An interview with Natasha Devon

Natasha Devon is a pundit, writer and creator of The Self Esteem Team. She appears on news channels such as Sky News, ITV Daybreak and BBC Breakfast. She focuses a lot of her work on body image and offers lectures school pupils, talking about this subject. 

She visited my school and I was lucky enough to be blessed with her motivational, beautiful lectures which changed my view on a lot of things. She was kind enough to answer some questions which I wanted to pose and I think she is a beautifully incredible woman. Her witty, funny yet captivating answers display her fun-loving and incredibly humours character. 

How did your creative career begin? 
Natasha: After getting a degree in English, I actually began writing content for websites – There’s loads of people out there who have these fantastic business and products on offer but no idea how to make them seem appealing using the written word so it’s a great ‘in’ if you’re new to the field. At the same time I began writing for online publications for free. I started out writing about music, for no other reason than I really like going to gigs and one of the London culture magazines’ music reporters had just quit. I made contacts that way, branched out into writing about body image and, weirdly, food, before being commissioned for my first paid article by the Independent.
Today I still write for the Indie, as well as the Telegraph, the Sun and I have a monthly column in Cosmopolitan Magazine. I’ve also written two books, with a third coming out this summer.
Were you always planning on taking an artistic route for a career?
Natasha: I was always attracted to the idea of writing, but I also knew journalism to be a notoriously competitive and over-saturated industry. So *annoyingly cryptic answer alert* yes and no.
Does this job satisfy you? What would you do differently if you could?
Natasha: In addition to writing I do some TV punditry for Sky News, ITV and BBC (so basically sitting on a sofa giving opinions which, when I am Queen of Everything, is all I will do all day. (And I’ll pay various minions to sit at my feet and look at me with admiration and awe). I also run a business which sends speakers into schools to do presentations on mental health and body image, as well as doing talks myself in approx three schools per week. And when I’m not doing any of that I’m part of a media campaign group called The Self-Esteem Team and sit on the board which advises the All Parties Parliamentary Group on how to go about delivering PSHE in schools. So I don’t really have time to be dissatisfied *thinks for a few seconds* but even if I did, I wouldn’t be. My career is awesome.
Your main work is centred on the body and self-esteem. How was your interest in this sparked?
Natasha: I had a very brief career as a model back in my late teens and was horrified by the insights that gave me into the ways we are manipulated into apologising for our bodies. That was how my interest started, but it’s maintained through spending time with teenagers and seeing how the modern world, capitalist agendas and social media impacts them physically and mentally. I couldn’t just stand by and let that happen – My school presentation is all about giving young people a more positive message – a sort-of branch to hold onto if they feel like they’re getting swept away in the tide of narcissistic, self-loathing perfection-demanding bullsh*t.
Have you ever made any mistakes about your work and if so, what did you do to make it better?
Natasha: The class I teach in schools now is very different from the first one I ever taught. I’m constantly asking for feedback and adapting according to what I hear – I wouldn’t say it was a mistake, exactly, but it has been a learning curve.
What motivates you and what doesn’t?
Natasha: I’m motivated by wanting everything to be fair. I’m a bit ‘Nick-Cleggy’ in that way (except I stick to my convictions more). I become demotivated sometimes by the enormity of the task at hand. I’m up against corporations with multi million pound marketing budgets which they use to relentlessly batter children and young people into insecurity. Then there’s me in the middle going ‘It’s cool to be an individual!’….But then I remember that not only are there loads of people who feel the same way as me and do great work in this field but also that if you affect just one person and change just one mind that’s better than sitting on your arse whinging.
Would you ever consider a completely new approach to motivating others? 
Natasha: Sure, why not?

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