Maha & Vans: Women in Focus | Shaquille

Celebrating women, always. In the light of Women's History Month and tomorrow's International Women's Day, we joined forces with Vans to celebrate women today. By telling the story of three powerful, female creatives. Because women inspire each other. Women motivate each other. Women support each other, and women grow together. Read along and get inspired by creative powerhouse Shaquille.

Maha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | ShaquilleMaha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | Shaquille

Shaquille, originally from Germany now based in Amsterdam, is an all-round creative in the strongest sense of the word. From storyteller to moderator to creative producer, she manages to do all. On top of that, she's able to squeeze in an International Fashion and Branding studies, specializing in Cultural Diversity and International Journalism.

Shaquille Shaniqua Joy (22): Creative Producer & Moderator
Her favourite OG Vans Silhouette is the OG Slip-On Checkerboard

In your work as a storyteller and moderator, you focus on telling other people's stories. We think it's time to hear yours. Would you like to tell us something about your journey towards your extensive portfolio of creative work? 
I always feel like I get to tell parts of my story through those of others already. But as for me, my drive comes from being curious, wanting to learn new things and finding my interests and disinterests along the way. I've been scared to never find that one thing I want to do, but I now realize that doing a little bit of everything is actually a strength. The variety of projects I work on makes me grow and constantly teaches me new skills and new things about myself. I'm at the beginning of my career and always try to remind myself it’s ok not to have everything figured out at all times. 

Maha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | ShaquilleMaha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | Shaquille


Not only do you work across many creative disciplines, but you are also studying at the same time. Share your secret with us! How do you manage to keep up with everything? 
I must admit that I always have quite a full schedule, which actually isn't desirable at all times. Some of my friends jokingly say that I seem to have 72 hours a day because of everything I do. It feels like that's the norm in my environment, so I never really saw it like that. However, I'm trying to do less and remind myself that my productivity doesn't define me as a person or my value as part of this society. I recently started to block off a lot more space in my schedule for me-time, and I'm more intentional with my choices when it comes to both my work and personal life.

Maha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | ShaquilleMaha & Vans Present: Womxn in Focus | Shaquille

With your work, you represent creative individuals often overlooked by mainstream media. How do you think a more inclusive representation of female creatives can be achieved?  
For many of my projects, this works organically. I have the representation I want to see in my surroundings, and instead of having performative conversations, I try my best to do what I expect of others. For instance, the majority of guests on my radio show are Black and womxn of colour. I find it important to hear their voices and perspectives without limiting them to the subject of identity. That being said, as much as I believe positive representation is important, I think that it's not enough. Right now, many are just checking boxes when it comes to representation rather than finding ways to be inclusive on all levels. I don't see representation as the sole end goal but rather as a starting point and something that should be a given. 


Photography: Suus Waijers