Author, poet, diversity activist and sociologist reveals she wants to create a reality show
Best-selling author, poet, creative sociologist, advertising strategist, speaker, diversity activist and playwright, Amy Kean admits to Status Update that at the beginning of her career in advertising she dyed her hair black, tried to change her voice and wore fake spectacles in a bid to be taken seriously.
These days, among her long list of accomplishments, she is CEO and Creative Director of a learning and development company called Good Shout – “a couch-to-5k for the voice” – with the aim of helping others to be heard.
As a working-class woman from Essex, despite having a great job, Amy didn’t feel anyone was listening to her and has, she says, always created her own platforms to be heard in an uninterrupted way.
Amy is the guest on Episode 5 of Status Update, the podcast from influencer marketing agency Disrupt, which features some of the world’s best known creatives.
The podcast, hosted by former Made in Chelsea star Stevie Johnson and co-host ‘voice of Gen Z’ Jake Crabb, is available on Apple and Spotify. It has been designed for listeners with an interest in the future of social and digital content.
Looking back at her early career, Amy says she felt she needed to change (herself) to progress and had carried that impulse throughout her professional journey. Storytelling, automatic writing, poetry are all devices which Amy believes can have a liberating effect on the creative process.
Amy tells the podcast the premise of her best-selling book ‘The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F*cks’ is that each little girl has a basket of ‘f*cks’ which she dispenses every time she gets embarrassed, or upset, or gets told off. One day she doesn’t give out the ‘f*cks’ and realises nothing really changes at all, except she worries less and it feels good.
Using creative tools, Amy says can help people get over the “paralysing effect” of self-awareness: “When you decide to let go of living with fear of judgement, it can set you free…
“In the first seven seconds of meeting someone they form eleven different judgements about you.” Teaching people to unpack those judgements is so important.
“It can help businesses with managing conflict, working together, relieve stress and improve integration and tolerance: Inclusion is terrible in advertising, really, really bad.
“Only 12 % of the workforce in advertising isn’t privately educated. That didn’t used to be the case. In the 70s, the creative industries were working class industries…
“The advertising industry is prone to ‘self-symbolic completion’, where talking about stuff is as good as doing it.
“In 2016, hundreds of agencies pledged to get rid of the gender pay gap, the ethnicity pay gap. Because it was a leap year, the project was called ‘Take the Leap’. There was a logo and everything.
“Four years later, when the results were evaluated, the gender pay gap and ethnicity pay gap had widened…and the data was buried…
“We need to integrate better.”
Talking about the future of the digital space and where she sees the industry moving, Amy says real trends are based on social and political forces, not commercial desires.
And she tells the podcast she wants to create a reality show, expanding on her Good Shout theme, where people can uncover a lot about themselves, and learn to use their voices well: “A little bit like Queer Eye, where I have a body language expert and a comedian on the panel of judges.”
Stevie Johnson, co-host and managing director of Disrupt says: “We like to showcase the work of creatives on Status Update and Amy Kean is among the most innovative.
“She is constantly creative and looking for new ways to allow other people to find and use their voice, to overcome the experiences that silence them. She is brilliant at achieving that…in fact, she coached me!”
Previous episodes feature Rob Mayhew, Creative Director at digital innovations agency Gravity Road..
World-renowned photographer Misan Harriman appears on Episode 2. Activist, campaigner and creative Jamie Klingler features in Episode 3, and entrepreneur and content creator Dom McGregor is the guest on Episode 4.