The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.
NAME: Hilda Awambeng
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/HERITAGE: Cameroon
LOCATION: London, UK
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: One of the traits that always inspires me is relentlessness. When I come across a woman who is single-minded in her focus, and relentless in the pursuit of her goals, I sit up and pay attention. Hilda Awambeng, or Mammypi as she prefers to be called, is just such a woman. She pursues her goals, in spite of what others may consider obstacles or setbacks.
Coming from Cameroonian journalistic royalty (her family founded the country’s first English language newspaper, Cameroon Post), it is clear that media and entrepreneurship are in her blood. With her company, Mammypi, she has created a fashion blog, and an online shop for fashion, beauty, and luxury accessories with literally over tens of thousands of followers and customers – all from scratch!!!
If she doesn’t inspire you, I wonder who will.
WHO DO YOU SAY YOU ARE?
I am a little complex mixture. I was christened Hilda, but I prefer to be referred to as Mammypi. Mammypi was a childhood alias which I grew up to cherish as I was fondly called by friends and family. I am a fashion blogger and a digital influencer. I enjoy playing dress up and pairing outfits together to create different looks. My style is minimal, on-trend and thoughtfully accessorised. I enjoy online shopping, as it is easier to browse the online racks without walking up and down the store and still not finding what you want.
Fashion to me is a means of telling my story through my outfits. Styling myself draws me to a beautiful world where there is no pain. I am rubbish at makeup, but not really bothered about it as I am most happy in my own skin.
Fashion picked me. I never set out to be a fashionista. However, from a very early age, I can recall many of my close family and friends always spoke about my ease with style. Throughout university and into adulthood, it has been the same story. So, blending my media background and interest in style, I set out to set up Mammypi. Since I started the journey in 2012, I have never looked back. Mammypi is growing daily as the readership and popularity continues to spread.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURES?
I think my legs are off the meters. They are long and sleek. However, I also get a good amount of compliments on my hair & fingers – but I never dwell on them.
“Fashion is a means of telling my story through my outfits. Styling myself draws me to a beautiful world where there is no pain. I am rubbish at makeup, but not really bothered about it as I am most happy in my own skin.”
WHAT NON-PHYSICAL TRAITS DO YOU MOST LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?
Always putting others first, even when I have my own issues to deal with, is always very fulfilling to me. Sometimes, it is looked upon as a weakness, but I prefer to see it as a gift.
WHAT PHYSICAL AND NON-PHYSICAL TRAITS HAVE YOU MOST STRUGGLED TO ACCEPT? HAVE YOU OVERCOME THAT STRUGGLE? HOW?
I suffer sometimes from acne which could be very depressing. When I have very severe episodes of the condition, it steals away my joy – though I never let anyone see. It could be very hard to deal with a skin condition, especially when you have something like acne. People tend to judge you based on a condition that is beyond your control. Because this is a hormonal issue and there is very little I can do as a person apart from seek clinical help, I can only live my life and hope my dermatologist can figure out a long-term solution. This to me is a very minor issue compared to what others are facing in life.
“It could be very hard to deal with a skin condition, especially when you have something like acne. People tend to judge you based on a condition that is beyond your control. I can only live my life and hope my dermatologist can figure out a long-term solution. This to me is a very minor issue compared to what others are facing in life.
HOW HAS YOUR FATHER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF?
My father is my hero and one of the most intelligent and influential people in my life. He stretches my imagination each day and is the most honest and fun man in my life. My father has taught me to go out and make things happen. His motto is “Knowledge is power” & “I am who I am”.
I grew up hearing this from him all my life. He is a true believer in education and self-belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, there is no way the next person can believe in you. And education to him is everything. I am the person I am today, because of my dad’s voice in my head. I am not afraid of how the world perceives me, because I am who I am and I can only do my best. I am continuously looking for new ways to reinvent myself and inspire my fans, as there are many young girls in our communities who need someone to look up to.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST FEARS?
The loss of a loved one will break my heart. I fear nothing like saying goodbye to someone close to my heart. The fear of the unknown also threatens my existence. Knowing we currently live in a world of insecurities where we don’t really know the next person sitting next to us bothers me.
“I am the person I am today, because of my dad’s voice in my head. I am not afraid of how the world perceives me, because I am who I am and I can only do my best.”
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST JOYS?
My family gives me utter joy. I am blessed with four brothers, a sister, plus my lovely parents. My siblings are so supportive of everything I do and it is a real blessing to know I have such strong support network I can always count on.
WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
Apart from my academic qualifications, I am proud to say one of my most precious accomplishments is Mammypi. I made Mammypi happen with a bang. Working with a team of people I have never met, who are all based in India, has been a great accomplishment to me. Sometimes, it can be stressful, but with the quality of work I get and the very positive feedback from the public, I feel blessed to have laid the foundation of my legacy.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?
When there is joy in & peace in my heart, my beauty transcends boundaries.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN VERSION OF “BEAUTIFUL”?
My definition of “beauty” is self-confidence. Someone who believes in themselves and can influence others. That, to me, is “Beautiful”. Beautiful is not the amount of make up or expensive fashion items we wear. It is perceiving your innermost being as beautiful, and relaying that in how you comport your self amongst others.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BEAUTIFUL, AS YOU’VE DEFINED IT?
Staying true to my beliefs and not trying to be someone else.
“My definition of “beauty” is self-confidence. Beautiful is not the amount of make up or expensive fashion items we wear. It is perceiving your innermost being as beautiful.”
WHICH “BEAUTIFUL” WOMEN INSPIRE YOU MOST?
In pop culture, there is a catalogue of amazing women I always refer to when needed. Celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Taraji P.Henson, but most importantly my grand mum.
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Are you an inspiring & influential African woman interested in a “Journey to Beautiful” Feature? E-mail me for consideration: chioma dot onyewuchi at hotmail dot com with subject “Journey to Beautiful”.