Singer-songwriter, actress and fashion model, MaryHD has been chosen as the first female Ambassador of the charity, KitAid. The songstress has been chosen as she represents girls and women who can relate to her values and achievements. KitAid is a volunteer based charity which provides football/sports kit and equipment for projects in the developing world. It was formed by Derrick Williams MBE, following a visit to Tanzania, where he spotted a young boy wearing a worn-out Liverpool FC shirt. On his return home he showed the photo to friends who all agreed to donate kits they no longer needed. From one box of kit in 1998, the charity has now donated 625,000 items, across Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Lorraine Worsley Carter caught up with MaryHD at Media City to find out about her latest role.
Can you tell us about your role as Ambassador assisting KitAid?
MaryHD: “KitAid receives kit from every level of the football pyramid including Premier League clubs and many hundreds of grass roots clubs from across the UK. Each year around 70,000 items of kit are received, sorted and sent to projects via trusted charity partners.
“The charity has a saying – ‘It’s more than just a shirt…’ This is highlighted by feedback from many charity partners, as they use the kit for their projects. These range from Health/HIV education, gang crime prevention and even a recent example of a partner charity in Uganda using the donated kit to engage with poachers to stop them killing chimpanzees. The donated kits have also helped many thousands of teams who are often prevented from entering a league if they do not have a full kit. KitAid has over 30 charity partners and has delivered kit to 55 different countries in 4 different continents.
“I am honoured to be the first Ambassador since the death of Graham Taylor OBE in 2017, who was Patron of KitAid. My vision in my role of Ambassador for KitAid, is to raise as much public awareness of the incredible work that they do, providing hope, joy, and breaking down barriers and making a difference in the lives of those faced with immensely difficult circumstances. It is my hope to do so, using a diverse set of avenues through the media, music, fashion and sport, to bring to light new audiences who would not already be aware of the work that KitAid do.
How did your career begin?
MaryHD: “I got scouted by a photographer with regards to modelling, when I was 12-years-old, when I was with my mother in Manchester. He gave us the info of a Manchester model agency to go and see. I had some images done at the time, yet waited a further few years, until my height had increased, then I embarked on my journey in the modelling industry.
“My music career commenced via Fred Jerkins of DarkChild Entertainment (credits include the late Michael Jackson, Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey) he contacted me through my modelling website at the time. He saw on my bio, that I also write songs and wanted me to record some music to hear my vocals.
“This was followed by further recordings, with different music producers and encouragement from Nathan Morris (Boys II Men).
“Another music producer and songwriter I have worked with, whose work I had admired from a young age, is Jack Knight (known for his works with Bad boy Entertainment, Made in East New York, Hip Hop Period TV, (Credits JLo, Christina Aguilera, Faith Evans, Sean Combs). This came at such a time, that really aided me in faith and self-empowerment. He is such a wonderful man, we met in Los Angeles in 2017, after many years of online communication. It was lovely”.
Are you still modelling?
MaryHD: “I still do photoshoots. I started modelling from a young age and had periods later whereby I withdrew to focus solely on my music and charity work.
However, I love fashion and I enjoy the art of doing photoshoots. Clothing for fashion designers/brands and of course photoshoots for my music artwork -single/album covers.
Moreover, I am appreciative and thankful for the wonderful experiences and equally the lessons learned from the fashion industry to aid in my growth”.
You were invited to Buckingham Palace Garden Party for your work, how did that come about?
MaryHD: “I am also very proud of the work that I have done for Prince’s Trust by my work on a project called ‘Dreams’. I wrote the music for this, and coached girls between the ages of 16-25, to assist with confidence and to help raise their self-esteem.
“We performed the finished piece for Prince Charles, and I had the opportunity to meet him. More recently I was invited to a Buckingham Palace Royal Garden Party”.
What is your proudest moment in your career?
MaryHD: “I am proud of all the moments in my career, as it is in all the experiences that allow lessons to be learnt in life and adds towards the whole essence of continued persistence towards achievements and ultimately purpose. There are a lot of moments that are very dear to my heart, however, there are highlights that shine out to me, which include, doing meaningful music videos, filled with positive messages. I’m proud of ‘The Send A Heart Campaign’ that I orchestrated, which was sponsored by John Lewis in Partnership and received support from Tinchy Stryder, Amir King Khan and Sajid Mahmood among others. The campaign raised funds for the special baby care charity Bliss and of course singing for HRH Prince Charles and being invited to a Royal Garden Party.
“I’m also very proud and thankful of the music that I have done with Neil Shaw-Hulme and Johnny Douglas (Credits include the late George Michael, Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner…) I am very proud of my latest album to be released ‘Pure Love’ and of course being invited to become the first female ambassador for Kit Aid.”
For more details about the charity visit kitaid.net