Advice, Happiness, Uncategorized

High On Likes

Ten years ago, if a guy were to approach you in a club, knowing your name and other details about your life, you would run away and scream, “Stalker!”

Now, if a guy does the same, it’s cool; he follows you on Instagram.

It happened to me a few months ago and the guy quickly became aggressive when I apologised for not knowing who he was. It wasn’t cool, it freaked me out.

This angry stranger “followed” my life is pictures. Scrolling through my posts attempting an outside point of view made me feel sick: there were photos of me and my friends in bikinis on holiday, selfies, modelling photos half naked… All which seemed innocent, fun and worst of all normal at the time now seemed seedy and boastful in this weird collection of exhibitionism and narcissism called My Profile.

ScreenShot2015-10-06at14.41.53_1060x644.png

It was the last straw on something I’d considered for a while. I disabled my account.

Alarmingly, I’d never thought about Instagram in terms of my privacy. Instead, I’d been building up to disable it after realising that it affected my mental health in a negative way.

Within an hour, no less than four people had sent me texts, ranging from concerned to hurt, asking why I had ‘deleted’ them. I later learned that they had been told this through an app which alerts you when you’re followed or unfollowed by an account. People really are invested in this thing. Relationship dynamics are affected and ego’s are hurt.

Social media is weird. The terms “follow”, “like”, and “share” mean completely different things now than they did years ago, with those phrases and others like “retweet, unfriend, block” becoming everyday conversational dialogue. Social media has become as normal as brushing your teeth.

So many relationships begin, grow, or solely exist in cyberspace. Whole persons and careers are created and maintained on smart phone applications. On a whole, social media is undeniably dumbing us down and running our lives, but I believe Instagram to be the worst; Twitter is a platform for words, a space to be intelligent, funny, witty, charming in 140 characters or less. Facebook, however you use it, is designed to share and keep in contact with friends and family – but Instagram? Instagram puts importance on the physical image. You can write a funny caption, but it’s the photo above it that’s going to get ‘liked’.

Yes, it can be used to share beautiful photographs. But it is photos of people  – particularly attractive women’s faces and bodies – that receive the most likes. Just look at the 11 most liked photo’s on Instagram ever – the physical is of sole-importance.

 

 

It allows us to construct our own fairy-tale image; psychologists use the term ‘self-presentation’, “positioning yourself the way you want to be seen.” A study found that self-presentation is so powerful, that viewing your own social media profiles increases self-esteem.

Compilation of boastful, ‘fun’ posts featuring me as an apparent party girl who holidays more than she’s at home

But Instagram never made me feel good. I’d subconsciously compare myself to everyone else seemingly having a better time, looking their posed, filtered best, usually from the comfort of my own bed while I looked like a frog. We never scroll through Instagram when we’re having fun, do we? I would only scroll when I had nothing better to do, making me receptive to negative feelings of boredom or loneliness before photos had even loaded. I would often close the app feeling undeniably depressed. So why did I continue to use something that was bad for my mental health?

2017-05-29 (6)

I’d never thought much about why and what I post until I disabled my account. When I was modelling I used Instagram to network with photographers and promote freebies like skincare and haircuts. I never felt that I was sharing too much of myself. But amongst those arguably useful posts are a few that, after my reflective time out, I now see as nauseatingly narcissistic.

18788752_10155364947228633_418088231_n

I actually thought I had made it acceptable because I was being philosophical in my caption, lol

 

Why at 23 years old did I feel that it was necessary to post a photo of myself in a bikini, alone, while on holiday with my boyfriend? The honest answers are:

  1. I wanted my followers to know I was on holiday.
  2. I obviously didn’t think I looked bad, or else I wouldn’t have posted it – I wanted my followers to see that I looked alright.
  3. I knew that a photo of a girl in a bikini will get the likes that, at the time, I unknowingly craved.

It all sounds arrogant, but are you honestly going to tell me that you can’t relate? Chances are you, your friends, your girlfriend, have posted photos for the same reasons. Why else would you take time out of your day to share a photo of yourself to the internet?

We are an insecure generation, constantly feeding off likes and follows for some sense of empty validation from strangers. Although I may look confident in that pink bikini, and at the time I thought I was – if I hadn’t needed validation then I wouldn’t have posted it. My ‘racy’ photos littering my feed now make me feel uncomfortable, especially now realising that strangers have studied them.

Compilation of meaningless, strictly narcissistic, vainglorious, egomaniacal posts posted by yours truly

After my much needed detox, the image of a girl alone in a bathroom seems like the epitome of vanity and shameless narcissism. I want to scream at her, “No one cares! Go jump in the pool! Go live your life! No one needs to see that!”. Yet, 99% of sexualised female celebrities and models do exactly the same thing and are praised for it.

screen-shot-2016-01-11-at-112828-am

I recommend every one –even those who think I’m dramatic for thinking an app could affect my mental health – carry out a social media detox for a week and see if you notice a difference in how you think or live your life. I personally have so much more time for productivity; all the time you spend taking photos, or thinking about what photos to post and simply looking into other people’s lives, really does add up.

GettyImages_142892792

The main thing that was putting me off disabling or deleting was FOMO and keeping up appearances; almost as if not posting was in inkling to the outside world that all was not well. But trust me, you are missing out way more on actual real life than what other people are up to. And those ‘likes’ lose importance strangely quickly. After six weeks, I reactivated my account, but now peeking into others’ lives feels really invasive. I have also completely lost that need to post; once or twice I have almost posted something and then asked myself, why?

Close the apps, put down the phone and enjoy the moment. If you’re going to take photos, print them, and give thought to the ones you do post. Don’t try to create an image of the perfect life – live your version of your perfect life.

The only person you should let validate your life is yourself.

PS. Follow @_theluckyleo on Instagram (no selfies, I promise)

ALL IMAGES TAKEN FROM GOOGLE IMAGES & MY OWN INSTAGRAM 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Advice, Happiness, Uncategorized

Am I A Psycho Girlfriend Or Am I Just Honest?

There are two types of girls in relationships:

  1. The girlfriends that are totally rational, cool and collected. They don’t care that you have female friends, even if you’ve once drunkenly fucked them. They understand that you’re a human being and have your own life, wants and freedom. They call you once, and then wait patiently for you to call them back, however long it takes.
  2. The girlfriends that aren’t liars.

 

Thing is, the ‘crazy girlfriend’ cliché has given us a bad name. In movies, people are stalked, bunnies are boiled, bitches are murdered and cars are driven off cliffs. In real life (the Take-a-Break-Jerry-Springer-World), people can be un-funny psychopathic; penis’ are cut off, fried and served with eggs for breakfast. And of course, some girlfriends are extremely high maintenance or just complete bitches. Number 2 aren’t those people; Number 2 are just women strong enough to be honest about their feelings and their expectations of their partner’s behaviour, in the same way that a lot of men are to their partners.

fatal_attraction

You see, for some odd reason, my generation of women have been brainwashed into suppressing their feelings for fear of being considered a “Psycho Girlfriend”. The dream is to be the “Cool Girl”: The Number 1’s. In The ‘Cool Girl’ Is Not Fiction, But a Phase, Tracy Moore writes;

The Cool Girl model of womanhood – Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies, Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (before she starts pretending to be the kind of hopelessly needy girl that is, obviously, repugnant to men) – is something you’ll only find on the big screen.”

The Cool Girl is the girl that’s “not like other girls” – the girl that doesn’t have girlfriends because they’re “too much drama”. The guy in the hot girl’s body. With this attractive image are also underlying suggestions of submission, complete emotional security/confidence and all round robotic-ness.

500-days-of-summer-zooey-not-interested

I have been, or have at least experimented with being, a Cool Girl. At 16 I thought I was cooler than Summer in 500 Days. I pretended not to care that his best friend was a girl that had given him head months before we met, and that I was cool with him going out all weekend and not calling me for three days. I pretended that I didn’t really want to text him and limited my communication to every other day if he didn’t contact me first. Fucking hell, I even pretended to like football and The Smiths. I went through his phone and saw texts from a girl I hated talking about meeting up and I never even confronted him. Despite all of this, he broke up with me (I know…), thus breaking my tiny dumb heart for the first time. We eventually got back together but I stopped being The Cool Girl and started being more honest. Our relationship was a lot more relaxed, but there was still a lot that bothered me which I kept to myself; that he kept me separate to his friends and that he openly talked about other girls arses, amongst other things.

12082246

I was stupid and blinded by first love naivety. Although I didn’t see it at the time, I believe that that first relationship gave me a sensitive Mugging Off Meter. It made me ruthless from the very start of relationships; If you don’t return my calls, bye. If you flirt with girls in front of me, you’re funny. In every relationship since, I have been honest and frank about my feelings and have been respected for it, albeit being called crazy from time to time. I’m not about to fake an attempted suicide when I’m dumped, or fight a girl that speaks to them in a club. But will I interrupt their conversation and introduce myself with an arm around his shoulder? Yes. Will I leave 30 missed calls, 20 texts and 10 voicemails if their phone isn’t answered all day? Absolutely.

16426802_10154997566998633_1024936314_n

If that’s “crazy”, then I’m guilty. I have also been known to:

  • stalk ex’s online (there’s a whole article about that one)
  • stalk boy’s in real life, once hiding behind a bin
  • question boys on every single female they’ve ever met
  • get jealous irrationally
  • kick off in public due to paranoid behaviour
  • hurl footwear at a man (not proud of that one)
  • follow boy’s on nights out completely coincidentally
  • dramatically enter a room when I think something fishy is going on (nothing is ever going on)

I seem like an insecure mess, right? I hope I’ve made you feel better about yourself. But I don’t think this behavior has to mean the girl has been hurt, has issues or insecurities, and it definitely doesn’t mean that she will always be that way. We go through phases depending on what’s going on in our lives and who we are in a relationship with. At a time when I didn’t feel good enough for someone, parties were a sensitive place for me; I once followed a girl around a club because I was sure that she had been flirting with him (she had). Last year, after a lot of self-development, I watched calmly from afar as a girl sat on his lap and he instantly yet politely removed her. Later, when I told him I’d seen it, he asked why I hadn’t come over and sat on his lap instead; proving that what some people see as crazy, some find cute.

16426407_10154997563943633_1302346341_n

My list of behaviour considered psycho becomes considerably shorter the older I get and the more secure I feel. Since the first boyfriend I’ve never felt the need to check a phone because I’ve never been given a reason to. Nowadays I would never date a person that gave me a reason to feel jealous – if they do, they’re obviously just not into you. It’s that simple. “Crazy” or “Psycho” is just a word used to invalidate your feelings. The truth is, even when our feelings seem irrational – we feel that way for a reason. We are human beings. Love and lust are chemical. Seemingly crazy behaviour is only a reaction to intense feelings, often worsened when mixed with personal feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.

1921983xczyhk6ld6rnyg56io8zbpvzciazq4wnekd3je0ie_67_e7rcn3wh3zlfxcjk0m_i6z5oehpopfeqz5kpoleg

I believe in vocalising how you feel; communication is the key to a happy and healthy relationship. If your partner is too immature to handle you, they’ll be someone that can. For every crazy girl there is an equally crazy boy or girl to fall in crazy love with. You might be crazy for the rest of your life and meet a person strong enough to handle it, or you’ll meet someone that calms you enough that those feelings quietly fade away.

200_s

Recently, I’ve seen a trend of girls owning their crazy and I love it. I’m so happy to be alive in the time of memes – memes are amazing for relating and normalising thoughts and behaviour once believed to be embarrassing. Confidence is without a doubt the sexiest thing about a woman. Be honest and have confidence in your feelings and you just can’t lose.

Own your crazy. Being cool is overrated.

16443643_10154997566938633_427852136_n

And as WordPress doesn’t upload the link, here is a little something to end on.

 

Standard
Happiness, Health

Top-Secret Beauty Tips that Modelling Taught Me

One question I am quite regularly asked is,

“What beauty secrets have you learnt from modelling?”

Although I always seem to get on really well with MUA’s, I’m really not interested in make up at all. I usually sit in the chair, let them do their thing whilst day dreaming or chatting, and voila, there’s a much better looking girl staring back at me in the mirror.

I’m atrocious at my own make-up and don’t wear much at all when I’m not working. So I’m afraid I don’t have any make-up tips… Although Britney Spears did teach me to dab lipstick of my cheeks instead of blusher, when I was a 10 year old watching her “In The Zone” DVD.

The so called ‘tips’ that I have learned are simple and already well known:

  • Bioderma (once secret way before it became available to buy in every pharmacy in London)
  • Coconut oil erry’thing (face masks, hair masks, hand cream, sexy oils)
  • Enough water and sleep – I know it’s mega boring and seems like bullshit but it is 100% annoyingly true

I have replied with these answers, usually met with politely disappointed responses. But actually, the older I get and the more at one with myself I become, the more I realise what I have in fact learnt from my experience as a model.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 beauty secrets that no one will tell you.

1. No one is that beautiful.  

Some people ask if modelling makes you insecure. Sure, it can make you feel insecure for a number of reasons; rejection, not fitting into clothes, bitchy comments that get you right there and linger forever… But in some ways, modelling actually made me feel more secure. Because, I have seen up close, met and shared toilet cubicles with some of the most gorgeous models in the world… And not once have I been so overwhelmed by one’s beauty that I have felt disgustingly unattractive. Don’t get me wrong, they really are beautiful. But so is that girl that lives down the road from you. They’re still human. Some girls have very picturesque, doll like faces and the standard “perfect” body (yawn), yet suffer from bad B.O and even worse breath. Some move like ballerina’s yet sound like a burly truck driver. Some are simply dumb as shit.

1477349_10152441397817796_888232613_n

There’s usually two ways this scenario will pan out – I will either see a photo of a girl that makes me feel like the ugliest troll in the world, only to meet her and be shocked by her humanness… Or I will meet women who are sexy, beautiful, attractive and interesting, who’s character and aura is simply too intense to be captured in a 2d image.

tumblr_nzz9vegzzo1qjm9bpo1_540

The Western world and particularly the fashion industry is far too entranced by beauty in a 2d image or a film clip that it mostly disregards the unexplainable beauty many people exude; the kind that you can’t bottle and sell, or even pin point. None of the most beautiful, attractive people I have ever met are models.

2. It. Is. Literally. All. About. Confidence. 

Not every model is an intimidatingly confident superwoman. It’s extremely human to be insecure and not entirely self assured. Many models are actually faking confidence, really really really well. And actually, that’s all anyone can do in terms of confidence and beauty; fake it until you make it.

Standing tall. Holding yourself with poise. Speaking with conviction. A smile. Easy and completely free things we can all do which make such a difference to how we feel about ourselves – as well as the less important – how others view us.

agent-provocateur-autumn-winter-2013-1051x540-800x411

3. Accept your body shape and focus on it’s health more than what it looks like. 

Hardly anyone is naturally that thin. I know that some girls are actually that thin even though they eat 5,000 calories a day and don’t exercise. Yeah, ok…

The majority of models’  – not the 1% of models that become super models but normal, nameless models – careers begin at 15 and end in their early twenties. A lot of them still have their childhood metabolism and prepubescent shape. Some have that typical prepubescent shape their whole lives. Plus the fact that they are taller than the average women, meaning their bodies are longer and someway stretched out. But many fashion consumers are more typical shaped women, who are a lot older than the girls they are bombarded with photos of. I don’t think a lot of people really consciously consider that.

That being said, a lot of women that do not have this natural, thin shape are ultra skinny regardless. They’ll tell you it’s from diet and exercise. But in the case of most of the models I’ve been in close contact with, it’s extreme, sometimes life debilitating: i.e no carbs, dairy or sugar EVER, no more than 500 calories for 5 days of the week, at least an hour of cardio a day, etc, etc.

tumblr_llrvrncbwr1qzffago1_500

Others rely on an unhealthier life style to keep the pounds at bay. It’s a rarity to find a model in London that doesn’t smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

There is a dark side of modelling that I once thought only existed in cliche parodies. I have so many examples and anecdotes about this, but there is one so brutal it sticks out.

One of my closet model friends was working in New York for a few months signed to a top agency. During fashion week, they called her in between castings to have a “polite” word about her weight. She was “too big”. At that point she was eating under 500 calories a day (that’s a banana, two slices of bread and a few pieces of ham), exercising for two hours every morning, and at 5’11, was the skinniest she had ever been. Her Instagram feed scared me. She looked ill and a far cry from the bubbly, happy girl I love. Shocked, she told them that she didn’t know what else to do about it, since she was already fainting and crying herself to sleep. This is when they suggested she try cocaine.

2005-moss-was-filmed-snorting-cocaine-at-a-party-and-the-london-tabloids-turned-against-her-these-grainy-images-are-among-the-most-famous-ever-taken-of-moss-and-they-cost-her-millions-in1

Of course, it was no secret to me that a lot of the more party loving models used cocaine and other drugs recreationally, and cocaine especially is known for it’s laxative and appetite suppressing qualities. My friend, completely without judgement, is personally against drugs and cigarettes and hardly drinks alcohol. For her to be pressured by the people that were supposed to be protecting her, so far from home, made me feel psychically sick.

I’m not judging anyone’s choices. But I do think it’s unfair that women are duped into thinking that all of these bodies were achieved in a healthy way. The majority of bodies in the fashion world are completely unobtainable for the average woman.

And I haven’t even touched upon eating disorders…

4. Be aware of the fakery. 

A lot of models were not born exactly the way you see them. Although a lot of them had lovely faces already, a good 50% of the girls I know have had nose jobs, sometimes multiple, and even more of the less high-fashion girls have had boob jobs. A few of the ‘celebrity’ models of the moment and countless ‘Instagram models’ have had undeniable face surgery, which for fashion models a few years ago was near unthinkable. I’m ashamed to say I have, more than once, found myself in a black hole of girls’ social feeds, chronicling their changing faces and attempting to pin point exactly what they’ve ‘had done’ and when. It kind of fascinates me…

tumblr_ns30c9dyqc1rt5y7no1_540

Plus, it’s important to remember that you only see models photoshopped to within an inch of their life, with Heaven-like lighting and even better angles. A lot of girls, including myself, have or still do suffer from break outs and adult acne, but you’ll never see that.

I truly believe that the next generation will grow up feeling weirdly human because of their natural human features, surrounded by alien ‘perfect’ features in the media. But that’s for another article.

5. Imperfections really are what make you beautiful. 

Picture your favourite model; Cara’s eyebrows, Cindy’s beauty mark, Iman’s neck, Lara’s gap, Erin’s nose, Lily’s hair… a lot of the most recognisable faces have something unusual about them that makes them stand out from the other hundreds of models wanting to book that gig.

Sculptor Marc Quinn described this perfectly while discussing Kate Moss.

“I think she’s got a very symmetrical face and yet when she opens her mouth she’s got slightly elongated teeth on the top row, so there is a tiny element of threateningness within her beauty, and there’s a kind of balance between seduction and repulsion going on. That’s one thing, she’s not completely flawless. It’s the flaws that make her. In all people, it’s the flaws that make you interesting.”

tumblr_n87ccsgyo81qd06e8o1_540

It’s a lot easier to say than to do, but accepting and growing to love and appreciate your flaws in probably the best thing anyone can learn from the modelling industry. You begin to see how changeable and fluid our ideas of beauty are and how manipulated we are within societies perceptions. Once a feature or trait is confirmed as attractive and desirable, there’s an uncontrollable domino effect. However, as soon as we start to become aware of just how mindless the trends of what is considered beautiful really are, we can begin to unsubscribe from this forced ideal and truly learn to accept and appreciate our own so called flaws.

tumblr_o36yr0kel61r43tiko1_540

Standard