Women's History Month
Without women, Someone Somewhere wouldn't be possible. For this reason, we will be sharing the stories of Nadine, Dani, and Pam during women's month. Through their leadership and talent, they transform and elevate their respective areas with the end-goal of impacting lives and generating meaningful change in the world.
Dani is a designer within Someone Somewhere, but she's also a passionate feminist. Like all her sisters within the movement, she strives for a fairer world and a safer Mexico for women to live in. For this reason, she has played an active role in multiple marches, most notably the one that went down on Women's International Day #8M. Aside from this, this struggle has led her to create a personal project called Dani Draws which is an Instagram account where she illustrates de daily lives of Mexican women and the feminist struggle. We talked with Dani and this is what she had to say.
Someone Somewhere (SS): Let's begin with the Mexican and Worldwide feminist movement. We have noticed that, in recent years, drawings that paint women's bodies in a different light have become increasingly more popular. As an illustrator and feminist, how do you think your work has impacted this movement?
Dani: I have been inspired by a lot of Mexican and international female illustrators, personally. Generally, I prefer to follow more female artists than male because I love seeing the female gaze through drawings. That inspires me to express my worldview through drawings. With the [feminist] movement and everything that is going on, this helps us women demonstrate how we see our bodies, society, and the movement as a whole. When you are a feminist, most of the time anger and helplessness are there; but at the same time, drawing is a way to fight against what we want to change, to relay what we are feeling, and share your voice so that other women can be inspired by your work. The most important thing is that they [women] can share what they are feeling. Nowadays, society is changing its male gaze and has started to include women in multiple aspects of everyday life. Drawing is a good way to share that vision only women have.
SS: What are you trying to convey through your drawing? What is your inner flame?
Dani: All my life I have been fascinated by drawing and illustration. For me, it's a way to channel feelings. There are days that those feelings are positive and that is what the drawings those days reflect. Nonetheless, there are days where I carry tumultuous feelings. Drawing has helped me externalize those feelings through pen and paper to avoid bottling it all up. In the same vein, women and the feminist cause inspire me; therefore, I love being a part of this movement through my drawings.
SS: We perfectly understand what you are saying. Your drawings help you cope with the feelings this movement leaves you with, is that right?
Dani: Exactly! Every day through media outlets we witness devastating news about yet another femicide or another case that ends with impunity. There are days where courage overtakes me and I want to go out and scream at everybody, but through illustration, I find the way to keep fighting while leaving those aggressive feelings aside. The feminist cause won't die with our generation, it will live on. Despite setbacks, not seeing immediate results, doesn’t mean we should stop fighting. This is why inking these thoughts on paper helps me cope with the feelings of helplessness.
SS: What challenges do you consider female artists and designers face today?
Dani: In design, most of the jobs are held by women. For example, the people who work in the textile industry are mostly women. Nevertheless, the head of the team usually ends-up being a man. Most of the time women work behind the scenes. For this reason, it is incredible for me to see more women who are CEOs or business owners; this means we are making a long-lasting change in society. As a woman, regardless if you are in design or any other job, you have to work double compared to what a man has to for the same results. You have to challenge yourself constantly. This makes Someone Somewhere the perfect platform because, within this company, we have never encountered this type of inequality. It is a golden example for us women of how we can have jobs that have equal opportunities for all. Many women find these types of spaces a distant utopia. Someone Somewhere proves that it doesn't have to be this way and that women can create spaces for other women where they can grow alongside men with equal footing.
SS: In your words, what makes Someone Somewhere different from other companies in regards to the growth of women within the workspace?
Dani: We [women] have been consistently heard in SS. They have always given us a safe space where we can voice our struggles and developments. Every time we raise our voice we have never been silenced or ignored; on the contrary, we have been sponsored to keep proposing and giving constant feedback. This is very special because when someone hears your voice becomes interested in what you are saying, that empowers you. All women here have lived through that. The instant you feel something, whether it's positive or negative, we have a space within Someone Somewhere to express ourselves and we know we will be heard and, everything is for the better! For me, the most valuable thing is that they have given us this space so that we can grow. There exists a lot of trust that is given to us, seeing how many of us occupy positions of power within the brand. There is a reason why we are here, after all. All these factors help us women do our jobs and keep inspiring other women to do the same.
SS: Speaking of your job in Someone Somewhere, how would you define the experience of working hand in hand with rural Artisans?
Dani: Without a doubt, it has been one of the most amazing things about working in Someone Somewhere, as we can bring two worlds together. Where it’s not about one being more important than the other, but about combining our knowledge in design with their expertise. Every time we go to a community they [the artisans] teach us their techniques, the meaning behind them, where they are from, and, with that in mind, we can start working on integrating our designs with their work. We don't only take their designs and change their colors but also understand the meaning they give to their work. It has been constant strife where we have learned through the years while they understand that we also bear knowledge. It has been cool to see they are starting to propose their ideas for future designs. This is because, in the beginning, they were afraid that they would not be able to meet our standards or that the work would be too much to handle. Because of their living conditions, they are very timid; but, through time, they were able to say yes to us and nowadays they always have a great attitude towards working together with us to reach amazing results. We even have developed a sense of sisterhood where we can laugh and treat each other with trust to create a wonderful working space. It is so cool to see where they came from and how they have grown out of their shells, how they trust in themselves, and how they come forward with new ideas to achieve amazing designs. In the end, they empower us and we empower them.
SS: Is there any value you can recall that they have taught you while collaborating with them [the artisans]?
Dani: Particularly, they have taught me resilience because, while our full-time job in SS is being designers, their full-time job isn't being artisans. The artisans have other responsibilities like tending their crops, taking care of their children, many have a second job, they have to grow their businesses. Meanwhile, they always find time to craft. They always try to give their best. I have the fortune of knowing most of the communities personally. I have met the artisans of Puebla, Estate of Mexico, and Hidalgo. I know them and I love them all. They inspire me when I'm feeling down and on those days where the number of tasks you have to achieve is overwhelming. Regardless, they have taught me that with organization and attitude, everything works out. It's really cool to have the privilege of collaborating with them, more often than not, they are with their children, they bring food, and you can see how balanced their lives are. That is something very valuable for me.
SS: Finally, is there any advice or insight you want to share with us?
Dani: All I can say is that learning about feminism has improved my life in every aspect. Understanding what it is and its history has bettered my understanding professionally; emotionally. Alongside with my inner relationship, the bond I share with my female friends; becoming a sisterhood. I would love to see more women take an open minded approach towards feminism, but I also think that it's a worldview you can't impose on other people; rather, it's a lifestyle that people slowly embrace. Feminism pushes you to do the right thing every time. Speaking in work terms, many times you already know which is your place and you surround yourself with the right people. For me, it has signified a life-changing experience and marks a clear line between now and then. Often you don't realize what you are thinking until you stop and hold yourself accountable. People tend to fall into the pit of thinking feminism is wrong because they think it's too aggressive. Though, it's more or less like putting on reading glasses because once you do, you can't go back. You can't ignore the problems at hand and you can't remain quiet about them. I can confidently say that once I put on those glasses, my worldview has changed for the better.
We thank Dani for telling us a little bit more about herself and showing us her drawings. We are proud to work with such an inspiring woman.
In Someone Somewhere our team is made up of women by 62%.