Welcome back to our "Women at Work" series, where you're introduced to a curated selection of working women discussing their professional lives as well as the impact they're making - through an audacious blend of professional and personal passions - on the world around them.
This week, I'd like to introduce you to Maame Adjei.
Every time I sit to write about anyone, I'm tasked with minimizing an overwhelming desire to type something like "I don't know what to tell you guys. It's ridiculous that you don't know Maame. She's important. Her face. Her eyes. Her body. Her being."
I don't write, "Most important is that I adore her ... that I saw her and she immediately felt like everything to me ... that I see her and can more clearly see myself - in ways that are incredibly important as an immigrant living in the United States ... as a future expat ... as a brown body full of curve and lyric and Liberian ..."
I don't write, "Can't you see she's a model of my most desired ways of being in this world."
Instead, I turn what has already become a full-fledged unrequited love affair into the concrete language of Internet introduction.
So let's just get that out of the way.
Now that you've been formally introduced, I'll admit that most of that opening rant was true. I was less than halfway through the first episode of An African City, when I realized I loved Zainab. And because I am who I am, I decided that meant I loved the person who embodied her. A quick internet search would validate all of my feelings.
I soon learned that Maame Adjei was not only a talented actress, but also an artist and producer with an educational background in Psychology and Healthcare Finance and Administration.
As an actress, aside from playing Zainab and co-producing An African City, Maame has also had roles in "A Sweet Song,"a short film by Ghanaian director Asantewa Prempeh, and Coz Ov Moni, a Ghanaian musical.
As an artist, she upcycles vintage and antique furniture for private clients, and has produced visual installations for The Chalewote Street Arts Festival in Accra.
As if those passions weren't enough to consume one human being, Maame served as the Talent Director for the Miss Universe Ghana 2014 pageant, is currently Travel Editor for The Style HQ, and an influencer for Tastemakers Africa.
Maame's bio admits (as if one didn't automatically infer from her list of pursuits) that she is "committed to living life passionately, and to exploring all the opportunities that her natural gifts and talents bring her way."
Learning this, I needed to know more. And I needed it directly from the source.
Check out the best from my correspondence with Maame Adjei below.
On passionately multitasking ...
Each role definitely seamlessly rolls into the next. I'm an artist. I consider everything I do art. So from production, to making furniture to even teaching (which I do sometimes). I always pull my creativity into it. They are never mutually exclusive.
On the logistics of living ...
Being a self employed artist anywhere in the world is not easy. On the continent it's even harder. My day starts and begins and ends with emails. ... Constantly replying to emails. I'm usually heading to one meeting or another which, in Accra, means I'm spending a lot of time in traffic. At some point during the day, I always stop by my friend Dedo's cozy restaurant, Tea Baa, for some good eats. I always end the day in bed re-watching a movie I've probably seen a hundred times.
On her most important project ...
Everything I work on his super important to me because I'm in a space where I only do work that moves me. So An African City, of course, a short film project I just worked on. And of course my passion project Girl Going Places, a travel show that exposes the beauty and dynamism of the continent and implores Africans, and Diasporans especially, to travel the continent. I've been working on [Girl Going Places] for almost three years and I'm so excited to slowly be sharing it with the world.
On sustaining creativity ...
Diversify, diversify, diversify! It's important to work for the love of the art but at the end of the day artist still need to eat, and pay bills. I can't give the what, where and how cause I'm still trying to figure it out myself but I think that's definitely a good starting plan.
Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.
Received, Maame. Received.
I want to end this neatly, enveloped tight phrasing with a simple call to action. But, as the beginning of this article demonstrated, often words and will don't work that way.
For some reason, sharing Baraka's “How You Sound” (1959) feels best.
MY POETRY is whatever I think I am. (Can I be light and weightless like a sail?? Heavy & clunking like 8 black boots.) I CAN BE ANYTHING I CAN. I make a poetry with what I feel is useful & can be saved out of all the garbage of our lives. What I see, am touched by (CAN HEAR) … wives jobs, cement yards, where cats pee, all my interminable artifacts … ALL are poetry, & nothing moves (with any grace) pried apart from all these things. There cannot be closet poetry. Unless the closet be wide as God’s eye. And all that means is that I must be completely free to do just what I want, in the poem.
Yea. That feels right.
Settle into this story: The other morning, I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist (I know, I know, I’m glamorous, y’all), and it turns out that the dentist’s assistant was Jillian, my childhood best friend! Suddenly, I remembered all of the really dazzling times – the best times – of my…