In a recent campaign for PUMA x Liberty, four empowered women, Ami Evelyn Hughes, Deba, Taya Francis, and Bones Tan Jones, shared what motivates them and how they uplift others.
Each woman is inspirational in her own right. Deba is a model of Kurdish heritage, breaking down Western beauty standards and speaking out on various issues, including the practice of female genital mutilation. Bones Tan Jones works with spirituality to present an alternative, queer outlook on the world. Taya Francis is a knitwear designer who blends traditional British styles with Jamaican culture. Ami Evelyn Hughes founded a cult-art magazine, and produces art that references human existence.
Read on for Ami, Deba, Taya and Bones’ thoughts on living their truth, representing their communities, and so much more.
1. What do you do to unwind?
Bones: To me, unwinding looks like spending time with myself, in my home. Maybe writing in my journal to reflect on the day or the week, putting on some chill music and possibly moving my body, moving my bones, moving my muscles, and a hot cup of herbal tea. I love growing my own herbs, going out to forage and harvest and coming back to the kitchen and just brewing the kettle, that whole process is a really good way for me to unwind.
Deba: I’m very, very lucky to have a little garden in my flat. So, if at any time I feel very stressed out or the city’s a bit too much, I go into my garden, and I’ve got a set of stairs that lead up to a brick wall. It leads to nothing, but it’s nice to just go up on these stairs and just watch the city – I’ve got a little spot where I can just stargaze.
2. How do you think mindfulness manifests in your life?
Bones: I try and infuse mindfulness into all of my daily life. I try to wake up each morning and be thankful and grateful for this life that I’ve been given and my creative talents and skills and visions. I also like love to just give thanks and gratitude, every time I sit at the table to eat some food or cook myself a meal, just thanking the processes that got the food to my plate, I think this is a super important and really nice honoring of the ritual of eating and nourishing oneself. Often I find walking a really beautiful mindfulness meditation and just thinking about each step and thinking about where I want that step to take me. Even if I’m just walking down a busy street, I try and be aware that each footprint, each footstep, is taking me closer to my next destination, wherever that is.
Deba: For me, I used to be quite a negative person and I’d say negative things about myself on a daily basis. Then I was like, “Why am I saying these things about myself? Instead, I could say good things.” Eventually, even if I don’t feel that way at that given point, I’ll start to slowly feel better about myself. I feel manifestation, for me, is simply just saying good things about myself and waking up, looking in the mirror and being like, “I got this today.” When I eventually do got this today, I manifest a little something there I didn’t have.
3. What empowers you, and how do you empower others?
Ami: I feel I empower others by being a good listener. I really genuinely care a lot about my friends, like everyone does, but I really like to be that person that’s there for them and make sure they feel good about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I really like breaking things down and being like, okay, this is what’s wrong, we need to work on this — being the caring mother. On being empowered, just being listened to and someone actually just listening to you. It sounds so simple, but it just really makes you feel strong and worthwhile when people care about you and they actually listen to what you’re saying.
Bones: On a physical level, the sun empowers me the most. I feel like when the sun is out, even if it’s a cold day, the solar energy powering me, literally empowering me. But metaphorically, seeing other people in my community, people in the trans community, people in the queer community, living their truest selves and living unapologetically and striving to be more and more themselves every day. That gives me hope and empowers me to live my truth even deeper. The queer and trans community, seeing us as a collective grow, feels really beautiful and empowering. The way I try and empower others is through my music and my art, as well as some community work that I do with my friends.
4. What do you think motivates and drives you when you need it the most?
Ami: My own goals that I set myself. Every single one of those things that I’ve set, every year or every couple of years, I’ve got to that point, because I just tirelessly do the thing until it happens.
Taya: When I just think about my future or where I want to see myself. It pushes me to work as hard in the present.
5. What does liberty mean to you?
Ami: Liberty means to me freedom, and freedom means being able to be the artist that I am and to have created the career that I have.
Taya: Liberty means, to me, freedom and being authentic.
Bones: To me, liberty is the autonomy and strength to walk your own path.
Deba: Liberty to me means being free, but in a careless way. Just being able to be liberated and be free and do you on your own accord.
Discover the PUMA x Liberty collaboration at nz.puma.com.