Mercy Sang is a Kenyan-born and Melbourne-based writer, stylist, model, and the founder and editor of POCC Magazine, an independent online publication. People Of Colour Collective (POCC) is committed to celebrating diversity in fashion, art, film, and photography by representing and creating opportunities for minority creatives. To launch our new blog, Joslin Journal, we caught up with Mercy for an interview.
Can you share a little about yourself, your background and your upbringing Sure! I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved to Melbourne when I was about nine.
What aspects of your upbringing have contributed to the woman and business owner you are today? Everything from my family values to my experiences moving to Australia has shaped who I am today. I am lucky to have my culture and the experiences that I have had.
You are an incredibly talented writer and editor. We want to talk about your career so far, please tell us how did this passion and talent come to be? Thank you! I did not grow up thinking I would end up on the path I am today. I was set on studying law when I was young and never grew up thinking I was creative; my exposure or knowledge of what I deemed creative was relatively narrow. I was introduced to it by modelling. My favourite thing about it was meeting everyone else behind the scenes. They play such a significant role yet rarely get much recognition, let alone in minority communities. I wanted to represent that, and that is how the idea of People of Colour Magazine (POCC) was created. I was always surrounded by such talented individuals who deserved a platform that celebrated and uplifted them.
Mercy wears the Willow Organic Cotton Midi Shirt Dress in Frost Blue.
Do you have a favourite article you have written yourself? I couldn't choose! All the articles we have featured are of such talented creatives I couldn't pick.
We really want to touch on something that hasn't been talked about enough by our local industry here for the rest of Australia. What do you feel (as a Magazine Editor, Stylist and/or Model or all) has changed for you after our seven month lockdown here in Melbourne? People are even more adamant about creating meaningful work. We had time to reflect and see what was really of value and importance. I believe we came out of this even more supportive of each other and willing to help in any way we can.
We really love and respect your magazine POCC (People of Colour Collective Magazine). Was there a specific moment in your life that inspired you to create the magazine? Being surrounded by creatives of colour really inspired me. I was exposed to individuals with so much talent but did not have a platform that welcomed them. I wanted to create something that celebrated them and supported them.
What is your next step for POCC? Our first print issue!
Have you felt that being a person of colour in Australia has, at any time, limited you and your goals? What would your advice be to young women and men who are POC that may feel they are meeting a "quota" for company diversity rather than value and merit? At times yes, it is essential to speak up when you need to. Having that conversation is vital and choosing which organisations to support and which to not.
If you were to create the perfect solution to diversity, inclusivity and equality - and all their intersections, describe to our readers what would that look and feel like? Authentic diversity is having accurate representation across all spectrums of an organisation.
We know you are moving to New York soon! We can't wait to work on further content with you into the future when you arrive. What is the biggest reason for the move? More opportunities!
We are (obviously) obsessed with you in Joslin and our customers and followers absolutely LOVE you. Your career as a model - how did this come to be? Who scouted you? I love you all too! My friend sent photos of me to agencies, and a few of them got back to me, and the rest is history!
What has been your favourite campaign or photoshoot to date as a model? I could not choose! I have been fortunate to work with people I now call my friends, which has been my favourite thing about modelling.
Where did you find your own self-confidence? Do you now have it, or do you have to keep working at it? It will always be a working progress. At times I do, and other times, I don't. However, it is crucial to believe in yourself and remind yourself that no one has it all figured out.
Mercy wears the Skye Cotton Cashmere Knit Midi Dress in Optical White.
It's important to have female role models especially when it comes to inspiring young girls. Who are your role models, and why? Cliche, but my mother, she has endured a lot yet has so much love and joy.
COVID-19 and the year of 2020. What was your biggest learning? I have always been a planner, 2020 taught me to live in the present.
We joined you in a seven-month lockdown here in Melbourne through 2020 and shared this experience with you. It is so hard to describe if you are not a Melburnian to other Australians, but we really want to touch on this important topic for those reading this interview and are still in long term 'lockdowns' overseas. What did you do to cope and how would you describe your experience? Taking every day as it came, not worrying about tomorrow. We were still fortunate to be in a country that had a lot better than others. By remaining grateful, we became hopeful.
Mercy wears the Lottie Organic Cotton Maxi Dress in Black.
Who is your favourite Writer (of a book)? Toni Morrison.
Who is your favourite Editor? Edward Enninful.
Who is your favourite Photographer? I have too many! Many who are friends, so I can't pick!
Who is your all-time favourite Designer? Miuccia Prada!
We love you both as a person and as a professional, but we want to know…
What do you like/love most about Joslin? Everything! From the designs to the ethos to the team!
We love that your mum has stolen your Lillian Linen Ramie Dress. Have you got it back yet? Or do you share it with her now? Hahahaha! I have yet to get it back, and I don't think she is willing to share. I will have to get my own.
What is your favourite piece(s) from Joslin's Solace 21 Collection? The Mercy Cotton Cashmere Knit for obvious reasons, the Skye Cotton Cashmere Knit Dress and the Lottie Organic Cotton Maxi Dress!
Where and how will you be wearing it? The Skye Knit Dress would be perfect for both day and night, and the Lottie Organic Cotton Maxi Dress is perfect for so many occasions!
Discover and read People of Colour Creative Magazine Online. POCCMag.com
Follow POCC Magazine on Instagram. @POCCMag
Follow Mercy Sang on Instagram. @Mercy.Sang