Facilitator, editor, dreamer, doer. Meet the Londoner telling it like it is.
“Success is such a subjective thing and it’s really important to not let other people define what success should be to you.”
Some girls are born multitaskers. Editor of British magazine Typical Girls, Jamila Prowse recently spoke at SheSays—“like a TED talk for women in tech”—organized over 50 volunteers at art festival House Biennale, and talks in local schools to promote participation and equality. “As terrifying as talking in front of 200 people can be, talking to a classroom of disengaged 14-to-16-year-olds can be much more challenging. Going into schools where University is not even perceived as an option and saying, ‘You can do this,’ is so important to me.” Still only 22, she started Typical Girls in 2015 while bartending and studying art history at Brighton University. She calls the magazine “a conversation between our contributors, that evolves through photography, creative writing, film, and more.” Along with her art director, Chani Wisdom, Jamila runs the magazine as a business; now with over 50 contributors, it’s stocked in institutions as credible as the Tate.
“I started the magazine as a kind of escapism. When I was studying, I just really needed something else to do. I was living in South-West London, which is very green, very beautiful, but there wasn’t that much engaging around me so pouring over magazines like Lula and i-D gave me an escape. To launch my own felt like the natural thing to do.”
“It takes a leap of imagination to think that you could do something if you don’t see faces like your own within it. I’m not from a very financially privileged background, and when one of my lecturers said, 'It’s not about who you know, it’s about who you put yourself in front of,’ I found that very freeing. Now it’s just about getting to the point where the younger generation can look at someone and think, you know, they’re quite similar to me, so why can't I do that?"
“Success is so subjective and it’s really important to not let other people define what it is to you. I thrive on being around creative people and feel so privileged to have work that allows me to have interesting conversations.”
“Women’s publishing is such a progressive industry now. It’s really progressed to such an intellectual level. When we were growing up, the headlines were all about, 'How to get the guy' or 'How to lose weight' or 'Why you're gonna lose your man.' I’m actually quoting these! It’s so humbling and inspiring to be partly involved in the movement that is changing that.”
“It takes a leap of imagination to think that you could do something if you don’t see faces like your own within it."
“If you look through my wardrobe, it’s full of so many patterns and so many colors. I really like getting all dressed up and I’ve never viewed myself as having a very specific personal style. I like being comfortable and I like making a bit of an effort. I’m pretty much always in trainers because we go out dancing a lot. I never wear any makeup. I’m minimal effort, I don’t like taking ages getting ready, I’ll just throw something on.”
“When we first made the magazine, my male friends were so frustrated because they had the sense that they couldn’t join in. I had to explain that different conversations occur when you have this kind of safe space for women. But now I really don’t think that you can have conversations about feminism and the representation of women without talking about masculinity. The pressures that are placed on men growing up are so extreme; they’re not raised to be able to talk about their emotions. The way that gender is constructed in our society is skewed, and needs to be addressed.”