Episode 23: Lola Akinmade Akerstrom - "In Every Mirror, She's Black"
Lola Akinmade Akerstrom does a lot.
She’s a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. But she’s probably most known for her photography. Lola has been featured in some of the biggest magazines out there including National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Forbes and more. And what is clear in all of her endeavors, is that at her core, Lola is a storyteller. Whether it’s with photos, writing, or speaking, you can also see the influence of the cross-cultural life she’s lived that shape the narratives she shares.
In this episode, you will hear about the two big moves that have impacted much of her adult life — the first leaving her native Nigeria at 15, to attend university in the United States. And the second was her move to Stockholm, Sweden, years later, because, well, she fell in love with the man, who is now her husband.
During this conversation, we explore the nuances of Swedish culture and identity and the amazing benefits and frustrating challenges that come with it — especially for foreigners. She also shares how she made the intentional transition from being a programmer to becoming a full time creative and building her brands.
And most importantly, Lola discusses the two latest projects she has been meticulously working on over the past year or so — the first being Local Purse, which was born out of a need to support merchants who have been devastated by the loss of tourism revenue during the Covid pandemic — and In Every Mirror She’s Black, her latest book that looks at being a foreigner through the eyes of three distinct characters.
We first met her in 2018, it is absolutely awesome to see how much has changed since then.
- Moving between three vary different cultures (Nigeria, U.S. and Sweden) and figuring out cultural understanding
- Subtle racism in Sweden and confronting paternalistics attitudes towards foreigners
- How she intentionally transitioned from programmer to full time creative entrepreneur
- How her cultural experiences influenced her storytelling
- The vision and need for the Local Purse
To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.