“Make your mess your message” • Homage to Robin Roberts

• Originally posted on UAL Women in Media •

Who do you look up to most in your life? The answer to that question differs from person to person – a parent, friend, singer, actress. 

Personally, I used to love One Direction and was also part of the Shawn Mendes fandom as a young teen. My childhood bedroom was filled with posters, CDs and all sorts of merchandise. 

I turn twenty this year, and although I continue to listen to these artists, I’m not as captivated by them as before. My focus has shifted throughout the years. Currently, I study BA Journalism at the London College of Communication. Since then, I started to connect with different people from the media industry. One person keeps inspiring me each day in my personal and professional life. Her name is Robin Roberts. 

Robin Roberts is an American journalist and co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America. Indeed, there are various outstanding professionals in the field of journalism, but Robin Roberts is my role model. 

In 2010, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, a disease that affects my life up to this day. Some people judged and mistreated me because of my diabetes, although it’s not my fault that I got it in the first place. I let their opinions influence me, and I felt anxious about sharing my story. I’m a journalist now. Staying objective to deliver accurate, non-opinion-based news is part of my job. But then, I stumbled across Robin Roberts and her story. On the platform Masterclass, which offers a broad selection of courses led by professionals from many industries, I learned more about her career life and what role her personal experience plays in it. 

In 2007, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Robin Roberts explains that it is essential to “Make your mess your message”.

This quote changed my whole perspective. I have a different health issue, different environment and experience than Robin Roberts. Still, her speech cleared my doubts about being a diabetic and my role in speaking to the public. I might have been able to be more confident at some point in my life without Robin Roberts, but she pushed me onto the right mindset. 

Her mum motivated her to share the life-changing information with the audience because she was also worried about sharing this personal news.  

“You have a good job. You have health benefits. [..] What about people that don’t have these resources? BE THEIR VOICE.”, said Robin Roberts mum, according to the Masterclass lesson “Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication.”

According to World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common cancer, with more than 2.2 million cases in 2020. To talk about it and to raise awareness is so important. Robin Roberts is a public figure and has the advantage of reaching a larger group of people. By sharing her individual story, she also underlines the fact that despite her being a known person in the media industry, she can still suffer from breast cancer like anybody else.

Her message takes another turning point during ABC’s news reportage of the “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in 2013. A colleague, Amy Robach, was asked to perform a mammogram on the show. Robin Roberts’ encouragement helped Robach perform the detection method. Her breast cancer was diagnosed on live television the same day. 

It sounds like a Hollywood movie. That’s because we are not used to seeing these kinds of emotions and personal stories on traditional news. 

I love being a journalist and I accept being a diabetic. I have much more to learn, even after I finish my course at university. I’m not behaving like a super hyper fangirl like I did for One Direction and Shawn Mendes. Still, I feel motivated by Robin Roberts to be myself and to not hide behind my disease. 

“Venture outside your comfort zone. To stop growing is to stop living.” Robin Roberts in “From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By”

Showing emotions is not a weakness. It does not matter if you are a doctor, celebrity, train controller, etc. – we are all humans. Roberts continues to share her battle with breast cancer. In 2012, she faced another challenge. As a result of the chemotherapy, she developed a rare blood cancer called MDS – myelodysplastic syndrome. She needed a bone marrow transplant. Around 30% of the matches are from family members, but the majority comes from the registry. As an African American woman, the likelihood to get a match from the registry is lower. Luckily, her sister was a match, and she was able to get a bone marrow transplant. But other people might not have a family member that is a perfect match. What about them? Roberts addresses this issue to raise awareness to help other people fight sickness. I admire that she used every challenge thrown into her life to openly speak about it to save other lives.

“Today, we calculate that 9.3% of adults aged 20–79 years – a staggering 463 million people – are living with diabetes. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20, live with type 1 diabetes.”, states the International Diabetes Federation.

And I’m one of them. Last year, I started my own blog called Citronnade, where I also write about my life with diabetes. I also enable other people who suffer from any health-related issue to share their emotions and stories. I might not be the voice of all diabetics, but I can be a voice that speaks up and raises awareness. I make my mess my message – what about you?

Robin Roberts noticed this article. I'm very honoured and the level of excitement is immaculate!





Traditional art meets modern art

It is often hard to believe that the sole imagination of a human being leads to creating beautiful artworks. Our ancestors drew on cave walls as a form of belief. And since then, art is seen as communication and cultural, religious and even political “silent messenger”. We don’t need to speak the language of the artist to understand their meaning. Nowadays, galleries feature a variety of works by famous painters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Gustav Klimt, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, and more that spent half their lives on a piece. In modern times, new tools and technology help creatives to spare time and simplify the process.
Nevertheless, it is easy to distinguish between traditional art and digital art. Is classic art more valuable? Will it get extinct?

It talked to Amina Adous Bracamonte about the importance of art in our society, and how her art is influenced by the modern approach.

by @/aminamennte on Instagram

“I prefer making art the traditional way, at least for now, it relaxes me in a different way, for me it’s gratifying in another level.”

We have different talents, strengths & weaknesses, and an individual view. That’s what makes us unique. You might not play the flute as good as Lizzo does, but there is always something that makes you stand out from others nonetheless.

Amina has found her passion in her art which she shares on social media. It feels like a new aesthetic to watch the process of her paintings with the beautiful landscape of Spain in the background. What sparked your interest in art, and how long have you drawn?

“I don’t specifically remember, but I think as a kid I wasn’t a big fan of playing with dolls or anything, only drawing, so my mom put me in art class as an alternative.”, says Amina. She is mainly inspired by traditional painting, realism as well as the work of ancient masters.

The beauty of art is undeniable. From an early age on during art class, children learn to adequately express themselves through drawing, paper projects, working with clay and much more. Although most of their artistry is not quite like the work by Picasso, the central importance is to develop language skills, motor skills, and creativity. So why do you think art is important?

“I think its important in two ways: For the artist it’s vital because it’s a window to escape reality in a way, you can express any feeling, any moment in time, free yourself. Also you put a part of yourself in each piece of art that you make so people can observe, reflect and appreciate.

For the observer it’s important because it’s a moment of reflection, a pause, where you are looking at the piece and just making your own opinions about it, thinking of how it was done, what the artist was inspired about, the feelings it’s trying to represent.”

What do you think is most beautiful about traditional art?

“I think it’s beautiful because it’s been done for so long, and you can basically do it with anything, for example people million years ago would paint with animal blood in cave walls, there’s so many ways and techniques to do it.”

There are various advantages for traditional art and digital art. For example, drawing digitally allows you to have a wide range of tools and colours. This not only decreases costs for material but enables better accessibility when you are ready to create. On the other hand, traditional art is much more hands-on. If you make a mistake, you can’t erase it as quickly as for digital drawings. How do you use clay and carving tools? How do you mix colours to get your desired shade? The general understanding of the material and the art methods are broadened, and motor skills are improved.

Have you ever tried to draw digitally?

“Yes! I was really excited to try it out. I feel it being so new and technological it can have a lot of advantages. It’s still something very new for me.”

Here are some pieces of Amina`s digital artwork:

Most of Amina’s work is shared on her Instagram. What are the benefits of sharing art on social media?

“It gives you so much exposure, it’s very easy and free way to share your art comparing it to a gallery or something like that.”

Art is unique, just like the artist that creates it. Style, technique, colour palette and format are often individual to each creator. For example, did you know that Van Gogh was known for using the technique Impasto? Instead of an even and light surface, thickly laid paint covers the canvas, which creates a three-dimensional texture. His most famous work, which was created with Impasto, is  “The Starry Night” (1889).

The art industry is constantly evolving. New artists publish their work on the internet and gain publicity through social media, like TikTok and Instagram. The significant styles and individual touches make each creation unique. However, taste differs. What might be beautiful to one person might not be someone else’s cup of tea, but as Shakespeare said: Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye (…)”.

Do you think anyone can draw?

“Absolutely, there’s this false idea that in order for you to be a good artist you have to be born with the talent, have a steady hand or a sharp eye. It obviously helps a lot but the main thing that gets you better it’s practice, making bad art and exploring what works for you and what doesn’t.”

Thank you so much to Amina! Check out her Instagram to stay up to date with her latest creations.