Kitty Underhill

I took a trip down south to London and during my time there, I managed to link up with Kitty Underhill (click her name to get to her website!)
I've worked with Kitty before. We met on set for Olivia Louise's music video "DOWN SOUTH" and following her on social media since, has definitely inspired me. #SuppportYourMates

First off, thank yo for doing this interview for me! You've been a pleasure to photography as well! So, you're an activist, blogger, actress and model. What does that mean to you? Where does your passion come from?

Thank YOU for having me! I’m very humbled that you would even have me as a part of your project. And thank you, I love the photos!
To me, my projects are all about, where possible, helping people embrace self acceptance, self love and getting them to challenge their ideas of what they think is a ‘good body’ and a ‘bad body’. I also want to help people open their minds and become more compassionate - to take a step in someone else’s shoes before judging and stereotyping. Obviously with some mediums it’s not so easy (I often can’t rework a script I’m given!) which is why I say wherever possible. 

My passion comes from hoping that I can be the person I needed when I was younger, and hoping that I can educate and help younger generations, as well as help my own and older generations unlearn what they have already been taught by shitty beauty standards. I had no positive body image role models to look up to, and growing up, no one had a body like mine. I had such a low self esteem, hated my body, and felt so angry and upset that I didn’t look like people in the magazines; I would take this out on myself constantly. I ended up falling into modelling by mistake and as I modelled more, and learnt more about feminism and body positivity I realised that these causes are SO important, so vital, and need to be taught to everyone. I wish I had learnt that there was no wrong way to have a body when I was younger, maybe then I wouldn’t have spent so many years hating myself. It’s the reason why I am such a passionate campaigner for body positivity, because I think the sooner we learn to challenge the status quo, the better. 

My passion also comes from me being so angry at the injustice I was learning more about as I got older and I wanted to change things, even if it’s by challenging norms or starting a new conversation with people who wouldn’t have had that conversation before. I work hard because I think it is essential that we learn to unlearn the sexism, racism, ableism, fatphobia, colourism, transphobia and homophobia we have all been taught by society and have had ingrained into us. By unlearning these prejudices we can progress, become more accepting of each other, and create change.

What does it mean to be a Feminist? 

To me, being a feminist means uplifting and supporting women, and challenging, dismantling (and one day overthrowing) the cishet white supremacist patriarchy. To be a feminist is to be inclusive of ALL people - that means women of all races, abilities, sexualities, sizes and genders. Honestly, I can’t be doing with peoples’ feminism if it doesn’t include everyone. Feminism isn’t feminism if it isn’t inclusive. This means recognising and listening to the struggles of others, even if we don’t understand them, and amplifying the voices of those most oppressed. 

What is it like to be a woman in the creative industry, which seems to be ruled by men?

I think I’m very lucky in that for the most part, I have worked closely with women, and the men I have worked with have been understanding, co-operative, and not douchey! Every now and again I get weird requests (hey, what services do you provide? do you do porn? can I take pictures of you naked in your house for free?) but luckily I’m at the point now where I can bat them off without flinching. I think I’m very lucky however, as many accounts of women’s experiences in the creative industry are not so positive!

Do you find social media a blessing or a curse?

Honestly I think social media is a bit of both! On the one hand, I think social media is such an empowering medium as it means that so many people who would not have previously had a platform to share their stories now do. So many marginalised voices are being heard more so than ever before, which is incredible. It’s brilliant that a rallying cry from the internet can lead to such good - so many protests and brilliant movements would not be anywhere near as big as they are if it weren’t for the internet, where you can bring people together from all over the world. However, I think the internet is responsible for a lot of evil. For example, trolls - so many people with nothing better to do than spout their hateful opinions online, without thinking of the consequences. It’s disgusting. Also, the rise of the ‘alt right’ and other hateful platforms have been rising because of social media too. I also think that social media is responsible for the rise in new impossible beauty standards we are brainwashed into adhering to, which is so damaging for us and the younger generations. So yes, certainly a double edged sword. 

How important is to you when friends share your stuff? #SupportYourMates - how do you feel about it? Do you think its important for your friends support when going into the creative industry?

It honestly means the world to me when people share my stuff! I think it’s so important; we have to raise each other up, especially when we don’t fit into societal norms. The way the industry works now is all about getting your work seen by the right people and making connections, and if people share each other’s works it gets us one step closer. 

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