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Episode 3

5 Levels of Inspiration with Nikeata Thompson

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We ask women whom we admire what their most recent inspiration was and pursue this thought further: Books, encounters or music – who is behind it and what has inspired this person in turn? This time, we delve in five steps into the network of choreographer and agency director Nikeata Thompson.

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Nikeata Thompson

Choreographer, personal trainer, actor, presenter and agency director: Nikeata is a woman of many talents. Alongside her collaborations with big names on the music scene such as Seeed, Jan Delay, Namika and Frida Gold, Nikeata started her own agency for dancers in 2011 and has recently also set up 'Urban Dance School', an online dance academy. Whatever she is doing, her 'Don't Worry Be Happy' attitude makes her an inspiring and electrifying person to be around. Where does she draw her own energy from? Hip-hop and dance.

Derya and her work for 'Stop War Worldwide'. © D. Aksaz, W.Al Muzeeb

What has inspired me most recently? The work of Derya Aksaz.

The commitment of my friend Derya to her 'Stop War Worldwide' charity has inspired me. We tend to forget what is really important in life: Helping people who are seeking refuge in Germany and showing them what a warm and open country we are. Derya Aksaz works day after day at Berlin's refugee centre 'LaGeSo'. She fights to make sure that families have enough to eat and somewhere safe to sleep. She is a true inspiration and role model.

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Derya Aksaz

Derya worked as a stylist and make-up artist on film and TV productions for many years. Until one day at LaGeSo, the office for health and social affairs in Berlin, she witnessed the suffering of the refugees with her own eyes. That was the day that changed her life. Since then Derya has worked night shifts, cooked lentil soup and founded the 'Stop War Worldwide' charity. Her role model is Hind al-Husseini.

What has inspired me most recently? The life of Hind al Husseini

'Freedom without borders for everyone: that's what drives my work. My role model is Hind al-Husseini who, in the 1950s, used her savings to set up an orphanage for girls in Palestine. She died in 1994 and I never met her. Among my own contemporaries, my friend Idil inspires me in a very similar way. She has been my partner in crime for 14 years. Her boundless energy is infectious. Every time I falter she gets me back on my feet and spurs me on.'

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Idil Baydar

For comedian Idil, humour and art go hand in hand. She uses comedy to inspire her audience to see things in a different light. She loves nothing more than being on stage and surprising and confounding her audience. She has no time for the narcissistic behaviour of her fellow comedians. Her favourite topic at the moment? Quantum physics.

'It inspires me because it is typical of my mother's strong self-will.' © Idil Baydar

What has inspired me most recently? A rock from Turkey.

Recently my mother sent me a rock from Turkey weighing a kilogram. It's not a crystal, nothing special. Just an ordinary, boring, grey rock. My first thought was of the poor postman who had to carry it all the way to Germany. Now it just makes me laugh every day. It inspires me because it is typical of my mother's strong self-will. A few years ago I was sitting lethargically in my apartment and had lost all faith in myself. On the same day she brought two cameramen round and had them shoot my first video. That video was the foundation stone of my career as a comedian. The rock reminds me that sometimes you just have to leap straight into cold water.

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Halise Baydar

Before Halise moved back to Bodrum in Turkey she worked in Germany for many years as a make-up artist, including for the TV show ARD Morgenmagazin. Her favourite thing about the job was when people loved how their make-up made them look, and automatically became happier. After 38 years in Germany she sometimes misses 'this special directness', but is particularly enjoying working on her art projects in Turkey, and writing volumes of poetry.

The flower women that Halise made from a bouquet of flowers. © Halise Baydar

What has inspired me most recently? A bouquet of flowers from my friend Duru.

The thing that has inspired me recently is the beautiful bunch of flowers my friend Duru brought me. My inspiration and my creativity do not come from the outside, but flow out from the inside. For example, I love museums and art but they don't inspire me to become active myself. Things that I can pick up and handle and that I can use to translate my own thoughts are what inspire me. That's how it was with the flowers. They looked beautiful in a vase but I immediately had the idea of making women out of them.

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Duru Keyn

Duru worked for a car company in Turkey for 20 years before devoting herself full time to her true passion, yoga. Now she teaches classes in Istanbul. In her home city she loves to stand on the Bosphorus bridge – especially when it starts raining and the sun is still shining on the other side of the river. For Duru, yoga is all about retaining the connection with her inner self.

Godfrey Devereux is a yoga teacher and author of several books on the subject. © Duru Keyn

What has inspired me most recently? The article 'Life is Intelligence' by Godfrey Devereux.

I have recently been inspired by the article 'Life is Intelligence' by Godfrey Devereux. He is also a yoga teacher and has written several books. Before Godfrey came to Istanbul I knew that I would interpret at his yoga classes and so I began to study his texts. This text has now become the centrepiece of my own workshops. The core message is that different does not mean wrong, but rather individuality – part of life's rich and varied mosaic. For me, yoga is a means of achieving this outlook on things.