Real Women, Real Lives
Who inspires you? Who do you use as your motivator to get things done or to make valuable changes to your life?
There are thousands of women who stimulate our need for greatness. They appear on our television and movie screens, we listen to them on the radio, or we read their encouraging stories in articles or books. It’s easy to put a celebrity on a pedestal and desire their lifestyle, skillset and strength of character, but we don’t need to turn to the glossy magazines, or the big screen, to find inspirational women who can motivate us to succeed. They live next door, work alongside us, and talk to us at the supermarket.
The Real Women, Real Lives feature highlights the incredible individuals who have succeeded on their chosen path, or turned misfortune into positivity. Ladies who have conquered illness or gone above and beyond to help others, and made a difference. Women who have stepped out of their comfort zone and launched a business, or ventures that have an impact on their environment, or community.
These remarkable women are your friend, co-worker and neighbour and I’m delighted to be able to share their stories with you.
Today, on International Women’s Day, I am delighted to invite Natalie Edwards to share her story.
Tell us a little about you and your story.
My name is Natalie Edward-Yesufu I am an actress, producer and entrepreneur. I am originally from a small suburb on the northern outskirts of Birmingham. However, I have lived in many places. I have always wanted to be an actress, but I didn’t start pursuing it until my late 20s. I did not have the confidence to audition for drama schools when I left college, I just thought a black girl from Birmingham would not get into a prestige Drama School in the UK. The places are limited and for black and minorities aspiring actors, with most drama schools taking 30 students a year and only one ethnic face allowed on the roster. Furthermore, the lack of faces that looked like me on British TV made me believe this would be a pipe dream and it was not worth the rejection, so I took up other careers such as modelling, personal training and event planning.
I was 27 years old when living in Newcastle and a friend ask me to be an extra on a film she was staring in. The director of the independent movie asked me to be a background actor; he realised I had great organisation skills and asked me to be a producer and production assistance for his company. The experience of acting and producing an independent movie was a fantastic experience my acting bug was back, and it inspired me to go to New York and pursue my love of acting and film, where the USA creative sector is diverse and a bigger economy. Living in Manhattan was incredible it is as precisely glamorous, fast and exciting as it is in the on TV or movies – ambitious people, cocktails, rooftop bars something to do every night and full of creative entrepreneurs from ‘Film’, ‘Fashion and Media’ from every corner of the world.
While living in New York, I became close friends with some American’s while working on exclusive events. They would always joke and say, “how do you know more people than me, in New York, and I have lived here all my life”, that’s when I had the idea to monetise my network with my creative circles along with bringing all my international creative colleagues together. From this idea, birthed Transition Stage Company curating high-end events in cinemas and Theatre across Manhattan. After having confidence in New York and emerging myself in the film industry, I decided to go back to my hometown to do a Master’s degree in a prestigious drama school Birmingham School of Acting. After graduating I stared in primetime BBC TV award-winning Theatre and then launched twice entrepreneur award nominated Transition Stage Company, and the event Enter Stage Write and the rest is history.
What’s your biggest dream in life?
My Biggest dream is to turn Enter Stage Write into a franchise and a culture showcasing new writers and creating short films, I would like to scale these events nationwide and eventually in New York and be able to make a great standard of living to look after my parents and my family, it’s not easy but I am on the right track, it’s an exciting struggle.
If you chose a power word for this year what would it be and why?
This year my power word has to be “LEVEL-UP” I don’t know why women worry about their age every year I feel I look better I feel confident I know who I am. My relationship with myself is better, attracting better romantic relationships, I look at pictures of me two years ago and I think who the hell is that. I believe every day you should be a better version of you, and embarking on this Transition Stage company creative journey has made me better! So I hope 2019 is the year of levelling up for everyone.
Who inspires you and why?
Many women inspire me such as my mother, but the two women who I look too for inspiration are Oprah Winfrey and Kanye King,
Both these ladies set up life-changing platforms through media creating a culture and also in the aid to help people make the world a better and inclusive place,
Kanya King CBE founded the Mobo awards from scratch a grassroots organisation awarding music of black origin giving marginalised communities a platform to shine, she went through many trial and tribulations also re-mortgaging her home, but she kept going, I hope I have the endurance to build the brand of Transition Stage company and Enter Stage Write to that magnitude.
When there are days where I think this is too hard I keep going because if it can work for these women, it can work for me, anything is possible if you keep going.
What, in your experience, motivates you best? Can you give an example?
I would say it is not healthy to be motivated through negative enforcement, but for me, it works, what I mean by this is that so many people have told me “NO” in life! You’re not good at this, you haven’t got the right look, you’re not from the right background, you haven’t got the right accent, your business will never work, or the sabotaging voice in your head telling you you’re no good. This is like a Bunsen burner under my “derriere” and it makes me work harder. I like to prove people wrong and I believe that someone else’s perception of you should never be yours, among other inspiring and motivating factors this is my fast pill.
What actions/events/environments would adversely affect your motivation? Can you give an example and how you coped?
Things that demotivate me are becoming too comfortable in my surroundings, I work well with pressure, lack of time makes me focus and when I focus I get things completed to an excellent standard. Stressful for my staff, it’s not great for my PA or my staff, but I am working on a way to work better
How do you ensure that your personal level of motivation is high on a daily basis?
My motivation is always high, I just think about what will happen if I don’t reach my destination and the pain of failure is motivator also absolutely loving what you do helps, I do! So, if you love something you don’t need a motivator to do it! Like they say, find a job you love and you will never work day IN YOUR LIFE!
To find out more about Natalie you can connect with her here: