In the titular track of her sophomore album, Dua Lipa reminds us that she’s a "female alpha". The British pop star has never shied away from outlining feminist issues in her songs and as PUMA's newest global ambassador, Dua’s extending this empowerment ethos beyond her music. Partnering with other inspirational women who, like her, have moved the culture forward by challenging the standards placed on them, Dua is the face of PUMA's 'She Moves Us' campaign. 'She Moves Us' is a communications platform celebrating and inspiring women who move together to achieve and connect – through sport, values and culture.
When I catch up with Dua over Zoom, she’s calm and soft-spoken as she tells me about the woman who moved her as a child. "Watching my mum adapt to any circumstance, having moved to the UK from Kosovo during the war, was inspiring." Growing up, Dua witnessed her mother work, educate herself and raise a family. This resilience in the face of struggle shaped Dua into the woman she is today. "My mum’s been a massive driving force in the way that I am. I’m very persistent, my work ethic comes from her."
Dua’s determined to follow in her mum’s footsteps and inspire the younger generation of women who don’t care what others think but stay true to themselves. "I truly believe that it’s the younger generation that’s going to change the world for the better. They’re so aware, that makes such a difference." Dropping around International Women's Day, the 'She Moves Us' campaign video shows Dua joined by other women, each of them telling their stories about personal challenges they’ve overcome. Explaining the importance of this video, Dua says: "It shows the power of women when we come and support each other. PUMA is invested in providing a platform for conversation and diversity."
Her mum's positive influence wasn't the only thing that shaped Dua; she also cites music as a powerful force in helping her to connect with other women. "Music has been so bonding with me and my girlfriends." What makes music so great, Dua says, is how it helped her find her voice and feel less alone. "There are so many artists I love and their music has found a home with me. I relate to them; they make me feel seen." Dua hopes that through her partnership with PUMA, she can help other women feel seen, too.
I ask Dua if this is why so much of her music has feminist undertones and her voice wanders. "I guess... I just talk about it all the time!" Some of Dua’s hit songs like "New Rules" and "Boys Will be Boys" shed light on how gender discrimination is naturalised in society. "I feel like women deserve to be seen as equals, not just in the music industry but in everyday life." Feeling confident in what she’s just said, Dua continues assertively: "I’d be doing a major disservice to myself if I didn’t make the music I did."
As a woman in the music industry, Dua’s had to overcome many challenges in her career. "Being a female pop artist, you have to spend a lot of time proving yourself. People think I’m just this ‘industry thing’ but every song I’ve written is real, authentic and mine." Despite having critics, she’s made it to the top of the British music scene, with a Mercury Prize nomination under her belt. Viewing this feat as a turning point in her career, Dua says: "It felt like that seal of approval, in a way that I [didn't] know I needed. Especially as a female pop artist, it felt like my music was finally being taken seriously."
Even though she’s had to overcome many obstacles, Dua’s glad she never faltered. Through her position as PUMA’s global ambassador, she’s created a statement fashion piece so that other women can feel proud of their womanhood. The Mayze shoe, due to be released in April, has been designed with this in mind. By bringing in the big energy of the PUMA woman, the trainer pays homage to the iconic PUMA platform sole but refashions it for the modern age.
Fashion acts as a vehicle for expression, as a way for women to resist the expectations that society forces on them. "What I wear plays a role in my confidence, I love that it’s an extension of who I am. I express myself in a way that makes me feel the most me." Dua’s adamant that she doesn’t dress for the approval of others; she dresses for herself. She wants all women to feel the same. She tells me that the Mayze shoe "takes inspiration from the past and puts its own twist on it" as an inherently versatile statement piece. "It’s really fun to style it in unconventional ways." The Mayze shoe was made for women like Dua, women who want to stand out.
PUMA’s 'She Moves Us' campaign isn’t prescriptive in its approach. It isn’t telling women how they should move, how they should think or how they should act. It's a celebration of womanhood in all its forms. Dua hopes that young women will see PUMA’s campaign and learn to love who they’re growing up to be. "There is strength in the diversity of women. We are doing amazing so [we] should be kind to ourselves. It makes a world of difference."