Alex from Looking for Heroes meets Ashley, Hannah, Neela, Alain and Chiara as part of her everyday heroes series
In the second of our collaborations with Alex’s ‘Looking for Heroes‘, Alex meets five more everyday heroes from her travels around London and finds out their stories.
Ashley – A man with a message who is turning his life around
Ashley was addicted to heroin for 14 years. With hard work and a lot of fighting he gave up on it 7 years ago. Heroin is not an easy thing to get over, Ashley says. It is a lot harder to sleep on the street clean. Heroin comforts you, it wraps you up like a comforting blanket. But it was heroin that took Ashley to the street. He is really happy he isn’t addicted to it any more as already this year 3 people he knew died from heroin addictions.
When Ashley was on the street he was physically abused. People kicked him and put their cigarettes out on him. Now, he isn’t homeless and earns his money with a ‘Slap me 4 ur relief sign’. He views the sign as black comedy. Before he couldn’t see the faces of people who were abusing him. Now, these people present themselves in public. He made this sign last March and since then he has been slapped 16 times. This sign turned out to be the most successful for Ashley. It attracts a lot of attention and as Ashley says “I am a human being and I need attention”. Once, he even got a fine. £80 for trading without a licence. It was a victory for Ashley because they acknowledged that he wasn’t begging.
Ashley is an artist. He paints all the time. Sitting on the street is a day off for him. Sometimes we forget to see humans in everyone we meet, especially in those who are less fortunate than others. We should make more effort to see them, don’t you think?
Hannah – Making people feel good through her music
Hannah started playing 18 months ago and after 12 months she was signed up to a label – SOULECTION. Being a part of a label means that when she releases a remix SOULECTION push it out there and that she plays live with them. Now the team is more than a label for Hannah, they are like a family.
Hannah likes feeding off the crowd when she plays. It is all about the connection, she says. She is happy to provide people with the environment where they can feel good. She studies advertising and has to juggle between her passion and responsibilities, but music is what she wants to do.
I cannot imagine the world without music. Can you?
Neela – The founder of Cozymag.com
Neela is a founder of Cozy Mag, a lifestyle magazine that takes it easy. Neela was tired of people writing about the same things and only about people with big following. She felt there was a need to write about people who have talent but haven’t been yet recognised. This is the essence of Cozy Mag, to write about what is worthy not just about what is popular.
Neela created Cozy Mag from scratch. Even though she only started the blog in September, there are already 15 people working with her. What is beautiful about Cozy Mag is that it is very approachable. This is what Neela likes most about it, that it is not exclusively by her, that other people can and want to participate and contribute to it’s success.
Alain – Looking for a new vision of the World
Alain is a model and is planning to go traveling or rather as he says “visit the world”. Thanks to photography he will be able to capture all the different visions he will see, bring them back to Paris and share them with people. Alain wants to create a collective, a group of people, that will learn from one another. Musicians, computer scientists – people with passion. The most important thing he would like to try and teach others is to live their passion instead of just working to earn money.
The world belongs to those who dare to look beyond. What are you looking for?
Chiara – A businesswoman who loves calligraphy
Chiara studied illustration and for some time worked as a freelancer. 3 years ago she decided to start her own modern calligraphy and design studio called Lamplighter London. Running her own business is a hard work, but Chiara also finds it very rewarding. The best thing about it is having creative freedom as she chooses what she works on and who she works with.
Chiara learnt calligraphy on her own from guides and books. Her favourite technique is mixing illustration and calligraphy as she always loved drawing. Since last summer she gives calligraphy lessons. She really likes teaching and showing people how she learnt things herself.
We can achieve anything we want to if we put our mind to it, don’t you agree?