BABE VIBES is an interview series all about bad ass babes. Where I chat with millennial gals and guys who are (for the want of a better phrase) ‘killing it’ in their life, whatever that may look like. Intimate questions, career questions, silly and fun questions. We delve deep and get to the nitty gritty. My hope is to offer insights into worlds we may not otherwise see and connect like minded souls with their kin.
Do you ever stumble into someone's instagram and there account is so filled with sunshine you want to learn more? That is the way I felt about Shannon. I'm pretty sure I was won over by the fact that she spends her spare time volunteering at an animal shelter. She is also the founder of The Heart Chain, an online space all about mental health with the mission to "raise awareness and break the stigma of mental health through creative expression". She is her own boss, runs a social media consultancy and digital PR company, alongside her blog, insta and her LIFE. If you couldn't tell already I am so excited to dive in to today's BABE VIBES interview because Shannon is an actual ray of light!
Lets start with probably the most important life question: What is your spirit animal?
Defs the most important question ha ha. My friends say my spirit animal is a bunny, so we’ll just go with that.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Shannon, I’m 27 years old, living in Hamilton, New Zealand. I’m a blogger, influencer and work for myself in digital PR, helping brands and small businesses create content and grow their online presence. I spend my weekends working at an eclectic homeware/gift store out in the country and in my spare time I like to volunteer at the SPCA (animal shelter), write music, sing, read, hit the gym, get crafty and go on adventures with my friends.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Many things; authors, poets, singers, friends, family. You name it, I’m sure everything or everyone in my life plays an important role inspiring me in different ways. That in itself, keeps me going.
When you are stuck in a rut, what do you do to get out of it?
Play music, hit the gym and/or meditation and yoga helps too.
What is your main message that you want to spread through Be My Light?
Be My Light is a lifestyle blog that documents my life whether it be in the area of fashion, food, fitness, beauty, photography, events, mental health, travel and adventure. My life is just like everyone else’s, there are good experiences and then there are not so good experiences. The main goal is to be authentic and honest in my delivery.
B: Ah! This goal totally warms my heart. Because I feel like more honesty and authentic content is needed out there. We don't live in a perfect pretty bubble but that is what is often put out there. So I always admire and love your work!
Why did you decide to start a blog and how did it grow out of your insta?
I started a blog (I’ve actually had a couple before Be My Light) because I love writing and I love using photos to document experiences. Truthfully, I don’t blog as much as I’d like to due to time constraints, but I Instagram every day, so I think that makes up for it. I grew it from my IG so that I could put extra content up on my blog that I couldn’t necessarily put on Instagram.
Best tip for growing your insta and getting a strong gram game like yours?
I get asked how I have so many followers and I’ll tell you exactly what happened. The official Instagram account started following me for a couple of weeks and my account was shown on the discover page for that length of time. I woke up one morning to thousands upon thousands of followers and I really didn’t know what was going on. Before this all went down I had nearly 800 or so and it escalated very quickly after that. The best piece of advice I could give to grow your following is to pick a certain theme; whether it be food, fashion, fitness, photography and let that be the main theme of your account. People like to follow accounts that have a certain theme that interests them or something that they can benefit from. I can’t say the same for my account ha ha, I’m all over the show. Be consistent, be authentic and it’s always good to keep up to date with social media news, as it’s constantly changing every day.
What motivated / inspired you to start up THC?
The reason I started THC was the fact that in New Zealand (and I’m sure a lot of other countries), still have a stigma surrounding mental illness, where it’s not talked about enough. Understandably, it is a lot better than previous years but it is still an ongoing issue that needs attention.
“Every year in New Zealand, around 500 people die by suicide, not to mention those who attempted suicide, or cases in which they don’t know if that was the ultimate cause. Every suicide affects around 60 people, that’s 30,000 people a year that experience levels of distress which could ultimately put them at higher risk of suicide.”
Can you tell us a bit about the mission behind The Heart Chain?
The Heart Chain is an online platform where people can come and share stories and experiences that others can relate to and be educated by. Our mission is to raise awareness and break the stigma of mental health through creative expression, whether it be written, visual or audible. We aim to create and nurture an all-inclusive and welcoming community of vibrant, beautiful, intelligent and creative people who share similar experiences and are able to be supported along the way.
How do we get involved?
If you would like to contribute a piece of writing, poetry, song, dance, that would be so amazing as we definitely need more contributors. The cool thing about this is that you don’t even have to have a mental illness to write something - it could be from your perspective of helping someone or how you feel about mental illness etc. Every voice deserves to be heard. If that’s not really for you, there’s other ways you could help like to help, whether it be raising awareness and getting the word out about The Heart Chain or helping with social media. There are lots of ways that your time could be put to good use. Send your stories or ways you could help to email email@example.com or my other email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you are stuck in a creative rut, how do you get out of it?
I stop and wait for the creative juices to flow again. This is especially important when writing songs or blogging; if the love or effort isn’t there, the people that read or hear it will know.
How do you maintain a balance between work life and the rest of life?
That is a really good question. And possibly something I’m still working on. Being your own boss takes a lot of self-discipline. If you’re working in social media and then going home and working on your brand and Instagram, it does become quite exhausting. Heading to the gym, doing yoga or going out for a walk with friends is so nice, and it lets you reenergise and refocus yourself on the things that are most important.
When you were younger what life did you see yourself living, and how does it compare to now?
Pretty sure I wanted to be a young mum, but that’s definitely not going to happen anytime soon ha ha. At different stages when I was younger, I wanted to be an editor for a magazine, an air hostess and a pop singer. I haven’t done any of them, but that’s okay – there’s still time. ;)
What is your ideal day off look like?
Well, it would start with a sleep in, and then probably going on an adventure to climb a mountain and see pretty views or go to a waterfall with friends to swim. I froth over adventures; they keep me sane.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
It changes depending on the day. I’ll do work here and there, then I might go run errands, hang with friends, do more work and then go to the gym. I think it really depends on the deadlines I set for myself and when work is due. That’s the greatest thing about working for yourself in social media – if you wanted to take the day off and do work at night, you totally could.
What are you afraid of?
Not trying to sound like a boss a** b*tch, but I’m not really afraid of much. Probably just when a big spider randomly appears next to me – that sure as hell makes me scream.
How would your friends describe you?
Funny, I hope. Caring, supportive, fun and I’m sure they’d add weird in there too.
If you were to host a dinner party who would you invite?
This is a very hard question, because there’s so many people I would invite. But to name a few it would have to be Russel Brand, Leo DiCaprio, Anna Kendrick, Taylor Swift and Amy Schumer. I feel like there’d be some deep conversations but also a tonne of laughs too. Ooh also James Bay, for obvious reasons.
If you could go on holiday right now, where would you go?
Probably back to the states, I want to go to Nashville, DC, Chicago and New York this time and road trip with friends. So that’ll probably be the next trip after Japan – which I’m heading to in just over a month’s time.
What is your thoughts on wellness and how to you incorporate it into your daily routine?
So so important. I’ve struggled with mental health and I know personally that it’s always good to take time out for yourself. This will look different for every person. Maybe it’s meditation, yoga, reading, writing, exercise, pampering etc – it’s great to take some time out every day to practice self-care.
On the note of self care; whats your first go to when you need some extra quality time?
I normally fix myself a peppermint tea and pick up a good book to read.
What is one thing you do each week to look after yourself?
Yoga/Pilates and meditation. And watch Riverdale (duh!)
Tell us about a moment in your week where you felt on top of the world?
I went for my first run in a couple of years. Safe to say I didn’t die, but felt pretty close to.
One word to describe how your 2018 is going
One goal you’d like to achieve this year?
Save up enough money to leave NZ next year and head on over to the UK.
Whats the best piece of advice you've received?
You can’t possibly hold more light and beauty, unless you break first.
Whats the best piece of advice you can give us?
Jump first, fear later.
If you have someone you'd like to suggest for a BABE VIBES interview (heck even yourself) shoot me an email at email@example.com.