Welcome everyone to a series I have wanted to do for quite some time. I am very lucky to be friends with phenomenal African women and I constantly come in contact with many.
I have always been intrigued by what makes people who they are and what decisions led them to where they currently are and how their identity - in this case, as African women contributed to that.

This week I am in conversation with Thelma, who has captured the hearts of many - myself included through the thoughtful yet effortless portrayal of the beauty that surrounds her everyday life in Accra.

For those who are not familiar with your work how would you describe what you do and who you are?

My name is Thelma Michael, And I'm Nigerian, a personal chef, creative, lifelong student. I do a few other different little things on the side. 

What inspires you and how did you reach a point you felt comfortable drawing from this source?

hmm, what inspires me really will have to be everyday people, art, and Africa. I have always been the talkative, even though an introvert but I am just one of those people that can start a conversation with anybody, it could be the mate on the bus or having a great laugh with a total stranger in the market, just in the most random places and that's how I express myself through everyday things 

How did you get to a place where you felt comfortable enough with yourself to create work that felt authentic to who you are?

I change for the better every day. I have grown and grown and changed so much and still growing.  In fact, it was in curing my insecurities that I realised how to improve my value, rather than validating my worth via others opinion, finding self-worth within myself to become comfortable with who I am. It all comes down to self-worth — feeling that I am true of value, no matter how I look or act or think or what others think of me. Seeing my strengths and weaknesses and learning to embrace them and work on personal growth as much as needed.

How do you stay motivated on days when you do not feel as creative? 

 Clean up my apartment, I can get more done in a decluttered environment, I feel like or sometimes I Take a walk, being fully present and let nature reset my mind. 

Do you ever get those days?

Of course, I have days like that all the time.

How do you feel your identity as an African woman has shaped your creativity and how you express it?

I have from a very Diverse family, My both parents are from two different tribes and so I have cousins from all over Nigeria which have helped me experience the different cultures in Nigeria. I have a unique point of view and multiple perspectives on everything, almost like there's two of me. How I express myself inherits a rhythm and subtle confidence from my culture.  it's easy to embody my identity in my work because it is quite literally who I am. Everything I do is a representation of how I embrace being African and my culture.

Did you face any obstacles with yourself or others when expressing your creativity, if you did, how did you overcome them? 

This is where for me creativity blends into communication skills. You need to be adept at understanding and influencing the right people, however difficult or mystifying they may be. 

How has being yourself creatively and otherwise shaped you?

Being myself creatively has shaped me to be grateful, being mindful of where I am going, the ability to think in ideas and possibilities transfers to all aspects of your life. Creatives are continually learning, and the drive to create means you are never standing still. Especially as a beginner, there is always something to learn. By definition, the act of creating requires you to seek new ideas, new ways of doing things and to learn. Learning is a fantastic antidote to boredom.

What advice do you have for other African women who are struggling to express themselves creatively?

This is advice I use for myself because I consider myself a student. Know that only you have the power to create your dreams and generate motivation. Tell yourself that nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

I got this from the beautiful Asiyami gold, stop wasting your time looking for what makes you unique, because you are already unique in the fact that you are you and there is nobody quite like you.

Could you share a beauty/fashion secret you swear by?

I don't know if this counts as a beauty secret but I always wash my face before bed and when I wake up in the morning.

- A told by Jasmine O.