The Super Humans of 2016

Since 2011 I have been publishing an annual list of people who have had positive impact on me in the previous 12 months and therefore, in my opinion, deserve an award for their greatness. These are the super humans who have shaped my life and brought me joy and inspiration – I want to thank them for all they have done and also introduce my readers to their awesomeness.

This year I was once again lucky enough to be surrounded by wonderful people and so narrowing it down to a list of 10 was tricky, but I felt like 2016 has needed this list of joy! So, to counteract this year’s awfulness, here are my Super Humans of 2016.

  • Charlie Craggs of Nails Transphobia photographed by Joanna Kiely for The Time is NowCharlie Craggs – I had been following the fabulous founder of Nail Transphobia on social media for a while before we finally met in person at an Open Barbers event, and can confirm that she is just as sweet and kind in real life as she is online. Editor of Pigeons and Peacocks magazine, star of Selfridges’ Incredible Machines video, and top of The Observer’s 2016 New Radicals list, it’s been one hell of a year for Charlie. She is an inspiration to us all and definitely one to watch for 2017!
  • Fenella Hitchcock – A lecturer, writer and fashion / cultural historian, Fenella‘s impressive knowledge, dedication and personal style always leave a lasting impression. We first met in October 2014 at the Costume Society’s study day and she hasn’t been able to get rid of me since! Always supportive of her friends, Fenella has helped me through many moments of self-doubt this year and I know I can always count on her when I need an honest opinion.
  • Karolina Laskowska – Sharing my love of vintage lingerie, the extremely hard-working lingerie designer Karolina is someone who completely understands when I get overly excited about 1950s bras. Helping her with The Underpinnings Museum has been one of the highlights of my year, and the Facebook Live videos we’ve made together have been loads of fun. I’m looking forward to many more lingerie-related adventures next year.
  • Lauren Laverne – I have no idea what I used to read on the internet before The Pool launched. Founded by Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker, it’s full of interesting and thought provoking content for women with very little time. I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren this year, after her ‘in conversation’ event with Annie Nightingale at the V&A, and we chatted about how inspirational it was to hear Annie talk about her career. I only wish I could listen to Lauren’s 6 Music show at work every day.
  • José Teunissen – Just when I thought that it was probably impossible to do everything else I wanted to alongside a full-time job, I met the rather wonderful José who combines a full-time job as a senior academic with research projects, exhibition curating and writing books. I asked her how she finds the time, and she simply smiled and shrugged in a nonchalant Dutch way. When you really love something, I guess you find the time, right? It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with her over the last 12 months.
  • Brunch Club – Keeping up the trend of having one collective on the list, this year the honour goes to three wonderful people who share my love of that meal which is neither breakfast nor lunch, but which is considerably better than both. This year, I have visited a number of excellent London eateries with Eleanor, Edward and Louise, where we have chatted about anything/everything over some extremely tasty food. We’ve even got matching custom made brooches now!
  • Jon Topper – Every year when I post my list, Mr Topper complains that he’s not on it, so I figured it was probably about time I pay a small but public tribute to his awesomeness. Since January, he has doubled the size of the team at his company The Scale Factory, done loads of amazing tech stuff that I can’t even begin to understand, and has taken his culinary skills to new heights. Perhaps the most significant achievement is having been my loving supportive partner for another year. On 31st December it will have been a total of 18 years. To be perfectly honest, the reason I haven’t included him on this list so far is that it’s hard to find the right words to describe what he means to me.
  • Tigz Rice – This year I bumped into Tigz at the V&A after an ‘in conversation’ event with Sarah Shotton of Agent Provocateur. (We spotted each other because were both wearing leopard print from Collectif!) After the talk, we went round the Undressed exhibition together and it was great to catch up in such a fitting location. It’s great to see her amazing images for The Underpinnings Museum, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them as the museum grows next year.
  • Timothy Long – I first met fashion curator Timothy when I attended a discussion panel at the start of my MA course in 2012. Later that academic year, I was mesmerised by the beautiful objects he showed us from the Museum of London‘s dress and textiles collection when my cohort visited. I went back again in May of this year to take a closer look at some of the items of underwear in the collection, and Timothy’s knowledge and enthusiasm is a joy to behold. If you have any interest in fashion history whatsoever, check out the short informative videos on his Twitter feed.
  • Lolo Brow – Winner of Best Burlesque Performer at the Rarely Wears Lipstick Awards, Lolo is a force to be reckoned with. During the summer, I had the pleasure of attending a burlesque workshop run by her and Scarlett O’Hora. Although I have performed in the past, it was a few years ago and I have fallen out of love with my body in the meantime. However, under Lolo and Scarlett’s expert tuition, I was happily learning a short routine to one of my favourite songs, in a very supportive environment. If they run any more of these workshops, I’ll definitely let you know! Lolo is also a sparkly drag king and was at her filthy best last week in the Family Fierce panto, Beauty & the Beast.

Image of Timothy Long via the Museum of London. Image of Charlie Craggs by Joanna Kiely for The Time is Now.

Related Posts
Image from a tour of the UAL Archives & Special Collections Centre