Interview with Rochelle M
To mark International Women’s Day 2023 we interviewed 6 powerful and inspirational women all working in different career fields. Today’s profile is Rochelle, a social worker, business owner and content creator!
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International woman’s day provides a space in which to celebrate women throughout the world, both past and present, who strive to promote woman’s rights and equality. It allows an opportunity to promote and empower women in society at all levels. I think it’s about uplifting each other and amplifying our voices, when we as women come together as a collective it’s very powerful.
What is your job now and how long have you been doing it?
My main role is as a Social Worker, following my qualification 6 years ago. In addition, I have a small business @Jasmine Blooms founded 2 years ago, which is a dried flower shop creating bouquets, arrangements, cards, installations and flowers for weddings.
I am also an aspiring fashion content creator with a love for fashion, lifestyle and travel. I created my platform on TikTok @ohmyroch 9 months and now have a following of almost 20k.
How did you get into the job you do now?
I studied Access to Social Work and went on to complete my Social Work degree at University. After I graduated, I secured a Social Worker role in a local authority child protection/children in need team.
I started Jasmine Blooms in in October 2020, during the pandemic, after becoming obsessed with dried flowers. I secured my very own dreamy flower studio in March 2021, (6 months after starting my business) it’s been an absolute dream and I love when customers visit to collect their orders.
I’ve always loved fashion and putting together outfits. I decided to create videos to share my fashion choices, lifestyle and experiences. I started on TikTok and grew a following from there. I’ve gone viral a few times too which has been fun but nerve racking at the same time!
What do you most enjoy about your job?
As a social worker I love supporting children and families through difficult times. When cases are assigned to me it’s usually because a child is at risk of suffering or has suffered harm. I enjoy helping parents make those necessary changes in the best interest of their children. I think getting families to a point where they no longer need the involvement of social services is self rewarding.
For my business Jasmine Blooms, I love experimenting with colours, textures and my brain is always buzzing with new ideas and creations for the business. I find making flowers very therapeutic.
I love creating fashion content with my platform. I find it really interesting how different outfits look online and in person.
What advice would you give somebody who is interested in becoming a social worker or business owner?
The Access to Social Work Course gives you the fundamentals of all areas of social work. It’s a great foundation to prepare you for the degree and help you decide if you want to focus on a specific area. Voluntary work for Mind, Barnados, Homestart or a local childrens centre would also give you an opportunity to work with some vulnerable people, which is invaluable experience. Keep up to date with social work legislation, guidance and. development. Community Care is a great forum for all things social work.
Look into college courses, especially the community colleges, as they have some fantastic courses which are fairly inexpensive. Try and get some experience at your local florist, they can always use an extra pair of hands. In addition, YouTube is a great way to learn the basics but nothing beats having training in person.
Just post it, there’s no perfect time to start. Stop overthinking and don’t worry about what others think. Consistency is really key, be yourself and focus on what you love. You can’t go wrong with that.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
Social work is fairly represented by women and it’s a woman dominated sector. However, personally, I feel and have observed that in leadership roles there is a lack of women social workers from black and ethnic minority groups. This is of course disheartening especially when Social Work helps those in need, promoting equality, social justice, empowerment and diversity.
Is the career you have now the one you dreamed of when you were younger? If not, what was it?
No, when I was younger I really wanted to be a fashion journalist. I was obsessed with buying newspapers and magazines I used to read every article and wanted to write articles about fashion trends. My mum even brought me a typewriter and I also had a fantastic English teacher called Ms Payne, she was supportive. I’m not sure why I didn’t follow through with that as a career, I guess I had a change of heart. It’s strange now that my TikTok and influencing has gravitated back to my love of fashion.
If you could invite three inspirational women, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
My grandma Jasmine – is an inspiration to me, so much that I named my business after her. My grandma was full of wisdom and gave the best advice. I’d love to share with her things I know now, things she has missed, how she has impacted my life.
Olive Morris, who was my second cousin. She was a feminist, a community activist who fought to raise awareness for black rights, feminism and squatters rights. She became a member of the British Black Panther movement and in 1974 Olive co founded the Brixton Black Women’s group and the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent. Olive died at the young age of 27, Brixton Town Hall was renamed ‘Olive Morris House’ in her memory. I never got to meet cousin Olive but her courage and bravery is inspiring, especially back in the day when racism and sexism was so much more prevalent. She spoke out when others were afraid, Olive walked so I could run, and to me she is such a positive influence!
Viola Davis – is a phenomenal actress and I’ve always admired how she is able to immerse herself into her character and bring that role to life. My favourites are of course ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ and ‘Fences’. Her performances are engaging and make you feel very present. It’s quite moving. I would love to ask her how does she prepare for an upcoming role and any advice on how to overcome setbacks.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
What is for you won’t pass you. Believe in yourself, you can achieve anything you want, don’t give up, work hard and make it happen.
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