Coco & Nut Coffee Co. Victoria.

What three words would you use to describe what troubled you during your adolescence?

Bullying, loneliness, and exams.

You were bullied at school?

Yeah of course, I think most people were.

I'd imagine it wouldn't be on most people's three words words though.

It wasn't that bad, it got to me. I changed as person because of what people said about me.

Why do you think you were a target? You're a very popular person, it's hard to imagine you being a stereotypical nerdy child.

Nah, I was a creepy weirdo. (Chuckles). I needed to be bullied, otherwise I wouldn't be a pleasant person to be around now. It was a tough time though.

That's a big statement. Do you think bullying is sometimes a necessary evil to condition people into being nicer?

Necessary evil is a good way of putting it in my case, but I think that's rare. Most cases are just cruel and have no good end results. People are just cruel. Especially teenagers. 

Someone told me that they don't like the phrase 'childhood innocence' because children are more cruel than adults. 

Yeah, exactly. We were all trying to be more liked and didn't think about other people. All I thought about when I was younger was my reputation and popularity. Everything I did was thought out, thinking like "is this going to make me seem more attractive?" I'd spend hours watching videos called things like "How to talk to people and make them feel not trapped" and stuff like that. Like I was learning to become a functioning member of society who everyone also had a crush on.

(Chuckles) Those videos worked miracles. So did actively trying to change your personality work or was it something else?

It was creepy. I remember one day coming home when I was about 12 and decided that I needed to rewrite myself. I wanted to be a popular person but I was hated. Everyone knew me for bad reasons, it's not like I could turn up one day and introduce myself to the popular sporty boys and blend in. I had a reputation for being annoying. I felt like I was at rock bottom though, you know? It could only go up. I was going mental being at the bottom of the popularity chain, so I changed everything. It wasn't an overnight thing. I faked it until I made it, but I faked it for years and still got bullied more than ever. 

What was the 'faking' process like?

Spending lots of time and money on style and Instagram... and inviting myself to parties. 


Borderline, yeah. If I heard about a party I'd ask to be plus one-ed by as many people as it took to get invited. And then I'd just act popular there. I'd make sure to get into as many photos as possible. It was hard work getting there, I had to have proof of it otherwise it wasn't worth the effort.

Was it a sort of character that you put on? Like an alter ego? 

Yeah, it was messed up. But that's how I became who I wanted to be and who I felt most comfortable being, and still do. I'm naturally a loud and confident person but I needed that experimentation stage to get to this point. I sound like sociopath. I did it out of desperation. I was depressed and I just wanted to not be me so I killed my old character, yeah, out of desperation. 

Were you happy with your popularity status in the last few years of adolescence? 

Happier, yeah. But not happy. It was so fake, you know? I had no real friends. You know those events where social media influencers are invited and they're all vlogging and pretending to be friends, and then the cameras turn off and the smiles disappear? That's what it was like.

Did you have more friends when you were unpopular?

Nah, I had none before and none after. When I was 17 I started making friends. We were the popular indie kids. Like a picture you'd see on Pinterest of a group of smoking teenagers at a festival, all wearing jackets we got from Camden that were older than us and cost more than the tickets. That was what we were like. We didn't care about popularity at that point; we'd made it. It wasn't me but I was happy.

Do you regret that whole process at all? Do you think you could've become happier in a more natural way?

I don't know. I'm not proud of it. It's embarrassing. Both what I was like beforehand and how fake I was. But it worked out and I don't think about things like that anymore. I just don't care though - things happened in the past that I can't change and I'm happier now. I don't see a point in overthinking it.

Finally, what would be the soundtrack to your childhood?

Another Story - The Head And The Heart

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