Cool > ‘Exposure Asks’ young people in Barnet who inspires them

Posted on July 11, 2016

Who inspires us?

Exposure asks young people at The Pavilion Study Centre who or what inspires them, and why

What makes someone a role model? It’s a subjective question: each of us finds inspiration in different places. For some, it’s a hobby or a passion rather than a specific person that provides energy and encouragement.

We asked students aged 13 to 15 from The Pavilion Study Centre in High Barnet to share their thoughts.

The Pavilion supports students who are disengaged from education, providing tailored intervention and support programmes to help the young people reintegrate into mainstream education.

Scroll down and use the slider tool to see what our group said about who or what inspires them. The images on the left show how the pupils felt, while the images on the right provide further information.

Zayn Malik inspires me because he did his own thing – by Samsam Moallim

Zayn Malik wanted to leave One Direction after just one year, partly because he felt he couldn’t be himself – he wasn’t allowed to grow a beard!

In 2015, five years after the band was formed, he finally left. Now he’s successfully performing as a solo artist.

Zayn shows that hard work, and staying true to what you really feel passionate about can pay off. He became the first British male artist to enter the charts at number one in both the UK and the US with his debut single, Pillowtalk and his debut album, Mind of Mine.

The singer is also the first British Muslim artist to rise to such fame. He is considered a role model to many Muslim teenagers, and the way he talks about his identity has inspired his Muslim fans.

Drawing cartoons – by Kyle Stewart

Cartoons aren’t just for kids. They can also cause riots and in some cases they have led to changes in society.

You can also find some inspirational quotes in cartoons, such as Jake from Adventure Time . For example: “To live life, you need problems. If you get what you want the minute you want it, then what’s the point of living?”

The Cartoon Museum in London is one place to start exploring. They also have a competition especially for young cartoonists.

Anthony Horowitz’s books helped me write my own stories – by Amel Abdullah

I didn’t really talk much when I was younger, but I used to read Anthony Horowitz’s books. There’s a lot of suspense in them.

His books also inspired me to write my first story at school. I like reading – it helps me focus and calm down.

As a child, Horowitz was a bit different, and he wasn’t very popular. He was not very happy at school, but he enjoyed reading and writing – he knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of eight.

Now he is one of the most successful writers in the UK. He has written over 40 books including the Alex Rider series, which has sold 19 million copies and was made into a movie.

Horowitz is the most recent author chosen to write a James Bond novel called, Trigger Mortis.

Skepta comes from my block. Now he’s famous – by Robbie Holding

Skepta inspires me because he’s a great rapper. He creates awesome lyrics.

Even more inspiring is the fact that Skepta is from London. He and his brother JME grew up in Hackney and Tottenham.

The brothers have been making music together for over ten years and they have helped make grime mainstream. While their little sister Julie, is a presenter on Apple’s flagship radio station Beats.

The Guardian named Skepta’s track, Shutdown, the best track of 2015.

‘I’m not a rapper. I’m an activist.’

I love art, because it relaxes me – by Shannon MacDonald

Drawing, painting, sculpting, or photography can lower stress levels. Making art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment, so it acts like meditation.

Creative activities can help people feel more relaxed. Art therapies are even used to help people deal with painful experiences.

It’s also a great antidote to schoolwork and exams!

I admire Meek Mill’s dedication to his music – by Mustaf Ali

Meek Mill inspires me because he has passion and a touch of sadness in his rapping. I discovered him several years ago on Youtube with Jump Out The Face and I’ve been listening to him since then.

Meek Mill grew up in a poor family in the USA. His father was killed when he was just five years old. At home, Meek was shy and rarely spoke.

By the time he was a teenager however, he had already discovered rap music and had a formed a rap group called The Bloodhoundz. He continued to worked hard as he grew older to become one of the best in his field.

His latest album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, has topped numerous rankings. It entered the Billboard 200 (the US weekly album charts across all genres) at number one.

Conor McGregor inspires me because he’s so determined to win – by Alfie Briffa

Conor Anthony McGregor is an Irish professional mixed martial artist.

Conor was once an apprentice plumber and is the son of a taxi driver. His success shows how far you can get with years of determination, self-belief and hard work.

Conor The Notorious McGregor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter from Dublin, has been successful not just in one weight class but in several.

In 2012, he became the first Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter ever to hold Cage Warriors Fighting Championship Lightweight & Featherweight titles in three divisions simultaneously. He is the second Irish fighter ever to compete for UFC.

You can read more about McGregor here and see some more of his inspirational quotes like the one above here.

Kano inspires me because his tunes are mad and he spits fire! – by Caine Hosier

Kano is one of the best freestyle rappers. He won the Legacy Award at the first Rated Awards for urban music last year.

Kano is also a good actor. He played Sully in the TV series Top Boy, which was set in Hackney. Top Boy is mad – it shows you what’s happening in London now, what’s really going on.

Kano grew up in Newham in East London and he’s one of the founding fathers of grime music. He toured with Gorillaz for five years, and he’s known for his dynamic flow and wordplay on the mic.

Many of his tracks talk about the struggle faced by those born into certain communities or in certain places.

If you are affected by any of the issues listed above or want to share a story of your own, we’d love your feedback! Comment below, visit our Facebook page or tweet us to let us know your thoughts.

Remember: Exposure is always looking for young writers so if you feel strongly about something email

Our thanks to John Lyon’s Charity for making this project possible.






  1. New film ‘Who Are We?’ exploring teen Identity | Exposure - July 21, 2016

    […] ‘Exposure Asks’ young people in Barnet who inspires them […]


Exposure celebrates the great work being created by young women in...

Exposure finds out what it takes to get into journalism

New video - Exposure connects with the social media based business...