Bold, outspoken and unique; these are only a few words that describe Fafa Khan, Natasha Helwig, Stacy-Ann Buchanan and Sayeh Gold.
Working in a male-dominated industry, Fafa Khan has had her share of hustle. Despite her years of experience, the DJ had been forced many times to prove herself again and again.
“I had to make sure that my product, branding and work ethic were just as good as the guys’ in the industry who have been doing it twice as long as me,” she explains.
The Montrealer admits that more than talent, she also needed the right people around her. Inspired by a mother who works in the male-dominated engineering industry, she learnt to surround herself with other strong women facing the same challenge in the music industry. More than that, she has also been lucky enough to count men who support her vision and didn’t disregard it because she’s a woman.
When it comes to overcoming our own struggles, one of the hardest things is probably admitting to ourselves but also the other what we’ve been through. But that’s what Natasha Helwig did. The inspiring author used her experience in abusive relationships to help other women standing up for themselves and heal. Working in operation and business development in the real estate industry, she also had her fair share of fights at work.
“My age has worked against me, my race has worked against me, and my gender has worked against me in this industry, she says. I’ve had to do a lot to stand up for myself, to create a position and role for myself to be respected by others and be seen as somebody who really knows what she’s doing.”
For the Torontoist, finding peace within herself to create healthy relationships and thrive at work didn’t come easy. She recognizes the power of sisterhood in her journey.
“At my roughest, hardest point in life, there has always been a woman, she says. Whether it was my best friend or even a woman I might have interacted with on one occasion.”
More than overcoming struggles, Natasha Helwig couldn’t express more the importance of healing and learning to trust again. “You have to stay open, make a decision to heal, love people and don’t let any negative experience you had let be an added piece of weight to your shoulders, she insists. Trust yourself and your intuition.”
Actress, filmmaker, producer, mental health advocate
Actress, filmmaker, producer, mental health advocate; Stacy-Ann started to get noticed when she took a risk directing and producing ‘The Blind Stigma,’ a documentary about mental health within the Black community.
Raised by a single father who taught her to be a “soldier in mind,” Stacy-Ann is not afraid to face the hardest challenges and value every stage of her journey. “The down period is your growth, she insists. I see the ups and downs as a circle of life and something better is always coming.”
For the Torontoist, being a woman is what helped her get where she is today. “I work triple harder than men and make sure that I do my research, she explains. I make sure that I come so prepare because opportunities are really one luck.”
More than a mental health advocate, one could say she’s also a woman advocate as she always keep in mind that her moves will help make things better for others. “I know when I stand up, I do it for all women and the future generation,” she says.
Reflecting on her path and the challenges she faced, Stacy-Ann says, “the moment you own your story is the most powerful thing you can do as a woman. You take away the power of those who try to hurt you.”
Some would call her provocative, but Sayeh Gold is many things. The photographer is known to portray women’s purity and sensuality at the same time. It’s this duality that animates the artist in her life and work. “Women have always inspired me, she says. There is something so vulnerable about them that I love to showcase.”
Although, today she’s very at ease with her art, the Montrealer admits that it wasn’t always easy being her. “I tried to be less pure at once just to please others, she explains. Although I don’t have anything against showing more skin, it wasn’t making me happy. Nowadays, I’m not hiding myself but I finally found my balance in between.”
Even her relationships with women grew for the best. “For a long time, I didn’t know what sisterhood was, she says. For me, women were only jealous. But I learnt to select my friends and for the last two years, I’ve had the privilege of being surrounded by strong women who support me, lift me up and inspire me,” she says.
Transitioning toward a career in meditation and yoga, Sayeh Gold wants to remind women only one thing: “You’re not too much, you’re not not enough, you’re worth it, you are YOU and that’s your power.”