Instagram Express Yourself

Meet the content creators who are using Instagram to champion sustainability, life positivity and LGBTQ+ communities

For a daily dose of inspiration

Every day people across the world come to Instagram to start movements, create worldwide trends, launch businesses and drive social change. Celebrating the power of expression on Instagram with #ExpressYourself, we’ve met up with five creatives, activists and entrepreneurs who are using their Instagram feeds to focus on sustainability, life positivity and LGBTQ+ communities.

Sustainability

Lizzie Outside (@lizzie_outside)

With a love for paddle boarding (and the ocean), Lizzie Carr founded Plastic Patrol. As a activist fighting against plastic pollution, she uses her platform to combat the plastic crisis and organise clean-up events.

What does #ExpressYourself mean to you? How has Instagram enabled you to be creative?

‘Expression is all about individuality and being able to be your own self. Instagram has given me both the platform and the confidence to do those things.’

How did you grow your platform?

‘If you’re using Instagram as an outlet for something you really care about, I have found it naturally draws in a likeminded community. When I started campaigning five years ago, plastic pollution wasn’t the hot topic it is today. It was a very lonely place and I found Instagram was a platform that really validated my work – I felt the power of the growing community behind me.’ 

Tips for anyone starting out on the platform?

‘It’s simple: have a cause, have a mission, have a purpose. If you’re using Instagram for positive social change now is the time to do it – people are listening, want to learn more and be part of causes they care about.’

Monika Poppy (@sustainabilityiscool)

With a blog and Instagram page titled ‘Sustainability Is Cool’, Monika Poppy inspires her followers to live a sustainable lifestyle. She shares her tips and best finds in ethical fashion and beauty, vegan food and all things recyclable.  

What does #ExpressYourself mean to you? How has Instagram enabled you to be creative?

‘It’s all about being true to yourself and communicating the things that matter most to you – for me that’s sustainability. Often, when thinking about sustainability, people think you can’t dress well. On Instagram I’m able to show that that’s not the case. I dress quite modern and smart while always consuming consciously.’

Best example you’ve seen of authenticity?

‘Oh, it has to be Greta Thunberg – she’s a real sustainability hero. She’s so young and has used Instagram to really amplify Extinction Rebellion and drive her cause forward. I’m from Sweden, too, so I’m extra proud of her! She really inspired me to work harder towards my sustainability goals.’

Who do you follow?

‘I’m such a meme girls so I love @zerowastememes. When you see something funny, you always share it with your friends so they make it really easy for people to engage with a really serious topic. A second account I love is @EmmaWatson –it’s great to see a celebrity using their profile to talk about important issues like women’s empowerment and #MeToo.’

Life positivity

Meg Ellis (@i_weigh)

Meg Ellis is the director of I Weigh, a movement focussing on mental health and body confidence that was launched by her friend Jameela Jamil and has developed into an online community with over 700.000 followers.

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❤️💯 @subliming.jpg

A post shared by I WEIGH 📣 (@i_weigh) on

How did you grow the platform?

‘Jameela spotted a picture of the Kardashians with their weight written on their bodies. She reposted it on Instagram, saying we shouldn’t be weighing ourselves in kilograms but in terms of values and passions. The response was amazing – we had hundreds of comments and posts flooding in from women and men sharing their own experience. So, we created a platform where we could really help those people and drive mental health awareness.’

Tips for anyone starting out on the platform?

‘There’s a whole world of activism out there, it just needs to be unlocked and Instagram empowers you to do that. Pick what you’re passionate about, search for the relevant hashtags and you’ll find activists off the back of that.’

Best example you’ve seen of authenticity?

‘I really like Aaron Philip – she has just done her first catwalk show and is a real champion of self-expression – and Jamie Windust, again completely confident and a real advocate for self-love.’

Clemmie Telford (@clemmie_telford) 

Podcaster and founder of the blog ‘Mother Of All Lists’, Clemmie Telford openly talks about her honest experience of motherhood. The working mom-of-two has been part of the #warriorwomenproject – championing women’s bodies in all shapes and sizes.

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This is me. I have been bullied/teased (for the record there is no such thing as light-hearted negative comments – they all hurt) about my body my entire life. At school. At home. Via the work I do. I first went to a diet club aged 12. I have poured more effort into wanting to be a smaller version of myself than just about anything else. Almost a year ago I gave up the scales and started to get fit again after having my third baby. I was making brilliant progress with self acceptance. But reading a series of comments/DMs online from strangers about my figure this week sent me straight back to square one. There’s been tears. There’s been self-loathing. There’s been an overwhelming desire to go back on a crash diet. So yesterday’s class with @schoolofstrut (and meeting the amazing @chessiekingg) couldn’t have been better timing. It transpires that I am NOT a natural dancer. But it did make me get a grip. Get sweaty and feel (briefly) confident enough to have these snaps taken. Also if you want a giggle check out the video: I didn’t realise I had to clear the runway! Watch the panic as I try to dash off!!!! ** Photos by @tiatalula and lastly thank you @fandfclothing for the cossie/experience.**🎀💘🎀

A post shared by CLEMMIE TELFORD (@clemmie_telford) on

What does #ExpressYourself mean to you? How has Instagram enabled you to be creative?

‘It’s about being the most authentic version of yourself, without fear of judgment. From fashion through to developing my own tone of voice as a writer, Instagram has enabled me to explore many facets of myself. It also connects me to thousands of other creative people who all teach and inspire me.’

5 words (ish) for how to be authentic on your platform?

‘Be honest, be open, have fun. And don’t be afraid to keep evolving.’

Tips for anyone starting out on the platform?

‘Instagram is built on human connection; it’s about community. So be sure to connect with other people. Also try to be authentic. For me the more ‘real’ I am, the more people seem engage with what I am doing.’

LGBTQ+

Josh McKenna (@jshmck)

Illustrator Josh McKenna blew up on Instagram after he was commissioned to create a sticker for Pride 2017. Since then his art has continued to benefit the queer community, donation part of his proceeds to LGBTQ+ charities.

How did you grow your platform?

‘I spent a long time looking for accounts to follow, inspiration is so important for artists – it’s the main reason I use Instagram as well as contacting art directors, buyers, other illustrators. I use it for both inspiration and commissions – it’s a go to place for me, like my online portfolio.’

Tips for anyone starting out on the platform?

‘Follow people that you find inspirational, learn their process, what they do behind the scenes and get a real taste for what being an artist means. And follow the brands and magazines that you love so you’re always inspired.’

Who do you follow?

‘I actually have two Instagram accounts. My professional one, that I use follow other artists and designers, and go to for my professional inspiration. And I have a personal account to look for ‘life inspiration; nice flats, nice architecture, my friends and my family.’

 

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