Winner’s blog: Camila
19th September 2013 by Natalie Burns
Camila Batmanghelidjh is the founder of two children’s charities – The Place 2 Be and Kids Company, where she currently works with some of the most traumatised young people living in London. Camila won a Women of the Year Award in 2006 and was a judge in 2012.
Please describe your experience at the Lunch?/ Why are award ceremonies like the Women of the Year Lunch important?
The Women of the Year Lunch is the highlight of my millennium. As a secret fashionite, I love to see what women with boobs, butts and bellies are wearing! But, of course, with the glam comes their breathtaking excellence. Such a diverse and wonderful group of women! Sandi Toksvig usually has me in stitches – I have to support my organs, they risk popping out as I lose breath because of her wit. And then, just as I am at the pinnacle of elation, they start showing films about the Women of the Year candidates. I attempt to fight back the tears, but it’s useless. They dribble down my fat cheeks as I am moved, speechless, by the achievements and the compassion of the women who are nominated.
What did winning the award mean to you?
When I won the Women of the Year award, I graduated from being an official fruitcake to an officially Admirable Vagina. But seriously, it was an honour. It was a profound honour.
Which women have been inspirations in your life and why?
I love those extraordinary women in our communities, who daily show kindness towards others. They are heroic, and hidden, treasures who don’t always come to public attention but, nevertheless, they are transformative in so many lives. It’s the foster carers, nurses, people who take care of the elderly, teachers who go the extra mile, and social entrepreneurs who find creative solutions.
What has been your biggest achievement to date and what goals do you have for the future?
I don’t think like that – I just do things and, like a leaf, I let them go downstream. I like to travel light and insignificantly. I know it’s hard to believe because I am giantly noticeable, but my spirit is rucksackless.
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