My Story Matters Mar 31, 2021
My Story Matters: a quick chat with Oti Mabuse
As the My Story Matters movement gathers momentum – more than 55,000 people have donated their story so far – we caught up with Oti Mabuse, a professional dancer who has partnered with us as an ambassador for the My Story Matters programme.
Oti, w hy are you excited to be working with us on this campaign?
Avon has always been a big part of my family growing up - my mum swears by the skincare and I grew up watching her use all the Avon products. Even to this day her ritual inspires me to take care of my skin. I take skincare very seriously, which is why I’m so pleased to have the chance to work with you.
What resonated with you?
I’ve always known Avon also does a lot of work to support women all over the globe. My Story Matters really struck a chord with me. It’s all about giving women a place to speak up, share their stories and celebrate their achievements. It’s a campaign the means a lot to me, especially at a time like this where we are all feeling a little isolated and in need of more communication!
Why do you think it’s important that women share their everyday stories, struggles and personal achievements with one another?
Everyone goes through their own struggles and if you are sharing your own problems it could help somebody else to deal with theirs. It’s also good to remind everyone that it’s OK to struggle - no-one is perfect. Your research revealed the impact of the pandemic on women’s feelings and that’s why I think the My Story Matters gallery is so important. It’s a new way for people to share, recognise and find strength from the real, everyday stories of amazing women. I’ve found strength in my life by hearing stories from my close friends and family, so I know first-hand how powerful it can be.
The pandemic has led to increased feelings of doubt for over half of women globally. What has been your biggest personal challenge since the pandemic began?
I think my biggest personal challenge has been staying motivated and finding things to inspire me - to stop me getting low. It’s hard to keep motivated – and I know I’m not alone! It’s such a difficult time and its possible to lose your confidence being stuck at home.
Do you have any achievements or every day stories to share which might inspire other women to overcome their own challenges?
My story is actually quite recent. When I was feeling really low, I organised an online "Wonder Woman’s Weekend” where women came together to share their stories. We had make-up up demonstrations, yoga, dance classes, and many wonderful guests who were inspirational woman and role models. All these amazing women coming together in a safe space was really helpful for my state of mind and I came out of it feeling refuelled and energised. It just shows what the power of women coming together and sharing experiences can do!
Over a quarter of women globally don’t share their own struggles on social media sites because they feel judged. Do you have any experiences with this?
Yes all the time - as a woman it’s so tough. I get judged for how loud I speak, how loud I laugh, my hair, the dresses I wear on TV and when I am working, I am judged on my weight - there are so many things. I have learnt to appreciate the gifts that God has given me and pay it no mind. I surround myself with people who boost my confidence and bring positivity – it helps me to keep grounded.
What is the first thing you’re going to do when the pandemic is over? What have you missed most about pre-pandemic life?
I am getting on a plane and going home to South Africa to see my family - I miss them! It’s been a long time! I really miss my parents and although we’ve tried to stay connected through video calls and messages, I can’t wait to have a proper catch up with them.
What have you been doing to help cope with the stress of lockdown?
Lots of walking - long walks with my puppy, Leo and I’ve been lucky as I am keeping busy with work and dance classes.
Have you found any positives come out of lockdown so far?
100%. Lockdown has actually delivered a lot of positives for me. I am lot closer with the people that are in my friendship circle. I have learnt patience which is great. I have always been so busy but the lockdown has given me time to stop and revaluate.
What has been the breakthrough moment in your life?
Winning Strictly Come Dancing for the second time with Bill Bailey. Both of us didn’t expect to win, and I feel like we were underestimated because of Bill’s age. But we put in the hard work in training, we were so committed, and we shut out the speculation and scepticism around us. It taught me to never judge a book by its cover - we can all achieve what we work hard at.
What advice would you give your younger self now?
Simple - just be you! There’s no room for any imitations!
What do you want to achieve in the next year?
Over the next year I’m really focused on being the best that I can be – in my work, relationships, with my friends and family. Being kind to myself, and I will be happy.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to find confidence, either at work, in their social circles or at home?
Keep saying their daily affirmations and always remind themselves that they are “enough”. It’s also never a bad idea to talk through your struggles with a friend and hearing someone else’s story can offer some perspective and inspiration. There are plenty of people about who will want to listen and help – you might just find that there’s someone going through the same problem as you. There’s nothing like realising you’re not the only one, to boost your confidence.
To share your story on the My Story Matters Gallery, visit www.watchmenow.avon.com