Like most good things, I was introduced to FlexMami (aka Lillian Ahenkan) by the virtual big sister I never had: Man Repeller. Her (over)packing habits were featured on the site during one of her trips to New York (she's a jet-setting DJ among other things) but it wasn't just the shot of her in citrus everything and cobalt eyeshadow that pulled me in. While most of the internet focuses on cracking the code on efficiency and a less-is-more mentality (think capsule wardrobes, the case for carry ons, etc.) Flex says, "Excess is best".
The piece wasn't glamorized or particularly aspirational but rather, a light and humorous feature that put her multi-dimensional persona to the forefront. FlexMami knows what's best, what's easiest, what she likes, and yet, at times ignores that voice in order to tune into her feels.
In just a few lines, I felt what she radiates across everything she touches: do you. I followed her, and shortly thereafter was treated to full-body chills when she DM'd me asking if I had any more pearl barrettes left. To say it was crushing to give her bad news is an understatement.
Luckily, I've recently been able to send a pink package her way and I cannot wait to see her as our latest muse. In the meantime, I've photoshopped a little preview to go alongside the Q&A she was generous enough to agree to. Once you're done, do your feed a favour and give @flexmami a follow. She motivates without condescension, advises sans pretence, and is as self-reflective as she is self-assured. She also knows how to do a BOMB eye, and will caption it with a mantra to live by.
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: Your bio is a laundry list of creative power. Tell me about yourself, and what you do.
FLEXMAMI: I'm a DJ, TV Presenter, Podcaster, Author, Self Development and Sexual Health Advocate
NJ: Your captions alone are motivational content. But a few months you published an e-book to distill your experience with manifestations. How did you come about manifesting, and what incited you to start speaking about it?
FM: I've always been as pragmatic as I have been spiritual and after months of googling ways to develop myself, I stumbled across the ever-popular buzz phrase of manifesting. The foundation of the practice aligned with what I was doing, but there was a lot that didn't i.e. the overly communicated spiritual element. I didn't want this to be the barrier to entry for the average person.
People generally use it as a desperate last-chance tool and that's not how I saw it, so I sought out to create a reference guide, that was rooted in critical thinking purely so I didn't have to answer every single DM I was getting.
NJ: As a DJ you're working nights, and you're also travelling lots (all the way from Australia) for work. What keeps you going and sane?
FM: I, fortunately, have graduated up through the ranks of DJ-ing to corporate work (as opposed to nightclubs) so I, fortunately, don't have to work as many nights as you might think. I stay sane by prioritising sleep and leisure over most things.
NJ: Your style (along with the way you talk about it) is one of the freshest on my feed. How would you describe it, and how do you shop for it?
FM: Once upon it was highly regimented and the themed changed annually – we'll never forget 2016/2017 fashion brief of Amish girl on rumspringa meets 'senorita' specifically the one Justin Timberlake is singing about. It featured a lot of ruffles and lace.
Now I focus on wearing clothes I like. Sounds simple but I can guarantee people would find it very difficult. Forget "flattering" cuts, styles and colours. I dare you.
NJ: Can you share your go-to getting ready song?
FM: I'm all about podcasts at the moment. I'd likely be listening to Small Doses by Amanda Seales or V Single.
NJ: You talk a lot about putting in the work in order to see results (essentially, that dreams and goals are great but won't come to fruition without effort). What's something that you're currently fuelling your efforts into?
FM: Self-development. Turbo waddling into the most ideal version of myself, for myself, by myself.
NJ: Cheesy question but what's the #1 thing you would've told your younger self (and that you try to tell other young people, like your followers)?
FM: It's okay to aspire for greatness. Crazier things have happened.
NJ: When and where do you feel your most empowered?
FM: When I'm in environments that allow to speak my truth and be on my bullshit unapologetically.
NJ: What are you a Neophyte at right now (or wish to be)?
FM: Treating my body well i.e. not surviving on preservatives and actually drinking water
*All photos courtesy of Flex Mami's Instagram, edited by Anna J. Stainsby for this feature