An account of the evening by Quin Castillo Hungerford (11 years old, aspiring author and actress), documented in her Wonder Woman journal.
“The Asian Women of Achievement festival is truly incredible. I am the only child here. I received a special pass. I have met so many fun people including Sir Nicholas Young. Mom is a judge, which is cool.
There are golden and purple chandeliers. The tables have white table cloths and each has a candle and number. There are over 90 people here. They are going to say who won the awards and we will be allowed to eat in this astounding and huge ballroom. A big voice just boomed and music is playing.
The host Riz Lateef, BBC London News has arrived on stage. She is talking about the Queen’s birthday. She is talking about how Asian women have fought challenges to find success in Britain. They have brought all the women on stage. They are bringing on the founder,Pinky Lilani. She thanks everyone for coming and says how the first candidates were friends and women she stopped on the street. She says how we will hear stories for how these women made their mark on Britain. She welcomes the special guests, Her Highness Princess Badiya bint El Hassan, Julie Hanna and a few more. She says what tonight is going to be about is not what they’ve achieved but what their achievements can let them achieve. She takes a photo on stage with the princess. Riz Lateef, who talks about everything says it started in 2002.
It’s dinner!!! My food is a little late but a lady said that it is coming – my starter of course. They are playing music but I think I’m one of the only ones that can hear it. Everyone is chatting very loudly. The butter is fancy. It’s in the shape of a pyramid with curls. My vegetables came.
While I ate, I had a lovely conversation on acting and musicals. Callum is very nice. I’m going to continue… They are bringing in the main. While eating my main, me and the gentle young man talked about different drama camps and schools. They just took my plate. Callum’s mom [Jean Sharp] just introduced me to a famous author, Elif Şafak. I told her how I want in my stories to not have a damsel in distress. I want to let the woman save the day. I want the woman to be strong. The author said I speak like a true feminist.
I’m eating my chocolate ice cream. They are bringing Les Matheson, CEO NatWest on stage. He talks about how everyone has a story and also make their mark. They have given the award in the past 1 hour or so to 3 category winners. 2 women won one of the categories. They are playing music. A woman is playing violin [Fra Rustumji] and the other piano [Yshani Perinpanayagam]. I fell asleep … When I woke up the music was finished and mom said that it’s too late to stay longer.
Turns out I won the raffle. There were prizes and I won a stuffed Hamley’s Bear.”