September 15, 2015

Interviewing “The Charlie’s Angels Of Mental Health”

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If we closed our eyes for five seconds I’m sure we could all remember being a teenager and how awful it was at times. From the fashion mistakes (although blue lipstick is back in, right?) to the boy dramas, the hormones, the angry diary-writing. What if you had a guidebook written in the voices of a calming older sister to help you through the times that feel like the end of the world? That’s what the Self-Esteem Team is here to do. The book was penned by the three girls behind the Self-Esteem Team brand: Natasha Devon, Grace Barrett and Nadia Mendoza. I managed to have some time with Grace Barrett and ask her all the things my teenage self would love to know…

Firstly, I wish I’d read this book as a teenager! What made you guys want to write it in the first place?

We love working with teens in schools but each class is over in about an hour and we know that they’re jam-packed with information. We thought it’d be handy for our students to have something to read whenever they want with all the questions we get asked after the class. Plus, if you’ve never had a visit from us, you’re still getting all our tips and tricks in book form.

You’ve been described as the “anti-Katie Hopkins” by some media, do you like this label? What do you prefer to call yourselves?

We have!? Well, it’s safe to say there’s a lot about what she projects on that we’d never want to emulate so we’ll take it as a compliment! I heard us referred to as the Charlie’s Angels of mental mealth once, I think I like that just a little bit better.

How did you remember in detail what it was like to be a teen? Did you read through old teenage diaries?

For me my teenage years were tricky; more than anything I had an overwhelming feeling that I just DIDN’T FIT IN. I really struggled with it, my diaries are testament to that but I didn’t really need them to remind myself as; situations and feelings like that are etched into you I think.

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This book is labelled “self-help” – (I love self-help), but why do you think these sorts of books sometimes receive an air of stick or snobbery?

I think the idea of helping yourself is something that is generally frowned on in the UK because it seems indulgent. Couple that with the idea that you don’t already know how to help yourself and you’ve torn apart what it means to be British in one fell swoop. One of our biggest challenges is learning to ask for help so I think that self-help, in whatever form it comes, can be tough. If you’re struggling with it as a concept though, I’d ask the question: ‘If I don’t chose to help myself, how will anything change’?

Thanks! My teenage self had wildly different ideas of success to the ones I have now, but I’m quite glad of that. I have always been incredibly driven, that’s because of what success meant to me when I was younger – I’ve always been chasing something and because of that I’ve ticked off a lot of life’s to do list. I had to teach myself to stop and smell the roses though, and in doing that I’ve been open to opportunities I never would have dreamed of. Like writing a book, I always loved English at school and creative writing but I was so focused on music that I’d forgotten some of those things about myself. This was certainly a life goal I never knew I had and I’ve been so lucky to be mentored by Tash and Nadz, two pro writers, throughout the whole process to make something we’re really proud of!

You can buy the Self-Esteem Team’s Gude to Sex, Drugs and WTFs on Amazon now.

The full interview is on glamourmagazine.co.uk.

 

My Book

“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”

– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE

"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"

– The Debrief

“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic