This weeks Future Female is the lovely Alex Cuncev from Storisse , a wonderful storytelling platform initiative, which focuses on bringing charitable organisations in London and Brighton into the spotlight. I first came across Alex on Instagram @storisse from her support and interest in Future Female and I was struck by the stories she features, especially around homelessness. Do pop over and take a look, and get involved in her August Accounts That Count, an exciting new project that you can read more about below.
FF: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
AC: I work as a Media Manager in the charitable sector. I also have three maternity leaves. During the first two, I finished my PhD, which looked at homeless people’s life stories from a sociological perspective. During the third one, I started Storisse.com. I am basically only good as a mum if I can persuasively tell my children that I am slightly overworked.
I am also a Romanian in London, married to a Polish man. This is not a spoiler; many of my blog posts talk about it.
FF: What does Future Female mean to you?
AC: Paradoxically, it means the present. With initiatives such as Future Female, I believe we are heading towards a society where who we are in terms of looks, gender, ethnicity and so on becomes irrelevant. And if we are to use a discourse based on differences, let us do it in order to unite us, let us explore the value of those differences. This is what I am constantly striving to do with my blog, apart from the charitable angle. Storisse shows me as I am, with the mix of cultures, and languages and general blur that is me.
FF: The #MeToo hash tag caught the attention of many women who joined the conversation, what is your view and have you been affected by misogynistic behavior during your lifetime and is it something you feel comfortable discussing?
AC: I have been incredibly lucky. Having mainly worked in the charitable sector in the UK, I have always experienced a welcoming, diverse and positive environment. That, and also having lived in London and Brighton, which are both diverse and open-minded places. I am aware that this is radically different for many women though, and many of these women’s stories remain untold, which is why initiatives like Future Female are great in changing the discourse.
FF: Describe your current work role?
AC: I am proud to work for a well established and prestigious charitable organization which makes a huge difference in formerly homeless people’s lives. This, and my PhD, are what inspired me to start Storisse. I have learned so much from working in the charitable sector, about people’s ability to give, to commit and to support.
I have learnt about our overwhelming ability to do good.
FF:Why did you launch Storisse?
AC: Whilst working as Media Manager, I noticed how difficult it is to get positive messages of good deeds out there. In a world which is overwhelmed with not so good news that have a tendency to seep into our lives and newsfeed, there is not enough said about all the extraordinary and utterly inspiring organisations which do substantial good out there.
I also noticed that there is a need for people to know who they are giving to and why. We want to know that what we give will make a real impact.
With that in mind, and being a strong believer in the power of storytelling, I created Storisse. Telling stories is an essential part of our life. Stories are powerful – they can convince us of facts, when other things cannot. The stories on the blog vary. Some are sad stories, some border on unbelievable, but all are soul healing and heart-rending. There is so much goodness around us, so much positivity even in the hardest of situations – I hope my blog contributes to showing that. Each story is linked to a charity chosen by me.
I was overwhelmed with my readers’ reactions. Someone called my stories ‘big hugs’, someone else ‘endless magical moments’ – I am humbled by the support I have received!
FF: Is there a particular project with Storisse, your platform, linking memorable stories to good causes, that’s inspired you, either past or forthcoming?
AC: Every single charity featured on Storisse is researched by me. I devote quite a lot of energy and interest, and so, by the time they are on the blog, they are all meaningful to me. The point of the blog is to highlight organisations which, due to prioritising doing good, might not have the capacity to show up on the social media feed as often as other organisations do.
At the moment I am very excited about a project which will take over the month of August on my Instagram account. The campaign is called August’s Accounts that Count and for a whole month, my blog and Instagram account will be celebrating love and positivity.
It all starts with Instagram. For one whole month I will REGRAM one Instagram account per day which promotes a positive message, and thus, makes a difference.
The style of the accounts and what they set out to do will vary: some will be featured for their utter hilarity and positive disposition, some for the incredible work they do in changing attitudes, some for the general feeling of wellness and comfort that they instantly inspire. Nominations are now open. This is as much my project, as it is my readers’. All details can be found at storisse.com/accounts-that-count.
FF: If there was one thing you would change about your life as a woman what would it be?
AC: I would go back in time and I would diligently listen to ALL the stories my Grandma told me, as there were numerous occasions when I was distracted. I write quite a bit on the website about Grandma, she is one of the amazing female role models that I have been lucky to have in my life.
FF: Are there key messages you are passing on to your daughters when it comes to gender equality, how important do you think it is to change your story around gender?
AC: One of my PhD supervisors and mentor once told me, when the going was hard: ‘Remember, you do it for your daughters as much as you do it for yourself. They watch and they learn, and their strongest role model is you.’ I believe that if I live by this principle, my daughters will grow into strong and beautiful women, inside and out, and they will all change the world.
FF: What are you reading at the moment?
AC: I have just finished ‘If nobody speaks of remarkable things’ by Jon McGregor. I read a lot, whenever I can, but I do not remember many of the titles. This one stayed with me. It is such a beautiful celebration of the mundane, of ordinary people and day to day life, as well as a celebration of each of our life stories.
FF: How would you describe your style?
AC: Eclectic, thrifty. I love roaming the charity shops and I have a love affair with one particular one in Brighton. I also wear Grandma’s cardigan on a regular basis.
I have a very bad habit of appropriating my children’s jewelry. At the moment, I am wearing my youngest daughter’s golden angel, which was gifted to her at birth. I figure, I have about 15 years to make it up to her.
A big thanks to Alex for wanting to be part of the Future Female community and giving up her time to support us with her an insight to her world.