Meet the woman behind UK’s Most Prestigious Awards for Women of Colour – Divas of Colour
Fauntee (real names Faustina Anyanwu). Creator of Divas of colour International women’s day. CEO Faunteewrites Limited, Co-founder, creative director and Chief Editor C.hub magazine, poet, author, and founder of MBW PR. She describes herself as simple and humble. But you can see with me, there’s nothing simple about this woman of many talent. She is the curator of the women’s award buzzing all over the internet – Divas of colour.
Divas of colour was launched in March 2014, to become the first ever all inclusive and most lavish event to celebrate women of colour from around the globe. As it prepares to host its second edition in March 2015, Divas of colour has already become a household name within the ethnic community. As simple as the woman behind this event seems, every single aspect of the event has proven that she not only have taste for quality, but also has a clear vision for the woman of colour. In this brief chat, we bring you all about Fauntee, the vision, the challenges and what Divas of colour has in stock.
There are many awards ceremonies right now, why is it necessary to create another one?
Fauntee: First there are over 7 billion people in this world. So many are impacting lives such that it is not enough to appreciate these people. That’s on a wider perspective. Bringing it down to where we are, In the UK, especially, there are no platforms for women of ethnic background to meet and share their stories of success, struggle and contributions. Divas of colour provides that. It is an opportunity for women of colour from every background to share a glorious moment of celebration together with borders. Divas of colour is not just an award event, it is a movement, a festival, a convention for women of colour from around the world. A day to celebrate, recognise, reward and discover the best of women of colour. We have fashion show (Diva designer), pageant (Diva face), trade show and the award ceremony.
Wow, what sort of women of colour is Divas of colour is trying to attract?
Divas of Colour is for every woman of colour, those who have vision and those looking to discover themselves. Like I said, it is an opportunity for women to reconnect, share and uplift each other. Our basic values are entangled with these watchwords and it is how we want our women to be described, – Diligent, Inspirational, versatile, able, skilful, charitable, opulent, loving, optimistic, uplifting and reliable.
The second year is around the corner, what do we expect to see?
I’m very grateful for the huge support that Divas of colour has had. In its second year, it is proving to be exactly the missing link for women of colour. One of the major highlight of this year would be to meet all the amazing women shortlisted for the award. Last time, we selected a few women to recognise. But this year, we let it open for people to nominate and the response was overwhelming. The women shortlisted for the 10 categories are simply inspiring and achieving. We have difficult decisions to make this time. Also we have had two major sponsors (Lebara Mobile and DrKem) this time unlike at the first edition where we funded everything on our own.
You keep saying ‘our’, who are the ‘our’?
Ha ha ha, yes I created Divas of Colour but it is owned by Faunteewrites Limited which is co-founded by myself and my husband Emeka Anyanwu. However, he is the company’s director while I oversee every other thing. I’m more or less the CEO or operational manager as the case may be.
Apart from Divas of colour, are there any other thing that you can be associated with?
Yes, I work round the clock. I’m the Chief editor of C. Hub magazine, I manage oversee MBW, and the entire Faunteewrites, I also have to work on all other aspect of our company like the book publishing sector, which also includes, editing, proofreading, marketing and every little thing has to be perfect. As well as managing our writers and contractors.
You heard you’re an author too?
Yes, I write. I have published a children’s story and the second one would be out by end of February 2015. I write lots of poetry as well. Poetry is like an avenue for me to express my innermost self. Like when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, feeling down or even when I’m excited, poem is the only way I’m able to truly express what I feel. It’s like living a life for me.
Where do you find time and energy to do all these?
I grew up among 2 very powerfully industrious women. My mum who is a teacher and my grandmother who was a very successful business woman. Both women have a huge impact on who I am today and I live always seeking to make them proud even though they’re always proud of every little thing I do.
Did you study any course in writing or business?
Never. I’m a Nurse/Midwife and worked for over 5 year. I got employed in one of the best hospitals in Lagos immediately I graduated. It was a very forgettable time of my life.
Have you abandoned that now?
Well, I wouldn’t say completely, but for now here I am doing what I’ve always loved to do but never got the opportunity earlier.
What do you mean never got the opportunity?
It’s a long story but to make it short, I would say due to family difficulties, I had to take the route that was more promising and easier for my mum.
The family difficulty, was it financial or something else?
No, but yes. I wouldn’t say completely financial but something deeper than that. Like I said, it’s a very long story to start now. Ha ha ha.
Since coming into business, what has been the most challenging part of it?
Everyone knows setting up a business is not an easy one. We have had to face several difficulties including funding, sales, and being able to convince our target audience. Having to deal with people misunderstanding your intentions, dealing with people wanting to put you down, dealing with big and small competitions and finding ways to keep going. It’s been a kind of roller coaster.
What has been the best experience so far?
As tough as the business can prove to be, we have had a very fulfilling 2 years. Gradually, things are picking up both financially and otherwise. Our work is being recognised and so many people are beginning to understand the message we have and it’s showing in everything we’re doing including Divas of colour.
What’s your expectation for the year ahead?
Good things. We’ve worked so hard, achieved so much in just 2 years. I’m holding on to those positive mind-set into the next year. Hopefully things will be great.
Divas of colour has done well so far, at what point will you say yes! We did it?
Every single step we take is a major one. This is a project we started just like every other thing with just the faith, the enthusiasm, the vision and our ability to keep working and stay focused. Projects are tough with fund let alone without. So I’m always grateful for each successful outing.
What would you term successful outing?
That we were able to pull the first one off, was a huge success on its own. Then to have over 250 women attend the event is massive. And to have those exhibitors, designers, and the entire team believe in you, trust their money and time in your hand without you having to prove yourself first is just a blessing. And this year, to have the people who actually took part last time coming forward to sponsors, stepping up their involvement from the first outing is glorious for us and we can’t be more grateful.
What gives you the confidence to keep going?
I’m never confident at all. I just have faith and I stay humble, try to answer every client’s question as honestly as I can. Some will see that and stay with you while others might feel you’re too simple to be able to pull this off. So yes, I take each day as it comes. Some yes, some No, but we have to keep trying. I wouldn’t say I have confidence, I rather say I have a very strong will.
What is your motivation?
I’m mostly self-motivated. I have had a lot more nah than I have had yes. But I’m determined to succeed whatever morally just it takes. When I look at my beautiful young girls, I know I have a responsibility to them. To show them what a woman (Black woman) should be; hardworking, focused and successful.
How young are your girls?
I have 3 girls (7, 6 and 4).
How do you cope with them, school runs, and childcare must be a big deal?
It is. But you have to realise that they are your first job and everything else is secondary. With that mind-set, you know what comes when and a little bit of discipline and everyone knows where the boundaries are.
Apart from your mum and grandmother, who else inspires you?
First I’m mostly inspired by my environment, any situation I find myself have one lesson or the other to teach me. Looking outside, I would say, Oprah, Arianna Huffington, Alicia keys, Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel and recently I read about Jess Lee a lot. These women inspire me on several different levels.
What’s your plan for the future?
My plan is to succeed. I’m always filled with ideas. Some I run off with. Others I keep in check for the right time.
What would you call success?
I guess everyone has their own definition of success. But for me, success is about self-discovery which in part is to find your purpose in life and using that purpose to impact lives. And gratefully I’m on that part now.
When will you say you’ve succeeded?
On a level, I will say i have succeeded. But on another level, I don’t think I have impacted lives as much as I would love to. So we keep going.
What would you say to women out there?
My message is for them to embrace who they are with being apologetic about it. Try to correct things that are not quite right in your opinion, those you can’t, learn to work with them. Ultimately, know you’re created beautiful and unique. No one can do what you do. Do your best and be happy. Learn to relax and focus on what’s important.
Wow, we could write a novel just speaking with you. Thank you for your time.
Thank you, my pleasure always.
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