During the beginning of Mahaneela’s talk at October’s Nicer Tuesdays, the multidisciplinary creative showed a slide listing all of the job titles she’s adopted over the years. “Photographer, director, writer, digital strategist, consultant, communications manager, event curator, music manager, producer, project manager, make up artist, stylist, public speaker,” it read, and the rest of Mahaneela’s talk went on to prove how being a jack of all trades may be the best way to put a foot forward in the creative industry.
After dropping out of university, Mahaneela picked up photography while working as a social media manager. However, despite taking photographs for over six years, she was still reluctant to call herself a photographer, thinking she couldn’t do both things at once.
Mahaneela then went on to explain her initial feelings about wanting to sit in one box for a career. Considering her background – a heritage that includes Ghanian, Indian and Ugandan family members – Mahaneela thinks herself “a person of the world”. As a result of this, “the dichotomy or even the trichotomy of my identity was really confusing for me and it built this sense of wanting to do, or be, one thing within me,” gradually translating itself into her “journey of creative discovery”.
Eventually, however, Mahaneela saw that her differing interests and the wide-spanning areas of creativity that she as an individual can tap into could only a positive thing, and an enjoyable one too. Mahaneela ended her talk by encouraging everyone else to not put themselves in one box, but smash the box instead.