We spoke to the awesome artist, self-love promoting, sex educator Evie, founder of You Are Awesome a mental health and sex positive platform and co-founder of Cliterally The Best a podcast and online platform dedicated to all things self love!
We absolutely love the positive and educational art and content Evie creates, so we wanted to find out a little more about the power house behind these two incredible platforms.
A day in the life of Evie?
Doodling & designing on my Ipad for my two accounts alongside drawing people's doggos for a bit of extra money. Ooh, and when I’m not doing that in the evenings after work, I’m partial to a few drinks and a boogie! (COVID friendly of course)
What was your relationship like with your body when you were younger?
Like many young teenage girls I always thought I was big when really I was the opposite. I had also fallen into the trap of thinking I needed male approval and thought I needed a certain sized chest or bum and blonde hair to be liked. I was bullied from a young age from guys for my lil turned up nose - which I now think is my best feature! Feeling like this was knackering as I never felt truly happy but I think it’s pretty hard to remove yourself from that mindset while still at school when you are surrounded by people who feel and act the same.
As sex education really didnt talk much about how my body can look (all about not getting pregnant) I compared mine to tidy porn vulvas and big round perky boobs on porn which I think also had an effect on my self esteem - especially when I was still growing.
I also had an older boyfriend who also only cared about that, which had a big effect on my relationship with my body.
How about now?
It wasn't until I left school that I really started to improve my relationship with my body. Once I started to realise that I shouldn't live my life based on what other people (especially guys) thought then I felt free.
In the last two years since starting @youareawesome_co to help focus on something for my own mental health I really started to feel great about myself. I made a conscious effort to unfollow models and only follow accounts that make me laugh or feel good and it had a super positive effect - out of sight, out of mind for me.
Accounts like @thevulvagallery helped me see that all bodies are different and all are amazing. They work so hard for us and should be celebrated not tortured for unrealistic standards.
Since breaking away from the need to please guys, I dress for what I feel comfortable in (not necessarily flattering) and only do things I feel comfortable doing, with people that deserve my time.
The love for my body has also skyrocketed in the last month, when I teamed up with my friend to create @cliterallythebest to help spread what I have learnt since becoming a fully functioning (ish), independent woman!
What would your message to your younger self be now?
I would force myself to read (even though I hated reading) ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’ by Florence Given about three times until I fully understood the world and how I don’t need to break my back trying to look like the ‘idea of perfect!
I would also tell myself to break up with that first super toxic guy and focus on making real friendships with people who respect you and focus on being happy by yourself- oh, and to not be a sheep!
Experiences in talking openly about Gynae health- what barriers have you faced and why do you think this conversation is still stigmatised?
A big frustration for me is how taboo of a subject STIs are. We all get them and even the most careful can contract one. I also do not remember any education at school apart from that we needed to wear a condom.
This lack of education lead me to unhelpful worry and shame. Last year I got HPV, I didn't even know what it was even though it's the most common STI. HPV is so common the NHS says everybody will contract it at one point in their life.
Due to being uneducated and only hearing the word cancer (most cervical cancers are caused by HPV) I was panicking and worried for quite a while, but really there is nothing you can do to fully prevent yourself from HPV, just make sure if you find a wart you get it treated and ensure you attend your smears. You can be the most scrupulous when it comes to protection and cleanliness but still contract it - this definitely does not mean you shouldn't bother though!!
I find that because a lot of people associate STIs with those who sleep with a lot of people (nothing wrong with it) and don't use protection, this fear stops people telling others or going to their GP, this also leads to people playing the blame game with partners which is not helpful AT ALL!! Upon educating myself and speaking to my GP I wrote a blog article debunking the myths and facts associated with HPV!
Another problem I and many women have faced is lack of education for birth control. I was just told to go on the pill by my GP and it completely ruined me, I was super depressed and angry all of the time and put on a lot of weight.
I really wish doctors gave you more information on other forms of birth control as there are so many other options out there - of course different types affect different people and some people are totally fine on the pill but it didn’t work for me and I put up with it longer than I should've due to lack of education!
What experiences drove you to start your stigma shaking online mission and what impact are you hoping to make?
Everything I have mentioned above and the big ol’ epiphany I had a couple of years ago about how badly I'd been treating myself for no good reason! I understand a lot of girls are stuck in that rut and it's hard to get out of that mindset especially if that's what you have grown up with. I have also gone through unnecessary stress due to lack of education when it comes to sex and safety - I really want to help change that!
What is the message you’re sending to the world?
Ensure part of your day is always set aside to help fall in love with yourself, tell yourself you’re beautiful especially the bits you hate and always try and educate yourself on topics that affect you! Most importantly don't do anything you don't want to do, especially not for others.
Make sure you follow Evie’s awesomeness online!