Lillian Ahenkan (aka Flex Mami) is a multi-hyphenate in every sense of the word. ‘I definitely gave myself permission to be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none,’ she says. Currently, she has TV host, author, podcaster and DJ listed in her Instagram bio. But throw in influencer and entrepreneur and you have a better idea of what her job entails.
According to Flex, an influencer is ‘a person who gets paid to be themselves due to the online following they’ve created’. Being genuine is the only thing that matters; by definition, you can’t fake authenticity. So for Flex, the key to a successful transition from straightforward influencer, to recognisable brand and business owner has been her uncanny ability to connect with her audience. Dishing out disarmingly direct advice to her legions of fans, and wisdom on everything from systemic racism to sexual encounters, Flex is a guru for the modern age.
Flex’s recent foray from solely digital media to product design involved the establishment of Flex Factory, a physical home base for all the constellations in the Flex Mami universe. From that HQ, she’s sold everything from chicken salt to cushion covers, but now the focus is primarily on her ReFlex conversation card games.
‘I’m extremely spontaneous and impulsive, and perhaps a bit of an opportunist,’ she explains, but even chance is part of her strategy. She describes the way she leverages her skills and resources to create an advantageous environment, then sets mini goals and strategic steps to convert those orbiting opportunities. There’s a whole solar system involved!
At the end of the day, it’s a combination of hard work and inimitable star power that got Flex to where she is now: an in-demand media personality and successful entrepreneur. There’s no one quite like her!
I wake up between 10am and midday, and the first thing I do is check my phone. I function well in the mornings but I’d prefer not to; I’m a night person. I go to sleep between 2 and 5am. I like the silence and the lack of distraction at night.
The time I start work depends what job I have on the day. If it’s a shoot, sometimes 8am. If it’s Flex Factory, I might pull a 12pm – 8pm shift. I generally do some emails, admin, or responding to social media comments. A hot shower and a golden passionfruit juice is my morning ritual!
I generally wake up at lunch, so my first meal is usually late arvo, closer to dinner. Something carb heavy or sugary. Chips. Burger. Fruit! I love a little fruit moment.
My typical afternoon tasks are creating content, answering emails or product development. I do not feel energised in the afternoon (it’s a slog!), but it’s a good time to get meetings out of the way.
I never really finish work. The only time I not working is when I’m asleep, unfortunately. Maintaining social media engagement is tiresome. I do something creative to unwind, like sewing clothes, playing with clay, making home decor items or watching people do these things on Youtube. I switch off by watching hours and hours of TikToks.
I usually go to sleep between 2am – 5am. I can function on little sleep, but I LOVE sleeping. I love feeling well-rested.
Lillian Ahenkan (aka Flex Mami) in her Sydney apartment. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Flex moved into her Lidcombe apartment six months ago and began decorating in a style she calls ‘modern maximalism’. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Flex has over 133,000 Instagram followers who she connects with every day via the platform. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Though it’s all online, there is a lot of physical work that goes into digital content! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Since branching into product design, the Flex Mami universe has expanded to the Flex Factory. Its hero product are the popular ReFlex cards, a conversation card game. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Her days include but are not limited to podcasting, product design, admin, content creation, digital marketing and meetings (so many meetings!). Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
The myriad of products available from the Flex Factory. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
The decoration scheme in Flex’s place contains nods to the Memphis Group and 80s Italian design. ‘My aim has always been to curate and create a sanctuary that reflects the inside of my creative brain. It doesn’t have to match or follow a theme, but my design choices are intentional.’ Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Packing orders at the Flex Factory! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
ReFlex cards are the main product! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
There isn’t a monochrome palette in sight. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Everything she touches turns to gold! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.
Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.