Meet James. He’s an entrepreneur, Youtuber and model, with over 14,000 followers across his social media platforms. He even appeared in the music video for Sam Smith’s song, Kids Again. All this at the age of just 22. Rather impressive, right?
Not only that, but James is also a former HKF Award winner, receiving a bursary sponsored by the University of Bedfordshire in 2017 after studying at City of Westminster College. We caught up with James recently to hear about his journey.
What were your circumstances when you received the bursary?
James: I was 17 years old, financially supporting myself, while studying in college. I was simultaneously working multiple part-time jobs and found very little time to get for myself. I wasn’t able to get family support at the time and this was reality for a lot of people in the community I grew up in, in South London.
What difference did it make to you to receive this?
J: The Helena Kennedy Foundation gave me stronger financial stability and I was able to put the funding towards camera equipment that was required for my university course. Knowing I would receive the funding at the start of each academic year definitely gave me stability and help that a student like myself, would really benefit from.
What’s kept you going through the tough times? What’s your message to students going through challenges right now?
J: When times was tough, I used my reliance on my God given abilities, I spoke positive affirmations to myself daily, I made an effort to work harder and learn from my mistakes, to reach the goals I wanted to achieve. It is always good to speak with other people around me, who care and take time to myself.
To any students going through challenges right now, look to your inspirations and remember there was journey they went through to reach where they are now, to even inspire you!
Tell us a bit about your journey? What you’ve been up to?
J: Since graduating in Film and Television Production in September, I have been able to represent plus-sized males in the worldwide fashion industry. I have managed to become a model and have publications across the media industry such as: for British Vogue, Vogue Italia, Face Magazine, i-D magazine, The British Film Institute, Capitol Records and many more. I currently share my journey through my YouTube channel which has over 950,000 hits.
What’s next for you?
J: The next steps for me, is worldwide representation through the media industry, as a dark-skinned model. I would be also producing and directing my own programmes on worldwide platforms. I will continue to be the activist I am and use my voice to help the younger generation!
Could you help another student to change their life and achieve great things like James?
We are currently running an Xmas appeal, aiming to raise £3,000 to fund a bursary to support a disadvantaged student at university. Find out more here.