Sunday 24 April 2016

6 People Who Make My Internet A Better Place

I think I become disenfranchised by social media on a weekly basis. I swear if I vocalised every time inner me threw up her arms and said 'That's it, I'm out, I'm deleting all my accounts!' my entire content feed would just be a steady stream of nothing else.

It just seems to take little more than perhaps 5 minutes of scrolling through Twitter or Instagram these days before seeing something that makes me eye-roll, cringe or simply despair. And I don't like being that person, because it's not always the bad news that makes me do it.

But I've slowly grown to learn that it's not necessarily 'the internet's fault, it's the internet I have chosen to view, and I think sometimes we forget that it's actually our choice who we follow and the content we see. This year I've taken an affirmative step in clearing out the crap and focusing on the stuff that make me smile, makes me hopeful and makes me inspired. And these are 6 people I am so glad exist, who just make the internet a better place.

I don't even know where to start with this wondergirl, but all I know is that following her was one of the best moves of the last year. Her refreshingly cut-throat and no-bullshit analysis of American Politics and the US Justice System is as groundbreaking as it essential. At just 17, Alexis has a fundamental grasp on politics than most politics majors, and uses her platform to educate her deservedly-vast audience of followers on justice, equality, congress and feminism on her website Feminist Culture. But all of this and she's still just a regular teen online, which I value so much because it shows you don't have to sacrifice your identity or censor your personality if you want to fight for a cause. With something like politics you're expected to have a pristinely censored persona lest you be dragged for one tiny thing from years ago. But Lexi just doesn't give a fuck. She is who she is, fights for what she believes, and brushes away the inexplicable tirade of hate she gets as a successful woman on the internet doing that. This girl is a gift that our generation needs more than ever. A username which started as likely a bit of joke has never been more real. Lexi. For. President.

A photo posted by barbie ferreira not nox (@barbienox) on

Barbie is truly one of the coolest girls on the internet right now. From being one of Petra Collins muses (one of my fave photographers) starring in Carly Rae Jepsen's music videos, and having a variety of major campaigns under her belt, Barbie's body positivity is genuinely changing not only the face and shape of the industry, but also the bizarre standard we've come to measure beauty and worth by for so long. Every picture I see of her owning herself and being a bad bitch has a knock on effect in my own brain, contributing toward this bigger change in mindset toward how I look. Sometimes one person unapologetically loving themselves is enough to make you rethink how you feel about your own self. There's a fun vid with her talking about the term 'plus size' here. 

I must admit I first came across Alex when I saw her give one of the most beautiful, effortless and succinct responses to a dick on Twitter:
And since then she has quickly become one of my all time favourite accounts to follow. Not only is she a beacon of positive light across the internet, one of my favourite thing she does with her Twitter account is to create these long tweet threads of the most stunning photos you've ever seen - beauty that you wouldn't necessarily see in the everyday media. She collects and curates truly the most remarkable beauty from across the world, and every time I'm scrolling aimlessly through Twitter and I come across one of her threads I always pause, and spend a good few moments absorbing what I'm looking at. Hers is an education of so few words. One of her most recent threads I adored was titled 'A celebration of an indigenous rural culture in which the women are the artists and the home her canvas.' Honestly, just scroll through her media on Twitter, you could get lost for hours. 

4. @Lelevalentine

A photo posted by Leomie Anderson (@leomieanderson) on

Okay, true story, I have been obsessed with Leomie for YEARS. It was 2011 when Channel 4 aired a documentary series called 'The Model Agency', and right from the first second I was hooked. There's something about the juicy backstage secrets of the Fashion Industry which I am forever fascinated about, despite not really being a ~fashiony~ person at all. But I was well and truly hooked on this show, which was a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of one of the world's most successful model agencies, Premier Models.   

Featured on the show was one of their newest and youngest recruits straight out of school; Leomie Anderson, and the series began to follow her story as she took her first step into the fashion world. And, despite the fact she is stunningly beautiful, what I became so enamoured by was her genuine and joyous personality. She just seemed like a good egg y'know?  

Fast forward 5 years and she's now an internationally-known supermodel having walked for designers the world over and being a new recruit to the annual iconic Victoria's Secret show last year. Yet she's never lost her down to earth attitude and connectedness, regularly posting super honest chatty vlogs and advice on her blog Cracked China Cup as if she's just your mate you can check in on. I actually bumped into her one fashion week as she was leaving a show and exclaimed, "Leomie, hi!" in a super uncool fashion, forgetting that we weren't actually mates irl. But she was totally chill and lovely. 

She has also done amazing things for not only feminism - her latest blog post is entitled 'An Open Letter About Consent And Saying No' -  but become a pioneer for diversity in the fashion industry. Her Twitter rant about racism and lack of diversity was picked up and reported on the world over, and prompted her to create 'The Black Model Survival Kit' in response to the sheer amount of make-up artists and styling staff who are unable to adequately cater to anyone other than white models. 

All in all she has become an icon, and over the years I've been watching like a proud friend as she's grown into a megastar and become such a powerful voice. All the love for Leomie always. 

A photo posted by Areeba Siddique (@ohareeba) on

This girl. Honestly. 

Okay so I actually wrote an entire blog post dedicated to why I love this girl and how much I value her presence on the internet. If you cba to read that (you totally should) you just need to take a look at her instagram to see what a vibrant creative spark she is. She forever wows me with her projects and ability to create the most extraordinary journal page. She truly- agh! Just read the post!

6. @noor_unnahar

A photo posted by Noor Unnahar Siddique (@noor_unnahar) on

But there was one thing I didn't know about Areeba when I wrote about her... she has an IDENTICAL TWIN. And now my life is literally ruled by this ultimate superhero double act; The Siddique Sisters. I would watch that show. I would sure as hell buy the graphic novel. And I firmly believe these two are going to change the world. 

I can barely explain how much joy these two give me. Their blogs are like genuine locations in space and time, a house you walk into and feel instant comfort. After all, Noor's blog is called Noor's Place. And believe me I would sit in a sunny window seat with a glass of Peppermint tea and read her words all day.

Noor also organised an Instagram meetup for Earth Day in the city of Thatta in her native Pakistan and it just looked like one of the sweetest loveliest days ever, and such a thoughtful initiative.  I am so grateful the internet has allowed this cross-continental connection to happen. It is my absolute goal one day to travel to Pakistan and meet these two, I think I would actually cry. And I just hope that one day very soon we live in a world peaceful enough for that to happen.  


And so here we are, these are the social media queens who are making my world a better place every day. Sometimes I think we don't even realise the things that we see and hear every day that subconsciously influence our minds slowly and surely, to form our seemingly own opinions and judgements of the world. And to a large extent we cannot control what or who has access to our minds. But one of the amazing things about social media is, here, we do. Here we can choose who we want to hear from, and who should be muted. Here, we can choose how we want to grow and what we want to leave behind at the click of a button. And here we can have our own platforms to create things worth saying and things worth listening to. Sometimes, these aren't our things to say. But as a wise friend once told me, 'Maybe we just have a different job to do.' We can always use our platforms, however big or small, to help foster the voice of someone or something that should be and needs to be heard.

That is, at the root of it all, why social media is the most powerful tool our generation has. And if we utilise it to it's full potential, we can make unfathomable, irrevocable new change in this old world.