Entrepreneur, designer, writer, presenter, producer, and campaigner, Samata has some impressive accolades to her name, with 2018 set to be a stand out year. Working across fashion and media, Samata is also known for her work as Global Director for Suzy Amis Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress campaign, showcasing sustainable fashion on the red carpet at the Oscars every year, as well as being one of the faces of Lancome’s Teint Idole #MyShadeMyPower campaign.
Committed to creating positive change within all the fields she operates in and influences, Samata works on several philanthropic and charitable projects, advocating the organisation Women for Women International, and most recently, actively fundraising for America’s soon-to-be first plant-based school, MUSE School CA, where over 50% of the children are on financial aid. Alongside this, Samata is both Editor for SamataHome.com, a portal for her work and personal style, and more recently has inspired THE TRIBE, a global collective, created for women to empower and celebrate each other.
Ever since meeting Samata for the first time, we've been captivated by her amazing sense of energy and enthusiasm. We've been excited to see what path her journey would take. As well as finding out how she manages to juggle all of these exciting projects, we wanted to catch up with Samata to share tips for creating positivity, finding success, and discovering what it takes to join together and feel empowered as women today. Just as the Merit Club seeks to curate and create success through knowledge, confidence and connections, so too does THE TRIBE want to celebrate women and tackle the future. It's about joining together and widening our sense of community and unity as far and wide as we possibly can.
Read on to discover our chat with Samata - for life lessons, taking initiative, and hurdling over restrictions.
MC: Could you tell us about your proudest achievements?
S: Career wise, I think that each year when we deliver a new ethical gown with Red Carpet Green Dress, I feel extremely proud of the collaborative effort that goes into that message. It’s important work, as sustainability has been something we have been plugging away with for nearly 9 years, but it’s still only now just becoming a mainstream topic.
I love working with emerging talent still, and I am proud that people still email me about my book, The Fashion Designer’s Resource Book, to let me know that it is helping them in their journey.
Outside of work, I think it’s important to be proud of your friends and family, and the relationships you work out in that part of your life. That is all just as important for me.
MC: Do you have any defining moments in your life that you feel have shaped your career, where you are now and who you are as a person?
S: I will always say that meeting Suzy was a turning point, as so much after that changed, from the way I viewed fashion as an industry across to the impact I believed I could have on it. Travelling always opens up perspectives and so that element of the role has introduced me to so many people whose thinking has definitely elevated my own.
MC: What goals are you working towards at the moment? Can you let us know a little bit more about the exciting projects that you are involved with?
S: I am definitely focused on growing THE TRIBE, my women's collective.
With my ethical fashion project, Red Carpet Green Dress, it was founded by Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of James Cameron (Director of Titanic and Avatar). The couple have always been involved in environmental causes, protecting the planet and its precious resources for a long time. Inspired by the global red carpet opportunity presented by her husbands’ blockbuster hit ‘Avatar’ in 2009, Suzyfounded the project - we create ethical fashion for the Oscars red carpet each year. As Campaign Director, I am involved in everything from talent selection to planning our Pre-Oscar celebration. We are about to enter our 9th year of RCGD and planning to continue making that ethical statement on the red carpet.
MC: There's no doubt that you have had such an incredible career to date and are involved with so many campaigns and initiatives. In light of this, what does success mean to you and what is it that motivates you?
S: I only view myself as successful if I am doing something I enjoy and hopefully empowering others to do the same, or at least impacting in a more positive way. Enjoyment with what I do only really kicks in when I let go of the extremely narrow version of success I defined and attach it to something less restrictive. I am definitely most motivated by projects which are unique and seek to have positive impact.
MC: Alongside success will inevitably be a lot of hard work and challenges too. Have you experienced any hurdles or struggles in your life to date that you have had to overcome, and how have you dealt with these?
S: I can’t think of a person who hasn’t. I think you just have to put one foot in front of the other. You just don’t have a choice, because life keeps moving, so you have to also. In a year, you never remember the things which almost destroyed you. That’s what is beautiful about life to me.
MC: The Merit Club’s foundations are rooted in celebrating women and joining together to empower one another. As a pioneer for THE TRIBE, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and face for Lancome’s Teint Idole #MyShadeMyPower campaign, what’s your attitude to female empowerment? How do you think women can empower one another?
S: Women feeling good about who they are is important to me because I feel so often we are reminded why we aren’t enough - it’s one thing after the other and keeping your head up is hard sometimes, so your attitude has to be a little relentless when it comes to self-belief and the empowerment of other women.
I think the number one way women can empower each other is to rally around each other - across race, age, orientation - to build each other up. We have to face enough challenges in the world on a daily basis, so the least we can do is be cheerleaders for each other. I was really disappointed when I saw how many women voted for Roy Moore instead of Doug Jones, and for Trump, or how many don’t speak up when issues impact women of colour - if we really care, we have to have a voice for all women, not just the women who look like us.
MC: What are the life lessons that you live by?
S: My absolute favourites are ‘Do today what others won’t, to get tomorrow what others don’t’ and ‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’
MC: And do you have any final pieces of advice to women about how to achieve their goals?
S: A little self belief goes a long way.