Today I’m chatting with Mary Ann Clements, the founder of Jijaze: a community to support changemaking women, and co-host of the Change Making Women podcast.

I really connected with Mary Ann when I discovered she had also studied Anthropology, and was equally as nerdy as me about all things culture.

She’s a dynamic woman, doing consultancy and assessment for International development and applying her skills as an anthropologist, storyteller, podcaster, writer, connector, #nia teacher, action learning facilitator and shadow work coach, to everything she dives int

Enjoy our ramble through the fairytale Cinderella and Mary Ann’s relationship with her body and creativity.

Things we chatted about in this episode:

  • the fairytale Cinderella
  • How difficult it was to choose a favourite fairytale with an anthropological training!
  • Really was captured by the fantasy that there’s something wrong with you and that one day a fairy godmother will show up and fix you. The feeling that you need to be fixed as a young woman. Getting some peace with oneself doesn’t come from the fairy godmother.
  • ‘Maybe one day my prince will come’ – culturally it says something pretty depressing, how we bring girls up – can’t remember every feeling just fine as a girl – that we want to be ‘fixed’ and that we ‘want’ to be a princess
  • How Princess Diana’s Cinderella story isn’t the happily ever after story we imagine it to be.
  • Interesting how she picks a story that she doesn’t actually want as a life for herself. How figuring out what she/we want is big work.
  • Extricating herself from a messy first marriage was about drawing boundaries about what she did and didn’t want and seeing how she’d got herself into a situation where she was living a life she hadn’t really chosen, that it had ‘happened’ to her
  • On being 40 and considering it middle aged. Having her son in her late 30s – having a sense of your parents getting older. Feeling like the middle – no longer the younger one.
  • How women’s magazines go from fashion to houses/cooking without imagery of women in them.
  • How anthropology makes everything fascinating – it’s a way of analyzing everything around you
  • relationship with creativity
  • Judged herself as being uncreative – got mediocre grades in school
  • Did love writing. A very creative friend inspired her to write more, and this friend died in her early 20s just before 9/11. stopped writing after that death. So much personal and world grief.
  • Has realized now that she’s a deeply creative person – once you bring the practice of being creative back into your life it blossoms and grows from just the doing of it.
  • Just by writing regularly, other creativities come out of it, and if she doesn’t write, she notices the loss of it. Through writing and journaling other ideas become clear for her.
  • Now feels she has so many ideas she can’t realize all of them!
  • How easy it is to let the self-care creative practices go when things get busy.
  • More resilient and nicer when caring for oneself.


  • relationship with body
  • On wishing she could have chucked out Cinderella earlier!
  • It was a pretty negative relationship with her body at first. Was a tall child but not a tall adult. Now a curvy broad figure – growing up having a sense of being too big prevalent – was always with her.
  • In the last 5 or 10 years has found more peace with the way her body looks. Same time as she trained as a Nia teacher – about sensing the body and feeling joy in your body and moving in your body in a way that feels good and pleasurable – it shifted something for her about how she feels in her body
  • Learning to move in a way that feels good for you rather than ‘I must exercise’
  • Tries to follow what her body is telling her it needs now and that has shifted her relationship with her body
  • Had a few miscarriages. Afterwards, her sense of trust in her body increased – that her body knows what it’s doing
  • Pregnancy and giving birth added another layer of ‘wow, look what my body can do’ – ‘look, we’re wildness, we’re nature’
  • Sometimes it feels really important to be physically active and other times I really want to rest, and that awareness comes with being comfortable with what you need physically as well
  • The dream of being rescued – the lottery system is our contemporary Prince Charming

Resources from this episode:

Connecting with Mary Ann:

Connecting with Janelle: