The Flipside: Lillian Ahenkan, Flex Mami

Lillian Ahenkan, better known as Flex Mami, is the definition of a multi-hyphenate powerhouse. The entrepreneur and radio host of Flex and Froomes on CDAR, is a best-selling author, award-winning influencer, DJ, TV personality, the founder of Flex Factory and self-confessed ‘opinion haver’, which is exemplified in her latest venture, Future Group Chat. At just 28-years-old, Flex isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

In Episode Seven of The Flipside, hosts Sali Sasi and Julie Stevanja get candid, asking Flex about her years on social media, the realities of being the facilitator of insightful conversation and how her sense of confidence was shaped by her upbringing. Below, three lessons we learnt from the dynamic entrepreneur. For Flex, finding ease in work comes down to “your flow state”. But, what is that exactly? As Flex describes it, it’s “about lack of friction. It’s about being understood. It’s about being seen. It’s about being respected. It’s about being in environments where you can be communicative and it’s safe to share what you think.”

While there are “no basic steps” to finding it, as she explains, the best way to get into flow is to look at your life objectively to find contradictions between who you are and who you say you are, what you want and what you do and where you go and where you’d rather be.

“These things are painting a much clearer picture about the dissonance of why you can’t maintain flow,” she tells Sasi and Stevanja. “If I say, ‘I want to go places where I want to be seen and heard’, but then I keep going into environments where I have to be a caricature of myself, how do we do flow? It’s not giving fluid.”

If you’ve followed Flex for a while, you’ll already know that she’s a master communicator, regularly engaging in conversations with her audience that are thought-provoking and insightful. That is where she bred the inspiration for her latest project, Future Group Chat.

The subscription-based exclusive group chat was, as Flex explains, built how all her other entrepreneurial ventures were, as a means to create solutions to problems she has personally. The platform continues to facilitate conversations with her community, which she was already doing via her personal socials, but takes her out of the mediator role. “I’m not even trying to create a safe space that’s for everyone,” she says. “This is a place for people who want to build community through conversation, and that does not resonate with every single person.”

From a look to how social media fits into real life to questioning whether authenticity is a culture scam, the topics discussed on the platform have no limits. Whether it’s diving headfirst into a DJing career or sharing an unpopular opinion online, Flex delivers it with her signature confidence, something she says “you don’t need” to get started, but instead, the intention of leading with conviction.

“Confidence is not something that you can fake,” she says. “It’s the sum of positive reinforcement from real life activity.”

Flex credits her confidence to her upbringing, with her mum Liz fostering an “affirming and empowering environment”.

“Now, though, I don’t think confidence is something that most people should put at the forefront of what they want. I think you need conviction, comprehension and compassion for yourself and others. That together, you’ll get to confidence eventually. But confidence will not save you.”