The first interview I did for this blog with Ellie Crawshaw lead me to finding Lindsay on Instagram. She was one of the first people to cheer on Ellie and myself for the interview we did and I’ve followed her ever since then, not just because I appreciate her support but because she is a fearless force to be reckoned with.
Lindsay is a 21 year old support worker by day with a huge expanse of side projects on the go the rest of the time. She owns a small business called badmouthedpins, dabbles in burlesque stage management and has a hugely popular online presence. Her Instagram account, @rollinwithlindsay_, is one of the best accounts I have seen that promotes self love, inclusivity and body positivity. I defy anyone to look at her photos without getting serious wardrobe envy and the woman has makeup skills that make your jaw drop. She is incredibly body positive and encourages each and every one of her followers to look at themselves in the same unashamedly proud way. Lindsay’s posts include descriptions for those who are visually impaired and she also tells you if she has edited her photos and what filter she has used. In a world of pretend #naturalbeauty, it is incredibly refreshing to see someone tell you ‘I’m fabulous as I am but using Valencia really helped up the brightness of this photo’.
When I asked Lindsay for a brief bio of herself, she described herself as ‘impulsive, loud, strong minded and just a tad reckless (dependent on what mood I’m in and who you’re asking)’ and that personality shines through in the content that she shares online. She isn’t afraid to love her own skin, to cheer on her fellow Instagrammers and to cut through the bullshit we see day in and day out online. She’s the kind of girl you know would stand up for you in a club when a creep tries hitting on you, the kind of girl that looks at every glass as if it’s half full. In essence, she’s the kind of person I think we should all try and be a little more like. After reading this interview, I think you’ll all agree with me.
One of the things I really like about you is your loud and proud self confidence. How do you get to be so confident in your own skin?
I always feel a bit of a fraud when talking about this because to tell you the truth I’ve never really struggled with liking myself… but then again it depends what part of me we’re referring to. So let’s talk about the biggest part, my size (pun most definitely intended!) I’ve always been comfortable with being fat. I always have been fat so for me it’s just something I’ve forced myself to get on with. I can’t remember a time when I was not fat. Of course I would be lying if I said I never had a day where my body didn’t bother me but overall me being fat wasn’t the defining factor of my self doubt.
My skin is a different story. Up until around 8 months ago you would have never seen me openly without make up on. My skin has been the part of me that’s caused me the most turmoil. I suffer from Hidradenitis Suppurativa, a skin condition that causes large painful boil like abscesses on the body especially in areas where the sweat glands are. I also suffer from bad acne and a low immune system which means my body doesn’t seem to heal as quickly as it should. This has and still is the thing that I am most conscious about.
But how did I became so confident? Honestly I faked it until I made it. This is not the best advice I could give but it worked for me. I remember talking with someone and she told me how she was worried about going swimming in public because she felt her legs were big. She asked me ‘how are you so confident?’ and I replied, ‘think what that body has enabled you to do. Think of everything that your armour of skin has protected you from – your scars, your stretch marks they just prove everything you’ve fought and still are fighting. Your body is your physical form and it carries you through life… are you really going to give up in it now because your scared of how people will react?’ Sounds deep as fuck, right? It’s true though when you think about it. She told me when I next saw her that she went on the beach in a swimming costume and thought to herself ‘that’s because of Lindsay’. I cried.
It’s not just in real life that your outlook on body image has a positive impact on other people. Your Instagram account has a real community feel and it is full of a wide variety of people who support each other and build up each other’s confidence. Why do you think it’s important for a broader range of people to be represented online and in the media?
For all its faults, social media is a great platform and enables us to see a spectrum of people. I believe it so important that social media represents all kinds of people because although I’m young myself, there are teenagers now logging into Instagram, clicking links on YouTube and sharing stories on Facebook. If we do not share a diverse range of people then what are we teaching teenagers? I think we’re so lucky to already have such a progressive society but we can do more.
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is such a broad word for me. It’s like trying to judge how long a piece of string is. Beauty for me is to be able to see people’s quirks, the little tiny things that make them them, like little phrases or mannerisms – those things that you just can’t change about a person. It’s seeing someone at their most vulnerable and it’s seeing someone at the best they can be.
You’re accepting of beauty in all forms which is great, but so often we see online that not everyone thinks the same as other people do. Do you get negativity online and if so how do you cope with it?
Of course I receive negativity online. It’s upsetting that it’s a given but unfortunately if you build a platform online you will receive negativity. Dependent on what mood I’m in I react in different ways. If I’m having a good day I usually would say I respond. My coping mechanism for it is usually sarcasm or humour so I usually respond in a sarcastic way. If I’m having a bad day I usually just delete the comment or the message.
However I will always respond to someone if they are engaging in my post not necessarily in a negative way but saying they don’t agree with me. If someone is making a sensible argument, I will respond. I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t bother me because of course it does and sometimes it comes at the worse time. I think some people forget that because I’m so active online that I do have a life I’m living with a lot of stuff going off in the background as well, although I try to be as transparent as I can on my Instagram.
You talk about how you deal with other’s being negative towards you on bad days, but how do you deal with a bad day when it comes to how you look at yourself and your own self confidence?
I ride it out, that’s honestly the best advice I can give. You will have days when you feel bad about yourself and its pretty normal. The worst thing a person can do is bottle all that emotion up and ‘ignore it’. If I’m having a down day I just make sure I make it through the day and remind myself that tomorrow is a new one. I remind myself to be kind to myself and override that negative self talk. What I see a lot is people beating themselves up because they don’t feel good about themselves… DON’T DO THAT. You can’t fight negativity with more negativity. Do some simple things like make your bed, have a good breakfast, have a bath or have a nap. Just know tomorrow is another day.
Your posts on social media often include an element of reminding people of their self worth and build up a genuine relationship between yourself and your followers. Why do you think it’s important to use your social media to spread positive messages?
I like this question… I like questions that make me think. When I created my Instagram I didn’t know it would go this far. I didn’t know this was the route I would take. I just started posting and my posts were really well received. For me, Instagram has built my confidence and given me a platform to be 100% myself and build what I regard as real relationships. So I wanted to start giving that back. I think it’s important because my experience of other girls (I’m saying girls as in when I was younger) was negative. I didn’t have a positive ‘girl gang’ bar one person who still to this day is my best friend. I found it exhausting and difficult because I always felt I was trying to prove myself. I have now seen how women can empower each other and build each other up and it’s exciting – it’s such a feeling. So I guess I’m wanting to show the world the kind of support I wish I had when I was younger.
One of the biggest things people get pulled down about is their looks and how they choose to present themselves. Do you believe that certain ages or sizes should only wear certain clothes?
No, I don’t. Clothes are an expression of ourselves. If we feel comfortable wearing something then crack on. There really isn’t much more to it.
Your own sense of style is impeccable. What advice would you give to someone trying to find their own identity when it comes to styling?
Thank you so much! First tip – experiment. If only you could have seen some of my past looks! Finding your fashion identity is all about chopping and changing. It’s like anything – you don’t know until you try. I think also for me the way I dress is a way to speak without talking. I often wear things that have text on and that is very much on purpose.
Fashion identity can only come naturally but if you’re setting out to finding what yours is maybe try and think what your trying to convey. What message do you want your clothes to give off? And more importantly how do YOU want them to make you feel?
Also don’t be scared of change. Just because you’re wearing a classic 1940’s dress one day doesn’t mean you can’t wear an 80’s inspired flare the next. Another tip is don’t put restrictions on yourself, don’t stop yourself from wearing something because society thinks you shouldn’t.
On the theme of giving advice, what would you say to someone who is struggling with body confidence issues?
Find the route of the problem. I tend to find that we are really quick to attack the physical form of our bodies. Body confidence issues are not always related to how you physically look. It’s mindset. This could be from trauma, mental health, mental illness… an array of things. Obviously I’m not naive enough to think it’s as easy as ‘find the route of the problem’ as it’s a long and difficult process. I found a lot of my body confidence issues came from the opinions of others. I had to re-train my brain to value my own opinions over that of others and that took a long time to do.
For someone who is so positive and so strong minded, I can’t wait to read your answer to this question… what is your outlook on life?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Remember that life is yours and you need to do you. Literally live every second and don’t have regrets. Be bold, loud. Make a statement, take up space and be grateful.