If you’re in need of girl talk, fear not, Girl Talk London is here! It has been branded as the online TV series made especially for the ambitious young woman. Founded by entrepreneur Vanessa Sanyauke, and fronted by her co-presenters Dean Quinton Smith and Remel London, we caught up with the team to discuss fashion, fun and 21st century feminism.
Where did the idea for Girl Talk London Sessions come from and why did you think now was the perfect time to launch it?
Vanessa: I decided to create Girls Talk London because when I was growing up I struggled with finding myself. As I have got older, I noticed women are still struggling to advance both professionally and personally, so I wanted to create a network and safe space for us to uplift each other.My other source of inspiration has been Oprah Winfrey whose show I’ve watched since I was 8 years old.
What is it about a show like Girl Talk London Sessions that makes it appeal to women?
Vanessa: Currently there is not a single talk show on UK TV that is targeted at young women. Our show is about helping our audience kick ass in their work and personal lives. When you watch our show and our interviews, our hope is that you will get inspired and have the tools to go and take forward steps in your own life.
Dean: One reason is female empowerment. This show will give young girls the confidence to go out into the world and get what’s theirs. Yes we have programmes like Loose Women, but that’s how doesn’t directly speak to our target audience. We are young, current and positively inspiring our viewers.
Remel: We try and represent as many opinions as possible and I think for that reason girls watching would want to join the conversation. We also discuss a wide variety of topics, which I think has a little something for everyone.
The topics you’ve covered on your show include: ‘Don’t be too scared to ask for a pay rise?’ and ‘Confidence Building tips for Women’. How much do you think there is a need for your audience to talk about these kinds of topics?
Vanessa: With the wider work that Girls Talk London does with women in the UK, we get asked for advice on many topics. We find that women are scared to ask for a pay rise and in the second series we have some guests who will hopefully help give some more tips about this. Confidence is a never-ending topic for women. For some reason we seem to lack this not just at work but in life too, so I feel that having guests to address this for our audience is needed.
On your show there is a big emphasis on female entrepreneurs. How important do you think it is for women to know they can start their own businesses, work their own hours and decide their own fate?
Vanessa: So important! In our working life women loose £300,000 because of the gender pay gap so entrepreneurship is a way to address this. I love being an entrepreneur because I am not being discriminated against in favour of a male colleague who will get 19% more than me for doing the same job. But being an entrepreneur is tough and hard. Yes you can work your own hours but these hours are usually 12-16 hour days especially when you are a start-up. The beauty of it is that especially with technology I can do these hours from Ghana or New York, so it gives me the flexibility to choose the way I want to work.
Out of all of your interviewees so far (series 1 and 2), who surprised you the most and whom were you most inspired by?
Vanessa: Vicky Silverthorn was so inspiring and really humble. She has worked with lots of celebrities organising their home interiors and wardrobes, and she gave us such great advice that I took and implemented in my own life.
Dean: I’d have to say Jenny Garrett and Remi Ray. Jenny is the definition of a female boss. She knew what she wanted and made sure nothing stopped her. She continues to inspire others and myself every day. With Remi Ray, the creator of Plus Size Fashion Weekend, she has really capitalised on creating a strong brand. There’s too much body shaming in the world we live in so Remi is exactly what we need. Her mantra is: ‘I eat cake. I live my life. I love my body. I’m beautiful! Preach woman, preach!
Remel: Like Dean, I really loved interviewing Remi Ray, who oozes girl power and self-confidence. As a woman that represents the plus size fashion industry I think it is important that we talk about being proud of our bodies no matter what shape or size we are and encourage girls to take pride in themselves.
Speaking of girls taking pride in themselves, what does the phrase Girl Power mean to you?
Vanessa: It means being a bad-ass, strong, fearless and confident woman.
Dean: Well it means I want to put on a dress and be Ginger Spice! But seriously, Girl Power means unstoppable. James Brown famously sang: ‘This is a mans world…but it wouldn’t mean nothing, NOTHING, without a woman or a girl.’
Remel: Girl power is all about giving it your all no matter what!
So would it be fair to say ‘feminism’ has a big impact not only on the show but also on on your career?
Vanessa: Feminism to me is equality and at the moment in my career, women are not equal to men in our pay or representation.
Dean: I think people are afraid to actually use the word feminist, as if it’s a dirty word. But it’s no. To me as a man it’s everything. All my life I’ve been surrounded by such powerful strong inspirational women and this has made me who I am today. I’ve seen the struggle that women face on a daily basis. For me, being a male feminist is everything and always will be.
Remel: I think feminism is about representing women in a positive way and not allowing the opposite sex to compromise what we as women can accomplish. I try not to compare myself to anyone and believe that I can do anything just as good as or even better than men.
Dean, as a man on a talk show entitled ‘Girl Talk’, how important do you think it is to have a male perspective and presence on the show?
I love being the only male on the show. Having been surrounded by women all my life, I’ve got a great understanding of what women think and what they feel. But also being a man means I have the male perspective, which gives a female focussed show like this a different edge.
Has working with female hosts affected your view on women and the issues they face at all?
It’s made me champion women’s issues even more. I stand for women’s rights and I’ve argued with many a chauvinistic pig to stand up for women and make my point!
Well it’s clear to see the support you give each other on the show. How important is the relationship between all of you as hosts in order for Girl Talk London Sessions to work and progress as a show?
Vanessa: We would not have lasted until series 2 if we did not develop a genuine friendship. It is so important because viewers can spot fakeness and will be able to tell if we didn’t get along. When you watch the show you can really see how much we respect each other.
Dean: The relationships are everything. When we started this journey we barely knew one another; weaves were either going to hit the fan or we would be sipping cocktails on a private boat! And it just so happens the cocktails where bang on! We don’t call ourselves co-hosts because we like to use the word SISTERS. And that’s why it works so well on and off camera.
Remel: I think the best thing about the show is our chemistry. We respect each others opinions which allows us to have really fun and engaging debates!
In the creative industries, how important do you think it is to have lots of strings to your bow? For example you need to be able to present on TV, radio, vlog and blog all at the same time – is this something you all strive to do?
Vanessa: Yes, in today’s world you need to be versatile as our industry is always changing. There are so many platforms to engage with people so you really need to be present on a majority of them to have a strong relationship with your audience.
Dean: I think it’s massively important to have strings falling out of your ears! In the world we live in now, everybody wants to be a somebody.
Remel: I say each to their own. I love doing all of the above mainly because I love to create. I personally believe I’ve been able to successfully turn my hobby into a career and I love that!
We want to know more Remel! You’ve worked for brands such as Sky and 1xtra – what do you think it is about you that has made you stand out in a sea of many?
I personally believe that my persistence and passion as a presenter has gained a lot of interest. I’ve championed a lot of new talent, and continue to create content that represents the youth of today in a refreshing new way.
What do you have in store for the next series of Girl Talk London Sessions?
Vanessa: We have more fun girl chat about trending social media topics as well as some brilliant interviews with a range of people including Adele’s stylist. Expect lots more musical performances and more expert guests.
Catch the guys on youtube here and join in the conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_046vz3d0BM