You're a big Harry Potter fangirl, what made you fall in love with the story?
Probably my dad, if I am honest. He used to read to me every night when I was younger and one day he brought home this book from work and we just got lost in it! He used to do all the voices and everything, and I spent the rest of my life playing dress up! The safest and happiest I have ever felt was when I was curled up under my duvet, usually with a cat, getting lost in this magical world... It doesn't matter how bad a day I've had I can always just pick up any of the books from the series and go right back there. I still listen to it in bed too, though it is Steven Fry not my dad reading it to me!
You have the illnesses Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome, how does this affect your life?
Wow, don't know where to start on this one... The main thing that has effected me is that I have literally had to change my entire life plan. This is from career to possibly having a family in the future (I plan on owning a lot of cats to make up for this ). It has made me really have to think about my future and take life a lot more seriously, though this has been good in some ways. On a daily basis it is the little things like having to think about whether or not I'll be well enough to walk home from a bus station, or finding somebody to open a drinks bottle for me. Learning to deal with people again, with negative comments or people judging me before they've even spoken to me. Trying to find ways to overcome continual and relentless pain, which has been my biggest obstacle. I guess it has just made everything harder and made me have to think about and plan everything I do. It is weird looking back at life before I got ill, I used to find everything so hard and now I think it was so easy! However, I have also grown as a person I for the first time in my life like who I am. I've matured, learned humility, I'm grateful for what I do have, my art have improved ten fold and I don't let anything hold me back anymore. It is a battle to get there, but I get there - which is what matters. Something that has gotten me through is that no matter who you are, and what you are going through, you can always find somebody worse off then yourself. I'm really lucky compared to a lot of people - this isn't going to kill me; nobody ever died from pain. Unless there is a zombie apocalypse I'm going to be okay, and there is a lot to be said for that.
You were recently involved in Rei Bennett's photography project "Beauty Through Damage" which highlighted your disability. Can you see yourself raising awareness for CF and Fibro in the future through your art?
I have done a project of my own about this already! I wanted to show disability has a place in fashion so did a fashion photoshoot with one of my many walking sticks for college. Although I won't do anything specifically about Fibro/CFS I am doing several things about physical disability in general. For example, I am currently writing a book and one of the main characters in it is a disabled girl. I want to show that it doesn't matter she can't walk - she is still the strongest of all the characters. Aside from that I have plans to create a mobile made out of Polaroid photographs of all the mean things people have said to me, and I also have an illustration project I will hopefully get done over the summer so watch this space! I also try to do stuff outside of my art, I'm hopefully going to be part of a TV show about disability and have done some work with Voice UK creating a video about disability hate crimes. I never thought about it until it happened to me so now I want to make a difference so nobody else has to go through it, or if they are they know they're not alone and they'll be okay.
You're going to university this year, what do you hope to learn there?
Photography! It is what I am studying and I really hope to learn the technical side of it. I joke that right now I'm a really good faker, as I've had no actual lessons on things such as lighting or filters. I've only just been able to afford a DSLR and trying to learn how to use it is my plans for this summer. I want to be able to learn enough so what I see in my head I can create in a photograph.
What is your favorite self taken photograph & why?
This is actually really hard to choose. I have some which I've done which, from a technical perspective, are my favourite just become I achieved them. There are others I have done where I love what they show and others that are purely vain and I like how I look! However there is really only one that truely encompasses all of the above and it is this one:
This is from a set I've done called Hazy Daze, which I took at my Grandpa's in America last summer. Getting this shot took ages. Trying to get the camera angle right and going back and forth through the meadow was a complete nightmare. Also trying to work with the lighting was a struggle and I had to change every single setting on my camera for it to look right! This was also the first set of photographs where I looked at them and realized that I was making the right life choice and I was going to be able to make a career out of photography - until then I had never truelove believed it.
Who is your inspiration?
When it comes to photography I love the work of Ruven Afanador and Cindy Sherman. Ruven Afanador is everything I want to be in a photographer! He has amazing use of line, colour, texture and shape in his photography, which is what I love and aim for in my own. His photographs are also just purely beautiful, and I'd love to be able to create something that is simply beautiful. Cindy Sherman, on the other hand, isn't afraid to be ugly with her photography, and will do anything to create a photograph and make a point. I love her dedication to her art. The majority of her photography is self portraits and she has even gone as far as gaining and loosing weight to do this. Looking at her work taught me that sometimes it is okay to not be attractive in a photograph, or to get dirty. It is about what you create, not how you create it.
Do you own a odd collection?
I am about to sound incredibly geeky... I collect pretty much anything to do with Lord of the Rings! I have copies of all the books, as well as some copies that are older and pretty, and a complete works (it is HUGE). A million different DVDs. PC games. Posters. I have action figures, statues, toys. A box set of the BBC Radio Four play which is probably my favourite LOTR thing that I own. Ian Holm is the voice of Frodo in it, but of course he plays Bilbo in the movies. The first time I listened to the play I just couldn't get my head around it and kept having to rewind and start again I really want a One Ring on a chain to add the the collection, and also to get the inscription tattooed around my ankle. Some people would say I'm obsessed... And I find it hard to disagree with them!!
What do you love about VF?
The people. I have met some of the most amazing people in the whole world on here, and I would never have met them anywhere else. People say that online friendships aren't real but they are, and they have gotten me through so much! I joined VF when I got ill and got lost from my friendship circles (apparently going out and watching your friends get drunk is the only way to keep a friendship going), but instead of friends I actually found a family on here. The support I've had is out of this world and I genuinely love the friends I've made. Don't ever want to loose them!
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Easiest question so far! Getting to university! Okay, so I'm not there yet - but I will be in September. This is something I never thought would happen. I had to drop out of school with only two ALevels which were both s C (originally predicted two A's and a B). But I've worked so hard over the last three years, and battled my way here. Cannot wait for September. I smile just thinking about it!
You're in the King Blue's street team, what is the most awesome thing you done?
Being in a music video of theirs! It was so crazy. Showed up at 8:30 in the morning, in the middle of Salford, in the rain, sleet and snow, got put in a line and spent the rest of the day taking steps forward But it was fantastic! Two hours in they gave us all a break and by this point I was near to collapse from standing and shivering from the cold. I was led over to this god awful looking red van, pushed inside and found myself sat with the entire band having a cup of tea! The best thing about it was they were just awesome people. During lunch the guys all went out and ate pasties with us extras and just talked about music. When they were filming a bit that I couldn't do I sat in the van for an hour with give of the members (Itch was doing his thing) and we just talking about life, and joked around. It was honestly just the best day ever!
Here is the completed music video, I'm the soggy girl with a bandana in her hair - and yes! That snow, and rain? That is real.
I'm also very lucky to have my efforts for the street team put into a promo video for the next album (out this July, available om iTunes ) and also used for the cover of it! You walking stick and ukulele feature heavily in it too, which is awesome.
Do you think a time machine will ever be invented?
Honestly? No. People would have come back by now and it we'd either know about it (lets face it - somebody would have gone back, killed Hitler so you know... As that part of history exists we know time machines don't). Anyways, time machines are great ideas on the surface but they would destroy history and ultimately cancel themselves out or life would be a never ending paradox - the universe would explode. I am far too much of a nerd to be asked this question
What is your favorite comic book?
It is a three part series called Rising Stars, written by J. Michael Straczynski. It is about humanity, heroism, love, hate, fear and everything in between! His characters in it are so human even with super powers, but also heart breaking because of them. The comics might be pure fiction but they are truely so much more then that: they show people, and how they react to each other and how power changes people for the better or for worse, it also shows what people are capable of - and in the end it doesn't matter if you have super powers or not. I honestly think everybody should read them - and I very rarely say that about books. But everybody who reads this series learns about themselves and others, and are better for it.
What got you into the alternative culture?
Personally, I blame Good Charlotte. They were the first band I truly loved (and are my favourite band to this day, sorry TKB!) and I wanted to be like them growing up Thankfully my clothing has matured since them, as well as my state of mind and life choices, and my music taste has branched out a hell of a lot. But essentially listening to them and the world that came with it felt natural and right to me, so I never let it go.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I want to be able to fly. I would love that! It wouldn't matter that I can't get my legs to work then, I'd be able to soar above everything and get lost in the sky. This is going to sound really self centered, but in the book I am writing one of the main characters is a disabled girl and in it she grows wings and can fly. It is what I have always wanted and so I gave it to her.
Would you like to meet any VF users in real life? What would you do with them?
Oh hell to the yeah! I'm very happy that a group of friends on here have organized a meet in December, so I finally get to meet all these amazing people I have been friends with for years now! I can't wait to be able to give them all a hug, and say thank you for everything. Especially my hot wife, you have no idea how happy I am to be finally meeting her! I'm also hopefully going to be doing a few photoshoots over the summer with one of my besties on here, which will be awesome. There is also milkshake plans. The main thing I want to do is just hang out in person and not have to talk through a computer screen - but there are also photoshoot plans! One day I want to track around Europe, closely followed by America, where I just go from place to place seeing all my friends and taking millions and millions of photographs. It has to happen!
I love my VF friends FAMILY so much. They feel more real to me then my "real life" friends ever have
I actually really enjoyed reading this. I've always seen you around, but never actually knew you. You're so cute and strong and beautiful and I just want to hug you, especially after reading about your fatigue syndrome. I had never expected that and it was a shock to read
The only part of this collaboration of thoughts that I could really enjoy reading and could understand (and relate with) than the rest - is how she described having friends over the Internet.
It is true: friends over the Internet can be closer than the friends at Home. Spiritually can be built here more for alone you see their words and not their "appearance or physical connection." Which with those being excluded can cause you to know them inside spiritually connect mentally: where we all truly do feel "alone," therefore stronger relation.
However in real life, there is no mystery (or thing that causes curiosity.) Unlike the "Internet," there are beings from lands far apart/far from yours that you do not know of, and possibly been through the similar trials of your own - allowing connection to fill gaps of lonesome roaming. Which connecting with them you only see them over the net too. Which causes more curiosity for alone you do not see them "regularly," so you do end-up missing them. You see them post around, so you actually begin to understandthem and how they think. You see their talents which is not something creative persons always boast about or show. Some talents are hidden and have to be seeked. Unlike the reality you are in- that is a challenge for alone all of the distractions here that do arise. Unlike here, it is like being alone within a quiet dark room with another and knowing their innerself: the one mystery few find and others still seek.
All-in-all, Its an 'okay' interview - I've seen better though.