive, or idealistic, but I have hope…
Anyways, I wrote an introduction to the series which you can read over on the MTV UK website, and hopefully I’ll be writing some more about the various themes and issues that come up as the series continues to air.
There are some extended previews also available to view over on the MTV website.