What would you say your biggest challenge has been along the way?
Dealing with ableism and internalising it, in a world that really doesn’t want Disabled people to survive let alone thrive. Still to this day, it’s the biggest challenge I face. I have bad days like everyone, but I feel like I’m designed to do so much more - there’s so much I want to do, collaborate on and share with the world.
It’s not easy being a Disabled person and a person of colour, but what really helped me is having the wisdom and richness of my Disabled global family.
What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
I want to highlight something Cindy Gallop always says to me: Ask for the biggest amount you can say out loud without laughing. That’s been key to increasing my fees and demanding more for myself and my organisation. Often in the past, I’ve done work and people have expected me to do it for free, but that can be devastating: How do they expect me to survive?
In the UK, on average, Disabled people have to pay £583 extra per month, just for being Disabled. So it’s just not fair if we don’t get paid what we deserve for our wisdom, knowledge and lived experience. People that tell you you’re so inspirational but don’t want to pay for your time can go away. It doesn’t work like that.
The complexities that Disabled people deal with are another reason why organisations and clients should be consulting, hiring and paying way more Disabled people. For example, the ways of working that have been normalised through the pandemic – from online communication to remote creative collaboration – were things Disabled people have been doing for a long time. Our creativity, innovation, imagination, skills, ways of organising and living with interdependence are all things organisations claim they want, but I feel like little is being done to engage with Disabled people – particularly in the creative industries.