When it comes to living life unapologetically bold, Suzan Mutesi knows a thing or two.
Taking a scroll (ahm, should we say Instagram stalk?) through Mutesi’s feed and we are greeted with a tenacious, confident, and creative Ugandan-Australian woman. Celebrating accolades that span across award winning fashion designs, two-time author, and all-round creative powerhouse, it is fair to say Suzan has come a long way from her humble beginnings in East Africa.
No stranger to the limelight, Suzan openly talks about the fight for equal opportunities, building resilience and the importance of following your intuition.
Mutesi is both disarming and humble, she exemplifies bold and encourages all those around her to gain confidence in their skin, to live authentic and unapologetically themselves.
“The creative journey can be tough and subjective, but persevering is imperative. Who would’ve known the girl that grew up in Uganda, East Africa would become an author, actor, and designer. I knew I wanted to create and innovate, and to do so, I had to build upon my belief system, belief is a muscle, and one you have to work on every day.”
Suzan, as award winning Ugandan-Australian fashion designer, author, actress and all-round creative powerhouse – could you please tell me a little about your career and what led you here today?
“Born in Uganda, I moved to Australia when I was 11 years old, a promise of a bright future, it certainly didn’t come without its obstacles. Raised in a low to middle income family we were encouraged to use our imagination and creativity for toys, so I would make dolls out of fibre and then use old rags to sew them outfits, unbeknownst at the time I soon would realise a passion for design, textiles, and the creative world. In Australia I circled in on arts and all things creativity, and used the holidays to enrol in summer school, allowing me to hone in on my skills – this saw me being accepted into one of the best designs colleges, where I completed a Bachelor of Communication and Design, with my first collection displayed at the Sydney Opera House. Fast forward to today, with passion and fire in my belly I have gone on to become an author, actor, podcaster, and designer.
It is without a doubt that you are driven, resilient and tenacious – Where do you think such drive stems from?
“My mum is my hero. She moved to Australia when I was two by herself to make a better life for her family. She is steadfast, strong, and fearless – she sacrificed her livelihood to ensure we gained opportunities, and for that I am humble. She would often say to me, ‘the vision is big, but the dream is bigger.' Nothing beats intuition, it protects you and leads you, you must exercise it daily, it is loud and always clear.”
Speaking of following your dreams and intuition, you are currently writing your second book, a memoir, tell us about that?
“The immigrant that found her unapologetic voice, it tells the tales on how I found my unapologetic self through cultural diversities - I want to encourage everyone to boldly love the skin they’re in, whilst being unapologetically themselves. Once I started writing the words just flowed, I made space for that moment in time when I started to get the fire in my belly, pulling me to put pen to paper. Throughout my time writing, words would often come to when I was out and about and I’d stop, pull a book out and start jotting notes, it can often be challenging when uprooting memories that your brain has put away, it’s like therapy with words, they can heal and re-define you.”
"Being bold to me is realising who you are, and you are content with that, it’s a life lived without fear, its colourful, embracing, limitless and full of gratitude.”
Having the guts to be bold, and overcome adversities is something we admire about our bold women, what tools did you use to overcome challenges?
"I have had many setbacks, and many people saying no, but I was guided by my intuition, and I created my own opportunities. When I was rejected from fashion houses, I went and created my own fashion label. I believe to overcome adversity you need self-belief, you need a tribe of supportive people, positive affirmation and to self-tune yourself through meditation."
As bold women we need a tribe of supportive people around us – do you have a tribe?
"Definitely! There is mentors, family, friends, and agents that I have open, and honest relationships with. I believe in order to stay creative you need to surround yourself with people that inspire you daily, friends that challenge you and the way you think, and family that you can openly communicate with, ones that will listen without judgement, always offering support. Three practices that I live by daily: Get out of bed, get up and seize the day, that’s where opportunities, and ideas arise spiritually, physically, and mentally. Persevere, and fight for want you want, you can create your own opportunities. Lastly, practice gratitude and humility, each day is a blessing."
Suzan, there’s no denying your creative zest for life, so, what’s next?
"I want to expand on feature films and acting, it humbles me and is my creative outlet, and of course, my memoir. Keep your eyes peeled!"