This season we’re getting up close and personal with the stars of our campaign, each selected because they’re forging their way in the world and doing it their way. Dr. Martens has inspired generations of wearers, from the working classes to the educated students in protest and musical subcultures as far back as the 60s, and we haven’t stopped. Shama is part of a new generation of DM’s wearers doing things differently. The music PR and DJ started learning her craft young and a refusal of the typical 9-5 job led her to curate her own ‘portfolio career’.
Shama’s career progression was prodigal but organic “I got my start really young, at like 17. Photography was my thing so I’d sneak into these raves around London and just document them. I wasn’t meant to be there obviously because I was under age, but I was passionate about documenting these musical scenes and people got to know me”. By the time she turned 18 Shama knew she wanted to turn her hobby into a job “it was really a matter of me wanting to make money and be paid for the things I was doing anyway. I’d made lots of really good contacts throughout the years and I knew music was where I saw myself, it was just finding the angle.”
“I started out doing loads of unpaid internships and learning the ropes. I think it’s important for anyone coming up to pay their dues and learn as much as they can. I worked for publications and music production companies so I gained a wide understanding of how the industry works.”
It was after interning that Shama came up with her big idea “I’d been working in music PR for a while and thought there was a gap in the market for an agency to help artists from abroad. So I set up my agency with my friend. We basically help artists from overseas, who might not have the resources to be able to have a full-time PR, get press for their records and releases. My friend and partner studied law, so she was able to look after the legal side of things, luckily.”
As well as working as a PR, Shama also DJs around the globe and runs her own club nights in London and New York. Wondering how on earth she finds the time to fit everything in? “By day, I do my PR thing. Then I DJ at night, so it doesn’t overlap too much, and I’d be out partying anyway so it works. I mean, I barely have time to do anything, but it works!”.
Years in the industry at the tender age of 24 have given Shama lots of invaluable lessons she’s keen to share “my advice to anyone wanting to get into the creative industries is to take your time and think things through. You might have to intern and not get paid much or at all, so you need patience but it will pay off. My family were quite against me pursuing a creative career – they wanted me to be an accountant – but I put my foot down and I’m so happy I did”.
“You never get a second chance at doing something for the first time, so think about things carefully”.
On the rare occasions she’s not working Shama likes to hang around her stomping ground of East London “I was born and raised here. I’m never gonna leave. I love seeing it constantly evolve. Like Hackney Walk – it used to be nothing – now suddenly there’s all these designer stores and new restaurants. I recently went to my friend’s new food place called Legs which is on The Walk and had these amazing sharing platters, you can do brunch or dinner there, it’s so delicious”.
Food is another real passion of Shama’s “I love food and I love to cook. Instagramming my food is my main thing. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a foodie, but fried chicken and and chips are the best. The Chicken Connoisseur on YouTube reviews all the best chicken shops in London. He’s so funny”.
When it comes to personal style the DJ and PR likes to keep things low key “simplicity. That’s always what I think when I dress, just keep it simple. I don’t wear too many flashy brands. I’m a bit of a Tomboy and because I’m busy, function and comfort come first. Although on a big night out I’ll break my own rules and dress up properly.” Never one to follow the crowds, Shama’s style icon is also someone unexpected “Donald Glover, or Childish Gambino, is it weird that I picked a man? I just love him and his music, his style is so laid back. I love how he’ll be interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres or someone and wear a tee and dirty shoes. He keeps it real.”
As for Doc’s, Shama has been wearing our shoes since her youth “when I was a teenager, my parents were pretty strict, so I had to save up for ages to buy my first pair of Doc’s. I was so proud, and I still wear them today. I like the history and heritage of Dr. Martens and what you’re about. Doc’s fit in with my style.”
Before Shama had to dash off to wear one of her many hats, she shared what she stands for “I stand for believing in yourself. Don’t give up when you have a rough patch, keep going to achieve your goals”.