Interview With Myra Ali – Talking Journalism, Body Positivity & More!

Hey everyone, it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to the blog! Today’s post is an interview that I’m super excited to be doing, I’ll be interviewing entertainment journalist: Myra Ali. I had a great time chatting with her about body confidence, journalism advice and more. I hope you enjoy reading the interview below – let’s jump into it!

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on my blog! For anybody that doesn’t know who you are, could you give a little introduction to yourself?

My name is Myra Ali and I’m an entertainment journalist! I write for the BBC, The Metro, Glamour Magazine and many other publications. I’m also a BBC Guest Editor as well!

Photo From Myra’s Instagram (@myraaliedit)

That’s really cool – a lot of big publications there! I want to start by talking about your journalism career and going back to the beginning. So, when and how did you start developing a passion for journalism?

So, I’d say I always known I was a good listener and after university I worked as a translator for pregnant women in a maternity hospital. And patients would end up telling me their stories and open up to me. While I was doing that job, I was also on social media talking about my skin condition – I worked with a few charities as well.

I’d kind of always known I wanted to be in media. But about 4 years ago, I wasn’t sure when in media I wanted to be. Whether it was presenting or journalism etc! It took some time, but then an opportunity came with a charity where they asked me to interview a celebrity in London, and I said yes to it. It was all on camera, and while I was there, the photographer was actually Tom Holland’s mum! She said I was really good at interviewing and asked if I’d like to interview her son (Tom Holland) for the next Spiderman film and I said definitely! A couple of months later, it actually happened and I got to interview the other actors too.

After that, there was a really good response to the interview, because they put it on their Youtube channel so I just reached out to a lot of outlets asking to be an interviewer for them. And a few months later, I was interviewing for the London Film Festival (which was my first red carpet event I did) where I interviewed Timothee Chalamet along with other actors, producers and directors, Then after that, I was approached by Marie Claire Magazine to write an article about myself and my journalism. I wrote the article, and it was published. And I carried on reaching out and just built good relationships with publicists. I think it was January 2020 when I interviewed Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx for their new film

Then, covid hit so I just carried on writing articles for different publications and in that time, a Netflix movie called 365 Days came out and I got to interview one of the actors with The Metro and it really helped my social media as it got me a highly engaged audience and enhanced my work in terms of interactions with people. At around that time, the Black Lives Matter movement happened at around this time as well and I did an article about the lack of diversity in journalism and wrote it with Stylist magazine and it got picked up by the BBC and they asked me to guest edit one of their programmes. To be honest, I didn’t know the article was going to be that popular, I just wrote it and then saw the response.

A lot of other interviews happened after that as well! I also wrote for GQ, which was more of a fun article about Christmas drinks – so my work is really varied.

I actually heard about you from your Spiderman interview, and it was really good! So, it’s clear from what you said, that being proactive is really important – why is that?

Journalism is a very competitive field, most people would want to do journalism because they think it’s very glamorous and that you can meet a lot of celebrities. That is true, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes with it, and if you don’t have that work ethic to put all the hours and effort of building relationships with people. You’re not going to get very far with it! And you need to be a real people person, because you will come across people who are downright rude. Unfortunately they can be assistants, agents etc who are very busy people and you can write a polite long email, and you can get a one word answer. Which I’ve had many times, but you just have to get on with it. You’ll even get people saying, ‘you won’t be able to do that!’ or ‘oh, that’s too big for you!’ but you have to have that drive and confidence within yourself. So, by building relationships with other people and other journalists it’s always good to get advice on how to enhance your career.

I would say it’s so important to know your ultimate big goal and smaller goals as well. Because if you don’t have that, then you can feel all over the place because journalism is so big!

Yes I do agree that having an ultimate goal really keeps you n your path towards your dreams! So you mentioned that there are many different fields of journalism: Sports, Political etc! You mentioned you’re specifically in entertainment, so have you ever branched out into other fields? And for anybody that’s unsure of what field of journalism they want to go into, what advice would you give them to pick a field?

I would say to think of what you’re really passionate about because it will be very obvious what your likes and dislikes are and what excited you. Will you write an article in the early hours about politics? If you can’t or you won’t, don’t do any kind of political journalism. However, if you think that you want to write about sports, and you can write about sport any time of the day, that would be a clear indication that you really like it! Because, of course, I do entertainment journalism and I got given an exclusive story which I sent to the BBC and they said I could write about it and it was about a whole load of Hollywood starting a petition for disabled people in entertainment getting the same rights as them – and I was up till 4am finishing up and it cam out at 7pm the next day. So, you have to work really fast but the reward is I wrote for BBC News. So, you have to be passionate about whatever subject you’re writing!

A lot of people say to try a few areas, you can do that but I think deep down people know what they like. You might also come across a certain area you might want to try out while working on another area already and you could get introduced to it. So, you don’t know what happens but I think deep down you’ll know and make that your starting point!

Photo From Myra’s Instagram (@myraaliedit)

I agree passion is super important! Interviews and writing different pieces are key parts of journalism as well, which you’re very good at – I love watching your interviews! So, what are your go to tips for preparing for interviews, or writing articles?

For interviews, your editor will be someone who will guide you because they will want a certain piece. So for instance, you should have an idea of what questions you’d like to ask the person, and then work with the editor to get their angle to get what they want – so you kind of work together. Then, you will do the interview, and after you get the answers and the conversation from the person, your editor will read the transcript and they can say what’s a good angle to do the article on and what the headline would be. But you will also get the gist of that as well and you can always say to your editor what you think is a good angle and if they don’t agree with you that’s fine because at the end of the day they’re your boss so you have to go with what they say. It really depends, but if you have any idea on how you’d like to do your article, you can always cater your questions.

When I did my article with The Metro with the actor from 365 Days the editor said the headline would be about ‘controversy’ and why the film was a bit controversial so I had that in mind that it was the main question which is why that was at the top to start the feature. Then, you can pair it with other films and actors that have been a bit controversial. So, there needs to be a good flow and you need to be good at writing, essentially essays as they’re really similar to articles. So you need to learn how to do this, which you can learn through doing a journalism degree or workshops set up by other journalists – you can learn via those as well!

That’s cool! Would starting a workshop ever that you’d maybe be interested in?

Maybe in the future! I don’t have time, presently. But definitely in the future.

I want to move onto a topic which I think is super important, but isn’t talked about enough: Body confidence and positivity. You’re a huge activist for this! So, do you mind giving us a brief description of your story and journey in terms of your body?

So I have a skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa and it’s like having permanent burns. I kind of show and write what my condition is about because it’s unpredictable and has given me a lot health issues. But what I show is, it doesn’t matter what you look like and what you’ve been through – with passion and positivity you can get through it! It doesn’t really matter what your circumstance is. So, despite having a lot of plastic surgery and operations, I feel that it’s a part of life and I get on with it – it doesn’t stop me from work or anything.

I think you have to try and show if you’re comfortable within yourself and confident, other people will see that and they will respond to you the same. Whereas, if you say and show how much you lack confidence, people will pick up on it, and reflect that back. So, I’m a big believer of putting out what you want!

I saw a very similar quote – and your motivation is really inspiring! Many teenagers (especially girls) can struggle with body positivity and confidence, so just for you personally, when and why do you think you truly learned to love yourself and how do you think that happened?

I would say it’s probably when I started working as a journalist, because probably in the early days, in the back of my head I would think there are not many other journalists that look like me – so would I get what I want, in terms of my ambitions? Then I thought, ‘No don’t think like that!’ because it’s not very positive and you’ll hold yourself back. Just be confident, and you know you’re talented at what you do, so just go for it!

And really what gives you confidence is your talent and if you’re good at your work. If you know you’re good at your work, then it will be obvious! That’s really what matters because it doesn’t matter what you look like (it’s not going to get you so far) but if you’re good at your work, you know how to build relationships, you’re confident and you have a strong work ethic that is what will get you far!

Photo From Myra’s Instagram (@myraaliedit)

Yes work ethic is super important! So, could you share advice for anybody struggling with confidence to do with their body?

I would say if you feel something is really holding you back, you may need some extra support in terms of counselling – and there’s nothing wrong with that because everyone has therapy these days. But, if it’s a bit of low confidence, you’re not alone at all because everyone feels like that. You could watch TV and see a girl that’s absolutely perfect, and she will have the same insecurity as you – so you’re not alone. And in this day and age of social media, it’s harder for young people who struggle with body positivity.

But, the media is becoming a lot more diverse so what sorts of images are mot accepted? But, again, if you don’t love yourself and embrace yourself then no one else will. If you don’t, then that lack of confidence in the area of what you look like, that will stop you from excelling in other areas!

Yeah that’s so true! So, why do you think it’s important that body confidence should be talked about more and there should be more activism around it? 

Well, there has been a lot of talk about it because of artists like Lizzo and Ashley Graham etc. But, I think why it should be a topic that it should be continually talked about because, people need to see themselves. So, no matter who you are, everyone wants to be part of the conversation, nobody wants to be excluded. People want to feel they can relate to people.

So, I hope the conversation keeps going and bigger brands help people no matter their ethnicity, weight etc all have a platform so everyone feels involved, and feels that their beauty is shown. Because, we can’t have one type of beauty because it’s also very boring as well. Everyone is unique and everyone likes to see bits of themselves on the screen or on social media.

For the final part of this interview, you’ve already accomplished so much in your journalism career, but could you share some of your future plans, and goals with us?

I’d like to have a platform where I can interview whoever I like, and I don’t need a publication to back me up. And there are a lot of journalists who do that, but it takes time. Because normally you have to be approved by an editor and the publication, whereas on my own, I can just go to the agent/manager of the artist, and it’s done. I have done that before with some other actors and models, but with A List actors, you have to have that publication backing because they’re so big. So, that is my aim, to make my own platform even stronger!

A big thank you to Myra Ali for agreeing to be interviewed! Let me know in the comments what advice you took away from her – and make sure you check out her social media and her spiderman cast interview below!

Myra’s Links

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great day!

Interview With Catherine Jane – Young Environmentalist & Founder Of The Ecolytical

Hi everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today’s post is another interview with my good blogging friend Catherine (I actually interviewed her a year ago, but we both thought it would be fun to do an updated interview!) It’s actually fitting to do an interview now, as Catherine has done a huge brand revamp from Cath Jane Blog to The Ecolytical which I’m so excited about. We’re going to be chatting all things the environment, her revamped blog and more. Let’s jump into it!

Hello Catherine, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed! For anybody that doesn’t know who you are, could you please introduce yourself and explain what The Ecolytical is about?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me Zainab, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here. My name is Catherine, and I’m a teen blogger from the UK. I live in just about the middle of England – not quite north or south. The Ecolytical is my passion project. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to share with the world in one online space. The combination of the prefix eco- and the word ‘analytical’ in the name summarises what it’s all about: picking apart environmental news to be more digestible and accessible to everyone.

Photo From The Ecolytical Instagram (@the.ecolytical)

That’s so cool! So how long have you had the idea in your mind to start The Ecolytical?

I had the idea for the name in January of this year but I only started writing content for it in around April. So, it’s been a long time in the making!

I’m excited to see it! Before we get into chatting about The Ecolytical in depth, I’d love to talk a bit about your blogging journey. So I’m curious to know what inspired you to start blogging, is it something you’ve always wanted or did you decide to do it ‘in the moment?’

It was a very spur of the moment decision. I have to admit, Zoella was my largest inspiration to get started! Once I had finished reading her Girl Online book series I went straight to my parents to ask if I could start a blog (I was quite young at the time) and to my surprise they said yes almost immediately. Anonymity was part of the deal but I wanted to have an alias anyway so it worked out really well. The first few years of blogging were hit and miss, just posting whatever I wanted, until last year I tried to make it as best as possible and then just a few months ago I decided to pursue this niche.

That’s quite similar to how I started blogging! Obviously you started blogging quite a while ago, for anybody that’s apprehensive or doesn’t really know where to begin with blogging, what advice or tips would you give them?

It’s the most basic piece of advice but it’s incredibly true: just do it! Don’t be afraid to try out different formats! In the beginning you don’t have much of a following to restrict you to a certain niche so this is the time you can experiment and see what feels right for you. Then as soon as you start building followers you can stick with a certain niche.

So what kind of things did you try out, that you wouldn’t normally post, when you started blogging?

I did lots of Q&As and things similar to that which I wouldn’t really do anymore. I tried to focus on lifestyle and even though I still talk about that sometimes, it’s not really what I want to do anymore. The same with fashion! I think I had a couple of moments where I wanted to do Outfits Of The Day but that’s not really what I’m interested in anymore.

Yeah I do notice a few lifestyle posts on your Intagram sometimes but it’s much more related to your current niche! Now moving onto The Ecolytical, the mission is to ‘help everyone to live consciously: of themselves and their world’ which is such a powerful statement. What gave you the idea to revolve The Ecolytical around this, and what made you start it in the first place?

So, I really believe if you’re not aware of what your world is going through, there’s no incentive to take action and participate in these larger conversations. The climate crisis is the most pressing global issue facing us at the moment, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it. 

On my Instagram recently I have spoken about the idea of ‘reconnecting with nature’. Not only does it do wonders for your wellbeing, but it brings you closer to the Earth so you can hopefully gain a bit of empathy towards it. When you’re closer to the cause, it makes you more likely to take action. 

Photo From The Ecolytical Instagram (@the.ecolytical)

Love this perspective! So would you say that someone like Greta Thunberg is one of your role models, or do you have any other role models and could you share them?

Greta is one of my hugest inspirations, but I also love David Attenborough of course. I also love Steve Backshall, I went to go see him once and he was really cool!

One of the other aims of The Ecolytical is to help people live more eco-friendly lifestyles. Is an eco-friendly lifestyle something you’ve always had or something you’ve implemented over time?

I can’t say I’ve ever been perfectly eco-friendly (and I still am not now) but growing up semi-rural, I do have an understanding of the importance of caring for wildlife and nature. My parents always made me get outside and I was subscribed to a lot of nature magazines. One thing that’s always been drilled into me is to make use of everything: don’t buy anything for the sake of it and to be as conservative as possible about what you buy!

That’s really good advice! You always stress the importance of small changes and how they can create big results. So why is it vital that everyone knows this and plays a part in a small change , and how will it help the environment?

I don’t know whether you have seen this idea floating about on Instagram, but I’ve seen a graphic where, in quotation marks, it says ‘just one plastic bottle, says 8 million people’. Now that’s quite a negative take on the idea. But look at it this way, what if 8 million people refused a single use bottle?

Even though we aren’t world leaders with big companies and sums of money at our disposal, but there is power in the people. And the more we speak up, the less the Governments can ignore us. Even just a small change can create a ripple effect and I think it’s important that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the crisis otherwise you won’t feel as inspired to take action!

Photo From The Ecolytical Blog

So when did you start learning to take action, and when do you think is the right time to start?

Obviously just as soon as possible (as soon as you can talk) you want to be kind to your planet. But, I’d say around 6-7 years old, I joined an eco club at school and we made art out of litter and then I started going to clubs such as Wildlife Explorers. So, that’s when I started being aware of climate change.

Then in recent years, with the rise of people like Greta Thunberg and her speeches, I realised the severity of it and why I need to talk about it myself.

You mentioned young people, so how do you think parents and schools can implement activism and changemaking spirits into young people?

I think it’s good to have small conversations and not be too overwhelming. So, just pose a simple question like, ‘Are you sure you want to buy that drink when you could just take a bottle with you?’ Don’t try to overwhelm children on a large scale of this, because it can cause some anxiety and that’s not necessary. But if you speak about the bees in your garden for example and explain the issue in a simple way it could be much simpler. So, just try to thread it into conversation where appropriate to avoid confusion and overwhelming children.

Making things simple is a great way for young children to understand! Speaking of simple, for anybody that wants to shift their lifestyle to make it more eco-friendly could you give us some examples of simple changes you can make to have good effects on the environment?

Of course! Buying in bulk, taking your own cup, buying second-hand, eating meat-free (even for just one day a week), signing some Greenpeace petitions. Next time you have to replace your toothbrush – go for a bamboo one (but check the bristles are biodegradable too). Resuable masks are also great (buying them from a small business is even better, my favourite is @namishopuk)

Even just talking about the climate crisis more within your school communities or sports clubs. I want The Ecolytical to have a ripple effect. I want to start conversations that will be continued, and continued, and continued.

You mentioned buying second hand, do you mind sharing some examples of where you could buy second hand clothes, items etc?

Go to charity shops – they’re the best because there are so many in the UK! Car boot sales are great for more practical items and E Bay is also great as you have to buy locally to get quicker delivery. Also, a lot of my clothes can also come from family which is another great source!

Family is a great one, there’s also an app called Vinted where you can buy second hand. So, what’s your final statement about The Ecolytical or piece of advice you’d like to share with my readers?

One last piece of advice, because I don’t want to sound egotistical and talk about myself! Don’t fall for the eco-friendly ‘aesthetic’ because it’s progression over perfection! Use up what you have, and repair what you already own before you go on a shopping spree for metal straws or glass food containers! The whole idea is to push against capitalism, not drive it. Doing your best is the we can do!

Thank you so much to Catherine for taking the time to be interviewed! I learned so much from listening to her, so make sure you comment what you learned and check out her links!

Catherine’s Links

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a fantastic day!

Interview With Angel – Founder Of BlogR

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to the blog! For today’s blog interview, I’m joined with a lovely girl called Angel who founded the amazing blogging platform: BlogR which is working to have a positive impact on the blogging community with this unique idea. Let’s jump into the interview!

Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed Angel! For anybody who doesn’t know about yourself and BlogR?

Thank you so much for reaching out, it’s always a pleasure when people like to find out more! And sure, I’ll do a brief intro for both 🙂

So my name is Angel, I’m 21 years old and I’m a Business & Management university student. I started BlogR in my placement year and I’m really excited to continue it in my final year, and if all goes to plan, after uni too!

BlogR is a blog discovery platform, to allow users to find more of the content they love. We’re currently working really hard behind the scenes on the site and I’m really excited to reveal everything to you. The support we’ve had so far has been incredible, so I just hope everyone loves it!

Photo From BlogR Instagram (@helloblogr)

Thanks for the introduction, I can’t wait to see the site, so before we talk specifically about BlogR, I want to talk a bit more about the idea, so where and how did the idea spark for you to create a platform such as BlogR?

The idea for BlogR came from wanting to find an inter-railing blog. I wanted more information on an itinerary for travelling Eastern Europe, and it suddenly made me realise that I didn’t know of any up to date platforms that were exclusively for blogs.

We know there’s Instagram for pictures, Tiktok for videos, Snapchat/Whatsapp for instant messaging, Medium for writers/journalists etc, but nothing exclusively for blogs. I knew then that I wanted to explore this space and create a platform for bloggers and readers, so I got to work!

Did you ever own a blog before, and if you have would you say that definitely helped you come up with the idea for BlogR?

No I haven’t! So even when the idea for BlogR came about, I was coming from the angle of a blog reader. I wanted a central location to sift and sort through content I actually wanted to read. Whilst waiting for my web developer to start, I decided to create an Instagram blog to start reaching out and forming relationships with bloggers. Pretty much a year later and we have a small (but global!) community of 1,700 bloggers and readers.

I have always loved reading a good blog, so I have actually recently started putting together my own personal one!

Photo From BlogR Instagram (@helloblogr)

I think it’s so cool you’re coming from the angle of the reader, because I actually always thought you had a blog previously! Now I want to talk more about BlogR itself, so BlogR’s main aim is to bring together the blogging community which I absolutely love, what has been your favourite part or feature of BlogR so far?

One of my favourite parts about BlogR is the amazing friendships I’ve been able to make with some incredible bloggers, such as yourself! The online support I’ve gained has honestly blown me away. If I’ve had a mini social media break to work on product development, I will sometimes get DMs from people checking in and asking if I’m okay. Before BlogR I had never had exclusively online friends, so it’s definitely shown me the positive side of social media and I can’t wait to see how many new relationships are formed through the platform!

That’s so sweet, and I agree with you! I’ve made so many amazing friendships through my blog! BlogR has started branching out so much more on social media from doing interviews to doing advice posts, would you say BlogR is a community you wish you could’ve had if you were a blogger?

I think whatever space you’re in, it’s always nice to feel part of something bigger and to know you always have someone else you can turn to. As I mentioned, I am in the process of setting up my own personal blog, so the community has been a great support system as I know if there’s anything I am struggling with, there’s always someone I can ask for help.

Yes the blogging community i such a great support system! So, the big question for this interview is, why do you think people should come check out BlogR’s social media and what do you think other bloggers can learn from it?

BlogR’s pride and joy is our community, and I really think that is what you’re going to gain when you join the platform. With the year we’ve had in lockdown and the fact that more people are working from home, it’s more important than ever to foster and nurture online relationships.

I’d like to think that BlogR isn’t just the same as other online platforms. At BlogR, we’d love for you to really connect with a piece of content you’ve read, and for it to inspire you enough to come offline and try it yourself! Whether it’s a recipe blog, or a productivity one, we’d love to help people develop both on and offline

Photo From BlogR Instagram (@helloblogr)

That’s why I love BlogR so much – I’m looking forward to the site coming out! It’s already growing so much, I know that you have the official website and platform coming out soon but could you share some of your future plans for BlogR? Maybe share where you’d like to be within the next few years and give us a tease of what’s to come!

Thank you! It’s been harder work than I originally anticipated, but I honestly love what I’m doing! To start with, we will be working on getting our first users on and gaining initial feedback. Overall, we want to make it easier for bloggers to share their work and be discovered, and for readers to find content that will benefit them. I’d absolutely love to get some big names in the blogging world involved with BlogR and on the platform!

I’m not really one to share business goals as I get nervous for some reason (probably because I am a little scared of being vulnerable and to let people know I failed at something ahah) but for those of you who followed us in December, you may remember we trialled our Partner Programme. This is definitely something I’d like to role out again on a large scale within the next few years.

I have BIG aspirations for BlogR, and I hope I can be the one to fulfil them. I guess only time will tell, so you’ll have to stick around and stay tuned!

Make sure you check out Angel’s links listed below! Also, we are super close to 400 followers so please write some Q&A questions for me to answer in the comments!

Angel’s Links

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!

Interview With Carmen Applegate – Founder Of The Girly Girl Podcast

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today, I have the privilege of interviewing Carmen Applegate, she’s the host of the highly successful Girly Girl Podcast. In this interview, we’ll be chatting about how to create and grow podcasts, her advice for you guys and more. Let’s jump into the interview!

Carmen, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed on my blog, for anybody that doesn’t know about you could you explain a bit about yourself and your content!

I’m Carmen and I host The Girly Girl Podcast, which is pretty much a teen advice, very chill podcast. It talks about anything and everything each episode has a different topic ranging from anxiety and periods to self confidence and summer glow ups. Literally anything, and it’s really fun!

I also have an Instagram and TikTok where I try to upload uplifting content (body positivity, self love, etc).

Thanks for having me, I’m really excited to chat with you!

I love all those topics! So we’re going to start off talking about the Girly Girl Podcast, could you talk a bit about how and why you started the podcast, what was your ‘lightbulb moment?’

So I started my podcast in August 2020. Around that time I had a blog, but I just was not really feeling it anymore, it was making me feel burnout and I didn’t enjoy the process anymore and also at the time I had been listening to a lot of podcasts. So I thought ‘Hmm how hard can that be?!’ and I love learning new things so I literally got on my laptop and googled ‘How To Start A Podcast?’ and maybe two days later, I had posted my first episode albeit it wasn’t great – but that’s okay it’s a learning process!

I want to say there was a big reason why I was like ‘Yes I’m going to start this!’ But honestly, I was just bored and needed something to do, it was the end of Summer and I’m so glad I started it, it’s had a very positive effect on my life, and I get a lot of DMs about other people’s lives so it’s been very rewarding and a really fun experience!

Photo From Girly Girl Podcast Instagram (@thegirlygirlpodcast)

You’ve had such a positive effect on others lives, listening to the podcast, I can definitely tell! One thing I love about your podcast (and is kind of different to other teen podcasts) is that you don’t hold back! You’re willing to talk about issues some other teens may be scared talking about and sharing real storytimes which is what’s so unique about your podcast! Why do you think it’ so important that teens (especially teenage girls) have a platform like this to be able to know they’re not alone?

Well I know for myself, when I was growing up, I didn’t know where to look, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking my mom or one of my friends because I thought that would be too embarrassing. So, I always looked at Google, Youtube etc. And I don’t know if you guys have looked but, on these platforms it’s pretty hard to find advice from people that actually relate to us – so I just imagine myself from when I was younger and didn’t have anyone to turn to. I just wanted to be that person, I guess for my younger self, or for people that need a friend that they can turn to when something happens.

And honestly, once you talk about something that you may find uncomfortable, the more normal it will be because a lot of the things I say, I’m like ‘Should I be saying that?’ but it brings yourself out of your comfort zone, and you have to think about the impact, on people’s lives and think about whose on the receiving end and may need help.

Yeah you’re right we need to normalise being open to talk about any issue – which is what I love about your podcast. Speaking of the podcast, you’ve grown yours to over 300K Downloads, what advice could you give to anybody out there whose looking to start or grow a podcast? What are your must-do tips?

Yeah of course! So I think the biggest thing is staying consistent. I know that seems pretty basic, but it’s quite hard to do, you have school (maybe a job) you have other things going on in your life, so it’s easy to push something off. But I think consistency lets people know that they can rely on you, and honestly, it depends on if you want it to be a hobby or a job, for me personally, I view it as a job. But if you view it as a hobby, that’s great, you can post whenever, it can be very chill.

Also, another thing that helps is utilising social media, just trying different things, interacting with other creators, posting things your audience would relate to (not just promotional stuff). Whatever your audience, whether teen girls or boys, post something they would want to know!

Photo From Girly Girl Podcast Instagram (@thegirlygirlpodcast)

Yeah I think that’s great advice not just for podcasts but any form of content creating. So I want to touch on your blog you mentioned earlier, which wasn’t really the right fit for you. So why do you think you prefer having a Podcast to a Blog or YouTube Channel?

Honestly for me, a blog felt really impersonal and I thought it would be easier to share things going on my life by talking to a camera and actually being able to hear my voice and I personally enjoy the process a lot more, it’s very therapeutic and really great for my mental health to be able to talk things out so the blog didn’t really fit with me. I think for a lot of people, it just depends on your style and what you’re going for, for me, a podcast was more personal

I never really thought about YouTube, I think the thing about that is I’m a fairly lazy person. So I don’t think I could go through all the editing. And I pretty much saw YouTube as the video form of a blog where it’s like ’10 Tips For Summer’ or something like that! Like I said previously, that wasn’t really my style and personally I can talk for a while, so it’s been fun!

It’s been really fun listening to the podcast! So I notice quite often you open the floor to your listeners and ask them to submit their stories. So why did you want to showcase other people’s storytimes aswell?

Well, I’ve only had so much experience, I’m 17, and my podcast is about giving advice and sharing life experiences. And I think it’s really great for building a community too, to hear what other people have gone through and to be able to say ‘I relate to that too!’ because a lot of the stories I get, are all super similar, and when I read through them, I think they’re all super funny! It’s really fun to share people’s stories and also as a listener to think ‘What is she going to say about my story?’ and it’s a fun community thing!

I saw on the What We Said Podcast that they had a storytime episode and I thought that was a great idea. So I try to do one usually the first week of every month and it’s gotten a good response and I really liked it!

Photo From Girly Girl Podcast Instagram (@thegirlygirlpodcast)

Speaking of advice, what would be your go-to piece of advice that you would give teenagers or kids about to become a teenager?

I’d say the biggest thing would be to do whatever you want! As I remember when I was younger in middle school, I’d be so worried about what other people would think about what I was doing. And honestly that stopped me from trying something new whether it was trying a sport, talking to someone, posting something etc. I would always stop myself thinking ‘Wait what if this goes wrong?’ It’s so important to remember literally nobody cares, everyone is so focused on what they’re doing they won’t care. So, if someone is making fun of you, they’re wasting their time sending their energy to you, when they could use to do something cool – which you’re doing and they’re not! Most people think whatever you’re doing is cool anyway or they’ll just be like ‘Good for you’ so it’s not as big a deal you might think.

Yeah I saw a quote that said, surround yourself with people that have the same energy as you – and it’s so relevant to what you just said! So going slightly offtrack, can you share some of your own favourite podcasts?

This is so hard because I go through phases between which podcasts I listen to. But right now, I think my favourite one is Wild ‘Til 9 which is slightly inappropriate if you’re younger, but it’s honestly so funny and I really like it. I also really like Call Me Candid they’re not posting anymore but it’s really good for businesses, Check Your Aesthetic is also business-type podcast. I like the Seriously Not Serious podcast, which is similar to mine!

They sound so cool! Your podcast and your content have already grown so much but where do you see yourself in the next few years in terms of your podcasts’s growth, or even your own personal development?

That’s a great question! I do the podcast for fun, I do see it as something serious that I put a lot of time and energy into, but for me it’s not healthy for my mental health so think about specific numbers I want to hit. So, I just want to stay consistent, have it remain a positive impact on my life. So, if it turns out to be toxic, I’m not having fun, or getting burnout and overall makes my life worse, that’t not something I’d want to be doing. Yeah so not a serious goal but to try and effect people and see what I can do and see the impact I can make!

Honestly everything you just mentioned is much better then numerical goals anyway! Thank you so much for coming Carmen! Where can everyone go to find out more about your podcast and yourself?

You can find my podcast on any podcast streaming platform, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and also on YouTube. My Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest is @thegirlygirlpodcast

Thank you so much for reading this post everyone, be sure to check out Carmen and The Girly Girl Podcast! Let me know in the comments your favourite podcasts or if you’ve heard Carmen’s before!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
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Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
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Have a lovely day everyone!

Interview With Flora’s Week Show – Collab

Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today I’m super excited for this post as it’s a collaboration with Flora from Flora’s Week Show where we have interviewed each other. Make sure you check out her blog, for now let’s jump into the post!

Flora, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed, could you please introduce yourself and your blog?
Hello my name is Flora from @florasweekshow. I am a proud blogger with a big imagination. I LOVE blogging and writing, I find them amazing!

My next question is, when and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in late October of 2020 but I didn’t post my first blog post until November (I hit my 6 month anniversary a few weeks ago!)

Have you ever faced a time in your blogging career where you hit writer’s block?
I haven’t really hit a blogging block, but for a few days in April I didn’t have the urge to write any posts. Hopefully, I don’t hit one any time soon!

Where do you find your motivation to write blog posts?
My main sources of motivation are from my followers and also my writing goals. I think of what I want to achieve and try to achieve them.

What is your writing process and plan for writing blog posts?

I usually plan-ish (make a note) on what I’m posting. Sometimes, if I come up with lots of ideas, I write them down with a rough date to go out.  I also write the intro, then the subject and an outro!

Thank you for reading this blog post everyone, be sure to check out Flora’s blog and comment what you’d like to see next!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day everyone!

Interview With Ella Harmony – Young CEO and Founder Of Stylish Study

Hi everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today, I’ll be interviewing a young entrepreneur: Ella Harmony. She’s the founder of the brand: Stylish Study which you guys know I absolutely love! So I’m super excited to talk all about her success story and her entrepreneurial dreams – let’s jump into the interview!

Thanks so much for coming! For anybody that doesn’t know who you are, do you mind explaining a bit about yourself and your company?

Of course! I am Ellla Harmony, I’m the founder of Stylish Study. We are an online platform where we teach predominantly young women how to revise, but all about how to live your best life. So in terms of personal development, mental health. All these things are really important to us, as well as the academic side, so you can get your best grades and go onto live a life where you feel really good about yourself and feel like the best version of yourself!

You got roughly around 4s in your GCSEs (Ds) but raised them to A*AA which is just so inspiring! Can you just give a rough idea to what your action plan was for this and how you managed to make such a change?

Definitely! When I opened my results on results day I was so upset, I literally cried – I was so devastated. I really thought I would do so much better by just winging it! So, I was having a sink or swim moment, ‘Am I going to do it?’ What am I going to do?’ So I really just set about trying to Google and doing as much research, look at tutoring, courses etc. But I didn’t really find anything that was all in one place (which is where the idea of Stylish Study kind of came about) but I really needed to to work on my personal development and HOW do I revise. As I feel like at school your teachers will say, ‘Okay tonight class go and do an hour of revision for a test tomorrow’ but they never tell you how, or what the steps are for this! As yes, it’s easy to say, ‘revise!’ but unless you know what to do, or the techniques to effectively (because when I first started to take school seriously I would spend all my time revision missing out on everything)! So I was like, now that I know how to do this, I needed to work on how to revise smart rather then revising hard all the time!

That was another step to the journey really, it was all about doing my research and refining my techniques, this is kind of where everything was condensed into one place so people didn’t have to look left, right and centre for it!

That’s such a great idea, I can relate so much to when teachers just tell you to revise! So, I also saw you had made a pact with your friend to make this change, how important is it to have supportive friends during a time in your life when you’re trying to make such a big change? Because unfortunately some friends might not be as supportive as you think.

Definitely, I had a fair share of people around me that were really negative at the end of my GCSEs and the start of my A-Levels, and honestly, I just had to suck it up and cut them off, because I really didn’t want to associate myself with them. But you have to just focus on yourself, and the end result, because now when I’m out of sixth form it just doesn’t matter! I know in the moment it does matter, because in school you’ll probably see them every day, but in terms of real life situations it’s really important to surround yourself with those supportive people. You don’t necessarily have to cut them off if you’re not comfortable with that but maybe just see them less, but yeah having a supportive friend around me was really helpful!

But remember, you can also do this on your own, there were obviously times where my friend wasn’t around – we both took very different subjects so we only had one class together – so it’s really becoming your own best friend as well! As cheesy as it sounds, enjoying your own company because I realise now that when you leave school and you’re out into the ‘real world’ it is very much you fending for yourself, you have to keep self disciplined and being accountable for yourself! So whilst it’s great being with your friends you can definitely get around it if you are on your own!

Photo From Stylish Study Instagram (@stylishstudy_)

Your perspective on this is so great! You have mentioned before that when you were in the process of improving your grades for A-Levels you were working smarter so you actually got more free time to work on well-being, go to the gym, see friends. Why do you think it’s still important you get breaks and live your life when you try to make such a big change? I feel like the stereotype is you work hard, don’t see friends, get your grades even though it can cause burnout.

Definitely! I’m a big person that would rather do a sprint in a marathon with work so I go really fast and then I feel really exhausted but I’m still learning to pace myself. In terms of working smart and not hard, I view it as ‘would I rather spend 3 hours doing work, or the whole day doing some work?’ As I said,I do prefer doing a sprint, so I’d rather do a sprint for those 3 hours so then after I can turn my brain off from revision and not think about work, because when I relax, I want to relax – I don’t want to be watching Netflix thinking, ‘I should be doing work!’ For me, that’s not helpful, but when I started things such as the Pomodoro Method and spacing my work out so that I was working smart bur not working to the point of burnout, was a huge game changer for me!

It’s really all about thinking about how you want to spend your time, would you rather get it done really fast and quick by working smart or would you rather drag it out and spend the whole doing it?

Yeah I’ve actually used the Pomodoro Technique, and some of your tips on Instagram which really have been useful! After getting these grades you decided to create Stylish Study, just before we get into that, did you always have something similar to Stylish Study or just a way to help other people in the back of your mind or was it an impromptu decision to start it?

So, during lockdown I was doing some things to do with Youtube, I was always passionate about social media so I started a blog (multiple actually!) when I was around 12, and I started creating general Youtube videos, but it was never something that stuck, because I felt that there was no real purpose to it, like yes it was entertainment but I needed something bigger and something that could give value! So, I had the idea to document my University journey, that didn’t actually work out, but I realised I had started sharing these tips like a studygrammer, and I thought ‘let’s carry this on!’ because I had a decent following of around 10K so this can help people and it ended up continuing. Now, I’m doing this full time!

Well you’re definitely helping so many people! Moving on now to Stylish Study itself, as it says on the website and social media, ‘Stylish Study is here to break down the smart stereotypes’ which is shown throughout the whole company, can you share why is it so important that these smart stereotypes are destroyed?

When I was at school, I looked at a lot of studytubers, and the stereotypical thing they say is that they will sit down and revise for 13 hours, but I don’t identify with that! I personally can’t sit down or work for 13 hours, I’m sure if I’m really motivated I could, but am I going to? No, because life carries on! I feel like there’s the stereotype that you’re really smart or you don’t care (because you focus on your appearance or whatever it is!) So, I think the turning point for me, was I went into a lesson at school and I got my first ever A on my exam and I was like, ‘oh my goodness, wow!’ and my teacher turned to me and said something alone the lines of that because of what you look like, you’d never be expected to get that grade! I thought that was rude, and does that really matter?!

So, I think it’s really important for us to have more of an open approach to studying – so we talk about how to make revision cards with research I complied but now we’ve got expert’s advice and tips and condensing it into one place that’s so accessible for students! Whether it’s a TikTok that brought you value, or our membership or product, we want to make sure everything is as valuable as possible and link back to the reason of why we’re doing this: which is to help you grow with your grades and future!

Photo From Stylish Study Instagram (@stylishstudy_)

Going through the Instagram, I love how the core values are throughout – Valuable, Visually Pleasing and Community, why did you pick these values and how have the helped and benefited people who have used Stylish Study?

So, we’ve added a few more since then but yes these are the main 3 core values!

We want to be visually pleasing because we want to have everything appeal to everyone because most of the time when you see academic posts they’re just in black and white and times new roman. But you should be able to get study information and study value from things that look nice so that this is the same ball game!

In terms of community, I feel like the studying journey can be quite isolating. For me, I had to obviously shed some people and I felt there was no one else that was like-minded except that one friend and I know for some people they might not even have that one friend so I really wanted to able to create it as a space where everyone is in the same boat. You could comment on one of our posts and you could get a response from someone who’s in exactly the same position. Especially during corona times where we’ve all been working on our laptops on our own and not being able to see people – which makes it even more important that we focus on the community aspect of it!

For valuable, we just want to make sure everything we do is super valuable, whether it’s that you order a planner and it’s really good quality and you actually use the things on there (we don’t want to create products or services which aren’t going to be used by students). We want to make sure all our resources are really valuable, we started off with my tips and research but now we’ve got experts and trained specialists that’s in one accessible place for students. So whether that’s a TikTok you get value from, or a membership or a product we want to make sure everything is as valuable as possible and linking back to the reason of why we’re really doing this: which is to help you grow with your grades but also with your future!

Yeah they’re definitely all really helpful, especially the valuable one – because I’ve used the products myself and they really have helped! So, Stylish Study has grown so much from when you started it in July last year, everything from memberships to the shop, I’m curious to know, what has been your favourite part about the process of growing Stylish Study, is there anything you’ve done or created that you’re particularly proud of?

I think that I do love our products because I remember when the first shipment of them arrived I was like, ‘oh my goodness, this is real!’ They were something I had thought about for ages, I designed and put them together and they’re now here!

But I think really our membership is the thing that I really do love the most just because it’s everything I wish I could’ve accessed at school, everything I wish I could’ve seen and had all in one place and at the moment we are in touch with so many experts on habits, UCAS Applications, teachers – people that really know their stuff. So now, it’s really like a collaborative effort from myself, and these experts and I always actually learn something from these experts too, I’ll be putting things together and I’d think, ‘oh my goodness I really like that, I want to use that in my life!’ So I think the membership is something that’s my little baby, I love adding to it every week and getting great people on board, so yeah that’s like my real love!

I’ve heard so many amazing things about the membership and it sounds great – you must be proud! So i want to sidetrack a bit off of Stylish Study and more about your entrepreneurial journey – you’ve also created a personal Instagram account all about your entrepreneurial journey, why did you want to do this and what do you hope other people can learn from this?

So I just started it to document the journey, I haven’t done the most documenting, but I have about 5 vlogs on my laptop ready to go – but honestly I’m a bit scared to post them. I’m sure by the time that this goes out they will be posted, hopefully. But I think for me, it’s been such a weird journey and it’s been something I’ve always wanted to do, but as I said it’s been really weird so I felt really lonely and I don’t really think that’s something you should shy away from (if you’re feeling that, express it)! Because everyone my age is at University, moved away from home, got that independence and I’m sitting on my laptop 8-9 hours a day working on study stuff – which I do love but at the same time when people aren’t here it does get quite lonely.

So I thought there must be other people thinking the same, so I did join a few entrepreneur groups but none of them were young – they were all around 30-40. So that was what I wanted to document and I also wanted to have it to look back on as I’m quite a sentimental person (I love taking photos and looking back at them) and I think one day it will be really cool to look back and see how far I’ve come. I think when you’re an entrepreneur, your worst enemy is yourself in a way because you put so much pressure on yourself, as much as it pains me to say as I’m trying to be positive, I can definitely be hard on myself, so just to remind yourself ‘that went really well!’ so I can replicate it again. Just the highs and lows really and being honest about it because a lot of people will sell you the entrepreneurial dream, but when it actually comes down to it, there’s so many things that can go great but there are a lot of hard things as well.

Yeah I love that, as someone who doesn’t really understand the life of an entrepreneur, it’s nice to get an insight into that life. How has the change been from going from a student to entrepreneur, do you have any advice to people who would like to grow their business or what the change is like?

Yeah so the first thing you’ll need to know is that you’re going to have to be willing to go through the hard times and also I heard something an entrepreneur say something that’s really been on my mind which is: when you’re an entrepreneur the one thing you can do, is hold on when everyone else is letting go. Obviously, right now is not the peak time for the study community but you have to be willing to get through the hard things!

So the transition has been very different, obviously I don’t see my friends everyday, I don’t go into a building to actually work, all my deadlines and work are my own. Originally, I thought yeah this is going to be great, I’ll have so much freedom I’ll do what I want everyday but it’s kind of the opposite, you could go do whatever you want but at the end of the day, you’re sacrificing your own success – it’s literally, purely yours. One thing I found weird is that you’re not marked anymore! You might do a piece of work that’s brilliant but you might not post it at the right time, it might not attract the right people or you might not have put the right hashtags – that doesn’t mean you didn’t do a brilliant piece of work, that’s life! That happens sometimes, so you have to make sure you don’t drive yourself into a hole and go crazy about how you think your work is doing and not measure it that way all the time.

So yes it’s been a bit of a weird one, I’m still learning along the way, everyday I learn something new which has been amazing because I do love to do new things, but it’s definitely been a weird one, I don’t think I can put it into words to be honest!

Yeah that’s understandable, just on the topic of procrastination, when you create your own deadlines, did you ever feel like you’d push them because you would only be answerable to yourself? I’m sure a lot of other students or business owners might be the same!

I think this has been something that I’m really toying with at the moment as well – I’m someone that naturally puts pressure on myself for example, I think something will take 3 weeks so I give myself a deadline of 2 weeks thinking it will be fine! Then you get to it, and if you haven’t done it you feel really behind, when actually the deadline didn’t matter, you still have time for it to be done – so it’s fine.

It’s a tricky one, you have to set a deadline making sure you’re lenient with yourself – but you have to know yourself! If you’re someone who sets deadlines that are too short, give yourself that extra week! However, in terms of if you’re someone that procrastinates, make sure that deadline is not forever or you’ll leave it to the last moment and you’ll freak out.

In terms of this, you can also think of why:

  • Is it too hard?
  • Am I too burned out?
  • Or do I need to just kick myself to do it?

Sometimes you might be wrong – but it really is trial and error, I wish I could give a straight answer, it’s all about knowing yourself and giving your best judgement from that!

Photo From Ella’s Instagram (@ellaharmony_)

I’m relatable too – I think like you said it depends on the person! On your bio it says ‘Learn how to live the life of your dreams’ do you feel like you’re living a dream life now, or are you near, or do you still think you have a long way to go?

Ooh that’s a tricky one! I think that I’m getting there. I think that as a young person, I feel like you can tread about and get where you want to be or you’re someone that wants to hit as many goals as possible. For me, I love doing a good amount of work and then taking the weekend off to chill! I also try to take more breaks which I’m definitely working on.

So, I think, no I’m not living the life of my dreams – which I’m going to be really honest about – but I know that the sacrifices I’m making now and the work that I’m putting in now is building me to my dream life, because I think sometimes in terms of dream lives people on the sides of: no days off ‘hustle culture’ or only doing something they like. And I really think we need to find an in between because obviously there will be things you don’t like sometimes but that doesn’t mean you hate your job.

Overall, I really enjoy my job and the freedom it gives me, but I’m nowhere near where I want to be in terms of the success and the financials to be honest! But I know that this is all coming in good time, and I’ve got to realise I can’t do everything in the space of a year! So yeah, I’m not living my dream life, but I know as I get older and tick things off my list of goals then I will be – but you also have to live in the moment!

Yeah, but with what you’re doing right now I’m sure you’ll get there eventually! For the final question, could you give us a little tease or tell us a little bit about your future plans for Stylish Study or your Entrepreneur Journey? Where do you see yourself in the next year?

So, in the next year I’d like to have a lot more products out, carry on with the membership and some amazing experts for the membership!

In terms of bigger goals for Stylish Study, I would love to build up a really big team (I’d really like to make it a collaborative effort as I’ve been training up followers who have been helping), I’d love a Stylish Study Book which I’m outlining at the moment – sort of a ‘how to revise’ book or guide for students, I’d also really like to do in-person events so we can really build that community aspect. I’d also really like to have an app which I have no idea where to start so I’ll have to find someone to help! So yes there are a lot of things on the cards it’s just about making an action plan for them all! So yes, massive things for Stylish Study it won’t just be an Instagram, it’s gonna be big!

Thank you so much to Ella for agreeing to be interviewed and taking the time out of her day. Check out Stylish Study, Her Instagram, The Stylish Study Podcast (which I’ll be on soon!) and thank you so much to you for reading this blog post, let me know what you thought of Ella and who you would like to see me interview next!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a fabulous day!

Interview With Lily D Moore

Hello everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! For today’s blog post, I’m very excited to announce I’m going to be interviewing Lily D Moore! She is an advocate for Down Syndrome Awareness as well as an actress who you may know from the Netflix show, Never Have I Ever. In todays interview, I’m talking to her all about her advocacy, her message of positivity and more. Let’s jump into it!

Hey there Lily, thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed! For anybody that doesn’t know who you are, could you please explain a bit about yourself?
My name is Lily D Moore and I’m a seventeen year old American actress who is best known for her recurring role as Rebecca in “Never Have I Ever”. I’m also a model and You Tuber. I’m passionate about helping the homeless and started a ministry called “H.E.L.P.” four years ago. I also enjoy swimming, horseback riding, cooking, cheerleading, music, and playing games! Finally, I’m also an advocate and ambassador for not only the Down Syndrome community, but for all people with disabilities. I believe that everyone is Unique, Beautiful, and Brave!

On all your platforms, you talk very openly about how you have Down Syndrome, why do you think it’s important to spread awareness and why do you personally find that you’re happy to advocate about it as some people may not want to?
I think it is important because we live our lives just like everyone else! We have the same interests and desires, so why make sure everyone knows what all we can do!  I love being a voice for people with disabilities.

Photo From Lily’s Instagram (@lilydmooreofficial)

There are not a lot of young actors and actresses that have down syndrome on big streaming platforms such as Netflix, why do you think it’s important that there’s representation of this and how do you think the acting and media world could become more diverse and inclusive?
I think it’s important because it gives hope to young parents and families to see that everything is possible!  No matter what your dream is, you become what you want to be!

You’re also an ambassador for Special Olympics (a movement that promotes inclusion in Sports, Education and many other fields.) Why do you think Special Olympics is such an important organisation and do you have any upcoming campaigns with them?
The Special Olympics has such an awesome reputation and they help not only inspire people with disabilities, but inspire “typical people” to coach, cheer lead, and teach “typical” people about people with disabilities!  Nothing is impossible if you believe!

Photo From Lily’s Instagram (@lilydmooreofficial)

Now onto a bit more about your career, so you play Rebecca in Never Have I Ever! What was your favourite thing about being on a Netflix series and what is it like being on a film/tv set?
I loved it because I am alot like my character: fun, sassy, and confident!  I loved getting to know the other people in the cast and crew.  I also loved travelling to LA! 

I’ve seen from your social media that you’re also really into modelling, what’s your favourite thing about modelling and why do you enjoy it?
I love being able to transform into a different character. I also love having my hair and make up done.  And, I love trying on the fun clothes!

Photo From Lily’s Instagram (@lilydmooreofficial)

What are some of your other interests outside of modelling and acting and how were you drawn to them? 
I am  passionate about helping the homeless and started a ministry called “H.E.L.P.” four years ago I also enjoy swimming, horseback riding, cooking, cheerleading and make up, I also love  playing with my pets: Charlie (my dog), Lester (my cat), and Hazel (my other cat). 

Thanks so much to Lily for taking time out of her day to do this interview with me, I really appreciate it and I loved her answers! If you want to learn more about her check out her Website, Instagram and YouTube Channel and check her out in Never Have I Ever on Netflix (season 2 is coming this July!)

Thanks so much everyone for reading this, let me know in the comments who you would want to see me interview next and what your favourite part of this interview was!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day everyone!

Interview With Olivia Lucie Blake

Hey everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today, I’m going to interview one of my favourite bloggers: Olivia from Olivia Lucie Blake Blog. We are going to be talking how she started her blog, her new small business, SEO and more. Let’s jump into the interview!

Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed, to start , can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My names Olivia, i’m 26 and I live in the UK. Social media and digital content creation are my passions! I really love creating and publishing which is why being a blogger is a perfect job for me! I have recently started to get into hand lettering and calligraphy and find it so relaxing, so I do that whenever i can! ☺️

Photo From Olivia’s Blog (

Your blog is very well established and looks very professional, how long have you been blogging for, and what made you want to start your blog?

I started out as a beauty blog and after a year i took a whole 4 years off blogging! I came back in July 2020 right in the midst of the pandemic. I started writing about life, the world and everything in between. I soon established a platform and have been loving building and growing my blog ever since. Its taken a while to get to the point I am today & I still feel like there are areas where I can improve!

Would you consider blogging your full time job or do you have any other hobbies, I’ve noticed you’ve been selling some digital portraits on Etsy!

I’d consider it in a few years once I am getting a steady income from my site but at the moment no. I can run my blog around my full time job and it works great like that for me at the moment.

Yes! Digital illustrations are a new hobby for me! Starting a small business is scary but I have been shown so much love already!

Photo From Olivia’s Instagram (@olivialucieblake)

You also released a new SEO Guide to help bloggers, what made you decide to create it, and what is one of your biggest SEO tips you can share?

I am so excited for the guide to launch as I know it will be so helpful for other bloggers who need help in that area. As previously mentioned, I love creating content and if I can do what I love and help others thats a plus for me☺️

My biggest tip would be to do research before you post. Google Trends and Pinterest are great places to see if the topic you’ve chosen to write about is relevant!

Thanks so much to Olivia for agreeing to be interviewed!

Olivia’s Links:

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know – we hit 300 blog followers! Thanks so much for all the support, since I answered assumptions for 100 followers, and answered questions for 200, I decided since I’ve answered anonymous questions before, for 300 followers I will answer anonymous assumptions! So send me all your anonymous assumptions on Tellonym by clicking here

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Guest Posting is now available so submit your posts on the form linked!
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!!

Interview With Heidi From Absolute Heidi

Hey everyone it’s Zainab, welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! Today, I’m going to interview Heidi who you may know as Absolute Heidi from YouTube! Let’s jump into the interview!

1) First of all, thank you Heidi for agreeing to be interviewed! Why don’t you share a bit about you and your content to anybody who isn’t familiar with you!

Hi! Thank you! My name is Heidi and I have the YouTube channel ‘AbsoluteHeidi’ where I create lifestyle videos!! I currently have 9000 subscribers which is so exciting!!! I’ve been doing Youtube for over 2 years🤍

Photo From Heidi’s Instagram (@absoluteheidiofficial)

2) Your videos are always super fun to watch; what do you think your favourite video on your channel is and why?

My favourite video on my channel would probably be my morning routines + vlogs as they are super fun to film + edit!!🤍

3) You have recently hit 9000 subscribers – which is incredible! What would be your biggest growth tip for growing your Youtube Channel and content creating platforms? Are there any do’s and don’ts people should know about?

I’d probably say consistently is key! It takes so much time to grow your channel! Having nice thumbnails that people would click on and videos that are easy to watch eg: not having noise in the background ect.. defo helps too!!💗

Photo From Heidi’s Instagram (@absoluteheidiofficial)

4) On your channel, you have also mentioned you will be doing your GCSEs this year! How do you overcome the difficult challenge of balancing content creating and youtube? Do you have any advice for other young creators trying to do the same thing? I sometimes struggle with a blog so what’s your perspective on this having a Youtube channel?

Even though my GCSEs have been cancelled 😦 I still feel that is was very hard to balance everything especially with my channel! As my channel grew i felt like when I was missing uploads I was letting people down 😦 so I felt very stressed with trying to get all my schoolwork and channel bits done! But now we are online is it a bit easier:)

5) Your video editing is also amazing, what softwares do you use to edit and what tips would you give to make editing Youtube videos easier for beginners?

I use iMovie! It’s definitely a good beginners app.. however I will be upgrading to Final Cut Pro soon!! I learnt editing by watching YouTube tutorials, so it all about practice:))

Video On Heidi’s YouTube (Absolute Heidi)

6) For the final question, what do you think your next milestone is on your Youtube and Instagram. You are growing so fast so where do you think you would want to be this time next year?

I would say my next milestone for YouTube would of course be the big 10k!! That has been my biggest dream since I started watching and making videos! So exceeding that would be insane!!! 🥺

Thank you so much to Heidi for participating in this interview!

Heidi’s Links:

Before I go guys, I’ll be doing a blog post soon about BLM and how it still is important – I’d love it if you could comment your thoughts on blm and why it’s almost like a ‘trend!’

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Guest Posting is now available so submit your posts on the form linked!
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a great week!!

Interview With Alexandra Chaves

Hi everyone, it’s Zainab! Welcome or welcome back to Zainab Chats! I am super excited for this post today as it’s been in the works for a long time and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it!

I’ve been privileged enough to interview Alexandra Chaves! You may know her as Piper from the popular TV show: The Next Step! It’s going to be a long post so get comfortable.

We’re talking The Next Step, activism, spreading positivity and more, so let’s jump into it!

1) Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed Alex! Just for anybody who doesn’t know you already maybe share a little bit about who you are and what you do!

Hello and thank you for having me, Zainab! I am a nineteen year old actor and dancer, with a passion for performing and storytelling. Readers may know me as ‘Piper’ from the television show, ‘The Next Step’, which airs on CBBC, CBC, Family Channel and other networks around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity the show has given me to explore my passion for acting and dancing. I look forward to continuing to explore my interests in advocacy and girls’ rights, film, health and mindset, which I share on my social media platforms (@alexandrachaves). 

2) You’ve talked a lot previously about how your character Piper on The Next Step relates a lot to yourself! Especially in terms of both of you being able to take initiative and standing up for what’s right! How did your interest spark in social justice and activism?

Yes! Piper and I share a lot of similarities and, since I first joined the cast in 2015, I have been inspired by Piper’s initiative and drive to speak out about her passions and her feelings. However, before the role, I already knew that social justice and advocacy were important to me. In elementary school, I was involved in our social justice group, where we held regular meetings to discuss social justice issues and how we could make a difference in our community. My natural progression was to continue to find ways to explore advocacy in my career! 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

3) Throughout all of your social media platforms (especially Instagram) you talk a lot about staying positive and happy during these times which isn’t easy. What makes you want to be almost sort of a ‘big sister’ figure for your followers and help with wellbeing and mental health?

Thank you for your kind words! I think it’s important to recognise that with positivity, I am not trying to suppress or invalidate the wide range of emotions we all experience. Instead, I acknowledge my feelings and make efforts to be kind and gentle to myself, especially during these times! ‘Hustle culture’ and the idea of ‘perfectionism’ is so overrated and will leave you feeling burnt out (trust me!). I wish I had more role models when I was younger that helped to give me confidence and make me realise that I don’t have to fit into society’s unrealistic expectations of being ‘perfect’ or living the ideal life. After letting go of this myself, my voice on Instagram has changed, too! For example, I have naturally started sharing quotes, stories and wellness habits that have helped me let go of perfectionism and enjoy the present moment. It is forever a work in progress, but I am grateful for the community I have online and how so many like minded individuals are on this journey with me! 

4) Another thing I’ve seen you do during the lockdown is that you’ve become a Youth Ambassador for Plan Canada which helps campaign for equality rights, you’ve done a lot of campaigns such as preventing girls getting bullied on social media, what made you decide to start working with the organisation and do you have any other campaigns with them coming soon?

As a member of my social justice group in elementary school, I was able to learn about issues that are important to me and how to take action. My interest in these issues only grew as I entered high school. However, with my acting career, I had to do online classes for most of my high school years. I missed out on having a community to share my passion for social justice and gender equality. As my Instagram platform grew, I wanted to find and create that community in my online presence. Consequently, I did research to find an organization I could work with that mirrored my values. This led me to contact Plan International Canada, which is a non-profit organization focussing on gender equality and girls’ rights. I am very grateful to be a Youth Ambassador and to help spread the word about important issues facing girls’ and womens’ rights, and to help amplify the important work they are doing to help girls reach their full potential. I regularly attend Plan Canada’s ‘Speaker’s Bureau’ meetings, where like-minded and driven youth meet virtually to discuss barriers facing gender equality. My passion for social justice and activism has just scratched the surface! There is so much more for me to learn and so much work that must be done, but it excites me! I am very grateful for the community I have with Plan Canada and on social media. These voices give me hope for the future and inspire me to pursue activism throughout my career. 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

5) You’re currently in Canada right now, what is the situation in terms of the pandemic like there? What have you been doing to keep yourself busy as well as productive, I’ve noticed from social media you’ve been doing things like working out!

Where I currently live, we are in a lockdown with stay-at-home orders. It has been difficult, but I am fortunate to be living with my family and I am able to audition and work from home. I haven’t spoken much about this, but I am currently doing some extra school courses like calculus and chemistry, that I did not have time to commit to in the past. I am a lifetime learner and I am really enjoying the structure and knowledge that those classes provide! Virtual acting and dance classes have also been so therapeutic for me. My Mom is my inspiration, and has been motivating me during our at-home workouts, which include Pilates, strength training, yoga and daily walks. The pandemic has really allowed me to really listen to my body, so I am enjoying finding workouts that I enjoy and finding new recipes that fuel me! 

6) Now I want to talk a little bit about your acting career. You play Piper on The Next Step, how did you manage to book such a huge role and get into acting?

I have been dancing since I was three years old, so being on stage and performing was second nature! It was only when I was unable to dance due to a heart condition diagnosis, did I find acting as another outlet to explore storytelling and creativity. I had been acting for a few years prior to ‘The Next Step’ and the training and audition experiences helped me when I received an audition from my agent for the show. The audition process included dancing freestyle and choreography, as well as improvised acting. I remember being stunned that I had gotten past the first cut of the audition. There were so many incredibly talented artists in that room! After the final callbacks, I hadn’t heard anything from my agent for a few weeks, so I assumed I did not book the role. However, I later received a vague email saying I would have a few days on set. It was only at the first rehearsal did I learn that I would be on A-Troupe! That was one of the best days of my life! I am so grateful for all that I have learned from The Next Step and its incredible cast and crew.

7) After you booked the role, how did your life change, and for anybody who wants to go into acting, what advice would you give them to prepare for the changes such as rejection, balancing school and more?

After booking ‘The Next Step’ and working on that set, it made me realize that I want to pursue a career in acting and it has given me the experience and confidence to continue to explore my creativity in this industry. The support and comfort from The Next Step crew allowed me to grow as an actor, as well as a person. For anyone who wants to get into acting, I think it’s important to challenge yourself in new ways that help you to grow. For example, deciding to take an acting class that originally intimidated me, ended up being an experience full of growth and inspiration. Often, it is when you go outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways, that you grow as a performer and open yourself up to even greater opportunities! I also encourage young artists to explore their creativity, whether that be learning new aspects of the film industry, taking up different hobbies, learning something new, etc. All of those skills and experiences can be so useful as an actor and help us to expand our view of the world! 
Regarding rejection, it is something with which I still struggle. However, I have found ways to constructively work through these thoughts. Unfortunately, rejection is a regular part of the industry. However, what I have learned is that staying true to yourself and trusting your unique personality, interpretations and skills is so valuable and will eventually guide you toward the opportunities that are meant for you. I think it is also important to pursue acting for the right reasons. I have fallen in love with the process and I am thoroughly enjoying diving into characters and script analysis. Having become passionate about the craft and its mechanics, I can more easily accept the challenging parts of the career… like rejection. 
I grew up balancing my academics with competitive dancing; building time management skills in the process. For those that may be in a similar situation, I encourage you to be diligent with keeping track of your calendar and to-do’s. I practice prioritisation by keeping a colour-coded to-do list to rank the prioritisation of each task. For example, homework, script analysis and preparation for auditions, along with dance training and fitness are the greatest priority. But often, among those, I have to delegate which must be prioritised for the given time I have. On the contrary, I also encourage those balancing school and extracurricular to enjoy the freedom and creativity that dancing, acting, etc provides. Despite my organised schedule, once I am in the dance studio or in front of the camera, it all fades away and I am able to enjoy the present moment. Remember to remind yourself why you started in the first place and why you are doing what you are doing! This helps me stay motivated and in the present moment. 

Photo From Her Instagram @alexandrachaves

8) My final question for you is anybody who is struggling emotionally or mentally during these difficult times, what advice could you give to them to ease back into a positive mindset and become a bit more happy?

A habit that has really helped me during these times is to journal nightly. I reflect back on what I did that day, no matter how big or small. I note the little things that made me smile throughout the day, or something I did that made me proud. It is also nice to look back on my entries to realize and appreciate what I have accomplished (even the small things are wins!) and all the moments of happiness I have experienced during this time.

I also am very grateful for my friends, who have made me feel less lonely during these isolated times. Booking regular calls with them creates something to look forward to during the week, and help me stay connected. I encourage those struggling to check in on friends and family. They probably need someone to talk to just as much as you do!

Thank you so much for Alexandra for giving up time to answer these questions! Be sure to check out her Website and Instagram!

You want to see more of me and get exclusive updates on my blog? Well check out my socials!
Instagram – For exclusive updates on posts
Goodreads – You can see any books I’ve read or even recommend me one!
Contact Me if you would like to collaborate or have any other inquiries
Any suggestions or feel like chatting? Comment down below!

Have a lovely day!