5 May 2017

Interview with Milly Smith from the Selfloveclubb

Hi Milly, thank you for answering some questions for Bad Mum magazine; it is very much appreciated!

I love your @selfloveclubb Instagram account and wow, you are at 119k followers and growing by the minute (now on 123k!!) This is a massive achievement; congratulations! When do you start the SelfLoveClubb and what made you take the leap to start in the first place?
Thank you so much! Its been crazy especially since I only started my account in November! I started the account from being purely fed up of feeling inadequate, ashamed and embarrassed about my natural body. I wanted to not only improve my body image but the body image of others and hopefully spread a positive message regarding mental health out into the world.
I absolutely love Instagram and I think it is a great tool to use for free; especially starting a new venture or business. How do you find Instagram and has it been a big part of the SelfLoveClubb?
Its great and so popular at the minute, it seems everyone is using it on a daily basis! Its been huge and selfloveclubb would not have been as popular if it wasn't for instagram and the opportunity to share images to huge audiences, at the touch of a button. Its a great tool and allowed me to connect with the rest of the body positive/mental health community.

You are also taking the YouTube world by storm. I love all your YouTube videos and you are so natural in front of the camera! Was it scary recording your first one and putting it out there?
Thank you so much, that's so sweet. It was terrifying!! I was that nervous on my first video I didn't even look into the lenses, I looked into the viewfinder instead ha! I find that now I can talk to the camera quite easily and it feels a lot more natural. Its quite therapeutic for me in a way and allows me to vent my thoughts like an online diary.
You are a Mummy and the work you are doing to make us love who we are, is such an important message to send out; especially to the younger generation. How do you add this into your parenting on a day to day basis?
I agree, its a hugely important message for young men and women. I’m very mindful of the language I use about my body around Eli (my son), I won't ever insult my body in front of him. I spend a lot of time naked around him and bathing together as I want him to grow up realising nudity isn't shameful or inherently sexual! I will be very open with Eli about mental health and enforce the importance of it just as much as I would his physical health. As Momma's we are raising the future and I want to help make that future stigma free in regards to mental health and help get rid of body shaming.

It is so important for boys (and men) to learn how to respect and appreciate women and our bodies too. Has your son started to ask any questions about the work you do and what do you tell him?
Hes only 23 months at the moment so all he's interested in right now is pointing to my body parts and naming them ha! When he does start to ask questions I will be very honest and straight with him. I want to teach him about sexual consent from an early age and how to be respectful. We are a very communication based house and I want him to know he can come to me with questions about his body and that its not shameful or embarrassing.

I love your no fuck attitude towards so many things from beauty products promising us an amazing summer ready body to people’s opinions about your health. Have you always been like this or is it something you learnt over time?
I have definitely not always been like this ha ha! I used to be SO consumed within diet culture and what others thought about me. I learnt how to hate my body, use beauty products to change myself from an insanely young age like most of us do and I have had to re learn to stick a middle finger up to it all! I’ve had to learn how to respect myself and my body and stop allowing the media and others opinions into my thoughts and its been the best thing I've ever done. Letting go of diet/beauty culture has changed my world.

I see you are very open about mental health, chronic pain and suffering with your eating disorder. I have Fibromyalgia and I am normally in pain but look “normal” from the outside. Not many people know this but I also suffered with an eating disorder when I was a teenager which also come with OCD. I was living on a cracker a day. So, to see you promoting body positivity, talking about these issues and making it more accessible is vital. Do you find it easy to talk about all these issues or is something you still find difficult?   
I'm so sorry to hear you suffer also, its so dreadfully horrible when you have an invisible illness as there is always ignorant people who refuse to acknowledge your pain unless they can see it visibly. At the start of my page in November I definitely found it difficult; I would hover my finger over the post button and avoid posting it for hours before I did. Now I find it much easier, its still raw and sometimes scary but the negative ignorant comments no longer bother me and I no longer let them affect my mood. The fact that i can see it helping so many is a huge driving force for me to post quite personal and raw things, it makes every ounce of pain I have endured worth it.
You partner (who is also on Instagram @positivitypoppa) has joined you on many of your YouTube videos and he is a lovely guy, and seems so supportive. You can also find him on his Instagram page wearing a bikini!! It must be great to find a partner that totally understands what you stand for and even helps you along the way?
He is beyond amazing, words cannot express what a tremendous human he is. Hes on this journey with me and is learning as I learn and it's meant so much to me. He feels my pain and my moods too. He's my best friend and when I'm down, he's down so to learn together and support each other is so important. We’ve always been so similar but to see him starting his own male bopo account was just awesome and really meant so much to me. He gets me, he sees my passion, respects it and supports me with it and that's a beautiful thing.

You started the #mybadassbody hashtag and campaign; are you shocked at how well it has done and taken off?
I've been so overwhelmed to see people using it in their posts, it's been so lovely. I wanted to use it as a hashtag for us to celebrate the non aesthetic things about our bodies. Its been so lovely to read peoples posts about how they're appreciating their bodies and why.
You are a strong believer in Girl Power and eliminating girl hate; there is a strong Mama tribe on Instagram now that is sweeping through in a very honest way. Do you think all this honesty can only be a good thing?
I adore it! I think honesty is forever the best policy. We’ve spent so so long in a society that tells us to hide our ‘shameful’ parts or to always appear ‘picture perfect’ especially as a Momma Bear. I want people to see what its like behind the scenes, behind the happy selfies. It allows people to feel less alone, less ashamed and less likely to hide their struggles.

Lastly, everyone must leave us with a parenting confession they have never told anyone before…take a shot if it helps!
Ha ha oh gosh! Eli used to have this car that made the most annoying noises in the world, he loved it and I may have ‘accidentally’ put it in a sink of water so that it no longer worked… naughty Mummy.
Thank you again for your time and please carry on with your message and being so body positive, as we need a lot more of it!

All photos credited to Milly Smith

Interview by Sophie Farrow  


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