Like many women my age, our modern dimension can sometimes clutter our hectic schedule or even staying informative and on track. But this power duo, Hanis and Liz from Rad screams ultimate girl power in representing RAD Culture (@radcultureofficial). Along with their minimal curated aesthetics with insightful contents pivoting social and current issues to light, Hanis and Liz powered ahead adoring young women with their fiercely intellect mixed with creative fun contents. RAD CULTURE truly stems within our strong belief in education for all.
Briefly tell us, from your point of view, who or what is RAD Culture?
H & L: RAD Culture is a community cause-driven organisation which aims to bring greater awareness on social issues around the world. The idea behind RAD is embedded in its name— to promote ‘Representation’ and ‘Diversification’ in hopes to bring about a sense of renewed culture, one which breeds an informed and forward-thinking society.
Tell us your respective roles in RAD
H & L: As co-founders, we both make it a point to work as a duo on all things concerning RAD. However, over time, we have both learned that it’s best to define our roles and make sure we can complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses in the best way possible.
As much as we make collective decisions, Hanis plays a key role in the creative direction - mainly the communications and branding side of RAD Culture and Liz is predominantly in charge of the strategy and business development side of RAD Culture. Together, we develop the content for RAD Culture and suffice to say, we are each other’s yin and yang.
How is RAD different from other content creating platforms out there?
H: RAD Culture's purpose in its name is to create a represent and diversify culture- that already separates us from other online content platforms out there. Before RAD Culture started, I was very aware of the plethora of accounts out there, so I did tons of research to conceptualise RAD Culture branding and develop the initial content as it was RAD's primary 'product'. I believe a brand should be emotional, a brand needs to allow people to feel like themselves for us to develop a meaningful relationship with our community members. As for the content created, it should have a value to RAD.
L: Having a solid brand identity makes us appeal even more to our growing community—a community which believes in our mission. We make it a point to stand out with our visuals while making sure that we create substantive bite-sized content which can be easily digestible by our audience. Our content strategy is mostly emphasised on telling a story through a solid angle and approaching different viewpoints. We don’t try to feed into any bias but rather capture nuances and present them for our followers to gauge and form their own perspective on the topics that we explore.
What are your inspirations to drive RAD to where it is now? What makes you feel excited about it?
H: It is the little things that inspire us for RAD Culture. We often receive messages from our followers telling us how much they love our posts and lately, many reached out to volunteer and work with us. So, that motivates us to continue to create content that brings an impact to our community and curate content that matters to them such as topics on self-love and women empowerment. What drives and excites us is that there are so many things we can do with RAD Culture as it is still very new in the community organisation circle, so we definitely have plans to take RAD Culture’s online presence offline, and hopefully to have the chance to meet our community members up close.
L: It is quite impossible to describe how incredibly rewarding it is for us to witness first hand (through our platform) the progress that the society has been making and how people are becoming more receptive and forthcoming to discuss existing issues that we face as a society. Although eradicating stigma in its totality is something that is hard to achieve overnight, it still gives me hope to see how people are very responsive to the topics that we discuss and it inspires me to make even more content in hopes we can preserve and encourage this culture of wanting to know more and do more. It feels empowering to have this platform and to feel our community grow more and more each day.
H & L: Looking back, RAD Culture wouldn’t be where it is today without its community members— those who continue to believe in what it stands for. We truly appreciate the smallest of gestures, from seeing people share our posts on their own Instagram stories to having them personally reach out to us and thanking us for having this platform.
You were friends before you launched RAD Culture. What is it like to work with your friend? How do you build a business with a friend and not lose your friendship in the process? How do you cope with each other?
H: Liz and I have known each other from primary but we weren’t close as she was my junior. Our friendship was only rekindled a few years back after I found her on Instagram! Even after that, we didn’t speak to each other often due to our study commitments at that time. As our friendship grew, I realized she has deep interest in social issues and has the courage to speak her mind on certain topics that might be considered taboo to others. So, when I pitched the idea to her, I knew that I was bringing in someone who is able to add more value to RAD and has a vision to shape it into what it is today. It doesn’t cross my mind that I’m bringing a ‘friend’ to RAD Culture as we are still in the midst of having our friendship grow relatively to RAD. That being said, the challenge is to find each other's communication style and working rhythms while at the same time, trying to get to know each other better from a friendship point of view.
L: It definitely takes a lot of adjusting and getting used to, especially when it comes to adapting to each other’s working styles. Both Hanis and I are very much unique when it comes to our way of functioning but fundamentally we both have the same values and I think that’s ultimately the reason why we are able to work well as a team and understand each other better despite how distinct we can be at times. Simply put, there really isn’t anyone else that I can imagine doing this with— Hanis is truly someone whom I believe has creative talent and ultimately, she shares the same drive and passion for creating a greater sense of meaning and purpose as I do and that is truly why we are able to build such a united front.
When it comes to communication, I find that we communicate primarily as friends before we do as partners. That is what helps us develop our dynamic as a team and also maintain a healthy friendship. Before we discuss anything RAD-related, we always make it a point to check in on each other and at the end of the day, it’s safe to say that we know we’ve got each other’s back.
What are some of the challenges of creating content on social issues? And how did you learn from them?
H & L: As of now, the challenge is time. Both of us are very much occupied on the daily. Creating content on social issues can be mentally exhausting as it requires us to do a heavy load of research, and doing research itself requires an ample amount of time. In order for us to create content that is authentic and resonates well with our audience which primarily consists of Millenials and Gen Z, we find it necessary for us to break down those social issues topics and find an angle and approach that work best for our audience while staying true to our brand and the causes that we represent. We learn not to rush content and to give ourselves the permission to take a break and pick things back up whenever we have the emotional and mental capacity to do so as a team. We would say that that is the downside of social media as it doesn’t have a time-off, and if we were to keep up with the constant presence of it, we will surely burn out.
Sometimes 9-5 can be overwhelming. Do you guys get creative burnouts? How do you handle it?
H: I have experienced a couple of creative burnouts this year mainly because I work in communications/creative, so my mind is constantly churning out ideas. So by the time I want to focus on RAD Culture, my body and mind is just exhausted and there is just no idea left to churn. I bring a notebook with me everywhere I go so it helps me to do some journaling on-the-go and jot down ideas anytime, this helps me to slowly start to feel creative again. Other ways that have helped me to overcome my creative burnouts is by not thinking of anything creative and just take a pause.
L: As frustrating as it gets, I’ve realised that creativity will normally ebb and flow. I get burnouts especially after a long week of work and I find that I can handle it best after I’ve had enough rest. As a homebody, I really enjoy my “me-time” and that helps keep my mental and emotional health in check. How I usually spend my “me-time” is by simply reading as I find that my creative juices will start to pour when I am able to fully indulge in a good read.
3 songs on a happy day:
H: 1) The Game of Love (Michelle Branch ft Santana), 2) Homecoming (Kanye West ft Chris Martin) and 3) basically any song by Rihanna, I’m good for the rest of the day.
L: 1) She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5, 2) Love Galore – SZA and 3) Love on Top - Beyonce just because they got me feeling all kinds of awesome whenever I listen to them.
You’ve said self-reflection has played an integral role in improving your mental health and self-love. How? Can you explain? And what advice do you have for women struggling with finding their own confidence?
H: Self reflection helps to keep me grounded and to know that whatever I have is essentially ‘borrowed’ and can be taken away from me at any given time. It helps to broaden my perspective and alter the way we see ourselves and those around us. The advice I can give could be from my late sister as she always reassured me that everyone is a work of progress, therefore I am one too. I am still figuring out my identity and will always be figuring something out because as humans, we grow and we are multidimensional. So don’t let it affect your confidence to not have it all ‘figured out’. So take a step back and ask yourself what is the meaning of success to you and what small things you can do to feel more confident.
L: In order to strive to love yourself, it is necessary for you to come to terms with who you are as an individual and what you are looking to manifest. You can only work towards your goals when you are comfortable with who you are, when you understand your own values and when you are able to rationalise with your own thoughts, emotions and actions. It’s all about being mindful and conscious of how you are with yourself and also with those around you. It’s also worth noting that self-reflection should not be confused for dwelling on the past. If anything, it’s about making peace with yourself and learning from your past experiences as a means for you to move forward. It’s about giving yourself an outlet to come to terms with your past and recovering from old wounds.
"For me, self-reflection is quintessentially part of self-acceptance."
So I guess the best piece of advice that I can give others and also myself, is to first, focus on eliminating any form of negative self-talk. So what essentially helps is for us to start recognising our efforts, even the small ones, and to make the conscious decision to tell ourselves that we’re good enough. Let’s not conform to labels and let’s learn to be better versions of ourselves because at the end of the day, no one else can or will love us more than we are able to love ourselves. All it takes is to start.
Tell us more about your process and collaboration on Oh Sebenar’s Game Night. How did you find the impact of it?
H & L: The collaboration with Oh Sebenar was definitely a milestone for RAD Culture as we have both envisioned collaborating with a brand much like Oh Sebenar when RAD Culture was barely a year old. So when Oh Sebenar reached out to RAD Culture to pitch the idea of their new #OhSheIs campaign and collection, we knew we wanted to be part of something that resonated well with our value and brand. We saw it as an opportunity because the demographics of both of the brands are quite similar and our aesthetics compliment each other.
From there, RAD Culture was involved in curating the content for the Oh Sebenar x RAD Culture Game Night on the 8th of February. The process of planning and preparing for the Game Night itself started from November last year. From which, there were a lot of back-and-forth discussions and meetings between both brands which fuelled the creative direction for the event.
Needless to say, we are grateful to have had the experience of working with Oh Sebenar on such a meaningful campaign. The impact of the game night itself was a rewarding one for us as we saw it as a valuable learning experience. It makes us feel happy knowing that the attendees had nothing but encouraging and supportive words for us during the event. If anything, this makes us feel even more excited to see what else is in store for us in the future.
Any advice or favourite piece of #realtalk to women out there?
H: My current favourite piece of #realtalk goes
"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are successful, you win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies; Succeed anyway."
I recently saw this advice and it really helps me to shift my mindset and live a more calmer life, hope that will help for Oh Sebenar readers too!
L: Self-love is not overrated. Don’t wait around for someone else to love you in order for you to start loving yourself. You owe it to yourself to experience real and honest confidence through self-love and not through someone else’s perception of how you should be loved. So when you do meet someone, you will know what exactly is the kind of love that you are worthy of and how well you should be treated. The biggest mistake you can make is to value what other people have to say to you and about you because only you can provide yourself with that sense of fulfilment, not anyone else.
Check out RAD Culture's amazing contents on instagram @radcultureofficial
This article is written and edited by Nadine Jasmine