Tayla McCurdy is a positive, fast paced dynamo who's the perfect ambassador for Mulberry Mongoose. Besides her enthusiasm, generosity and down-to-earth nature, her passion for wildlife, conservation and love of ethical fashion makes us a match made in heaven!
Read Tayla's story as told in her own words below:
I was fortunate to grow up in a family that enjoyed going on safaris so I was exposed to it from a young age. Looking back now, we were all very competitive and my dad always said I could do anything if I worked hard enough for it. So there was none of that 'You can't do it because you're a girl' attitude. I only have brothers and my youngest brother and I constantly challenged one another. Whether it was how many back flips we could do on a trampoline to who could hold their breath the longest underwater. This definitely contributed to my attitude of wanting to be the best which continued throughout school where I excelled in most sports.
When I started my first job as a safari guide I was met with a patriarchal system. After being challenged by it, I decided to speak out about some unsavoury incidents and what I saw some female co-workers go through. I was not very popular for this but I knew it was the right thing to do. From that moment forward, I promised myself that I had to continue to be brave, as it wasn't going to be the last time.
I have so many funny moments, mainly because I'm a bit of a clown and gravity isn't always on my side. I've fallen face first into mud while on a live wildlife show - nature often presents me with its more comical side. From mating gerbils to dwarf mongoose pups trying to play with hornbills. Students keep me entertained all the time, especially those that don't speak English as a first language. They often use the wrong words while interpreting a moment where, if anyone overheard it with no context, they may deem it highly inappropriate! We normally all erupt with laughter.
My advice to people wanting to pursue their passions and make a positive impact is to be true to yourself, follow your dreams and not someone else's. I think it's really easy to make a positive impact. People often ask me "what can I do to help with conservation in Africa?". Honestly, start at home! Go clean up your neighbourhood whether it be the beach, a forest... Teach people about the local fauna and flora, get people involved and start small campaigns in your surroundings. Then aim towards making a positive impact on a larger scale.
When it comes to Mulberry Mongoose, I'm so obsessed with their gorgeous designs and there is so much more to this organisation than what meets the eye. Firstly, job creation and promoting women, by harnessing natural talent and up-skilling these women's craft skills. The sustainable harvesting of materials and utilising wire that was purposely constructed into snares to capture wildlife and turning it into wearable art. Educating locals about wildlife conservation, especially to those that live on the fringes of National Parks. It's meaningful and honest work - I'm so lucky to be associated with a brand like this.