On Love Island and Date My Family - what's it like to date in front of millions? With TV dating shows the idea is for romance to blossom between contestants, but can fame and fortune also follow? Kim Chakanetsa brings together two women who know.
Montana Brown is one of the breakout stars of the British TV show Love Island. She took part in 2017 and became popular for her no-nonsense attitude and quick-witted banter. Despite coming fifth in the dating competition, since leaving the villa she has amassed an impressive social media following and started her own swimwear company.
Rey Letsooa became a household name in South Africa after appearing on the popular show Date My Family. Although she didn't ultimately get together with her chosen bachelor, her show trended on social media for three days and viewers seemed to connect with her confidence and authenticity. Rey says 'I knew I would get judged on my weight but I didn’t let it stop me. I may be a size whatever but I knew that what I am is more than that.'
(Image: Montana Brown (L) Credit: BBC. Rey Letsooa (R) Credit: Rey Letsooa)
Women investing in women
Around 90% of all startup investment currently goes to male-led companies. Kim Chakanetsa speaks to two women who specialise in funding and supporting female startups, about why they believe investing in women is the smart choice.
Marta Krupinksa is the Head of Google for Startups UK, and aims to encourage more women and under-represented founders to take the plunge into business. Marta herself co-founded the global financial technology company Azimo which raised over $70 million in venture capital. Having been the only woman in many meetings, she relishes her role now in connecting female entrepreneurs with potential investors, as well as providing mentoring and training.
Anu Duggal was also an entrepreneur before deciding to create a capital fund that only invests in women-led startups - the Female Founders Fund. There is evidence that female entrepreneurs experience greater successes - and fewer failures - than their male counterparts, but traditional venture capital does not reflect this. Anu says that's why she chooses to put her money into talented businesswomen with disruptive and innovative ideas.
(Image: Marta Krupinska (L) Credit Google for Startups UK. Anu Duggal (R) Credit Female Founders Fund)
Young, indigenous and female
Why does maintaining tribal traditions matter to these women? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two indigenous activists from Ecuador and the US about the lengths they are going to to protect their way of life from external threats.
Nina Gualinga is a leader of the Kichwa community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Her people's lands cover more than 333,000 acres, mostly made up of pristine forest. Because her mother is from Sarayaku and her father is from Sweden, Nina considers herself as the bridge between two worlds, and is actively involved in defending Amazonian indigenous rights and territories.
One of Nina Berglund's Native American names is Northern Lights Woman. She is a 20-year-old Northern Cheyenne and Oglala Lakota woman from Minnesota. Nina has gone to court to try and stop a replacement oil pipeline running through more than 40 wild rice beds, a means of survival for local indigenous tribes dating back thousands of years. She says 'We’ll be the ones birthing the next generation. We have to step up.'
L: Nina Gualinga (credit Santiago Cornejo)
R: Nina Berglund (credit Nolan Berglund)
Creating female superheroes
Two women making comic books more diverse speak to Kim Chakanetsa about working in a male-dominated industry and why they're so keen to represent women and minorities in comic books.
G. Willow Wilson is a novelist and comic writer from the USA. She's best known for relaunching MS Marvel, starring Kamala Khan, a 16 year old Muslim female superhero, who takes over the mantle after Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel. Willow has fought back against claims that diverse characters damage comic book sales and continues to represent Muslim and female characters in her work.
Nicola Scott is an Australian comic book artist who has illustrated several well known female superheroes, including Wonder Woman and Birds of Prey featuring Harley Quinn, which will be adapted for film in 2020. She also co-created the Black Magick series, about young witches. She says women working on comics add layers of humanity and quality to female characters that men might miss.
(L) G Willow Wilson, credit Getty/MichaelTullberg
(R) Nicola Scott, credit Nicola Scott
Women celebrating literature
Two women who set up book festivals that have gone on to become hugely successful in their own countries and beyond tell Kim Chakanetsa about the importance of women having space to talk about their writing with an audience that understands.
Namita Gokhale directs the Jaipur Literature Festival with the British author William Dalrymple. The Festival has hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcomed over a million book lovers from across India and the globe since its inception. Bringing together authors of books in India's 22 languages, it's a magnet for writers and readers alike. Namita Gokhale explains how it's developed over the years.
Lola Shoneyin is a Nigerian literary powerhouse. She founded the Ake Festival in 2013. It's now a leading cultural event and attracts writers from around the world, as well as Africa's finest literary stars like Temi Oh and Ayobami Adebayo. A former teacher and prize-winning author, Lola says that African writers need to be able to talk about their books on African soil.
(L) Lola Shoneyin [credit Niyi Okeowo]
(R) Namita Gokhale [credit Teamwork Arts]