Self-Doubt And A Good Lipstick: The Unlikely Formula For Chimamanda's Success

She's an inspiration to everyone from Beyoncé to Lupita and is credited with bringing the notion of feminism to a wider audience – so we sat down with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to hear about how she's done it

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Confidence isn't a given – even if you're an award-winning novelist whose words have been featured in one of Beyoncé's songs. But perhaps self-doubt is part of the recipe, says Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian author of novels including Half a Yellow Sun and Americanah (which is being turned into a film starring Lupita Nyong'o).

"I think that self-doubt is part of the creative process," Chimamanda tells us. "The loss of self-doubt can lead to a certain kind of complacency, which often then produces art which isn't art."

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With the movie deals and Queen Bey sampling, it's hard to imagine a time when Chimamanda had to fight to be heard, but she's definitely been there. "When I was sending off my first book I was rejected many times and I kept going because writing is what I love," she says. "I think of writing as my vocation and I just quietly believed it would happen."

And thank goodness she did – she has been credited with inspiring a new generation of young feminists. When Beyoncé chose her words to open her 2013 hit Flawless, a wider audience sat up, listened, and joined the movement.

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She wrote: 'We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.'

We say to girls: 'You can have ambition, but not too much

You should aim to be successful, but not too successful

Otherwise, you will threaten the man…

Feminist: a person who believes in the social

Political, and economic equality of the sexes.'

And it's sentiments like this that make the new partnership between Chimamanda and No7 all the more inspiring. They're currently collaborating on the READY to Speak Up campaign, which focuses on the power of cosmetics to help women feel ready to achieve their goals.

'I like the idea that women wear make-up not just because they want to wear it, but because they can then go on and do other incredible things,' she tells us.

Of course this collaboration brings up a question that still swirls around the modern notion of feminism: as a progressive and powerful woman, can you still care about – and take pride in – what you look like? For Chimamanda, there's no question – you don't have to choose one or the other:

'In Nigeria women can wear make-up and high heels and they are not really judged on that. But I noticed in the US that there's an expectation that if you want a serious career, you are not supposed to wear make-up… I love make-up, and its wonderful possibilities for temporary transformation. I find that the right shade of lipstick puts me in a good mood.' she says.


See the full conversation here.

No7's Match Made Service helps women find their perfect shade to get their make-up just right so they can feel in control and confident of how they show up in the world. The No7 Match Made service is available in store or by downloading the No7 Match Made skin tone analysis app, available on iPhone and Android. Click here for more.

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