At a very special photoshoot, HELLO!’s Star Women judging panel were assembled and ready to whittle down the nominations for our Star Women Awards to a shortlist. Our judges – broadcaster Kate Silverton, HELLO’s editor in chief Rosie Nixon, TV presenters Rochelle Humes, Vogue Williams and Saira Khan and public speaker Hibo Wardere, who campaigns against female genital mutilation – gathered to consider the women put forward in the Star Mum award.
The Star Women Awards, in association with online childrenswear boutique Childrensalon, shine a light on women – famous and not – who inspire and empower others. And over the past few weeks nominations have been flooding in. “It is really hard to judge these awards. It is very unfair that you ask us,” laughs Kate, who will also be hosting our glittering prize-giving lunch on 25 June. “I have been going through and going tick, tick, tick, and I think: ‘Okay, I have just ticked everybody.’”
“I’m really glad I’m wearing waterproof mascara on the shoot today,” says mum of two Rosie. “The things that some people have to cope with in life really is heartbreaking. Mothers are not often told that they are doing a really great job, so with our Star Mum category I am thrilled that we will be shining a spotlight on some really special mothers.”
One woman who knows how much it means to win one of these awards is Hibo, who won the Raising Awareness Award at HELLO!'s 2018 Star Mum Awards. Hibo, who has seven children, moved to the UK from Somalia when she was 18 and her memoir, Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today, was published in 2016.
MORE: Star Women Award judge Vogue Williams talks motherhood
Our judges are all mums themselves and chat animatedly about their little ones as they have their hair and make-up done. The latest addition is Theodore, the son of Vogue and her reality TV star husband Spencer Matthews. The pair introduced their firstborn to the world in hello! shortly after he was born last September. “I love everything about being a mum,” smiles Vogue.
“In the Star Mum category I am probably going to go for the story that touches my heart the most. You can’t say you are looking for something specific because all these people bring something amazing to the table, and every single story is amazing. I just think, for me, it will be the one that tugs at my heartstrings.”
And now it’s time for you, our readers, to cast your vote. The winner of each category will be honoured at the star-studded awards ceremony at 30 Pavilion Road in the heart of London’s fashionable Knightsbridge and will win amazing prizes to boot. To vote, simply read the stories below then scroll down to where you can click your nominee.
After years trying to have a child, Katy, 43, and her husband Marc – who nominated her – decided to adopt. Their son James was placed with them in 2016 aged ten months. The “happy little boy” has been diagnosed with developmental delay and Katy focuses her time on getting the support he needs. Last year the couple, from Derbyshire, adopted James’s baby brother and both boys are thriving.
Celine’s daughter Lucy was born with Down’s Syndrome in January 2016. The diagnosis came as a shock but Celine, now 40, has put every spare minute into helping her little girl reach her milestones, just as Lucy’s two big brothers had done. In early 2017 Celine helped to set up The Down Syndrome Centre Cork to provide essential support to families and carers after diagnosis.
Eula has three grown-up children, one of whom suffers from sickle cell, a serious and lifelong condition of the blood that can cause pain lasting up to a week, increased risk of infection and anaemia. Eula helped found the Merton Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Group charity and, for nearly 30 years, has been a passionate advocate for sufferers and their families.
West Yorkshire mum Zaitun sacrificed her nursing career to raise her family and care for her mother and her husband’s parents, looking after her diabetic mother-in-law while also facing challenges of her own, including losing a baby daughter to kidney disease. Zaitun, 60, is “the most beautiful, humanitarian individual I know”, says her daughter Rizwana.
British Somali councillor Amina lives in Tower Hamlets, a borough with the highest rates of poverty in London. “My mum is my inspiration,” says Amina’s daughter Nadia, adding that Amina works tirelessly for others, especially black, Asian and minority ethnic communities – and when not doing her council work, she helps out in food banks and homeless shelters.
Voting closes Midnight 16th June.