Event #1 OB Talks: Confidence with Gina Martin
|Oliver Bonas, Tottenham Court Road.
|Tuesday 9th April 2019
|18:30 - 20:00
|Cost of ticket
Header image: Gina Martin
I have been a follower of Gina Martin for a wee while now. I came across her on Instagram whilst she was in the midst of campaigning for current law to be changed to duly charge anyone who is a perpetrator of upskirting. In a nutshell, ‘upskirting’ is when someone takes photographs and/or videos up someone’s skirt without their consent. It is baffling that some people have the audacity to invade another’s privacy, especially as it tends to take place in public spaces.
Changing the law is fucking awesome (if you’ll excuse my French), especially when it is done by an everyday gal who is tired of the patriarchial bullshit. It is really inspiring to see someone dedicate their personal time and emotional energy to stand up for something that seemed to be overlooked and (shockingly) accepted as just a social faux-pas.
Back in April, I got a notification that Gina would be speaking down the road from my office and felt compelled to buy a ticket. Having only encountered her through the ‘insta-lense’, I was intrigued to find out more about Gina as a person and also as an 'influencer' (to some degree). Safe to say, I was nervous to go on my own however, as the theme was confidence, I booked a ticket. Thus, it became my personal goal of the week:
To do something by myself, for myself.
The main event
All attendees gathered in the downstairs section of the OB store with glasses of prosecco chit-chatting amongst ourselves until the talk began. It wasn’t what I was expecting in terms of venue layout but then what was I to expect knowing full well it would be taking place on the shop floor?
The event definitely had a very wholesome and intimate feeling as Gina Martin was no more than 5 metres from all of us. She spoke to us all whilst interacting with store manager Gina (what are the chances!?) and leaving time for a live Q&A.
Gina Martin came across really well. She gave time for all questions and answered them with enough depth and humility without becoming too focused on her own achievements. She makes changing the law look almost easy as well as glamorous despite emphasising the sleepless nights, roadblocks and critics along the way. Her discourse touched on her own personal confidence, activist confidence and awareness of her position in society and how that's led her to achieve what she has. In particular, she referred to how her gender, ethnicity and upbringing all play to the strengths and weaknesses of the confidence she possesses today. I'd say that you have to be pretty confident to initiate (probably awkward) conversations about recognizing your own privilege and also to start thinking about how you'd tackle this inequality.
I asked Gina a question, in between attempted subtle fangirling, about her confidence to pursue her activism within politics, an area she admits to not knowing much about prior to her campaign. Her response touched on reaching out to people to help you with your cause. Finding the confidence to admit you don’t understand will help your cause rather than feeling ashamed or embarrassed to do so. She also recommended theme related podcasts that she listens to, notably the Wobble podcast, and worthy Instagram follows e.g. @lucysheridan
Oliver Bonas’s official charity partner for 2019/20 UK Youth were in attendance at the event which definitely gave it extra kudos. There was time for Gina to explain what they do (they empower young people “to build bright futures, regardless of their background or circumstances”), ask attendees to donate and talk to the handful of volunteers present and further help the cause by posting on Instagram about the charity to her 47.6k followers.
I guess the only criticism or at least area of improvement would have been awareness of disability access. There was no indication that the type of venue would be restricted for wheelchair users. Luckily everyone attending was visibly able-bodied to use the stairs so this is me really just nit-picking.
The evening rounded off with general networking and handing out goodie bags containing a lil Oliver Bonas roll-on perfume (which fits perfectly in my handbag!), quirky magnets, UK Youth stickers and love heart sweets. For the price of the ticket, I felt the goodie bag was designed perfectly- nothing too flash but still thoughtful. After 20 minutes or so, I slipped away from the event to meet a friend feeling very content that I had completed my personal goal of confidence ... and self-assured that the rest of my week would remain on a high.
Food for thought
I only took down two notes on my phone during the talk which stuck out to me as both poignant yet relatable.
‘People are always saying to me “You go gal!” and I’m like: “Yes but how do I go?”.’
This makes perfect sense during those times where you seem to be on the right track in everyone else’s eyes yet you don’t know how to carry on without plateauing. It can also be seen as an insightful and telling comment on how certain types of support from others can sometimes make your internal stress and anxiety worse.
“The tiny voice in your head is not your voice but society's voice”.
Say it loud and clear, people!!! This seems so obvious yet it felt like Gina had slapped me around the face with this one. The stars aligned, the jigsaw completed and the sun rose to shine another day and I suddenly realised that all my anxious thoughts were the fault of societal pressures... ALL OF THEM.
Would I recommend this? Definitely. It’s a great after work activity to get your brain ticking on your own personal projects, improve your mood and do something different. It is the perfect price to commit going and learning something new around like-minded individuals instead of that pizza and vino at Franco Manca. You can find more events hosted by Oliver Bonas on Eventbrite, definitely worth a look if you're interested.
Love Poppy x
Hi, I'm Poppy
Feminism, creativity, exploring the world & having a good time are really important to me. If you liked the above, why not subscribe to my newsletter? This is just the beginning.