Imagine being offered a job for a gig where you don’t know the ropes. Would you say yes? Or be too scared? That’s what happened for DJ Nikki Pennie. She wasn't always adept at getting rooms to dance. The British-born stylist started her career in the fashion world, but folks in the industry kept getting offering her DJ jobs.
“It was the last thing I ever thought I would end up doing,” she shares. “I got offered a few DJing gigs for fashion brands before I even knew how to DJ three years ago and the rest is history.”
History and a lot of hard work. “I saw an opportunity and I ran with it,” she says. “I took a risk, put in over 100% and thankfully, it worked out.”
In an industry that remains dominated by men, Nikki says it’s important for her to identify as a female DJ, but that women have the power to “conquer everything.”
Read through her interview below.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered along the way?
There have been so many. To start, I couldn’t DJ. I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Dave Garnish. He’s an incredible British music producer who was in LA at the time working on projects. He was kind enough to train me. He was literally a Godsend! I was also lucky to have the intuition to read a room, which is one of the most important DJ skills and that’s something you can’t get from training.
How do you feel as a woman in the music industry?
It’s an exciting time as the barriers are less significant.
What keeps you going?
My ambition, drive, and a lot of coffee!
Who are the people you consider mentors or influences and why?
Dave Garnish is my mentor. I have so much respect for him and what he has achieved. He has now opened his Garnish Music Production and DJ schools in London, LA, and Brooklyn. His talent, wisdom and kindness are precious!
What’s next? Do you have any five year goals?
I am starting to produce music this year, who knows where that will take me?! I don’t really make long-term plans. I think sometimes it’s better to enjoy the journey and see where life takes you!
Is there a habit or routine you swear by?
My Dior beauty routine, as I am one of their ambassadors and their products are the best (I am not biased). The Dior Star Canceler is a life-saver especially with the late nights, jet lag, and traveling involved with my job.
What is a time in your life when you thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore?’
There have been so many points, but thanks to the support from my amazing friends and family that have supported me… I have never given up.
What is your favorite life advice?
When you fall, always get up straight away.
How has your relationship to your career changed in the last five years?
I am much more confident than I was five years ago and I really feel that anything is possible for anybody.
What’s on your career bucket list?
To DJ in Japan. I love Japan, Japanese people and the culture.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
To support an encourage our peers.
What do you do to support other women either personally or professionally?
Be kind. Kindness is one of the most important things in life.