AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu

In Uncategorized by Nicky

A candid interview with AJ Odudu and celebrity hairdresser and empowerment campaigner Louis Byrne supports mental health.  Following the launch of his mental health campaign named  ‘I Can, I Am, I Will’ (known as #ICIAIW), and news of a new 12-week re-set plan based on mental health and fusing creativity with wellness, take a look at this interview between Louis and the star of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. 


In essence  the #ICIAIW project invites people to share their experience, and become proud to confirm and affirm their own abilities. In mid November, Louis brought his ‘confessional’ box to the Hair Pieces show hosted by Tribu-te at Battersea Arts Centre. Visitors to the box could film short pieces giving their own voice to say what what they ‘can’, what they ‘am’ and what they ‘will’. It was intriguing and effective and we encourage you to find out more:

AJ Odudu

Dancing star AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu on film

As part of the #ICIAIW initiative, Louis has talked with inspirational people, asking them to share their stories, and has created several inspirational films to kick off conversations. See them HERE on Tribu-te’s dedicated channel on hairclips.tv

In one, Louis spoke to friend AJ Odudu, who is a TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star. Best known for presenting Channel 5’s Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, AJ grew up in Lancashire where she faced racism on a daily basis. Raised by a proud Nigerian family, with a mother who did the school run in traditional dress, AJ was encouraged to be proud of her heritage and so developed a strength that helped her move past the bullying. 

#ICIAIW campaign

AJ Odudu

AJ’s film for #ICIAIW is  beautifully frank about how she deals with negative thoughts. “I allow myself to feel rejection, to feel sad and the feeling that I’m not worthy,” she says. “And I sit in that pain for a little bit and then I come back like a butterfly.” AJ also champions her heritage and encourages self-acceptance; “It’s really hard to be yourself but I feel like I’ve found myself and I just need to stick with me.” You can see from the video that AJ has a real zest for life – she’s fun, she’s confident and she is admirably open about her feelings and how she navigates her way through negativity. 

AJ Odudu

Empowerment for AJ Odudu

Unfortunately, despite always being encouraged to be proud of her heritage by her family, the bullying didn’t stop at her childhood and when she began working in the public eye, it continued at the hands of ignorant online trolls. Never one to give up though, AJ used her strength and resilience to carry on and achieve her dreams. “AJ’s spirit and conviction mirrors the mantra behind I Can, I Am, I Will, which highlights the unique relationship between hairdresser and client that’s built solely on trust,” says Louis. He explains that hairdressers create a safe space to talk and offload; “People sometimes share they innermost feelings with their stylists, and we harness that special relationship to discuss mental wellbeing and positive empowerment.”


Louis Byrne, founder of #ICIAIW

Dance for joy

Now starring on BBC1’s seasonal favourite Strictly Come Dancing, together with dance partner Kai Widdrington, AJ has wowed judges with her confident performances. Topping the leaderboard on Week 1, judge Motsi Mabuse called her routine ‘the best dance of the evening’ with Anton Du Beke hailing her ‘completely brilliant.’ And despite admitting that she was ‘emotional’ after suffering with ‘self-doubt’ in the run up to Week 3’s dance, AJ achieved her highest score of the series, confirming her ability to channel her inner confidence and bounce back from obstacles that come her way, in line with the #ICIAIW message. Hotly tipped as one of the favourites to take the trophy. In fact, we’d say she is the perfect representation for the I Can I Will I am project. “She is a truly empowering woman,” Louis says. We couldn’t agree more!

For more information on Louis Byrne or the I Can I Am And I Will 12-week plan, please contact Louise or Chelsea at LWPR on tel: 01858 419668.



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