#MHAW19 with July Jones
Singer, songwriter, mental health advocate and #Jadedbabe to boot, is there anything July Jones can't do? This Mental Health Awareness Week we caught up with our favourite rebel popstar to talk social media, transparency and self-acceptance...
How does social media affect you personally and how do you think we could use it in a positive way as a generation?
Social media is a weird space to be in. It can be a really positive and at the same time a really depressing outlet for youths. I love social media for building my music, visual imagery and spreading awareness on mental health. I have connected with so many amazing organizations such a The Mix, thanks to social media, but I’ve also spent times crying myself to sleep because my life felt lonely and depressing seeing other people partying and enjoying their life in ridiculously expensive places around the world. At the end of the day, if you’re aware social media is an illusion of our best selves, and you’re aware that an eye for good aesthetic can fool the reality of other people’s lives, you’re more than good! I think if we’d use the platforms for vulnerability and be more open about our struggles, social media can be a great safe space for a lot of people.
What are your go-to comforts when you’re having a bad day?
I write, writing music is everything to me. It’s something I can’t get rid of, I can be the most depressed watching a movie, and I’ll get an idea or a concept for a song. I’ve also started to calm myself down with meditation and after love to watch a good movie and snack on some popcorn. Most importantly, taking time for myself is the best cure for the stressful city life.
What advice would you give to anyone receiving mean comments or ‘trolling’?
If you’re on social media, you’ve probably experienced it, especially if you’re pushing boundaries. Mean comments will always hurt, I think it’s always quite shocking how mean people can be. I always wonder, what does this person look in real life? Are they actually real people? I torture myself with all these questions. At the end of the day, you don’t have to live with those comments. My advice would be, delete and block the user and don’t engage in a conversation. People that are mean are usually trying to provoke something out of you, and what they really want is your reaction. So just keep your head high and try to focus on the positive.
Have there been any great causes that have caught your eye in really raising awareness?
I’m really close to the mental health family, so I’ve been really engaged in anxiety and depression talks and movements. I’ve just performed on this incredible event called #GramFam which was put on by The Mix, Calm, and Instagram. The movement surrounds around anxiety, depression, and impact of social media on youths. They host events, talks, workshops around different cities. So many young people come and speak about their experiences, it’s developing a real-life community, and it makes you feel like you’re a part of something, that you matter.
How do you deal with knock-backs in the industry?
Oh man, this industry is full of knock-backs. Music is so subjective so you will get rejected daily. I can honestly say every no is just a new opportunity ahead. No’s will never make or break your career, if you keep going, you’re going to get what you want at the end of the day.
Do you have any personal insecurities that you overcame and how did you do it?
I’ve always had issues with my skin. I have absolutely photoshopped every single spot out of my pictures, but the reality was that I still had to live with it. I’ve watched Youtubers with perfect skin giving advice on what helps them and I just couldn’t relate to it. So I started figuring out what works for me step by step, and accepting that that’s a part of me. Another thing I’ve struggled with is showing body love. I have always loved my body and I have no problem having my nipples out, or dressing in underwear, but I had a problem with how people perceive our bodies, and I feel like social media has been so good to freeing women’s bodies and creating channels where it’s getting more normalized to wear whatever you want. It’s still a journey but we’re definitely going in the right direction.
Do you think more transparency on social media would make the world a better place?
Oh my god, yes! I bet on transparency 100%. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, body image, anything, and you’re brave enough to reach out and speak about it online, I promise you there will be at least one person reaching back. I have been SO ashamed of my anxiety for a year, and then I’ve decided to reach out one day on my platform. I have gotten hundreds of messages not only from strangers, but also my friends who I had absolutely no idea they’ve had suicidal thoughts, or have struggled with the same issues I have.
And lastly, what message would you give our #jadedbabes?
You are all absolutely fierce women, I am so proud that we are stepping together and pushing each other up. Keep creating, pushing boundaries and being your beautiful selves.
Join July on 31st May as she launches her new single, 'Liar Liar' at Hoxton Square Bar, with proceeds going to Mental Health organisation The Mix.
Photography: James Arden & James Gallant
Creative Direction & Styling: Sophia Katyea
Clothing: Jaded London