Episode 02: Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town
Welcome back to a brand new episode of You, Me and a Cup of Tea! This week, I’m sitting down with Stephanie Yeboah of Nerd About Town!
Fashion Fanatic, Body Positive Empowered Queen, and a generally all round incredible human, Steph and I sat down at her cozy flat in South London for a chat and plenty of laughs!
A few things we talked about:
The Calm App: https://www.calm.com/
St. John The Divine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Saint_John_the_Divine
Talking with Serial Killers by Christoper Berry-Dee: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Talking-Serial-
Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stepsister-Jennifer-Donnelly/dp/1471407977/
Desert Island Discs: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3CueKdarL5T7jtFXVgUD9V
If you’d like to find more of Stephanie on the internet you can find her on:
Her blog: https://www.nerdabouttown.com/
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (Coming Soon)
Ghenet: Hello Internet friends! Welcome back to a brand new episode of You, Me and a Cup of Tea! Before we get started, I just wanted to say a big, big thank you to everyone who listened to the first episode with Anna! Thank you so much for listening and downloading, for all of the kind messages and thank you for spreading the word, tweeting about it and sharing it on your Instagram stories! It really, really means a lot, so more than I can say! Now, onto today’s episode! This week, I’m sitting down with Stephanie Yeboah, who you might know as Nerd About Town! Fashion Fanatic, Body Positive Empowered Queen, and a generally all round incredible human, Steph and I sat down at her cozy flat in South London for a chat and plenty of laughs! Let’s dive in, shall we?
Ghenet: Hi Steph! Thank you so much for having me in your lovely flat!
Steph: Thank you for coming over! Thank you! I’m excited!
Ghenet: I’m excited too! It’s so nice to, like, be able to sit down with people who- I feel like we’ve met a handful of times in real person, but mostly it’s just like, on the internet?
Steph: Yeah, and then you kind of feel like you know somebody already online, even if you’ve met two or three times!
Ghenet: Oh, absolutely! But, yeah! So it’s nice to, like, sit down and have a chat. But yeah, shall we dive right into the questions?
Steph: Yeah! Go for it!
Ghenet: Exciting! Okay, are you an early bird or a late riser?
Steph: Uh, early bird. Definitely. Yeah. I sleep very late but then I also wake up very early, so its-
Ghenet: Oh gosh, okay.
Steph: …so it’s a bit annoying but it’s just how my brain functions.
Ghenet: Do you have, like, set times in the day, when you’re the most productive?
Steph: So I seem to be the most productive around… Between the hours of 2:00 to 4:00am.
Ghenet: Oh my gosh!
Steph: Yeah, that’s when I get really creative, so that’s when I mostly write all of my essays, and-
Ghenet: Oh, wow.
Steph: -like articles and things like that. I don’t know why, it’s really strange.
Ghenet: Is it like a- you stay up til that time, or you’ll be asleep and you just wake up and it’s like, lightbulb moment!
Steph: Oh, it’s when I stay up ‘til that time.
Ghenet: Oh my gosh! Okay-
Steph: Yeah. Just ‘cause I can’t- I find it so difficult to switch off. So, um… I’m trying! I’m trying to be a bit better with sleeping before midnight… but, um-
Ghenet: It’s tough to get yourself in that routine… takes time.
Steph: Yeah, definitely.
Ghenet: Do you have, like, a- What’s your bedtime routine? Have you got one, or is it like-
Steph: You know what? Reading makes me fall asleep really quickly, but I’ve gotten to a point now where I feel like- ever since I got my Nintendo Switch…
Ghenet: Oh no!
Steph: –I don’t really tend to read as much, which is- which is terrible because I love reading… but my routine, sort of, involves playing on that for half an hour, and then I’ll have Netflix on in the background. Just for background noise, even though it’s playing a huge part in me staying awake. And then, I’ll kind of just be scrolling on my phone until I eventually fall asleep? And then I have- I always listen to a sleep story, actually before I go to sleep. So it’s normally like, one of the fairytales, like Rapunzel or something, on the Calm app… and then, that tends to-
Ghenet: –help you kind of-
Steph: -help me, like, drift off in the early hours of the morning.
Ghenet: Until you wake up with your bright idea and then you’re… off and away on the computer!
Steph: Exactly. Exactly.
Ghenet: What time, then, do you get up in the morning normally?
Steph: About 7:00? But I always feel quite well rested. Which is strange… I used to have insomnia when I was younger… like, really badly, and that was only having, like 3 hours’ sleep so even if I get 3, 4 hours’ sleep, I’m fine.
Ghenet: You’re still able to function, ‘cause you had to learn how to function with that.
Steph: Yeah, exactly. So I’m still trying to, like, come out of it? I have melatonin that I take if it’s, like, really bad. Like if it’s like 5am and I can’t sleep, then I’ll take the melatonin, which is great, but I’m trying to not take it every day. Because I don’t want my body to get used to it and then it will stop working…
Ghenet: And then need it…
Steph: Yeah, and then equally, I don’t want to become too addicted to it, because these ones I got in the States and they’re just great. They’re really- like the extra strength ones! And um… so… yeah, I don’t wanna, sort of, get too dependent or too used to it, so I just take it like, once every couple of weeks or so.
Ghenet: Just when you really really need it.
Ghenet: It’s funny how everyone has their different- If I only had 3 hours’ sleep, like, I really… I would struggle. Not even like a bit tired, like twitch in my eye, like literally falling asleep… you know that thing when you’re so tired, you blink and you think it’s only been a second, but it’s been a few minutes? You’re just like-
Steph: Like, six minutes later…
Ghenet: You’re like, oh, wait. Oh. What? Nope. What?
Steph: Those micro-sleeps, yeah. But then I also have a big addiction to coffee, so I’m not really helping myself, ‘cause I’ll wake up and then, I’ll just have, like a huge cappuccino and that will just keep me running. And then I’ll have a cappuccino at like 10pm, so I’m not really doing myself-
Ghenet: That’s probably a bit dangerous, that one!
Steph: Yeah, I’m not really doing myself any favors, to be honest. I really need to- I need to change my habits, ‘cause it’s terrible.
Ghenet: Oh no!
Ghenet: Chips or crisps.
Steph: Oh! Uh… chips. I love a potato. Like, potatoes in all-
Ghenet: … in all forms.
Steph: In all forms is great, but yeah, chips- there’s just… when you get like, the triple fried in fat chips?
Ghenet: Yeah. So you’re more like a thick, like, chip shop chip, or like a french fry?
Steph: Oh, I like it.
Ghenet: All of it.
Steph: All of it! Yeah, I like the really thick ones, like thick… what is it called? What are they called?
Is there a special name for them? I can’t remember.
Ghenet: What, like, hand cut ones?
Steph: Hand cut, that’s it. Yeah. Just a nice chunky…
Ghenet: Chunky chip. What do you put on your chips?
Steph: Salt. Onion vinegar, and… ketchup? But I’m not the biggest fan of ketchup so sometimes I’ll just have it dry.
Ghenet: Yeah. I’ve done that as well. Sometimes you just want the saltiness of it.
Steph: Yeah, exactly. So sometimes I’ll just do that. Sometimes, a bit of rosemary sprinkled, if I’m feeling fancy.
Ghenet: Oooh! That does sound fancy!
Steph: Yeah. If I’m feeling a bit fancy, go to like a gastropub and they’ve got like rosemary fries, I’ll be like, ‘Oh! I’ll have a couple of those, thank you very much!’
Ghenet: I mean, I’m a fan of all- as you said, like all potatoes! They’re pretty good, but I think, chips. Yeah.
Steph: Chips are just great, yeah. They’re just so incredibly moreish as well, so… I’m always down.
Ghenet: It’s one of those things where they’re reliably delicious? And then in some- do you ever get cravings for some… like on a day like today, I’ll be like, ‘I just want a nice, big, warm-’
Steph: Jacket potato-
Ghenet: Oh yeah!
Steph: -would be mine. That’s my sort of stodgy, when-it’s-raining-outside food. Jacket potato… just put loads and loads of cheese on it, and then make like a sort of a tuna mayonnaise with tomato, spring onions and avocado mixed in it.
Steph: Oh yeah, I have my own little recipe that I do!
Ghenet: Oh! This is like- wow, okay!
Steph: Yeah! My own little thing.
Ghenet: Right, next time it’s raining, I’m coming round for a jacket potato
Steph: It’s so good!
Ghenet: That sounds really good.
Steph: I used to have- When I used to work full time, I used to have it at lunch time, which is like the worst thing, because we had bean bags as well. So as soon as I finished lunch, just go onto the bean bags and before you know it, I’d just fallen asleep, ‘cause I’m just so- ‘cause it’s so stodgy, it’s like, you can’t work in the afternoon. So I had to stop unfortunately.
Ghenet: Yeah. Rainy days are made for meals like those though. Tell me about the time that you did something that scared you.
Steph: Oh! That scared me. Umm… right, so it’s not like a huge thing, but it’s a huge thing for me, ‘cause I never do this, but telling somebody that I like them. And I know that sounds really like, ‘eh, so what,’ but for me, personally, I can’t- I don’t like to let people know that I like them, unless I know for sure that-
Ghenet: -that they like you.
Steph: -that they like me back. Cause I have a huge issue with rejection and all of that stuff, so I’ve just always been somebody that has been really reserved when it comes to feelings, and talking about relationships and all of that. Like I’m very- it’s very alien to me, still. So, um, yeah, I think it was when I told somebody that I liked them, without knowing if they liked me back. They didn’t like me back, which is- which is- eh, it’s fine.
Ghenet: Oh no!
Steph: But, um-
Ghenet: It is fine! It’s their loss.
Steph: It’s fine.
Ghenet: It’s their loss, but you did something brave by telling them
Steph: By, yeah, coming out and saying. Yeah, ‘cause I don’t tend to like people at all, like I’ve trained myself not to like people? Because I am of the mindset that- and it’s a really terrible mindset- but I’ve always been like, ‘this person is only gonna see me as a friend,’ or ‘they’re not gonna like how I look,’ or ‘they’re not gonna do this.’ Even though I think I’m great and whatever, I still think that, from other people’s point of views I will- I may not be the type of person that they’re looking for, either personality-wise or looks-wise or whatever. So, I always cancel myself out before I even… you know.
Ghenet: Well, I mean- I s’pose as well… that’s the thing, with your blog and stuff, you’ve been so open about that kind of thing. I suppose if that is the feedback that you’re getting, it’s difficult to convince yourself that something other than that is gonna happen?
Ghenet: I definitely had that when I was younger. I just never- not that I didn’t value myself but I certainly, like- I never thought anyone I liked would like me back, ‘cause… ‘cause there was such a history of that? And I was a bit like, well what’s the point? I’m just gonna, like, love them from afar, because they’re never gonna- they’re never gonna see me the way I want them to see me kind of thing.
Steph: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it, and so I kind of- So over the years, since my last breakup, I’ve I’ve- I hadn’t liked anybody, because I’ve just- in my head, I’ve just been like, ‘nope, I’m not gonna do it,’ but then I liked somebody, and I was like… I remember before I- I did it on WhatsApp voice notes, so… couldn’t do it face-to-face, but it was like-
Ghenet: Baby steps.
Steph: Yeah! I felt so anxious, and I don’t really get anxiety, but I- that’s when I knew I was scared, because I was like, ‘why is my heart just a thousand miles an hour.’ And I was like, shaking, and I just felt so weird doing it, so that was the last time I truly did something that I was like-
Ghenet: -scared of.
Steph: -scared of, yeah.
Ghenet: I mean that is scary. Because once you put it out there, like, you can’t take it back.
Steph: You can’t take it back. And it’s such a vulnerable position to be in as well.
Ghenet: Yeah! And it’s out of your control! Like, their response is not- you have no way of knowing-
Ghenet: –what it’s gonna be. That is- that can be very scary. I fully- I fully appreciate that. Like… now that I’m older I get it, but when I was younger, for sure, like- so hard.
Steph: It’s really difficult because I feel like I’m still in that same place? So I’ve kind of just resigned myself to- It’s difficult to not think about it because people say, ‘oh, don’t think about it and concentrate on your life,’ or whatever, but it’s like, when that part of your life- you haven’t had a lot of experience in it, and that’s something that you want, or like, you crave so much, like, you feel like that’s the only part that’s missing in your otherwise productive great life… then, sometimes it’s all you can think about, because it’s like, well, I’ve never been somebody that somebody has liked, and I want to know what it feels like to do this, and to feel this, and to have somebody like you. It’s something that’s always consistently on my mind. So… but equally, because… I don’t know. I don’t know. People don’t seem to like me in that way? It’s a bit like, well, I don’t really know what to do, so I’ve kind of just like roped that area off now, and just try to concentrate on other bits of my life, I think. Sorry, this turned into like a proper therapy session!
Ghenet: No, that’s okay! I mean, it’s- that’s like- it’s just… you know, we’re just two people having a chat and these things always happen. And I think that’s kind of the beauty of it, is we may have had different experiences in most of our lives, but inherently, at the base of it, we’re all very human and we all have those, like, similar things that we want out of life, you know? And sometimes it just comes spilling out!
Ghenet: Yeah. Well I am very proud of you for- for telling him.
Steph: Thank you!
Ghenet: Even though it didn’t necessarily go the way that you wanted, but it is baby steps, isn’t it? Like, next time then, it won’t be quite as- maybe it won’t be quite as scary and then, eventually, like, you’ll get to where you wanna be with it, I s’pose.
Steph: Yeah, exactly. Just… more- more, uh… practice, I guess? We’ll see.
Ghenet: Practice- well, I don’t want to say practice makes perfect, but, you know… practice is always good, I suppose.
Ghenet: What was your first screen name?
Steph: My first screen name? Okay, so before Nerd About Town, my blog name slash- no, yes, my blog name was Stevie’s Shindig.
Ghenet: Stevie’s Shindig?
Steph: So, my nickname is Stevie, and so when I was at Uni, I was like, ‘oh that’s so funny and clever,’ so… it used to be Stevie’s Shindig, and then after a while, I was like, this sound a bit too 70’s for me. Like, let me bring it into the new millennium, so then I changed it, but um… before then, my screen names on like, MSN and Black Planet and uh- um… Bebo, MySpace was all StevieFantastic. ‘Cause I love comic books and I felt like if I was to ever have a comic book or superhero name, it would be Stevie Fantastic? I don’t know why, but I love it!
Ghenet: I mean, that is a great- that is a great superhero name.
Steph: Thank you!
Ghenet: You are pretty fantastic if I do say so myself, so-
Steph: Oh! Thank you so much!
Ghenet: I feel like it’s very apt. So then, where did Nerd About Town come from?
Steph: So that came about in 2- I changed my blog name in 2010? Or 2011. Um, and it was kind of a play off of the whole ‘Girl About Town’ motto or name, and at the time, I was heavily into comic books and video games and Sci Fi and all of that stuff. Earlier on in my blog, I was talking about the nerdier aspects of what I liked to do? And I was really into tech and all of these things and then, as the years progressed, I started doing a lot more beauty and fashion, and talking a lot more about personal musings and things. But then I really just love the name; it kind of stuck, and… I’m still into those- into like the techy, nerdy things. I don’t do it as much, or rather, I don’t talk about it as much, which I probably should, but I feel like there’s so much I’m talking about at the moment, I don’t want to overload it with too many subjects? But yeah! I still feel like a bit of a nerd at heart! I still go to ComicCon, I- I still have, like, stacks of-
Ghenet: Have you been to ComicCon? I’ve never been! It sounds-
Steph: That’s where I met the love of my life last year! Jason Mamoa!
Ghenet: Oh my God!
Steph: The love of my- I waited in line for five hours.
Ghenet: I mean, gotta do what you gotta do, you know? Like-
Steph: Oh, I loved every minute of it. ‘Cause he kept popping out every hour to see if we were okay, and he had like a Guiness in his hand.
Ghenet: Oh, that’s so nice!
Steph: He actually looks like he’s sculpted out of, like, the finest marble. He’s beautiful.
Ghenet: Fully agree. Fully.
Steph: Yeah, he’s wonderful. But yeah, I still attend those and I still read comic books, and… I just- I love them, so that’s how the name stuck. Umm… and I quite- I’ve grown pretty attached to it now! I feel like it’s sort of a brand in itself, so I’m not- I’m not, umm… I’m not in any hurry to change it, or to sort of revert back to my name or whatever anytime soon.
Ghenet: What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?
Steph: I know this is really boring, but travel… somewhere that you wouldn’t normally go to. Or somewhere that-
Ghenet: I don’t think that’s boring. Why is that boring?
Steph: Do you not think so?
Steph: It’s not like a stereotypical answer though, is it?
Ghenet: Everyone just kind of has their own ideas, really, and that’s-
Steph: Yeah… I think… Travel somewhere on your own at least once, I think. Because for me personally, that’s what really- and again I know this is really cliche, but it was how I was able to find myself? And, just, I don’t know, discover my independence, and be-
Steph: -free, and experience all of these things without the pressure of having people around, or having to rely on people. And now I love traveling alone.
Ghenet: Yeah, you learn to depend on yourself in a way that you didn’t before. I did- when I was a student, and I was spending a semester here in London, that was like the first time I’d ever been outside the US, and I did little trips elsewhere, but I did all of them by myself. And I was like-
Steph: Yeah. It’s so fun.
Ghenet: It’s so fun! And you don’t have to worry about like, what everyone else wants to do, you can just go on your own- go at your own pace. And then, like- I was really proud of myself for getting through Paris without like, speaking a lick of French.
Ghenet: Literally, I learned how to say, ‘I don’t speak French,’ in French and that was it. And I was-
Steph: I love it!
Ghenet: Yeah, I literally was like, ‘Uhh, je ne parle pas francais?’ and then they’d be like ‘Oh, right. Okay.’ But, like, not really having to ask for too many directions, and I survived it, you know what I mean?
Ghenet: So then there was- and I was a bit like, okay well I can do anything now. Like, if I can do that-
Steph: Exactly, ‘cause you kind of like, fight the fear, and then after that you feel like, oh I did this all on my own. Like, the first time I did that was when I went to New York in 2013. And I went on my own for three months. I was just in Harlem, just- and that was my first time ever going to New York, and I- yeah, I just- I loved it so much. I was- where was I staying? Yeah, Harlem. Well, just at the tip of Harlem. So maybe, 112th Street and Broadway, I think.
Ghenet: Oh my God, really?
Ghenet: That’s like, two blocks from where I grew up!
Steph: Really?! Near like, the big church?
Ghenet: St. John The Divine!
Steph: Yeah! So my apartment overlooked it!
Ghenet: What?! That is crazy! Yeah, I grew up on 111th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam!
Steph: Did you?!
Ghenet: That is literally- As I-
Steph: Oh, yes, I was near Amsterdam!
Ghenet: -tell the world my address.
Steph: Oh my God yes. Have to bleep it out. Bleep! Yes, Amsterdam! And there was the-
Ghenet: Did you ever go to the Hungarian Pastry Shop?
Steph: Oh, I can’t remember, but I had the best time, and there was the- is it Seinfeld? I don’t know the-
Ghenet: Yeah, Tom’s Restaurant.
Steph: Tom’s Restaurant behind us, and Columbia Uni, and-
Ghenet: Tom’s Restaurant doesn’t look like anything like it does on the TV show! But on the outside, it’s great!
Steph: Yeah! But I- Oh, I loved staying there, like it was amazing! It was amazing!
Ghenet: And for three months just by yourself?
Steph: No, I was staying in an Airbnb, so I was staying with- actually, she was a- she’s a plus size model now, at the time she was like a, singer. She was like never there, ‘cause she was always like- in the evening she would go out and then, she would also always go to upstate New York to do some seminars and things so… it was technically, yeah, in the apartment on my own a lot of the time.
Ghenet: And that’s- wow. That’s quite a long period of time to like- to do something like that.
Steph: Yeah. Run out of money so many times. It was a case of like, having to dip into my savings and really, like, budget as well. So, I was just making my food at home, and there’s like this… I can’t remember what it’s called… it’s like a- like a deli or like a… really fancy… I don’t know if it was fancy, but it was like a greengrocer. I can’t remember where it was though. It was near Tom’s Restaurant, but it was like a greengrocer that I would go to everyday. And I would buy, like, loads of meat and chicken, and-
Ghenet: Yeah. Oh, what like, Westside Deli or whatever… Westside… something.
Steph: I think so.
Ghenet: Westside Market.
Steph: Yes! I think like a market! Yeah! And I would go there and buy like, loads of fruits and vegetables.
Ghenet: That’s literally where we would go grocery shopping every week! What is happening?!
Steph: Oh! Really? This is so weird! That’s amazing!
Ghenet: Could you imagine if we’ve actually- we would’ve actually, like, crossed paths at some point, and would have had no idea.
Steph: I wouldn’t be surprised. I can’t wait to go back. One day. One day soon, hopefully, I loved it! It’s so weird that we were so close.
Ghenet: That’s so- that is actually very random. Like, genuinely, like, we would have passed each other on the street.
Ghenet: Would have had no idea. Well, yeah! In 20- I mean, I didn’t move here until the end of 2014, so I was still in New York, and I was living at home…
Steph: Oh, wow. Could you imagine? Just like, pass each other, like…
Ghenet: Just, like, riding the train together, not even realizing… so funny. And, so you were saying, that you enjoy doing all of your travelling on your own now as well?
Steph: Yeah! So even with Ghana- I mean, yes, I met up with family when I was there, but for the most part, I try to do things on my own. I went to Bali on my own, which was really cool. And I’ve gone to, like, Barcelona on my own. Oh, and Prague. So I’m trying to- and Hungary as well. So I’m trying to do, like- yeah I just like going on my own. A lot of the time as well, because I know that I can very- I can be an annoying person to travel with. Because I’m that person that likes to get to the airport, like 4/5 hours early…
Ghenet: Oh my God, me too.
Steph: An itinerary of what we’re doing. Change all the money… like, I can be very…
Ghenet: Once we’re there-
Steph: Do what you want, yeah!
Ghenet: It’s just the- yeah, no, ‘cause I just get very stressed ‘til we’re at the airport gate. So I’m like, ‘No, no, no, but we need to- oh that train is delayed-and I…’ I just find it really really stressful.
Steph: Exactly. The last time I went, with my- was it my mom? Or something. We were going somewhere, I think it was Barcelona, and my mum is very last minute dot com. They were calling our gate to board, and she wanted to go into the shop to buy something, and I literally just walked off without her. I was like, ‘I’m getting on the plane, I don’t care-’
Ghenet: ‘K bye!’
Steph: Like, ‘if you miss the plane, that’s-’
Ghenet: Then you miss the plane!
Steph: that’s not my problem…
Ghenet: Yeah. The act of travel itself- like I love going places, but like, the getting there…
Steph: The getting there, yeah.
Ghenet: The getting there I find so stressful, but yeah. Traveling on your own. It is a really wonderful thing, isn’t it?
Steph: It’s great. It’s so enlightening, I find, so… That would be one thing I suggest everybody do.
Ghenet: Are there ever times that you feel insecure?
Steph: Yes! I think- I feel like all of us to a point- there’ll always be ups and downs when- in terms of insecurity, low self esteem, and confidence. And I’ve always said that even if you are on a journey towards self love and things like that, it’s not a linear journey.
Ghenet: Oh, no. Absolutely not!
Steph: It’s- there’s always gonna be ups and downs and there will be times when you do feel insecure, and… yeah there are definite times when I do feel that. And even this week, it’s been such a weird week because I can’t really pinpoint why I specifically feel that way, but it was just a case of… I don’t know, just having- sometimes you’ll get these intrusive thoughts that will, sort of, invade your mind when you’re looking in the mirror or you’re getting dressed, and you’re like, ‘oh actually, this looks rubbish on me,’ or ‘I’ll be so much better if I…’ I don’t know, if this bit was smaller or that bit was smaller. And, um, yeah, even this week I’ve had to deal with insec- thoughts of insecurity and just feeling really low about it, and it’s always annoying when you can’t pinpoint the reason why.
Ghenet: Well, sometimes there isn’t a reason why. Sometimes it kind of-
Steph: It just manifests itself. So yeah, there are definitely times when I do feel that way, and I think the way in which I try to counter it is I… so sometimes I’ll just buy like, really nice lingerie, or like underwear…
Ghenet: I mean, hey.
Steph: And then I just, like, sit around in it, or like, work in it, or if nobody’s at home, then I’ll just be here, just working, or watching tv, put on some Lizzo, because Lizzo’s songs are so, like-
Ghenet: Oh my god, yes! She’s amazing.
Steph: She’s amazing.
Ghenet: Just- uh…
Steph: All of her songs are just so aspirational and inspirational and they promote self live and self care, and so… yeah, just listen to some Lizzo, and talk to some friends maybe… like, try- I try not to isolate myself because being alone with my thoughts is-
Ghenet: Not good.
Steph: Like, not good at all. So, I try and get out or go for a walk… been experimenting with crystals… because I feel like everyone on instagram is doing this, and I’m like, ‘why is everyone doing this… let me get some.’ Literally just jumped on the bandwagon. Like, I am not ashamed to say it, I did. And, so I’ve got like, a rose quartz crystal which is supposed to promote love and-
Ghenet: Oh, okay!
Steph: -romance, and that’s like the thing that I’m lacking. So I kind of just like carry it around, or I meditate with it. Umm, I don’t know what it’s supposed to do, but I just- it gives like a nice confident energy that seems to be really nice. Whether it’s a placebo effect, I don’t know, but… umm, it’s quite nice actually. So, yeah, I tend to like, toy around with those, or yeah, just listen to some music to cheer me up.
Ghenet: The worst thing to do is to isolate yourself, and just like, either pretend that nothing is wrong, or it just kind of spirals and spirals out of control, doesn’t it? But, it’s definitely something that we all-
Steph: We all suffer from.
Ghenet: Yeah. And I don’t think any- I mean, I think especially with social media and the way that we put ourselves forward, like… I think, you know, you and I are very open about when we’re not feeling great, but I think sometimes you see people’s lives and they look so picture perfect, and then you sort of think, ‘oh well, this must be me on my own feeling like this,’ but you’re absolutely right, it’s not, is it?
Steph: No it’s not, and I think- and that’s why I try to be as open as possible, I think, on social media ‘cause, even with other plus size influencers, or people that are within that industry, there’s a pressure to always be confident, or talk about body confidence, and sometimes I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are gonna be times, and even though we have this platform to inspire- help inspire people and give advice, there will be days when you just feel a bit rubbish. And I think it’s important to acknowledge those feelings, and just- so that people know that, you know, we’re not all here just- it’s not everyday Asos, and like, going to like, parties or whatever. Sometimes, it’s like, you’re in bed for most of the day, just watching Netflix-
Ghenet: Yup. Yup!
Steph: -You just can’t be bothered. And also, you kind of have to feel- think, as well… the horrible thoughts that we think about ourselves, would we say this to a 10 year old child?
Steph: No. So why are we saying it to ourselves?
Ghenet: -to ourselves. Yeah.
Steph: Yeah, so sometimes I have to really think about it, and- and differentiate how I’m speaking to myself versus how I would speak to, like, 10 year old me, basically. Because I wouldn’t speak to a child like that. Why would I speak to myself like that?
Ghenet: Just kind of going back to the social media thing for a second, because I think It is really interesting, and I’ve always found that when I’ve said those things very openly, like on my Instagram Stories, or something, like, saying, I’m not feeling great today… not in like a fishing for compliments kind of way, but just-
Steph: Mmm, of course.
Ghenet: -being, like, open about it… I always get replies back of people going, ‘Oh I know exactly how you feel, I’m having a bad day too.’
Ghenet: And then, does that always- does that- I don’t know if this is with you as well, but when people start replying and saying, ‘Oh, me too!’ that actually just makes me feel better.
Steph: It does! It makes me feel a bit better, but not in, like a horrible way. More in just like a-
Ghenet: -oh we’re all in this, okay…
Steph: We’re all in this together kind of way, you know. And I’m not-
Ghenet: (singing) We’re all in this together… (normal) Sorry. Sorry.
Steph: I love that! High School Musical!
Steph: Oh my God!
Ghenet: You said it! You said ‘we’re all in this together’ and it just like, popped into my brain!
Steph: That was the signal! No but it is true. I think, once you realize that you’re not alone, it’s the first step to, kind of-
Steph: -trying to make yourself feel better as well, because you know, well these are things… everyday real life things that everybody goes through. And we all get through it eventually. This is just a little blip.
Ghenet: What’s the last book that you read?
Steph: The last book that I read, uh, was… umm… I can’t remember the full name of it, but it was something along the lines of a… An Interview with the Worst… uhhh… criminal psychopaths? Something like that. It was a psychopath book.
Ghenet: Oh! Okay.
Steph: I have a very big interest in psychopaths and sociopaths, from a criminology point of view, not from like a weird point of view!
Ghenet: No, I assumed you meant from a criminology point of view!
Steph: Criminology, True Crime kind of thing? I love it. And I love, umm- ‘cause I did Law at Uni, and so criminology was one of our- one of my subjects, so…
Ghenet: Oh! I didn’t know that!
Steph: Yeah! So I did, um- My parents wanted me to become a lawyer! So, uh, it was one of those ones where I kind of did it by force, but then after I finished, I was like, no I’m not doing it.
Ghenet: No thanks.
Steph: At the time, I did Criminal Law and Criminology, and I was just fascinated by, not only the criminal mind, but also just like, sociopathy and how that manifests itself, and how people get to a point where they almost- you know, I loved knowing the biological aspects behind psychopaths and the fact that they have like, part of- something significant in the back of their brain that’s missing, which controls empathy, which is why they go on and commit murders and… so this book is about this guy who’s a criminologist, and he’s just talking about like, the worst crimes ever committed, and-
Ghenet: Oh, wow. Okay!
Steph: -and he had interviews with some of the people as well, so he kind of- it’s like transcripts of the interviews. It’s just interesting, like, one of the tests how they find- how you can find out early if somebody is a psychopath is if you sort of put them in a room with other people who you don’t consider to be psychopaths, so just like, everyday average person… and then you just put on a slideshow of random images. And they don’t know what the images are but you just like- like it could be a flower, a bee, a child, a phone, and then put something really gruesome in it, like a decapitated head.
Ghenet: Oh my God!
Steph: And normally, the psychopath won’t flinch but everybody else will be like, (gasps), like, you’ll just be- like, that will be like- shock and horror will be like, your natural- because you won’t- you won’t be used to seeing it, but a psychopath-
Ghenet: That is terrifying!
Steph: they- they- they don’t- they don’t- they’ll just see it and they’ll like, see it as nothing because they don’t have that… it’s like a hormone that they don’t have that controls that, that they don’t have, so they can-
Ghenet: What?! This is like blowing my mind.
Steph: Yeah. It’s amazing! Like-
Steph: I just- I’m so fascinated, from a biological aspect as to how that- they don’t have this specific part, which makes them into these- into these people and then with sociopaths it’s more of a… umm, sociological thing, so like environmental factors that make them who they are as opposed to biological, which is- which is why a lot of people say you can be born a psychopath, ‘cause it’s like, once it’s missing-
Ghenet: It’s gone, yeah.
Steph: It’s gone. Like, you can’t get it back.
Ghenet: Wow! So then, this book was all these interviews that this guy did and then like, research he’s done-
Steph: With psychopaths. Yeah.
Ghenet: Oh my God. I don’t even want to know what his days at work were like.
Steph: I know.
Ghenet: Gosh! Wow!
Steph: It’s fascinating!
Ghenet: Anything else that you’re reading?
Steph: I’m reading this book called Stepsister– I’m rereading it actually and it’s basically written- it’s the story of Cinderella, but it’s written from the stepsister’s point of view, and it’s very body positive, so-
Ghenet: Oh! Great!
Steph: So, it’s about the fact that, you know, she has all of these talents, she’s- one of- like, one of the stepsisters, she’s very funny, and she’s sporty, and she does all of these things, but physically, she’s not considered attractive. And so growing up, this is why her and her other sister took it out on Cinderella, who is very beautiful, because she was- even though she was being treated like rubbish at home, when she would go out into the town, you know, people would-
Ghenet: Everyone would fawn over her.
Steph: – would fawn over her and you know, you’ve got these two sisters at home, who have all of these amazing qualities about them, but because of- because of how they look, they’re treated like rubbish by everyone else in the community.
Ghenet: Oh, wow.
Steph: And so, it talks about- yeah, the whole story from the stepsister’s point of view, and… it’s so lovely, it’s such a charming little, sort of, book that I would suggest for like, little kids as well, cause it’s- has a very strong body positive message, umm… underlying as well.
Ghenet: Oh wow, okay. That sounds really good!
Ghenet: I’ll have to add that to my list. My very long list of books to read. What are your three Desert Island Discs?
Steph: Do you know what, one of them would be the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, Volume 1.
Ghenet: I mean, I don’t blame you. That one’s so good!
Steph: Because, it just has all the songs that I already like on it, and I could play it over and over again.
Ghenet: Over and over. Absolutely!
Steph: And it it would just fill me with nothing but fun memories! The second one would be the complete works of DeBarge. Um, so- do you know DeBarge?
Steph: So DeBarge are this band back in the 70s, and they tried to make them like the Jackson 5, so like, there was this, um-
Steph: -group but they were a family, so it’s like, four brothers and a sister. They look exactly like the Jackson 5… slicked down hair, mixed race, like all of that stuff, but- they’ve done a lot of songs that have been sampled by rappers, and all of that stuff, so…
Ghenet: Oh, really? Okay.
Steph: One of them was umm… oh gosh, one of them was sampled by Tupac but I can’t remember the name of the song. One of- one was sampled by Notorious B.I.G.
Ghenet: So if you were to listen to it, you would hear some things that sound a bit familiar?
Steph: Yeah. You would hear a lot of like, the early 90s hip hop songs that have used like DeBarge tracks.
Ghenet: Hmm, okay.
Steph: Um, and… they’re like one of my favorite, sort of, funk/soul groups. I love them so much.
Ghenet: That sounds so good.
Steph: So much. And then my- was it, third one? My third one would probably be umm… only because I know it would drive me crazy… September by Earth, Wind and Fire. Because it’s such a happy song-
Ghenet: It is!
Steph: –that I don’t feel like I could ever be upset if I was on a desert island, because you play it over and over in a loop, I’ll just be happy all the time until I eventually just pass away.
Ghenet: Just on repeat.
Ghenet: Just on the beach with your piña colada, just like- (hums a tune)
Steph: I just love it. I just love that song so much. It just makes me feel-
Ghenet: And it’s a classic!
Steph: Yeah, so like all the ones I’ve chosen are all somewhat quite old, ‘cause I’m at that age now where I don’t know what the new music is anymore.
Ghenet: Oh, I don’t either.
Steph: I just listen to my 60s, 70s and 80s playlist.
Steph: And that’s all I know!
Ghenet: Have you ever had a moment where you’ve put too much pressure on yourself?
Steph: Umm… yes. I think, when… I kind of first started out doing the blogging and it was during a time when there were a load of bloggers doing the same things as me. And… I… noticed that- well I felt like I wasn’t progressing in the same way that they were, and it caused me to put a lot of pressure on myself, because I felt like I had to conform, or I had to talk a certain way, or I wasn’t allowed to swear or everything had to be ‘amazing,’ or ‘I’m obsessed!’ or I’m this, and I had to create like, this cookie cutter personality because I felt like maybe that’s what brands were looking for. And so there was a period of time, for about a year, when I absolutely hated blogging because I felt like I just wasn’t myself; I was pretending to be this really super-positive blogger that was obsessed with everything and loved everything, and kind of was talking in the same way as everybody else, and being very PC and very, you know- being careful not to swear or say anything that could come across as controversial or whatever. And I was just so down the whole time, because… yes I did get a bit more in regards to exposure from brands but it wasn’t by that much, and by that time-
Ghenet: It wasn’t enough to make that, not worth it, but like- it just wasn’t- the reward wasn’t worth it, I s’pose.
Steph: Exactly and I think being a plus size blogger as well, at the time… I- I almost felt like I was copying what other people were doing in order to get that success, and so- for instance, I- you know, there was this huge wave of people wearing… umm, floral dresses. And I’m not really like a girly girly girly girl, when it comes to dresses? But I thought, ‘Oh okay, that’s the formula, I should start doing that as well.’ And I did it, but I just didn’t feel-
Ghenet: -like yourself.
Steph: I didn’t feel like myself. And yeah I still wear floral dresses now, ‘cause now I kind of know the type of dress that I like, and I wear it, depending on where I’m going, but at the time, I felt like I had to fit into that role in order to progress further I guess. And, yeah, it just made me feel really low. It took me to quite a negative place where it- where it was like I would be subtweeting people, and just… I was just like, a horrible version of myself because I was so insecure.
Ghenet: Yikes. Yeah.
Steph: And I would be like- it also- it almost manifested itself into almost coming across as being very jealous and very bitter of other peoples’ success because I was lacking in that area and so I would do like, subtweets to people and I would be like- I would give someone a compliment but it would be like, a bit backhanded almost? So it took me a long time to recognize the reason why I’m acting out like this is because I’m not happy with- firstly, I was still on this body positive journey so I was going through all of that, but then also I kept trying to be like other people. And it got to a point when I realized, actually, no, the reason why these people are getting ahead… and again this isn’t to use it as an excuse, but there’s a huge racial disparity when it comes to influencers and I noticed later on that brands were just choosing the- the looks that were more palatable to them, which often were white women with brown hair and high cheek bones, and that’s kind of what they wanted, and I wasn’t that and so… I kind of found that all out afterwards, or learned it afterwards, but at the time, I was like, ‘well, maybe it’s because I’m not good enough,’ and duh duh duh duh duh, so… yeah I put a lot of pressure on myself back then, to the point where like, I deleted my blog like six times that year.
Ghenet: Oh my gosh.
Steph: But I’m glad that I kind of stuck through, and I kind of… towards the end of 2014, I was like, ‘nah, I’m just gonna be myself,’ and I’m gonna just be me and not care about the consequences of being myself. I shouldn’t have to; I shouldn’t have to make myself smaller in order to let other people shine, or to make other people feel comfortable. So I just started showing off more of my personality, and luckily, that seemed to work a bit better.
Ghenet: I think unfortunately, that is something you have to kind of learn the hard way. I definitely did that when I started blogging. Like, I would take pictures and I would do that- that like, looking off in the-
Steph: Oh, into the distance. Yeah.
Ghenet: -that like, I thought bloggers were supposed to do, and it wasn’t until I started doing like,- if you notice now, most of the pictures I share of myself are pictures of me laughing. That’s what I see when I look at myself… if that makes sense.
Steph: Yeah. That’s your authentic self.
Ghenet: Exactly! My authentic self, but there was definitely a period of time when I was like, ‘Oh, I have to have a new outfit,’-
Steph: Oh my gosh, yeah.
Ghenet: ‘I have to have something to post,’ or I have to like, do this that and the other and that was just- It’s not sustainable.
Steph: No, not at all.
Ghenet: It’s just- yeah, it was exhausting, the pressure that I was putting on myself. And that’s the other thing… It’s coming from no one else. Literally just coming from me. Once I did that, once I was able to recognize that doing it this way was not helping me, so I just need to be myself. It was kind of the same as you, in that I noticed just in general, things got a lot better.
Steph: Yeah. It’s just all about staying true to your authentic self and not trying to, sort of fit in with the rest of the crowd. Because then it’s like, you’re not gonna stand out, because you’re like everybody else. So…
Ghenet: Yeah exactly. So then, do you still- ‘cause you’re- you are freelance now…
Ghenet: So then, do you still- is that something that still kind of crops up or is it like, wanting to make sure that you’re making enough money, and sort of pushing yourself, and duh duh duh. Like that-
Steph: Oh, yeah.
Ghenet: -that pressure comes from that as well too, doesn’t it? In some ways?
Steph: Umm, yeah to be honest, in some ways, I feel like I’m in a bit of a lucky position, in terms of the freelance writing. Because I am often- uh, I don’t often get to pitch to publications, people often come to me to- to write stuff. So that’s actually quite a nice thing to happen, ‘cause I know how difficult it is, like if you want to be a freelance writer, to keep pitching all of your stories and stuff to publications, so… there’s like a layer of income- like an extra stream of income there, although, it’s quite few and far between, but there is that pressure to- yeah every month, have a… rent’s due and all that stuff like that, and it’s so difficult. Like, here have been so many times this year where it’s like, oh I’m gonna have to move back home, like, I can’t do this, and-
Ghenet: Yeah I can imagine it would be quite stressful, not knowing where the money’s gonna come from I suppose, and…
Steph: Yeah. It can be. Umm, yeah, ‘cause even when I- ‘cause I went freelance last November, and uh- gosh, it’s gone up to a year now already! Gone so quickly! The first five or six months, I had to be like borrowing money from my mum, for rent, ‘cause it was just- I was just in dire straits, and nobody was getting back to me, and brands weren’t getting back to me, and it was a bit like, ‘Oh, should I just go back to looking for full time work,’ which I didn’t mind doing at the time, but I was so excited to be doing the freelance thing, that I was like, let me hold out for a month more. Let me hold out, let me hold out. And um, yeah. And then I decided to hold out for one more month, and then that was when I won the Blogosphere award, and then-
Ghenet: Oh, yeah!
Steph: And I- Yeah, and it kind of just- just changed a bit since then, since May, so…
Ghenet: I mean, very well deserved.
Steph: Oh, thank you.
Ghenet: Of course! Are you kidding!
Steph: Thank you. Still a bit of a shock actually. But, um- yeah, it’s just really weird. So now it’s at a- it’s at an okay place. Like, I’m still having to work and try and create three, four streams of income, and… God.
Ghenet: Gotta get that dough.
Steph: Yeah, exactly.
Ghenet: Do what you gotta do, man.
Ghenet: Alright. Next question. What food sums up happiness?
Steph: Hmmm… A Vienetta.
Steph: A Vienetta. I just- when I think of that ice cream- cake- chocolate thing… It just makes me- it reminds me of my childhood, because it was such a- like, I remember seeing the adverts on TV and it looked so luxurious and like, my mum would only get it like, if we’re having like, a fancy event or something like that.
Ghenet: Oh, yeah.
Steph: And umm, I used to be so happy when we would get a slice!
Ghenet: It was such a treat.
Steph: When I was younger. It was such a treat, and so… I’ve forgotten that I can buy it now as an adult, because I’ve seen it as a treat that my mum would give me, that when I go to the supermarket- like, I know that I love it but I just forget to buy it, ‘cause I’m like- in my head it’s still like, ‘no this is something my mum gives me only,’ as a treat kind of thing, so…
Ghenet: Oh, yeah!
Steph: I associate it to… having like, really cool dinners and events and stuff at home, or just having like a really nice day with the parents, or just having good times at home, it would always have that. So, any time I think of vienetta, I’m just like, ‘aahhh, good memories.’ Then also it’s just really good as well, like… there’s just so many different layers to get through. It’s fun. And I’m a picky eater so I-
Ghenet: Have you seen- Are you?
Steph: I like deconstructing food as I’m eating it. So that’s perfect for me. So like, a crunchy bar for instance. Anything that has more than one texture, I eat it-
Ghenet: You seperate them?
Steph: I seperate them and then eat them seperately.
Ghenet: Interesting! Do you do that with like-
Steph: Burgers is the one that I do that with, like-
Ghenet: Do you? Really?
Steph: I eat the bun, then I eat the salad. Then I eat the burger, then I have the cheese, then I have the bun. I can’t eat it all- otherwise it’ll make me feel sick if I do. It’s a- yeah.
Ghenet: That is fascinating. Sorry, I’m literally like, gaping at you.
Steph: No, it’s fine! It’s a- it’s a weird thing. My mum said that I’ve been doing it since I was like 5. But I just can’t-
Ghenet: Really? Huh.
Steph: Yeah, I like to deconstruct things, and it makes it fun for me to eat.
Ghenet: So like, when things are on your plate, you eat them one at a time, you don’t eat them-
Steph: Yeah. I never eat stuff together. No, I can’t. It makes me feel weird if I do. So I have to eat it once- and I always leave the meat or fish til last. But I feel a lot of people do that. Like, leave the nicest thing til last.
Ghenet: The nicest thing til last, yeah. I mean, that is-
Steph: Eat all the vegetables first. Just get them out the way!
Ghenet: Did you eat a lot of sweets when you were a kid? Like, were you allowed them, or-
Steph: Uhh… Not really. It was very much like a ‘as and when’ kind of thing. SO I didn’t really have that much of a sweet tooth until- oof, until I got to secondary school, really. That’s when it all… Did you ever have like- when did you get- when did you come here? 2015? Was it 2015?
Ghenet: Yeah, like the very end of 2014.
Steph: So were you here when we had like, Panda Pops?
Ghenet: I don’t know what that is…
Steph: Okay, Panda Pops, whoo! I lived on Panda Pops when I was- it’s just- it’s like a carbonated drink. It’s kind of like a lemonade, but it’s like a-
Ghenet: Oh right, okay.
Steph: -but it’s different flavor kind of thing. So car- like, carbonated fruity drinks. And they had this bubblegum one.
Ghenet: Oh my God.
Steph: And I literally just lived on it. And it was full of E numbers. It was 25 pence, so-
Ghenet: Oh wow. Okay.
Steph: You can imagine how disgusting it was for your body…
Ghenet: After school when you’ve only got your- your little bit of allowance!
Steph: After school, lunch time, before school. I would just- I’d be chugging them down.
Ghenet: Oh my gosh.
Steph: So bad for you! And, umm… that was kind of where the whole sugar thing… um, developed. But before then, it was very much like… it was neither here nor there really.
Ghenet: And then, did your- did your parents cook quite a lot? Like, was- so was there- did- was it like a thing, like you sat down for a meal, ‘cause you were saying that you would only have a vienettas like, on a special occasion or something.
Steph: Yeah so both my mum and dad can cook really well, so they would often take it in turns to cook. Or they would cook together and then we would have like, a meal… just Ghanian food every day. So good.
Ghenet: What was your favorite thing that he would make?
Steph: Uh, he would make fried plantain, with-
Ghenet: Oh I love plantain.
Steph: -umm. So we’ve got like this stew called Red Red, and it’s basically, umm… black-eyed beans that you boil down, and then you make like a generic tomato based stew. And then you add it with, um- instead of normal oil, you use palmner oil.
Ghenet: Oh, okay!
Steph: Which is like a deep red- that’s where it got it’s name Red Red from. But it’s, um- now I think, you know, it’s a bit problematic to use palmner oil because of like the rainforests, and all of that stuff, but back then- I don’t even know where they got it from; it was palmner oil from Ghana. It was definitely made in Ghana. I don’t know how- I don’t know how, uh- how they do it now, or how they even did it back then, all I know is that it was so good, and um- it just has this really nutty flavor to it. Like a really interesting flavor, so you would make that and then put like, sardines on the side, ‘cause- and eggs. Because you’re not a Ghanian if you don’t like eggs. Like, that’s like our thing. We just love eggs.
Ghenet: That sounds really good. And then, ‘cause you cook quite a bit too, don’t you? Do you think that’s kind of come from-
Steph: Yeah, I like to…
Ghenet: -from having your parents cook so much?
Steph: Yeah, definitely. So I’m trying to cook a lot more Ghanian things, so I’ve got like, a Ghanian cookbook and so I try to recipes every now and again.
Ghenet: Oh, that’s cool.
Steph: For my flatmate as well.
Ghenet: Now I’m just very hungry.
Ghenet: Yeah, well it’s like memories and food! I think for me, food has always played such a big part of my life, which is part of the reason that I ask the question. ‘Cause like, my dad always cooked and I do enjoy cooking but food to me has always been such a… not a staple, obviously like, we all need to eat, but my relation-
Steph: More like a social thing as well.
Ghenet: Yeah! Like one of my favorite things to do is to have friends round for lunch. I love to cook for them. Doesn’t even have to be anything crazy fancy, but like, there’s something nice about that, about preparing a meal for someone.
Steph: Yeah, definitely. It’s nice.
Ghenet: That… Red Red? Is that what it’s called?
Steph: Red Red. Yeah.
Ghenet: It sounds really good.
Steph: So good.
Ghenet: Does that have meat in it? Is it- is it, kind of-
Steph: Uhh, no actually! It’s just sardines- so a lot of Ghanian food is actually- could qualify as vegan.
Ghenet: Oh, okay!
Steph: Mmm. So, ‘cause meat is so expensive there so, yeah we have beef and chicken every now and again, but mostly it’s quite vegan actually, like- we don’t really do dairy at all, so a lot of our food is plant based, which is really cool. We just live on plantain and yams, sweet potato…
Ghenet: I mean… I mean… I don’t blame you!
Steph: It’s so good! And like spinach stews and stuff.
Ghenet: I just got distracted by the food and lost my train of thought now! Okay, um. What’s the one thing aside from necessities that you always have on you?
Steph: Uh, earphones? Would earphones count as a necessity, do you think?
Ghenet: No, I mean, if you’ve always got them on you…
Steph: Um, yeah, I have to take headphones everywhere… um, to the point where if I leave… if I know that I’ve left my headphones at home, I will come back home and get them. I feel really naked without having headphones when I’m traveling, um, because I just love music, podcasts, all of that stuff. I need something to listen to. I don’t like to- and my ears feel really weird now, if I’m not- if I don’t have something plugged into them? On one hand, it’s really good- it comes in handy when you just don’t want to be bothered on the street sometimes, as well. So sometimes I won’t even be listening to music, but I’ll put them in if I-
Ghenet: Oh my God, I’ve totally done that!
Ghenet: Just so nobody talks to you, like-
Steph: Yeah! If I’m going through Oxford Street, you’ve got those people on the street like, trying to get your attention, I just like, put them in and then I just stare down and then I just walk straight on through, ‘cause, sometimes it’s just like… (sighs) Not today.
Ghenet: It’s too much energy.
Steph: It’s too much energy! Especially when it’s really early in the morning, you know? I’m just like- I can’t, I can’t do that, but they’re the one things that I have to have, regardless of where I am, if I’m traveling, or just on the bus up the road. I always want to be listening to music the whole time.
Ghenet: Yeah. I’ve definitely also done that thing too, like- ‘cause I’ve got bluetooth headphones… where if they’ve died on my way home, I just leave them in, ‘cause I just like- hmm hmm. Duh duh duh. It’s like a buffer, isn’t it?
Steph: Yeah. It’s like a buffer to the outside world!
Ghenet: And I think as well, it’s like- weirdly, I think when people see you have headphones in, they just- It’s like a- they just leave you alone.
Steph: They just leave you alone. Yeah.
Ghenet: So they do just leave you alone, like, people on the street, when they come to talk to you, if you’ve got your headphones in, they just don’t even bother.
Steph: Exactly, and it’s- you- like you said, you’re kind of in your own little bubble as well, so I quite like that, sometimes. Though now ‘cause my hair covers my ears because I’ve got the wireless ones as well… sometimes I’ll be on the train just laughing like, to myself, and then people are just- ‘cause they can’t see the headphones, they’re like, ‘what is this weirdo doing, just laughing!’
Ghenet: ‘Who is this crazy lady!’
Steph: Just like, laughing at podcasts but obviously they can’t see it, so it’s always funny when that happens.
Ghenet: So funny.
Steph: It’s just strange, but I love it though.
Ghenet: What is a misconception that you think people have about you?
Steph: Ooh. Umm… I think there are two. One is like a really rubbish random one, and then the other one… So the- the really basic one is that people think that I’m a lot shorter? Which is weird. So when I’ve met people that I’ve been speaking to online for a long time, they’ll be like, ‘Oh I thought you were like 5’4?’ Apparently, I photograph quite short?
Ghenet: Oh! Interesting!
Steph: Yeah, so I’ve always been a bit like, that’s a bit of a weird one. People think that… and then I did like, a poll on Twitter, like ‘How tall do you think I am?’ and so many people came back with 5’2, and I was like-
Ghenet: Oooh! Okay…
Steph: Do I look that short? I mean, it doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s just interesting that people-
Ghenet: That perception, yeah.
Steph: Seem to think that I’m really like, umm… short. Which is interesting, I guess. And then the other one I think is that people assume that I am- sometimes I don’t know how I come across on social media. I know sometimes it can be a bit… loud.
Ghenet: Yeah. Like kind of pushy and bolshy, a bit
Steph: Bolshy and sassy and all of that stuff. But I’m a lot quieter in real life, I think. Umm… I- yeah, people tend to think that I’m very like, extroverted and very, you know, sassy, and all of that stuff that I kind of do online. Which is- again that is my personality, that is me, but I think, in real life, I’m- I am actually really introverted, and sometimes I can be quite socially anxious. So, I find it really difficult sometimes to- to make friends and to also carry a conversation along. And that kind of stems back from when I was in secondary school and I was getting bullied and I didn’t have any friends because I just didn’t trust anybody around me. ‘Cause there was this trend of people befriending those who were being bullied, to set them up so that they could get beaten up. And that happened to me a lot, and so-
Ghenet: Been there!
Steph: Yeah. It’s so horrible, and so, I just stopped trusting anybody at school.
Ghenet: Yeah. It makes you question people’s motives.
Steph: All the time. Trust issues
Ghenet: People did that to me as well in high school, like-
Steph: All the time, and then I just started eating lunch in the bathroom. It sounds really sad, but I would like, have lunch in the toilet cubicle at school, ‘cause I would rather be there than go into the dining room and just eat alone. And so I just didn’t pick up those social skills, to making friends or having friends over, that kind of thing, so… it wasn’t until I left Uni that I began to be a bit more social, but again… I kind of feel like everything had already been put into place, so it was very difficult for me to be very outgoing, and the social butterfly and all of that stuff, so… That’s one of the ways in which social media really helped me, because it really brought out my personality, and so that’s- and I guess that’s why it appears that I’m a lot more- I display a lot more of those extroverted qualities online than I do in real life. ‘Cause I know that the online me is the real me, it’s just a case of trying to get that through in person? And I think, because I’m so conscious about what people are thinking or what do I have to say, or that kind of thing, that by the time I finish thinking about it, I’m just very quiet, so then like, the moment has passed almost! But I- I like to think that I’m getting a bit better. Before, like when I would go to blog events, and people would be like, ‘Oh Steph, but you’re not like this- you know, you’re so much like, louder and sassier on- on, uh- on like, online, And I’m like, ‘well, yeah, but I’m still trying to learn how to talk to people, and like- you know?
Ghenet: Yeah. No, I fully, like- I get that. I’m a bit like that. Like, I’m… umm… I can be very extroverted around people that I know, but if you put me in a room full of people, I won’t really speak to anybody. I get a bit like… turtle shell. And if someone comes up to me, and they’re like, ‘oh, hi, like, I’m-’ and then I’ll be like, ‘oh hey nice to meet you! Duh, duh duh. But like, that’s not immediate. So I’m a bit… because we know each other, obviously because we follow each other and interacted, I’m always gonna be like, ‘hey!’ but when it’s people I don’t know, or if I’m in a room full of people for- like a big room full of people, even if I know people, I still find it a bit overwhelming.
Steph: It is really overwhelming, isn’t it? And I’ve- I’ve been recently finding as well that- I guess where my profile has grown a bit, people are beginning to recognize me on the street?
Ghenet: Oh! Okay.
Steph: And that’s really daunting, because I don’t know how to act in those situations, so they’ll- like, somebody will come and say, ‘oh, you know, I’m a follower and I’ve been following-’ and I’m just like, ‘Oh. Thank you.’ Because I don’t know how to-
Ghenet: How to respond…
Steph: How to respond, because firstly, I don’t see myself as somebody that needs to be recognized, ‘cause- I guess ‘cause I talk to the same people online all the time, I have like, this bubble. So I forget that there are loads of people that read my stuff. So when like, a stranger comes up and says that they know me, I’m just like, what do I do? Do I, like- and then I just look really stupid, and then-
Ghenet: Yeah. Oh no!
Steph: -they’re just like, ‘I shouldn’t have come up to her actually, she’s a bit weird.’ But like, I’ll just be like, ‘Oh, thanks so much,’ and I’ll ask for like, their twitter name? And I-
Ghenet: I mean, it’s a tricky one. It’s a tricky one.
Steph: Yeah. It’s just really embarrassing. Not- not embarrassing that they’re coming up to me, just like, ‘cause I don’t know how to conduct myself in those situations. Like I feel really like, ‘Oh wow! Okay…Thanks…’
Ghenet: I mean, I don’t- I feel- I- is there even a right way, really, to like… do you know what I mean?
Steph: I don’t know, I just see some other bloggers and they do it so seemlessly. Like, ‘Hey! How you doing? What’s your name? Thank you for following!’ and I’m just like-
Ghenet: How? How do you do that?
Steph: Why can’t I do that? How do you do that?
Ghenet: It’s just so- it is fascinating, of that- this is what we put forward, but then, sometimes it aligns, and sometimes it doesn’t, with like, who we are not not online… I guess, if that makes sense.
Ghenet: And then people build up all of these ideas about us, from that. Like, that people think that you’re this- so the second they say hi, you’re gonna be like, ‘Oh hey! Duh duh duh,’ but…
Ghenet: I mean to be fair, if someone walked up to me on the street, I would be like, ‘Eh? What’s happening?’
Steph: Yeah, exactly. I think if I was with someone, I think I’d be fine, but if- because I’m alone, it’s just like, I don’t- I don’t have any energy to bounce off of. So then it’s just like a, ‘let me just retreat.’ You know? Go inside myself a bit? But yeah. I’m trying to get a bit better at it and like, I have some friends who I feel comfortable enough kind of being my authentic self around? Although I am authentic, but I mean like, being the online self around. But these are friends I’ve had for like ten years, so it’s taken a long time for me to even like, be that silly and stuff around them, but… It’s a work in progress, I think.
Ghenet: Okay! Um… What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Steph: I wanted to work at the check out in Sainsburys.
Steph: I have a thing-
Ghenet: I was not expecting you to say that
Steph: I have a thing with the- with scanners. I really like the noise the scanners make when you check stuff out.
Ghenet: Doop. Doop.
Steph: Yeah. Like I love- I was fascinated with it. So every Sunday we go to Asda, like shopping, me and my mum. And I would just- I would just watch the- the check out ladies, like they were just like scanning things through and I’d be like, ‘I want to do that when I’m older!’ Like, I just- I love- I just want to hear the beeps as it’s going through? And so I had that dream until I was about 12. Um, I just- I was just fascinated. I just loved it. I loved it so much. I thought-
Ghenet: Did you- did you ever do it?
Ghenet: Or is it now just a-
Steph: When the self check out thing came into motion, I was on it!
Ghenet: You were like, ‘Great! Done! Dream come true!’
Steph: Yeah. Like, 20- what 15, 14 or so? I was like, Oh my God we can check- we can scan stuff out! That’s all I do now, like- I love it. Umm, but… umm, yeah. So there was that I wanted to do, and I also wanted to be a singer as well. Umm, and I went so far as to apply to um… not apply, audition for The Brit School. Where I- where my parents house is, we live right behind the school anyway in Croydon. Um, so it would’ve been a matter of just-
Ghenet: Literally just-
Steph: Been really easy, convenience.
Ghenet: Yeah. Right around the corner.
Steph: But yeah, they sent me packing.
Ghenet: (gasps) Rude.
Steph: So I was like, ‘Oh.’ It was really weird. So now, like- I don’t feel like I can sing, but I like to sing. But I only sing on my own. So I- I rarely do it when other people are around.
Ghenet: I do that as well.
Steph: ‘Cause I see- yeah, like, I see it as like, a self-care thing as well, ‘cause I always tend to sing when I’m sad, and that cheers me up a lot. So I think, I’ve kind of preserved it in a- this is my thing that I do when I’m alone, ‘cause it makes me better. And I don’t want to have to- I don’t want to tell people that I can sing, cause then I’ll be forced to like, perform all the time, or-
Steph: -would be like, ‘Oh Steph, do this, or sing this,’ and I’m like, well no, it’s my own little thing I like to do.
Ghenet: Whereas like, when you’re doing it on your own, it’s a bit more cathartic…
Steph: Yeah. Yes. Exactly.
Ghenet: ‘Cause you’re just like, ‘I’m just gonna sing this little…’ yeah.
Ghenet: Yeah. There is something really nice about that.
Steph: Yeah. So after that whole Brit thing, I was like, ‘Okay. That’s fine…’
Ghenet: This is mine. This is my gift!
Steph: This is my thing that I’m gonna just have on my own.
Ghenet: Okay. We’re on our final question!
Steph: Ooh. Okay. No pressure.
Ghenet: No pressure. This is actually my favorite question to ask people.
Ghenet: Describe your perfect day.
Steph: Oh, my perfect day. My perfect day. I would wake up at 10:00, have a bit of a lie in. I would make a massive English breakfast… um, and eat that breakfast with a cup of cappuccino, and I’d be watching American Dad at the same time. Umm… at this point, I would have hoped that there would be plus-size clothing in stores, as opposed to online. And I would like to have a good old rummage in, umm… in… like go shopping, basically. For like, half the day… in stores such as Zara, or other stores where they- they refuse to make plus-size clothing. Umm… but I would say-
Ghenet: What a luxury, to be able to walk into a store and buy something, just there.
Steph: I know! Let’s say in this perfect day that Zara created plus-size clothing… I’d go to Zara, and I would just buy all the things, ‘cause I love all of their clothes. I would have a car take it back to the house, because I’m not carrying all of the bags back home. I would then go for lunch with some kind of, hmm, boy toy? I don’t know. Might be 23, 24 years old. Just somebody that I can-
Steph: -every now and again.
Ghenet: I mean, gotta do what you gotta do!
Steph: You know what I mean? Yeah. Um, go for lunch. Take some pictures for my blog. Umm… what else? Go to like, some kind of spa. So after I’ve taken the pictures and all of that stuff, I might want to go into like, a spa in the West End, or somewhere like that, and just have everybody just crack every inch of every bone that they can crack.
Steph: ‘Cause that’s something I’ve started t- not started to do a lot more often, but I never used to have like, massages or anything, ‘cause I was so nervous and scared about how people would like, look at my body and stuff. But now, I just- you know when you’re just in too much pain to care?
Steph: So now I- ‘cause I have like- sometimes I have like, back issues so I’ve just started doing that a lot more, so… I’d go to like-
Ghenet: It’s a nice little treat for yourself too.
Steph: Yeah. I’d have like a really nice, um, spa day or spa evening, with like my mum, or like, my aunties and- or something. And then, I’ll meet the fancy boy back home and we’ll just see out the evening!
Ghenet: Yeah! I mean, that sounds-
Steph: Doing fun things. Ha!
Ghenet: We’re all adults here! It’s fine!
Steph: Fun things!
Ghenet: That sounds like a great- that sounds like a great day, to be honest.
Steph: Yeah. I know it doesn’t sound like- you know, I would’ve- I should’ve said, like, ‘oh, go to Germany for a day,’ or ‘go to France for like, the afternoon,’ or something, but… I’m just very like… very bog-standard, I’m just very simple, I feel. Just like to go shopping and…
Ghenet: It’s just about doing a day filled with the thing you enjoy. I feel like trips and stuff are like, a bit of a treat, aren’t they? I don’t need to do that every day.
Ghenet: That’s not my perfect day.
Steph: Yeah, exactly. Or even just a day, like, in front of Netflix, watching- like they’ve put Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Netflix now, so it’s literally a case of just watching all the episodes.
Steph: Watching all the episodes and then just having like, some Ben and Jerrys, and just like, having a blanket day. Amazing. That’s another perfect day.
Ghenet: Great. Done.
Ghenet: That’s a day I will sign up for.
Steph: Mhmm, and then just have, like, laptop in the corner with Asos open, just ordering all the stuff!
Ghenet: Just having a little peek! A little browse!.
Steph: Just have a bit of a look of all the things… you know.
Ghenet: I mean, that sounds like a pretty good day!
Steph: So chilled.
Ghenet: Simple pleasures.
Steph: Yeah, exactly.
Ghenet: Simple pleasures. Thank you so much for- for hanging out with me and having a chat! It’s been so fun!
Steph: Oh, thank you!
Ghenet: I feel like I’ve learned so much more about you now, which is… delightful!
Steph: All of the weird things like eating stuff separately. Oh dear.
Ghenet: No I think it’s- oh, it’s brilliant, though. It’s like- it’s just a- a wonderful thing to know about someone. But yeah! Thank you so much! I really enjoyed it!
Steph: No problem! I did as well! I thought it was so fun! Thank you so much for coming through!