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Interview with Clare Anyiam-Osigwe D.Sc BEM, Director and Screenwriter

Dr. Clare Anyiam-Osigwe BEM is a writer, director, scientist, entrepreneur, producer, actress, polymath – the list goes on. I’ve heard her described as a serial entrepreneur but reading through her bio it feels like serial achiever is more apt. 

Across the full range of your achievements which one are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of writing my film No Shade. For 12 years, since I finished my film degree, I’d convinced myself that writing a movie is a super difficult thing to do. Committing to writing No Shade and seeing it on the big screen was a bucket list/ life goal/ dream all wrapped up in one project. It was a signal to my spirit that actually, I can just about do anything I put my mind to. I will continue to remain unpigeon-holed and limitless. 

It’s interesting that you seem to cover the entire trajectory of an idea through to completion so comfortably. Right brain to left brain; abstract to the tangible, concept to production etc. So many people I know (me included) have a stronger end of that spectrum; the dreaming, the thinking or the doing. Do you have a preference or an element you find easier?

I love this question! I’ve been aware for quite some time that we are only ever using less than 3% of our brains at any given moment. I feel blessed that I was born just before the millennial technological age, where there was less programming of the mind and free thinking was still largely achievable. Mixed with childhood adversity and being quite a loner, this gives me an unshakeable edge – my brain is excited by the fact that I could fail, my superego knows that I’ve already won from simply trying and the ego fears failure but knows that it is inevitable occasionally as check points and lessons for development. That combined is then hardwired in my psyche and produces this insatiable curiosity to create things that don’t currently exist. I did that with my beauty company Premae. I did this with No Shade. These products represent free thinking and bold action. I’ve never sought permission or approval from anyone to do anything in my life, I think that is the vantage point that creates an arena of “oh shit, if this goes wrong it’s all on you! But hey, if this goes right, the glory is all yours! 

The theme of this newsletter is about being bold and if we define that as a willingness to take risks in the face of fear could you tell us about a moment in your life where you had to summons up an extra dose of bold from within? 

Another amazing question. Ok, so I’d worked my socks off for 7yrs creating products and building my skin doctor beauty brand Premae. I’d just been honoured by the Queen in 2017, yet I felt that my work was done. I could see a tidal wave coming in the distance which was going to change the landscape and so I decided to shift and pivot back into film. Using a skin topic to do so. I stupidly used my own money (I’ll never do that again) but hey, if I didn’t, No Shade would have never got made. The boldness of leaving behind a brand I literally built in my kitchen to pursue a new career as a filmmaker was scary, but I didn’t give myself enough time to talk myself out of it. I slept on it over Christmas and meditated. I spoke to God and asked for a sign. I looked deep into my spirit and said “you can’t do both. You don’t have the resources, time or energy to run a global brand and be a filmmaker. Pick one.” I picked the harder one. I chose to make No Shade. 18 months onwards, I’m glad I did. It’s taken me to new journeys, I’ve grown because of this. Growth is uncomfortable but necessary at each stage of life. The beauty world is friendly and charismatic. The film world is awkward and unstable. I want to change that with fresh new British content.

Have you got any advice, or a mantra about being bold?  A writer friend told me that if she isn’t frightened about doing something then she can’t be bothered with it. Do you subscribe to anything like that?  Any words to inspire the fearful amongst us?

CA-O: It’s cliché, but I think it was Mr Selfridge who said “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I do believe that. 

You have to be obsessed with your work. Life is so short man. Be obsessed, passionate and in-love with everything. 

Ok, here’s my mantra “live a honey-moon life”. 

You know when you first start dating someone, and they are everything to you. The way they look, the way they speak, the way you vibe together…keep that same energy up in all areas of your life. Be willing to find something new in the ordinary everyday mundanity of life. Keep it fresh and exciting.  

Who’s your favourite bold person? Real, character, dead, alive, met or not. A person or story that inspires your boldness today.

There are so many people in my life who are bold – my brothers and sisters, my husband and a few close friends. People who don’t allow life’s circumstances to define who they are and what they can achieve. My favourite character would have to be Cleo in Set It Off, portrayed by Queen Latifah. The way she drives to her death, in order to save her best friends, that scene makes me cry every time. 

Follow Clare on Twitter or Insta @clareanyiamo or check out her weblinks here.

Thanks for reading my first ever interview with Clare. Sadly back then, I was limiting my interviews to five questions, and I wish I hadn’t! I’m a creative writer and copywriter. If you’re interested in reading about my creative ventures, you can do so here.

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