Being a woman in 2020 comes with its challenges. We’ve progressed so far, yet still have a way to go when it comes to achieving gender equality. In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with seven inspiring creatives to chat this year’s IWD theme #EachforEqual and what feminism means to them.
First up is stylist – and regular Hype DC collaborator – Jade Leung. Read on to hear about her inspiring mentors, reflections on feminism and why she thinks women need to lift up and empower other women.

Hey Jade. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what do you do?
I’m a freelance fashion stylist. This means I’m an expert in consumption, and carrying bags. Lots of bags.

So, how did you get into styling and was it something you always wanted to do?
I was studying visual merchandising at uni when I discovered fashion styling was an actual career option. Which was great because I’m generally bad at installing things.

We imagine people often have misconceptions about your job. What’s the biggest you’ve faced?
There is a massive misconception that fashion styling is glamorous, or like The Devil Wears Prada. It's a lot of hard work, long hours, making connections and managing people.

Any advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
The best advice I can give to anyone thinking about styling as a career is to firstly look at what type of styling you want to do – for example: fashion, homewares, still life or interiors etc. Then the next step would be to research established stylists in those areas and ASSIST ASSIST ASSIST. You’ll get the most out of being there, not learning about it in a classroom.

Who are some women you’re inspired by?
It's interesting because in my 20s I would always think on an aesthetic level and answer with names like Daphne Guinness and Maggie Cheung. Now that I’m in my mid-30s, I’m more inspired by the women around me. For example, a friend of mine works in community development with migrants and refugees. I find her day-to-day work stories really inspiring.

Have you had any strong, female mentors?
My grandma is one of the coolest, strongest women I know. From her stories of hiding in a bin as a little child for four days during the war, to chasing a wife-beating man out of the living compound (with a broomstick), my grandma is definitely an amazing reminder of the strength within us all.

What can women do to help and empower other women?
Sometimes it's as simple as being supportive and non-judgemental. I think there are a lot of us who are often stunted by comparisons and fearing what others might think. It's obviously easier said than done though.

What does feminism mean to you?
To me feminism means equality.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing young women in 2020?
I think there are SO many issues facing young women. It's time to all work towards a more equitable society that’s inclusive. A lot of change needs to be made on a structural level. Women are still paid less, and caring industries that are female-heavy are also paid less. It all sort of works from the ground up.

This year’s IWD theme is #EachforEqual. What changes do you think we can all make as individuals to work towards a gender-equal world?
I believe creating a gender-equal world begins from removing racism, classism and focusing on people’s qualities and abilities. People should be rewarded on merit.

What are you most proud of?
At the moment, I’m most proud of being asked to be part of this International Women’s Day campaign. Thank you so much! I’m also really proud of our veggie patches in the garden. They’ve given me a much better connection to the food we eat.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Everything is going to be okay! I was a pretty angsty teen. I think on top of that, I’ve always said what I felt – sometimes to good effect, and a LOT of times not – and I’ve come to learn that just because you can tell someone doesn't want to hear something, it doesn't mean they don’t need to hear it. I’ve learned to be confident to speak my mind since my terrible teens.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A seasonal hair change is as good as a vacation.

How do you remain authentic and true to yourself?
I have some friends, that I could probably count on one hand, that I can honestly say have seen me at my best and my absolute worst. They know me really well so when my inner dialogue becomes muddled – I’m really lucky to have great people around that I often use to springboard ideas/thoughts/feelings off/tell me to calm down.

How would you describe your style? And what sneakers are you currently wearing?
In two words: tomboy and twinsets. Which I generally wear with White Converse Chuck Taylors.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I do reformer pilates, drink Cava and eat cake… generally in that order!

What’s next for you?
I’m about to become a mum... to a puppy! And working on everything we’ve discussed today. Being supportive, non-judgmental, inspiring, open. Being a strong female!

Follow Jade’s cake eating adventures here and her styling work here.