Talya Macedo is one of those people you meet and never forget. Her vibe is as natural as her beauty and as effortless as her style. She speaks and you want to listen, because you know she has something to say. Her insight on life seems as endless as her skill set/talent, so getting a chance to chat and shoot felt just right...
What does HER Collective Media mean to you? What was your process in starting it?
HER Collective Media was something my friends (who impress me endlessly) and I created in order to give ourselves a space to share ideas, networks, opportunities and energy. I really just wanted us to feel like we had other women to rely on for support, with a mutual understanding that you “give some to get some”. We went through a few changes - at one point we thought maybe we might have the potential to become a smaller agency, but our best bet was actually going to be in becoming a hub and a place that other women could come to for collaboration, connections and mentoring in some capacity. We have allowed HER to be fluid and evolving (like all great women!) and in doing so, allowed ourselves to be open to possibility.
Why is it important for this platform to be shared? And what do you hope to achieve?
I think women, specifically young women, need to feel represented. Like there is a voice out there saying something that they always needed to hear or providing validation. When it comes to women of colour, we’ve heard even less voices like ours in the past/growing up, so we try to create as many opportunities for these women to be heard or seen. My goal is for there to always be a new voice that resonates.
What kind of community are you hoping to cultivate?
To be honest, we have cultivated a very strong sense of community already and it’s growing into something very organic and purposely safe. We hosted our first panel on September 9th and talked about everything from building your career to navigating your emotions while we’re in this state of hyperawareness of socio-political despair. The room was so special and connected to each other. That’s what I want at all times. Connection and conversation - no matter how we’re doing it (in person, on social media etc).
I want young women to feel safe coming to us, but I know that “creating safe spaces” requires a lot of time and research into all kinds of experiences. We’re learning to do this in new ways. We knew that there were going to be young moms or women who experience social anxiety, so we made it a point to live stream our panel so they could participate and feel safe while doing so. To me, community promotes mutual understanding. I want to get really good at that and create opportunities while doing so.
Currently you have the webzine, what are you plans for future expansions?
My dream is for this project to be funded. So we have a physical space to work, create, mentor and brainstorm.
You’ve had some pretty awesome collaborations and speaking opportunities Who and what do you have your sights on next?
I think it’s time for us to start growing a little bit more outside of Toronto. I’m open to whatever that looks like to be honest. I would love to connect with other women of colour who are navigating the PR and Marketing industries. For HER - I have a plan that I can’t share quite yet but will likely launch in 2018.
I love your message of creating a space for empowered women to empower women, in what way can we encourage this on a day to day basis? (language/communication etc.)
What a great question. It comes down to this - listening and allowing each other to speak and hold space. If you fuck up, you own it and learn from it. There is no need to be defensive because we are ALL learning.
In what ways has Toronto lent itself to your art and passions? How does that differ from your hometown of Edmonton?
Edmonton has a great and talented creative community but it lacks funding and infrastructure. Edmonton also has a lot of racism to contend with so as a woman of colour, it wasn’t my time to shine there. I hope this changes in the future. You could say the same things about certain industries in Toronto too (and racism is very real and present here), but for me - it has been a lot better here. A lot more opportunity for collaboration and platforms and the PR industry holds a lot of potential. There are a lot more women like me or women who inspire me existing and growing in Toronto. I love it.
How does your style reflect your current vibe?
My style equation has always looked like this: simple pieces (denim, t-shirts etc) + great jewelry, hair and a bright lipstick. It works because I keep a lot of great accessories around so I don’t have to calculate an outfit. I’m way too “on the go” and I don’t have the brain space to do so! There are stylists in the city (Charlene “Asia Fiasco” Yeboah and Sophie “Her Fly Soul”) who I look to for daily inspiration when I don’t have time to think for myself.
Do you have any advice for creative women starting a career in a corporate industry such as PR?
To always remember that PR is a personal practice. You have to build your skill set, do a tonne of research and take great care of your relationships on a daily basis. You also need to be really patient and consistent in your efforts. It’s hard and it feels like a slow climb but navigating the industry when it challenges you is what teaches you!
You are currently a full time consultant for National PR but you have lots of experience in the creative industries. What are some of your other experiences and positions you’ve held in the past?
I’ve done a lot of different things! I’ve been a choreographer/dance coach, a bank teller, server, receptionist and stylist (among other things to be honest!). I think that dabbling in different positions teaches you what you want or don’t want and it gives you insight in areas you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to learn about. I’ve had a chance to talk to so many people and hear their stories!
How have those experiences/positions helped shape your current work ethic?
These experiences were truly vital in my development. Now I feel like when I take on a campaign, I can see it from the eyes of so many different individuals. I’m not limited to my own demographic in my thinking. It also forces me to try and learn as much as I can. I do research daily.
As a creative individual how do you stay motivated and inspired?
I keep bomb creatives and career women around me. Seriously - that’s how you do it. It keeps you in line, on your toes and keeps fresh information flowing. Plus these are the people who understand how to support and uplift you.
What accessory can you never leave the house without?
Just one? I could never pick just one! Multiple gold necklaces, multiple rings, something gold in my nose piercing and hoop earrings!