Life By Asha Singh

If you've been to any clothing store lately you've probably come across some kind of shirt with the slogan "The Future Is Female" - as soon as corporate finds an opportunity, they commercialise on it and this is no exception. However, the phrase still holds so much weight.

Women are taking over all aspects. This is undeniable. Most undergraduate classes are at least 70% female, stay at home moms are becoming a dying breed and in general women are dominating every sector of life. However the scale isn't completely balanced, especially in the entrepreneurial sector. While this isn't completely new territory for the fairer sex, it tends to be a rather hostile one. That's why organizations like Future Females are so necessary.

What is Future Females?



A movement formed by females for females. It is an empowerment movement aimed to uplift and helps women from all walks of life through their entrepreneurial journey. The organisation first launched in South Africa in August 2017 (Exactly a year ago!) and have already grown to have over 3000 members of the community actively participating to drive our mission globally with events in South Africa, German and Namibia. The Future Females mission is to accelerate the success of aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to provide an environment where females can connect, and access the necessary resources.



Why is Future Females necessary?


To break it down for you:

 - Globally, female entrepreneurs received just 2.5% of total venture capital funding in 2016.
- However, companies delivered 63% better return with females in senior leadership positions.
- Globally, women own just 1% of the world’s wealth.

Let that sink in. JUST. ONE. PERCENT.

The Future Females Mission


"We believe that to drive change through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, we cannot have just 50% of the world focused on it.

More focus is needed to encourage and accelerate the success of aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Providing an environment, both physically and emotionally, where women can connect with others and access key resources (mentorship, funding, education) is key to accelerating the rate of female entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship globally."




You can attend Future Females


Future Females is a platform that connects, inspires and supports existing and aspiring female entrepreneurs.

We are women that break the mould and think bigger.  We want more and take action to get it.

Future Females are having their first birthday on 28 August 2018 in Durban. You can purchase tickets for the Future Females event in Durban here. The standard ticket on the day is R80 per person, with early bird tickets being R45.

The speakers at the Durban event are Melanie Gard, digital marketing expert, serial entrepreneur and motivational speaker, and Darlene Menzies, who was named one of 6 Top Female Tech
Breakthrough Entrepreneurs in Africa for 2017 by World Economic Forum.


You can also win tickets! To win tickets you can enter on instagram and follow the steps. Goodluck!
  
You take a boss picture of yourself or a boss chick or dude you’d nominate to win (we don't discriminate), and in keeping with the theme with your caption, tell us how you've failed but learnt from your experience and the growth as a result. Tag @sa_young_female_professional , tag @futurefemales , #futurefemalesdurban#FailFoward.







August's theme of Women Empowerment is in full swing! Every Friday this month you can expect an interview with another #girlboss and get to know what keeps these Queens motivated to do the mostest! This week we chat to Shenai Bridglall, a female entrepreneur running an NPO, who will soon also be launching a new venture in the fashion industry, her footwear brand called Shenai Briglall. 






1. Who are the #girlbosses in your life that you look up to most? 

Definitely my mom. She’s taught me to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings

2. Who is your favourite female fictional character and why? 

Cinderella, she made me realize that it’s okay to be a princess but every girl should know that she’s also fully capable of building her own castle.



3. If you could spend a day in the life of any woman (dead or alive) who would it be?

Emma Watson, she is incredibly talented, versatile and intelligent. I’ve seen her grow from every Harry Potter movie I’ve watched to her becoming a UN Goodwill Ambassador and the face of the #HeForSheCampaign. I find it truly admirable that she used her fame as a tool to inspire and educate people.   



4. The big question, do you identify as a feminist? Why or why not?

Feminism... my second favourite F word (my first is food just to clarify). Of course I’m a feminist; and no, I don’t hate men! I think people see feminism as this dirty word and feminists are usually looked down upon because people don’t fully understand what being a feminist means. Feminism means ‘the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of BOTH the sexes.’  If you believe that everyone should be afforded the same opportunities in life, irrespective of their gender, then you’re a feminist too. 





5. You founded a nonprofit called The EssBee Foundation. Can you tell us more about that? 

I started The EssBee Foundation to reduce the generational poverty gap of women in South Africa and provide girls with the resources to become somebodies instead of somebody’s. Our events focus on four central pillars: education, nutrition, personal hygiene and women empowermentWe have grown incredibly since inception in 2016; currently operating in Cape Town, Durban, Port Shepstone and Johannesburg with approximately 40 dedicated volunteers around the country.




6. Nowadays, the hot topic tends to be how to find the balance between work life and more domesticated family life. Do you see yourself choosing between the two?

The most important career choice that a woman makes in her life is who she chooses to marry. Society seems to put more pressure on women to find a man than on men to first be a man; this needs to stop. When your spouse respects and is fully supportive of you and your career, there should never be an ultimatum.



7. What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs? 

A woman should never be delimited from pursing her dreams based on the grounds that ‘a girl can’t do that.’ Believe in yourself and your potential, work hard and be the girl of your dreams and the woman that you needed as a girl.



8. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m just a small town girl with big city dreams

I grew up and schooled in Port Shepstone. Upon matriculation I relocated to Cape Town to complete a Bachelor of Business Science in marketing, statistics and economics from the University of Cape Town. I worked at Google in South Africa and Singapore before pursing the fashion industry and working at TFG. I then relocated to Italy where I completed a Postgraduate qualification in footwear and bag technology from Polimoda as well as sourced manufacturers for my luxury women’s footwear company that I will be launching soon. I returned to South Africa last year to complete my Master of Business Science.

In the midst of my education, work experiences and running The EssBee Foundation, I was a commercial model signed with an international agency and I entered Miss South Africa 2017 before retiring from the modeling world.






9. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? 


Be patient; good things take time. You need to strive to be a lifetime in the making, not an overnight success.



10. Lastly, where can we find you? 

Personal accounts
Instagram, FB & Twitter: @lifeofshenai

NPO accounts
Instagram & FB: @theessbeefoundation

Company accounts
Instagram, FB & Twitter: @shenaibridglall

Website: https://shenaibridglall.com

Read last week's interview with blogger and actress, Sheena Deepnarain.


August's theme of Women Empowerment is in full swing! Every Friday this month you can expect an interview with another #girlboss and get to know what keeps these Queens motivated to do the mostest! This week we chat to Sheena Deepnarain, a South African actress and blogger, living in Johannesburg. 




1. Growing up, who did you look up to as your female role model?

When I was a kid Oprah Winfrey was my inspiration - at 4pm every weekday I would watch The Oprah Winfrey Show - I loved her zest for life and her story was that of an ordinary woman who did extraordinary things to become the leader in media that she is today. Someone who worked hard, carried herself well and educated her way forward.

2. What is your definition of "beautiful”?

The term beautiful has become such a derogatory term and the placement that society has always put on it - therefore beauty for me as cliched as it may sound is not defined by the physical, it’s for me defined as your character, morals and integrity - and that holds true value to me.


3. Which actresses do you think best embody the term #girlboss?

Priyanka Chopra without doubt embodies this for me - she steered her career so strategically and left her mark in Hollywood - it’s so admirable and empowering to see a brown lady achieve this. 


4. Being in the entertainment industry yourself, how do you handle petty girl on girl hate?

I found the perfect solution to handle girl on girl hate - and thats to totally ignore it - if you don’t fuel it, it will eventually fizzle out. I'm also really good at identifying trouble makers and just choose to not be in their company and remove them from my life - I do that for anyone with negative energy.


5. How do you think women could better motivate each other?

Over years we’ve been taught by society that we are our own worst enemies, however the woman movements have liberated us in our thinking to break free from how society expects us to behave and how we actually are.
As woman I truly believe that we are loving, caring and nurturing by nature, we are not abusive of power and leadership (of course with the exception of a few) - therefore I truly believe that taking very calculated steps toward being the empowered women we want to become is essential.
For example - We don’t have to be “bithces” to each other for ratings or parade ourselves according to narrow-minded perceptions of beauty to get ahead - these platforms and storylines were created by men and women need to captain the boat and steer a new, and of course improved perception of women in media and the workplace where we support each other and have all types of beauties represented so that even minority groups feel beautiful and have something to relate to in a positive perspective.


6. And now, the biggest question. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

I’m absolutely a feminist - how can I not be? As women in 2018 we are still not seen as equals or treated with simple decency on various levels.
I can give you an extremely long list of how disproportionate being female in 2018 is in comparison to a man - it’s not only in my own interest to always bring these issues to light and fight for fundamental rights, but it’s so important for women who come after us to not go through the same struggles we go through and not be limited to what they can achieve because of their gender.


7. Let's talk about your blog! Tell us a bit more about Pot of Gold?

Pot of gold began as a creative outlet for me, when I took a year off to travel and just indulge in life's pleasures. To my surprise it caught the interest of many and when I came back to South Africa I saw it as a viable business.
It’s a lifestyle blog aimed at bringing to light the South African Indian culture - something we unfortunately see so little of in a optimistic, non-mocking light.
The genres include travel, beauty, fashion and features my dogs from time to time with detailed information of how the latest trends and brands I work with can help compliment your lifestyle.


8. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m an actress and blogger and hopefully soon to be film producer as I embark on my first film adventure to produce local content that tells real South African stories portrayed by the amazing South African talent we have which is quite exciting and the next chapter for the second half of this year.
However, when I’m not acting, blogging and producing - I’m a simple lady who loves the gift of life we have been given and try to make the most of it.



9. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t grow up too quickly, as kids we want to grow up and be adults so badly - but when you an adult you realize you literally have the rest of your life to be an adult and only a few precious years to be a kid.


10. Lastly, where can we find you? 





August's theme of Women Empowerment is in full swing! Every Friday this month you can expect an interview with another #girlboss and get to know what keeps these Queens motivated to do the mostest! I'm kicking off this series today with an interview with Michelle Meilhon, a South African blogger living and working abroad in the Netherlands as an au pair. She's actually a close friend of mine who I met exactly a year during a blogging event! 





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1. Who is your female role model?

Lilly Singh - She is the person who I look up to, someone who keeps hustling regardless of how she feels. She makes sure that everyone on her team is taken care of as well as her fans. I like that she always tries her best to be the best possible person she can be as well as to speak up about subjects that are sensitive! 

2. Being the amazing make up artist that you are, what are your top makeup and beauty tips?

Beauty starts from within. Don't be mean to others and put people down to lift yourself up. That's not cool
Always use a good moisturiser. Seriously. Don't skip that. There are a lot of different types of moisturisers out there. Don't think that because your face is oily you don't need to put anything on. When you don't moisturise your face your body over produces oil and then you become more oily than necessary. 

3. What do you look for in a (female) friend?

Honesty and low maintenance. I am that friend who is really busy, probably travelling and I need someone who understands that and respects that sometimes I am busy and unable to chat to you. Honesty is so important to me and I always want someone to be honest with me. If you don't like something I did, please talk to me. Don't hold a grudge or spread rumours about me. Let's be adults and talk about it. Bonus points if you can tell horrible dad jokes!  

4. Now, the best question. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?

Yes I do. A feminist is someone who fights for EQUAL rights for BOTH men and women. I think that everyone should be treated the same regardless of whether they are male or female. That is with everything in life. From professional work situations, sporting events as well as the law. I often see people who fight for equal rights but when it comes to things like going to court for say child walfare, most of the time the court goes with the mother because the kid grew in her uterus. 

5. Now on to travel, what are some of your favourite cities and why?

New York was the first City I had been to when I left my own country for the first time so it will always have a small piece of my heart. I love the fashion there and how no one judges you because they have their own problems to deal with. It's also one of the only cities I know where you don't need to have money to explore it as so much of it is free. It also helps that it has Broadway which is my first love as well as free Lindt samples lol!  Boston is high on that list too. I visited there in December 2015 and I fell in love with it. I loved the streets; the architecture; the vibe. It's like country meets city in the best way possible. In terms of Europe, Rotterdam definitely has my heart. Rotterdam was bombed in WWII which left it pretty flat except for about 3 buildings. They have since built it up and added the weirdest buildings. Every time I go past the buildings, I remember why I love the city so much! It's not just the architecture but also the vibe of the city that makes me love it! Delft is my favourite small town. It's also in The Netherlands, about a 10 min train from Rotterdam. It is a college town and hosts some of the best architecture students in the world. It's so small you can throw a tennis ball from one end to the other but somehow always makes me so happy to go there. It hosts amazing canals; cafe's and the famous Delft's Blauw ornaments (they are the blue and white china that is so famous. Adoringly came from this small town)  


6. What tips do you have for meeting other #girlbosses while traveling?

Instagram and Facebook groups. Remember when your parents told you not to meet anyone off the internet? Well you use Uber so that's out the window. I target female based groups on Facebook and meet up with people that have similar interests to me. On Instagram I use the geo tag for the area that I am trying to make friend's in and then go from there. It's good to form friendships first by liking and commenting on their stuff and take it from there.


7. How do you keep old friendship alive while always traveling?

I enjoy having low maintenance friends so I guess it is easier that way. I also will make sure I know what they are up to on social media. Most of my friend's are on social media so I always keep up with them that way. I have a few friend's who I call on a weekly basis, sometimes all we say is hi and bye. Sometimes it's long conversations but it's all about effort. The most important thing I would say though is if something reminds you of someone, let them know. I am a visual person so I always take a photo and let the person know I was thinking of them. It makes that person feel fuzzy inside and you'll probably make their day! 

8. What do you miss most about SA when abroad?

Food mostly! Seriously, why doesn't the rest of the world have All Gold tomato sauce and tomato flavoured chips that are actually nice? I evidently have a thing for tomatoes. Currently- The Netherlands doesn't have Salt and vinegar chips for some reason so that makes me sad. 

9. Tell us a bit more about yourself?

Well I am a professional AuPair. I have been travelling abroad since 2013 while doing what I love. I look after children with special needs which is very close to my heart. I am also a professional makeup artist; hairstylist and can probably sing more Disney songs than you know.  

10. Tell us a bit more about being an au pair?

Being an AuPair is hard. I am not going to sugar coat that. Most people think that it's all fun and games and you travel a lot. The truth is it's flipping hard BUT totally worth it

11. If you could give your 13 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Screw what other people think of you! Everyone has their own issues they are dealing with so be extra nice and listen extra hard to them because you never know whose day you are making by simply listening. 

12. Lastly, where can we find you? 



Happy Women's month ya'll! 

August is definitely my favourite month because so much attention is placed on empowering women as well as women's issues. 

And for some reason, August has also inspired me to get back to regularly blogging! For the past year I've slacked so much with only 7 blog posts (compared to posting every single week last year). 

But I'm officially back with a new post every Wednesday (Just like old times!) and a completely redesigned website. So sit back, relax, and expect some amazing new content on Life By Asha Singh every Wednesday! 

P.S there might be a little surprise at the end of this post too!

P.P.S what do you think of the new website layout and design? I tried out something that's easier to read on your cellphone. And I think it's pretty lit.




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1. REFLECT ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WOMENS DAY


This is a must for err'body. Don't forget the reason for the season, yo. Just to recap on your high school history class: 9 August (i.e womens day) commemorates the 1956 march of about 20 000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The march was against SA's pass laws that required South African's classified as "Black" under the population registration act to carry a "dom pass" or internal passport. The first women's day occurred on 9 August 1994 and is now based on the principle of striving for equal freedoms and rights and bringing to light womens issues such as domestic violence. During the march, the women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing protest songs. Why not just take 5 minutes to quietly reflect on the position of women and womens rights in society today? I would recommend a drive to a serene place like to beach to just take a moment to feel thankful.




2. SPEND THE DAY WITH YOUR #SQUAD


There's no better way to spend the public holiday than with your girls! They've got your back through and through so why not celebrate them! Here are some idea's on what you guys can do:


  • Have a girl power movie marathon. Both Buzzfeed and Bustle have lists of amazing feminist movies to watch but here are some of my favorites : The Hunger Games, Mulan, Bridesmaids, Divergent, Pitch Perfect, Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries and The Help. So grab your popcorn ladies!
  • Coffee Date to discuss new ways to fight the patriarch of course. 
  • Pamper Day! All this fighting for equal human rights can get tiring, so grab your female ninjas and have a spa day. After all, those legs deserve a pedicure after attending all those women's month marches.

3. SPEND THE DAY WITH YOUR NO.1 LADY I.E YOUR MAMA


Behind every Princess is a Queen! One thing I've noticed about some of the most ambitious women I know is that they have strong moms they look up to as a role model, and there's no better way to spend Women's Day than with your Queen Mama Bear! If you're lucky enough to live close to you mom (And not over 8000km away like me *sigh*) then take advantage of that and have some bonding time. Why not have a movie day or dinner with mom?


4. GIVE BACK TO OTHER WOMEN/ORGANISATIONS


One thing I admire most about the women who took part in the 1956 march is that they were so self less and still united for a cause they believed in. Instead of doing something that benefits you on 9 August, give back to the community. There are so many ways you can do that. Donating to an NGO, volunteering or even just by being a part of an organization empowering women in South Africa


5. READ ABOUT OR LISTEN TO THE STORIES OF OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN


This is one you can do in a few different ways. Women's month is filled with local events with talks by inspirational women that you can attend. You could also just plan a lunch date with an inspiring woman you've always wanted to get to know better and ask her the questions you've had on your mind (Or better yet just hit her up on IG or DM her the questions you've always wanted to know. Beware, some people think they're too famous to reply to DMs. Don't be one of those people.) 



Luckily, I've got your back and I'm making this step even easier for you by featuring interviews with some inspiring women throughout this month of August! Every Friday in August you can expect a new post with an exclusive interview with yet another #girlboss! For now, check out last year's interview with blogger, model and law student, Payal Ramlall.







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