In this interview, we talk to Inemesit Graham, fitness professional (and all-round incredible woman!) based in Yellowknife, Canada.
This was a fantastic conversation that touched on so many topics, including:
- her experiences moving to the UK from Nigeria and growing up in a predominantly white neighbourhood
- her journey as a child having surgery for abdominal hernia and the trauma associated with that experience
- how after her second child she struggled with body image issues related to her abdominal profile. She thought she was overweight and went on a weight loss journey and eventually discovered that she had diastasis recti.
- her experience living with DRA and hernia and how she felt strengthening her body and learning to love it as it is was so important
-how she started posting her workouts online and was told she was being negligent so she went and did qualifications to be certified as a fitness professional
- how her whole life she has lived outside of other people’s expectations. As a Nigerian it was expected that she study law or medicine, but she studied politics indeed and moved to Canada.
- how she rarely sees people who look like her – at school, in magazines, in Canada. There was a period of time where she didn’t want to be black, so she actively sought out black people to follow and listen to so that she could learn to love who she is.
- covert versus overt racism and how important black representation is in the health and fitness industries as well as in tv/magazines.
- how important it is to expose ourselves to different voices – how we need to be intentional in cultivating our social media feeds, so that we aren’t just hearing one voice.
- the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. We have one world view and we have to listen to other people’s life experiences. Ours is not the only story out there. Some people may not see racism but that does not mean it doesn’t exist. How acknowledgement of other people’s experience takes nothing from us, but could make the world of difference to that person.
- her thoughts on the phrase “I don’t see colour.” She discussed how difficult it is to find makeup that suits her skin tone or to see women like her in advertisements. “When you don’t see colour, people of colour become invisible in your society.”
- how #alllivesmatter is often posted out as a retort to #blacklivesmatter and that acknowledging that black people are 2.5x more likely to be killed by police is important. It diminishes the plight of black people to post this hashtag in a reactionary way.
If you want to learn more about Inemesit or work with her, you can find her