In the second part of our latest photo series ‘Go For Gold’ we seek to not only represent the weird and wonderful contributors who have made the zine what it is over the past two years, but those who inspire them on the daily. While we all may idolise people online, on the streets or from viewing their work, it’s important to remember that inspiration is cyclical — we all have someone who we admire more than most, be that a friend, a family member or a mutual follower. More often than not, the objects of our inspiration rarely know of their desirability and impression on others’ lives.
Teaming Polyester contributors up with a person of their choosing who has made a profound impact on their own life, ‘Go For Gold’ is all about celebrating the femmes in our lives that teach us the importance of building meaningful relationships with those around you. From the duos interviews and accompanying portrait — the power of feminine friendship is palpable, and inspirational in itself.
In the second instalment of the series, illustrator, animator and artist (you name it, she does it) Joey Yu bought the inspirational Leyla Tahir — creative producer at Tate Modern — to set full of praise and love for her mentor. Similarly, nail artist and trans activist Charlie Craggs brought along her mum as her role model to a sickeningly sweet round of “awws” from all on set. Both proving through poses and loving words that your inspirations can be found so much closer to home than others may think; while some might list famous celebrities and Instagram models, these people chose friends and relatives to best represent their passions.
LEYLA TAHIR AND JOEY YU:
Joey on Leyla…
“Leyla was my mentor last year when I worked as a producer on the opening event of Tate Modern last year! She inspired me to basically be a girl boss!! You know, how to write professional emails, manage budgets and all that kind of stuff. She also loves digital content and social media like I do! Hopefully we’ll be able to work together on something to connect people… we shall see. She also taught me you can lead a team whilst still being fun and inspiring to others, and it’s not about being super serious.”
Leyla on Joey…
“I’ve mentored Joey through a couple of event and film projects. I’m always inspired by how Joey makes the everyday world around her look bright and beautiful with her amazing illustrations. And her Instagram looks and accompanying descriptions make me want to dress and write captions better, like this! We worked really closely on a special event to launch the new Tate Modern extension last year. A group of emerging artists down to take over two huge spaces in the gallery with different creative commissions. It was a lot of hard work, a lot of it wasn’t glamorous but between Joey’s vision and my experience we created a big event that thousands of people came down to enjoy.”
CHARLIE AND ANGELA CRAGGS
Charlie on her mum…
“My mum will shake her head when I say this, but she really is one of my biggest inspirations. We are very different as people, and very different women. We have very different views on women’s issues and different views on what it means to be a woman — in fact if you met us you would never guess that we’re mother and daughter. I’m very confident, opinionated and strong willed, you know — a general bad bitch, and though on the surface my mum’s more of a respectable, quiet, traditional type of woman, she’s one of the strongest women I know. She has shown me that being a strong woman isn’t all about being a bad bitch. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m not gonna stop being a bad bitch — but she’s opened my eyes to the many ways there are to be a strong woman; I think that’s the beauty of womanhood.
My whole life she has always loved and accepted me unconditionally and has allowed, encouraged and enabled me to be who I am, from letting me dress up in girls clothes when I was little, to paying for my first course of laser hair removal 20 years later. I’m so lucky to have parents that love and accept me because so many trans people don’t have this – so many of us are disowned and rejected by our families, made homeless, forced into survival sex work – so I try to remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have her. She has been helped me become the woman that I am today and has been central to the formation of my womanhood. This is why I took her name as my middle name. I couldn’t ask for a better mum.”
Photography by Chloe Sheppard. Makeup by Thomasin Waite. Art direction + accompanying interviews by Ione Gamble. Introduction by Gina Tonic. Joey, Leyla, Charlie and Angela wear Nike Air Max 97 Metallic Gold, available 18th of May.