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Beautiful x Powerful With Nike

I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s become ‘acceptable’ to wear trainers absolutely everywhere now. Gone are the days where my parents used to lament my – okay, fine… slightly ridiculous – number of customised Nike iD trainers saying: “I wish you’d dress more like a girl!” Like a girl no doubt meaning by squeezing my feet into a pair of shoes which would more than likely almost immediately prove uncomfortable and debilitating.

There are of course occasions where wearing a beautiful pair of heels can elevate your outfit and your mood but overall, I much prefer to be grounded. Not to mention the fact that a cool pair of kicks can do all that, too. In a world where we’re always up to a million things, it’s important to be able to be comfortable and move around quickly. Plus, trainers are IMO some of the best-looking footwear choices around.

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A typical day for me can go from the gym to a coffee shop desk to a lunch meeting to interviewing a celebrity to doing a photoshoot to a store launch or dinner, all with my laptop and seemingly half my life in tow. But I’m not complaining, nor am I the only one with a super frenzied lifestyle. Thing is, I think we all very much prefer it that way.

Maybe that’s why it’s become so common to see trainers everywhere from the catwalk to the boardroom, the nightclub and beyond. They’ve become a whole lot more than just sportswear. I often wear my Nike Beautiful x Powerful Air Huaraches – as seen in these photos – with a pair of skinny jeans and a chunky knit, tracksuit bottoms or even with a pencil skirt and lacy top. They go with everything, and with a sock-like fit, walking in them feels like floating over padded ground.

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When I’m putting an outfit together, I often start from the feet up. Power arguably used to be associated with wearing heels for business meetings – the click, clack of the heel reportedly adding an element of tension to the proceedings. But in today’s world, a pair of comfortable kicks is far more a sign of power; a sign of that ‘can do, will do it all’ attitude that has become so pervasive. Yes, I can do the 343,673 things on my To-Do list, and I won’t need to take an Uber from one location to another in order to do them. (Although I may take an Uber regardless of my footwear if I feel like it because: ‘I make my own money so I spend it how I like…’ (*Rae Sremmurd voice*).

That’s kind of the inspiration behind Nike’s latest campaign: Beautiful x Powerful, and that’s partly why Julie aka Frenchionista and I so loved being part of it. Julie and I are BFFs in real life and are united by a shared passion to, I guess as Nike would say: ‘Just Do It’. For me, it’s all about having people in your life that push you to be the best you can be, and when you get to work on cool projects with those same people, it’s particularly awesome.

And while the question of whether I can call myself anything of an athlete in the traditional sense of the word is still up for debate, the ethos behind the campaign, which: “honours the athletes who pushed boundaries, changed attitudes and emerged victorious,” is a pretty inspirational motto to have, regardless.

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Taking inspiration from boundary-breaking athlete, Joan Benoit Samuelson – the winner of the first-ever women’s marathon in the history of the Olympic Games – the 8-piece trainer collection features a speed-stripe jacquard inspired by her 1984 winning lap. Four of the styles – like the Huaraches we’re wearing here – are all-black leather, the other four incorporate shades of pinks, purples and grey.

As Nike put it: Joan Benoit Samuelson’s victory: “definitively decimated obsolete notions that had previously limited women’s running to 1,500 meters: the belief that women weren’t physically capable of enduring such distances.” That, coupled with her slogan: “There is no finish line” is some seriously inspirational stuff.

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That “there is no finish line” mentality is one that chimes well with my own, with Julie’s, and with that of so many young women (and men) today. It feels like a very exciting time, one in which – thanks in large part to social media and the internet – we can pretty much create our own destinies, and our own career paths.

That said, and cliches abound: I guess you could say everyone is running their own race, and the road is never straight-forward. It takes perseverance and resilience to get anywhere in life, regardless of how ‘easy’ it may, these days in particular perhaps, look from the outside. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” And what really separates you from those around you, and what really makes you powerful, is, in my opinion, when you persevere; going above and beyond your opposition. Your opposition being, above all else, yourself. One of my favourite quotes is: “The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday,” and I try remind myself of that.

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And really, what’s the point if you’re not having fun? As much as it’s important to be focused on the goals, it’s also just as important to be aware of the everyday victories, as well as empowering and allowing ourselves to be empowered by those around us. At the end of the day, nothing is more powerful than beauty – the real kind.

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All photos by Sammi Swar

Hair and makeup by on-demand beauty app Prettly 

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