PUMA encourages women to never compromise on their personal style or their personal goals by providing support to young women in the creative industry. Through their PUMA Women campaigns, the brand aims to uplift as well as provide the tools to empower the next generation. Last year, wellness influencer Simone Powderly collaborated with PUMA on their ‘Women On The Rise‘ campaign. She featured on a podcast with fashion designer Chloé Marlow and speaker Toni Tone, where they discussed embracing change, self-belief and navigating life in lockdown. Two years ago Simone co-founded My Teen Experience, which focuses on personal development workshops for teenage girls. At the end of the 2020 she created My Trauma My Healing, a platform for her to freely discuss her trauma and healing process – with hopes to encourage others to do the same. Simone believes in giving back to her community with work she does, uplifting women and encouraging them to be their full realized selves.
Tomi: Introduce yourself. When people ask what you do for a living, what do you say?
Simone: I always say I’m a bit of a cocktail as I do a lot of things. I’m a model, a content creator, founder of My Trauma My Healing and co-founder of The Teen Experience. All the work I do is about my passions and purpose so I always try to give back with the work I do.
T: Did you start modelling before you launched your own businesses?
S: Yes I started with modelling so with my Instagram it was always hair related. My background was in mental health and working with vulnerable people but yeah I started with the modelling and then I left my job two years ago. My last role was working in a rehab and during that time I co-founded The Teen Experience alongside Jamelia Donaldson, the founder of Treasure Tress. We just came together where I had the background of wellness and she has a passion for hair and we were like let’s create workshops for teen girls. The Teen Experience is about creating a safe place for young girls and we host workshops. I always say it’s about teaching you things that they don’t necessarily teach you in school. For example saving that five pounds your parents gave you or finding their purpose or building their confidence. We get sponsorships through brands. Then My Trauma My Healing, I launched at the end of last year and that’s been my little baby during lockdown.
T: With My Teen Experience, how do you organize the workshops?
S: Funny enough, on my Instagram profile I have a lot of parents that follow me so we do it through our social media. We both have such a really strong network so it’s just through word of mouth. Then we connect with charities for teens and we give a certain amount of tickets away. We usually kick them off around Spring time but couldn’t because of the lockdown [laughs]. We do a little brunch for them and ask them what type of workshops they would like to see. I really think it’s important that it’s for them rather than me just assuming what teen girls need. It’s amazing what they want. They’ve come up with workshops on subjects like health and relationships or forming great friendships.
T: What made you decide to launch My Trauma My Healing?
S: Okay like I said earlier I do so many things, I felt like my voice was being lost on my main profile. I talk about my trauma and then you’ll get my modelling side and then you get the brand work and I felt that I needed a separate page to talk about my trauma. I didn’t want to trigger anyone on my main profile who wasn’t expecting to see a topic as heavy as that. I wanted to be able to present it in a way where I start my journey and tell my story of how I worked through my trauma. Then I will open it up to other people. It’s a dedication to my inner child! I just felt ready, it’s been ten years since I spoke out about my experience in my childhood so I just felt it was the next step to create a platform like this.
T: How did you feel comfortable talking about something that serious?
S: Obviously I first spoke out to my family. I remember the first time I did it I just wanted to take it back. I questioned why I did it immediately. It was just a bit too much and then I always remember that I wanted people to see me still living my life even with what I had been through. I just didn’t see anyone as young as me talking about that type of trauma. I felt that even though my voice might shake and I might be nervous, it’s gonna help someone. The response I got when I first spoke out about my trauma made me realize I have to keep going.
T: Did you grow up in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about your mental health?
S: My mum’s Irish and my dad’s Jamaican. My mum’s culture is like you just get on with it. I’m the only one who’s into therapy or holistic healing. I feel like they respect my journey and what methods help me. I think it has been hard sometimes explaining to my friends, they may not always understand why I speak up about my trauma the way I do. I always say to people that it was a lonely journey, whether it was going to therapy or trying to explain to someone that I have PTSD. I’m turning 32 this year and I’m in space where I know what helps me. I can’t be a people pleaser and I have to keep myself safe first.
T: You’re in the wellness space so with a year like 2020, did you find yourself having to set stricter boundaries to protect your space?
S: Yeah I think that’s why I had to birth My Trauma My Healing. I do set boundaries because I wake up in the morning and I’ve got people sharing messages of their trauma. I’m grateful that they feel comfortable to share it with me but I’m a human being too and I’m still working through my own PTSD. I’m an empath so I feel everything and I’ll start worrying about them but I can’t always reply. I’m always conscious and always hope that I’m doing enough.
T: All right so switching to PUMA. How did you get involved with the brand?
S: I was first introduced to PUMA at an event. It was a Women On The Rise panel with Alizé and I just loved what they were doing together.
I told them about my background and what I was doing and with every brand I work with I always want to make sure I give back to the community. They were just really supportive in terms of what I’m doing so that’s how I got involved. I was working with them on more of the fashion side of things. I told them about the work I do with young girls so that’s how we came together. They just support me in terms of anything I need and it’s just like a big supportive system because I know quite a few of the women that are involved in it.
T: How do you think Women On The Rise helped support female creatives last year?
S: COVID 19 and lockdown created that sense of fear and had us asking what are we going to do? It was just nice to have these spaces and hear other women’s stories. Everyone is always screaming about women’s empowerment but I felt like Women On The Rise helped give us guidance. Rather than just hearing stories, they also gave us tools. It highlighted different women, different creatives and how we can connect and come together. I think sometimes we don’t connect and with this it was like ‘You’re now in my network’ so it made collaborating easier. I’ve always been happy to share contacts and ask what do you need? It was amazing to see all these women in different spaces.
T: In the nature of raising up other women. Please give a shout out to women who are totally bossing it.
S: Jamelia Donaldson is my co-founder but she also has Treasure Tress, which is a monthly subscription box for Black women to get all the hair goodies. Everything she stands for is just amazing and she’s done so well. She’s really taught me about female friendships and working with friends.
Ciara London and her workouts got me through 2020 [laughs]. She’s built a whole community of women and we all workout together virtually. She put me on her platform to have conversations and she thinks of ways to bring women together.
T: What are your plans for this year both personally and for your business?
S: Personally I’m just ensuring that I have a routine and that I’m taking care of myself. I want to lower my expectations as I’m really hard on myself. I would chastise myself for having a sit down and I’ll think about how I should be doing work instead. So yes, having a self-care routine and setting those boundaries is important. As for business, growing My Trauma My Healing and giving back to my community with the work that I do.
Stay tuned for more to come from PUMA Women.