Today is one to celebrate the actions and voices of women in all fields paving the way for the future gal-dem. On International Women’s day, we clap for all women, their strength, their struggles, their solidarity and their individuality.

The Women’s marches back in January just proved the continued global fire to fight for gender parity, not just once a year, but every day. Gender stereotypes and misogyny are being challenged through every mediumsocial, cultural, economic and political. The force is resiliently strong.

At just 19-years-old, singer Jorja Smith represents a new wave of women holding the feminist flag high for our generation. She’s using her voice not only to sell out venues but to tackle the conformities forced on the minds and bodies of women.

Premiering the VEVO-produced video for her single ‘Beautiful Little Fools’ today is no coincidence – it is for her a song to empower women, to rally against the daily expectations put on us and prove that all we can really do is “be ourselves”.

We had a chat with Jorja on the concept behind the video, what she defines as ‘“womanly” and just how the women in her life have made her the woman she is today.

gal-dem: What does the song mean for you?
Jorja Smith: Be yourself because that is all you can do.

Why did you cite the iconic line from The Great Gatsby – “That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool”?
Whilst reading the book at school the line just stuck in my head and the song kind of poured out from that. I disagreed with the line as soon as I read it.

Tell us about the video’s storyline – what does each of the three parallel roles you play signify?
I play a waitress, a performer and a woman in the bar. My expression for each of the roles is very bland, each character also wears quite a bit of make-up. It’s just showing that the image you portray doesn’t mean you’re happy with yourself. I feel sometimes people do a lot to please others – young girls want to wear lots of makeup and look a certain way to conform to the western world’s ideologies of beauty. There’s a fourth person in the video and that’s me, a natural Jorja who is so free and happy in the video. Happy with myself.

You sing of the curse of the “Hollywood perception” – what do you think makes someone beautiful?
Loving who they are and being themselves. We are all beautiful no matter what we do, where we are from and what we look like. Self-confidence is hard but very beautiful.

How have the women in your life shaped who you are today?
My mom always told me to be myself. It was hard sometimes to think that growing up but always having that in my mind really has helped me become who I am today.

So what do you think makes you “womanly” and how have your views changed as you’ve grown up, from girlhood to womanhood?
I’ve accepted that this is who I am. I don’t want to change the way I look, dress, or act because I am happy and proud of myself. In secondary school I used to want to be slim, I didn’t like my lips and wished for straight hair. Now I would never ever think any of that because I have grown within myself and realised we always want what we can’t have, and sometimes what we want has been tainted by the media and what people may have said to us. I’ve become so much more confident in myself, my mind, my skin – I think that’s quite womanly.

Any words of advice for the gal-dem on this wicked day?
Look in the mirror and give yourself a huge smile. Start your day beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you any different. You can’t be fooled with that mindset.