We sat down for a morning brew with Natalie Lee, who’s beautiful face you may recognise from our new VITA campaign. She’s a content creator, influencer, podcaster and mum of two. We chatted with Natalie about everything from body confidence to meditation and to say we feel empowered after speaking to her is definitely an understatement!
How are you finding lockdown?
“It’s a kind of new normal now. Honestly, I’m a little bit scared of it going back to normal because I was just running around like a headless chicken before. I didn’t see the kids as much, there was just a lot going on. There are definitely some things I’m going to be carrying on even when lockdown does get completely lifted.”
What elements of your current routine are you going to keep after lockdown?
“Definitely meditation in the morning. If the weather is nice, I try to go outside for walks or to just sit with the sun in my face. Even just going into the kitchen and having 5 or 10 minutes where I literally just pause, I don’t do anything, I just close my eyes and breathe. I think sometimes people can freak out a bit with mediation because they’re not doing it right. But in actual fact meditation comes in so many different forms.
For me it’s literally just pausing, putting my phone down, asking the kids not to disturb me for 5-10 minutes and just breathing. It’s amazing how the thoughts just come and it’s amazing how creative I can be in that 5 or 10 minutes in the morning. I literally have to have my notepad and pen ready for when I open my eyes because so many thoughts come out which I never had time for before. The meditation has been really lovely and I’m definitely going to keep on doing it.”
Do you find meditation gets easier the more consistent you are with it?
“Yeah I think it does. I think we should probably reword it. Maybe mediation is
too scary of a word. People are sometimes like, I just can’t stop myself from thinking, and that’s okay. The idea of mediating is not to beat yourself up because you had so many thoughts running around your head and you couldn’t clear your mind and make it this zen place – just pause.”
Our VITA campaign brief was for you to take pictures of yourself wearing the pieces reflecting how they made you feel. How did you find taking these pictures?
“I was actually talking about this last night during my webinar. We were talking about working with a brand and we used the example of me working with you guys because it was a fairly unique brief. First of all it was in lockdown and you guys had to think on your feet and be creative. You were able to get a really great bunch of women to do this campaign and create images themselves from home. The brief was lovely because it gave me the chance to be creative and interpret it how I wanted and it felt really authentic and natural because I also bloody loved the jewellery anyway.
The other thing was it wasn’t too vast, I loved the fact you gave us a mood board and some direction in terms of colours and pointers to help us. It was really the perfect blend of being creative but also getting a bit of direction. Which is why I think it worked really well. You didn’t ask us to share it on our own channels but we did because we bloody loved it so much, how could we not share it? So that was lovely.”
Tell us about the webinar you did recently?
“I teamed up with my agents and I talked about being an influencer, how to get an agent, whether you need to get an agent and what they bring to the table and how it works in terms of working with brands. Not all influencers need agents so we give tips on if you don’t need an agent, how do you approach a brand and work with them in a mutually beneficial way. We touched on how to grow your following but I think we’re going to have to do a whole separate webinar on that. I was just very honest.
I think we as women are quite shy to talk about money and I think that’s one of the reasons, definitely not the only reason, why we’re not paid as much as our male counterparts. People feel it’s just a bit vulgar to talk about money. Well I don’t and I think thinking like that leads to disparity in different people being paid different amounts and allows people to be taken advantage of. I think it’s important to talk about these things and just be open and honest about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, look I’m doing really well, I’m earning a really good wage out of what I do and I’m going to give you some tips on how you might be able to increase your revenue as well. Obviously people might have a different opinion and say that’s bragging but I think it’s important to talk about. I’m very open and honest and happy to share that information with anyone who wants to know.”
What gave you the idea for your ‘Sunday Self Worship’?
“Obviously I have ‘Sunday’ in my brand name and the hashtag I used to use was ‘#stylemesunday’. People would use the hashtag and I would repost them on my stories. I felt like it needed a bit of a rebrand and I’m all about encouraging and empowering women to feel good about themselves, to worship themselves and appreciate what they have. Let’s just take a few minutes out of our day to appreciate ourselves. Often the themes for each week have been about wearing things you wouldn’t normally wear. Things like a crop top for example. I’m going to be 40 in a couple of weeks and I love wearing a crop top, it doesn’t matter what size you are or what shape your body is, if you like it just wear it. But sometimes people need a nudge or permission to be able to get out their comfort zone. Once they do it they realise the world keeps spinning and they really enjoy it and no one else really gives a flying f***, so just wear it!
I’ve been basically trying to give people a little bit of a nudge, to be a bit braver. It comes from the numerous DM’s and emails I have received from women who have told me I have really helped them in terms of their body confidence. I remember getting an email from a lady who said she hadn’t worn a pair of shorts in 10 years and because of the amazing pictures I was posting of all these beautiful bodies in a range of sizes, colours and abilities, it inspired her to put a pair of shorts on. It’s stories like that which really encourage me to carry on doing what I’m doing and to push people to embrace themselves a bit more. What I also discovered from talking about it is that it often comes from a very flippant remark made by somebody ages ago. These comments have stayed with people their whole lives and affected everything, even down to the clothes they wear, they’ve been inhibited so much by just one flippant comment from somebody who probably didn’t mean it in a nasty way. It’s really horrible how stuff like that can affect people and we really have to tackle it head on and not keep pushing it away. Sometimes these things affect us a lot more than we even realise but if we do face it, it can get better. ”
Have you become more confident since becoming a mum?
“Being a mum had a massive impact on me. I think first of all my confidence went down a lot. I was not prepared for my postnatal body at all. We just don’t see enough postnatal bodies and we certainly didn’t then. I had a load of stretch marks on my stomach and really saggy skin and a lot more cellulite and boobs that definitely didn’t look like they did before. I was devastated. I remember saying to myself, you’re never going to be able to wear a bikini again. I used to cry a lot and felt really down, I felt useless. What I hadn’t realised is so much of my life was tied up in how I looked and how my body was a huge part of my confidence and when something in your eyes is taken away like that it really affects your self esteem massively. But luckily I came out of it. The reason why I did come out of it was because I had these two girls. I looked at them and thought, do I want them to feel like their only value is how pretty they are and whether men find them attractive. Aesthetics is not the be all and end all we have so much more to give than just the way we look.
I wanted to bring my kids up differently, I didn’t want them to see me as I saw my mum, on the scales all the time, dieting all the time. I had to change the narrative, I am their role model. Thank god I did, I’m not going to say I’m 100% body confident, I don’t think anyone honestly can, it is so ingrained in us from so many angles all the time from the very beginning. I have worked really hard at it and hopefully my girl understands. They have been my inspiration and have definitely pushed me to really work on myself. The main thing is to not beat yourself up. The diet industry in the US is worth $60 billion a year and in England it’s $2 billion, there is so much energy and capitalism going behind women and hating themselves it is no surprise we do hate ourselves. We’re told really normal things like cellulite, sketch marks, spots, scars and body fat are completely wrong and are the worst things possible. Of course we’re going to think that because it makes people a lot of money. Don’t beat yourself up too much about yourself. You’re taught to think that way for a very good reason and it’s not your fault. ”
For more daily inspiration and fun be sure to keep up with Natalie on her Instagram @stylemesunday.