Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Alongside her role with Nike, Jenny Simmons created MANON to tell the story of the women's game, through the lens of photography and beautifully crafted in-depth storytelling.
Who’s your team?
I grew up supporting Liverpool, for no other reason than the fact that my closest friends when I started to play, supported them, too.
We were by no means a football-obsessed family, strangely, we all gravitated towards different teams! Man City (mum), West Ham (dad) and Blackburn (brother), but I was the only one who really cared; glued to Teletext for most of Saturday afternoon and spending as much time on the pitch and in the playground as possible.
My favourite player was always Steve McManaman (even though his name was a bit too expensive to get on the back of my shirts) – I loved the way he was never afraid to run at players, and remember his goal against Celtic in the UEFA Cup so vividly, still.
I find it harder to pick a modern day player as there are so many amazing talents in the game, though Neymar’s fearlessness and joyful spirit is definitely something that I admire.
How did you get started with MANON?
MANON started out as a football photography website in 2013, and more recently I’ve used it as a magazine outlet to tell female football stories from across the globe; creating issues to celebrate the World Cup in 2015 and then EURO 2017 last summer.
I always see MANON as a passion project that has the ability to manifest itself in varied forms, so while I’m not entirely sure what’s next, I know I want to create something around France 2019, and hopefully something before. I’m always open to ideas and potential collaborations.
What’s the mens’ team chances in Russia this summer?
I like to go into every tournament with inexplicably high expectations for England, and this summer will be no different.
I’m genuinely not sure how well we’ll do, but would love for us to get to the excitement of the knockout stages and see the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling prove themselves on the international stage.
The Euros drove a lot of interest in the women’s game. How would you describe the scene right now?
I was truly honoured to be living in the Netherlands during the tournament last summer and was lucky enough to go to a few of the games. The atmosphere was amazing and the buzz in the country could really be felt for a good while after.
As with everything, that subsided with time, but I’m confident that the momentum around the women’s game is still there and that the appetite continues to increase. Great things are on the horizon for the sport, we just have to keep on championing it.
There is a big crossover between football culture and fashion, how important is that to you?
I think it’s a really exciting space and there are so many great projects, products and collaborations happening across the sport now. The creativity in the collision of these worlds feels like it has escalated at an alarming rate over the past four or five years, in particular. The blurring of the lines between fashion and football has opened up a whole new realm of opportunity for brands, expressive individuals and the players themselves, too.
This crossover is important to me as a fan, because it’s inspiring to see, cool to wear and still holds so much potential.
Who do you think the role models are for girls looking to get into the game? Why?
Probably the same ones as the boys who are looking to get into the game. My dream, though, is that more and more female athletes continue to inspire the future generations, and I look forward to the day when both boys and girls are sporting names such as Martens, Pugh and Duggen on the back of their jerseys. I actually think we’re not too far away.
What are your passions outside of the game?
Outside of football, I’m into film, photography and laughing as much as possible with family and friends.