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. In this series, I explore this. 

This week I am in conversation with Addie, who is to many a beam of positivity. From the powerful words on her blog, to gentle reminders to be kind to yourself and spreading a positive message on what it is to be an African woman. She represents what it means to be an African woman who is proud of her identity. 

For those who don’t know who you are, could you introduce yourself?

Im Addie! Im an Ethiopian, born in London. I never really know how to explain who I am or what I do but Ill give it a go. Im a university student (History and Development studies), a lover of art, culture, politics, history and global development. I do lots of little things working with different societies and organisations too! I also have a blog -

What first inspired you to do what you do and why has it become important to you? 

Growing up, I was always the kind of person that had more than a few hobbies or interests. This manifested all throughout my time in education, where I genuinely struggled to find a niche area of study because I wanted to study everything and anything! I loved history, anthropology, political economy, art, music, the list went on! I managed to channel all this energy into my blog, whereby I was able to share my interests online. So, I guess it was my curious nature, paired with my love of learning which ignited my interest in not only blogging but also getting so involved with societies/organisations and broader academic research.

You seem to bring this positive energy into everything that you do. How do you stay positive, centred and connected with yourself? Has this always been natural to you or did it take some time to get to that point in your life? 

Thank you! Knowing that people perceive me to be so positive is heartwarming! And I hope I radiate some of that energy onto other people. But its also important to remember that its okay not to be okay. Maintaining such positive energy can be exhausting, especially if you are choosing positive energy at face value over dealing with underlying negative emotions.

I always find these self-care/positive thinking books funny. Not just because everyone and their auntie have written one. But more so because its as if there is a bible or a guidebook to staying positive. Staying centred and connected itself is a journey. One that is individual, and personal. Its about finding what makes you feel good. For me, that might be writing a list of things I need to do that day. Or treating myself to an evening of ice-cream, scented candles and facemasks. To others, its going to the gym, walking their dog, listening to a particular album. What Im trying to say is, maintaining positive energy is a process only you, yourself can achieve. Get to know yourself!

You are a creative person, how do you fuel your creativity?

It’s the tiniest things that get me going. I could be on the tube listening to a song, at a lecture series, at an art gallery, in my room, out for a walk, writing an essay for uni, anything at all! Then suddenly my mind wanders, ideas start to form, I feel a rush of excitement, and then quickly jot it down into my notes page to work on later.

How do you overcome creative obstacles like periods where you feel uninspired? 

I let it pass. My blog isn’t my full-time job. I have 101 other things going on in my life, and blogging is meant to be something I do for genuine fun. Stressing over periods where I feel uninspired will only make me feel worse, and ultimately turn something I love into a chore. Instead, I indulge in other areas of my life, my uni studies for example, which usually helps generate some sort of inspiration anyways!

Have you ever had periods like that? What advice do you have for young women/girls who see you and find parallels between your life and theirs? 

Always!! I am probably the most inconsistent blogger out there, haha. I have the most sporadic upload schedule, where I post nothing at all for months, then drop 4 blog posts in the space of 3 days. People are still waiting for me to upload my Ethiopia vlog…which I was meant to upload last summer (Im terrible, I know). Like I said, I started my blog for fun, and I always want to keep it like that. My advice would be to take it easy! Remember why you started what you do, and try to maintain that enthusiasm without killing it with stress.

What direction would you like your creative journey to take you? 

I love learning, I never want to stop learning. My blog was my personal way of learning, my time in university, a more academic means of learning, both of which I hope will help guide me into a career which will provide me with endless opportunities to learn. As of right now, I would love to work with development organizations that focus on the Horn of Africa. Maybe something with Forced Migration, Conflict Resolution, or Cultural/Historical Preservation. Who knows!

What do you hope people take from your work?

Id love for people to learn something new. It sounds minor, I know, but hearing someone tell me they never knew Ethiopia was so green until they saw my photos, or that they had never heard about the Nile Project before coming across it on my blog, is amazing to me!

More importantly, I would love for my work to spark some sort of curiosity or interest in people. It could be in anything! I would love for people to read a blog post and begin to question their own interests or identity, and motivate them to read or engage in such topics.

Did you ever struggle with your identity growing up? 

Yes, to some extent. I actually talked about this in a blog post called Youre not really black. I wrote that at the age of 16/17, not so much because I didn’t know who I was, but more so to start a genuine discussion around the topic. I started getting a lot of messages from people relating to what I wrote, asking questions, or even completely disagreeing. I just loved the fact that my small blog post, which I thought only my friends were reading, had reached so many people!

How did you come to terms with who you are and when was this?

I think it came with age. Naturally, as your social groups expand, your personal values and goals become clearer, your curiosity grows, you begin to accept certain parts of your identity, and perhaps let go of other parts. I don’t think there is a point in time where I came to terms with my identity. In fact, I think Im still coming to terms with it. Every single day that I read, hear, feel, learn, or think something, I am growing. So, Id say, my identity too, is subject to growth.

What do you love most about being a young African woman in 2018?

This is a pretty tough question. Tough because its hard to translate it into words. There is so much power in being able to in embody and re-write what it is to be a young African woman. As we take pride in our heritage, we simultaneously act as vessels in which we preserve all the beauty and wisdom there is in being an African woman.

What is the best advice you have ever received? 

It's actually a piece of advice that my mum gave me. Dont dwell in regrets. More importantly, if it made you happy at that moment, why regret it now?

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

If youre like me and don’t do much for makeup, but still want to look cute, gently tap your finger onto a red lipstick and lightly apply it to the outer corners of your eyelids. Blend a little, and finish with a tiny bit of shimmery gold. Youll end up with a lovely orangey/red-eye look!

Find Addie - @addie.ttDaughter of the horn