London, UK

Spotlight Sessions with Elif Emma True

#SpotlightSessions - shining the spotlight on everyday people with inspiring stories

Throwing back to November 2017, Elif and I met at the Houses of Parliament whilst I was working as a Summary Writer for one of the Commonwealth events and she was also at the same event attending as one of twelve selected UK Commonwealth Youth delegates.

As soon as I met Elif, I was in awe of her passion for Politics, her desire to serve and eagerness to make a change - all at the age of 18! She is definitely one to watch... So here's the spotlight on Elif Emma True. Enjoy!

1 | Tell me about yourself: your background, occupation etc.

My name is Elif Emma True, I am 18 years old. I was born and raised in Newcastle but with my Dad’s side of the family being Turkish I try to embrace my Turkish culture too. It’s a really beautiful place and the people are so friendly - Politics is so interesting there too. The Brexit debate was really uncomfortable for me because it became almost acceptable to be xenophobic towards Turkey because of the argument about them joining the EU. That was really hard on me when debating about Brexit because it became so personal. My parents always wanted me to have a good education where I worked hard, my Dad is the biggest advocate of education and he really pushed me to work hard for my future in the same way he did.

2 | How did you find yourself in the world of Politics? What is your drive?

It was very unexpected actually. My business teacher told me if I made a speech in the town hall one night I could become a member of Youth Parliament. I had no clue what that was and how it would change my life but I went along and I did it.

Since then I’ve been in various youth led campaigns concerning issues like poverty and discrimination, became a Youth Advisor for Barclays Lifeskills, spoken in the House of Commons and lobbied in European Parliament. It’s funny to think that’s all due to not wanting to let down my teacher.

My drive is to constantly out do myself. In the world of politics, it’s really easy to compare yourself to other young people and think ‘I should be doing more than them’, but it’s actually really important to look at yourself and think ‘Okay, in 2017 I represented young people in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, spoke at Wembley to 10,000 young people and became a director on a board of directors - what can I do this year to top that?’

3 | Can you bust some myths about Politics?

Yes! It’s not about who you know! When I first went to Parliament as a member of Youth Parliament in 2015, I was a nervous just-turned-16-year-old from Hebburn and I didn’t know anyone! I wasn’t there because my parents knew anyone or because I gave anyone money to be there. I got there because of my merit and the hard work I put in to my role as a member of Youth Parliament.

Also, the idea that if you’re young, you can’t be in Parliament is big myth. We are the future and the decisions made now, about university fees or housing costs, will affect us in the future. Take advantage of people who are willing to listen to you like your MP, get your foot in the door and don’t give up until you’ve made the change you want to see.

4 | Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself finishing University (hopefully with a first), doing a graduate scheme maybe in Politics or in a charity. I really want to professionally work on the issues I campaign on already. Maybe I’ll start my own charity - who knows!

5 | Advice for people who want to get into Politics?

A positive attitude is everything. Be totally inspired by something, like I was about the work going on in my local area about poverty, and get involved. Write to your MP- say you’re a young person, they love that, and don’t give up even if things don’t initially go your way.

Fire Round Questions

Favorite book growing up?
Series of Unfortunate Events - love a mystery

Something you've done that you are most proud of?
Being presented an award from my local community for my work against religious and racial discrimination - I felt so happy to have made change in the place I was raised

Favorite cuisine?
Turkish, obviously!

Top two pet peeves?
People saying ‘expresso’ instead of ‘espresso’ and negative attitudes 

iOS or Android?
iOS- though I wish I could rock a flip phone like back in the day 

Want to continue following the Spotlight on Elif? 
Twitter | @elifemmatrue
Instagram | elifemmatrue


  1. Inspiring!!!
    Keep up the good work, Elif. The sky is your starting point.
    Good read, Debbie.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the read. Thank you!


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