What we learnt about Creativity from beauty writer Anita Bhagwandas

Creativity is a difficult thing to quantify, it means a lot of different things to different people. In this series we’re asking a writer, a designer and an artist what it means to them.

The very lovely Anita Bhagwandas, beauty writer extraordinaire

What is creativity to you and how do you express it?

Creativity comes in many different forms. But for me, and in my line of work as a journalist and media consultant, it means pushing boundaries and finding alternative ways to express the point I’m trying to get across.

There’s very little in the world that hasn’t already been said, but if you can find another way into that issue, and tackle it in a fresh way, that’s creative. I think there’s creativity in taking inspiration from a multitude of disciplines and sources and making it your own.

Do you think some people are born with more creativity than others? How can someone overcome this?

Everyone has a degree of creativity, just as everyone has a degree of logic (I see the two as opposites which is controversial.) I think the problem with creativity is the label.

Creativity is subjective and relies heavily on confidence. The most creative person in the world might not have the confidence to either express themselves as openly as they’d like to, whilst somebody uncreative may be super confident, express what little creativity they have, and seem like a really big deal. You see that across all of the creative industries — and it’s very often the people who aren’t right at the top who are the true visionaries and artists.

Somebody looking to be more creative needs to forget about having a label, trying to prove themselves, trying to fit in and just explore and soak up what their soul really reacts to. Sounds hippie as fuck, but it’s true.

Who inspires you most to develop your own creativity?

Putting work out into the world that people relate to. If it changes their perceptions, makes them feel like they’re being heard, they can relate to it or they’re entertained in some way, then I’ve done my job.

I develop my creativity by ensuring I don’t focus too much on my own discipline. I’m a beauty editor by trade — if I just read beauty features, my work wouldn’t get any better. I subscribe to New York magazine and New Scientist to broaden my horizons creatively.

What’s the most creative environment you’ve been in?

I think my own head. Sounds a bit obnoxious but I’m quite odd anyway, and I’m always thinking up weird shit.

Though, recently, I had a sound healing session and I literally thought I was tripping out on something. My mind started thinking in like 1950’s style muted cartoons. Was so bizarre and really vivid.

And I think when I had my own music fanzine as a teenage was when I felt supremely creative — I had no rules or boundaries like I do now. I could write or say whatever I wanted.

Do you have a story of when you tried to be creative but maybe it didn’t end the way you had envisioned?

Lots of times in magazines over the years — you don’t have control over the finished product in many ways — there are numerous editors and art teams who all have a vision too so you’re sometimes disappointed with results.

But sometimes you’ve got to take that on the chin and just think you did the best you could and that it’s everyone’s piece of work too. But it’s hard when others don’t share your vision.

I find that most difficult from a generational or intersectional perspective when it’s a matter of losing the ferocity or truth in the message you wanted to get across.

Many people believe that we’re in a ‘Creativity Crisis’ — what do you think about that?

I think we’re in an authenticity crisis. Instragram has lead to so many people just parodying their actual lives and we’re more focused on quick pictures and stories than true creativity — the kind that moves you first, and others second — seems to be in shorter supply.

It is still out there though. But you’ve got to be more disciplined and questioning about the visual content you consume these days.

How do you keep developing your creativity?

I work hard at it — and actually spend time reading loads of international publications or downloading as much music as I can. This month I’m going to try and listen to a new album each day for example, as there are so many great new metal bands I want to hear. And lots of weeks I’ll listen to loads of different podcasts or watch a documentary on YouTube every few nights.

Choose what you consume, don’t let it choose you!

We’re really excited to have Anita as one of our speakers at Tomorrowism: The Transformative Power of Creativity. Get your tickets here: