For those of you who were inspired by Lisa Messenger’s incredible story and personal insights from Part One of our podcast with her, then you’re going to love Part Two of our interview where you’ll get more of Lisa’s beautiful, raw honesty as well as a look inside her latest…
Radical self love
In preparation for the upcoming Sustaining Women in Business conference, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of our uber cool speakers, Gala Darling. For those of you who are not familiar with Gala, let me introduce you!
Gala has started what can only be called a global Radical Self Love revolution. Described in the New York Times as “a Web-tethered gadabout”, she was recently named one of the 10 most influential style bloggers in the world (Fashionista). She has been described as “a tattooed Miss Manners” (The Bargain Queen), a “downtown Carrie Bradshaw” (Elle) & a “New York City society gal” (Filament). Celebrity stylist & icon Rachel Zoe says Gala & her site are “très chic”.
Gala believes in pink lingerie, sequins, stardust & candy-coloured Cadillacs. She believes in making mischief & the triumph of magic over the brute. She believes in short skirts & lip gloss& bringing about the radical self love revolution. She believes life doesn’t have to be serious, that you create your own reality & that beauty is all around us.
Now that you have been properly introduced, here is our interview.
You were born in New Zealand and ended up in New York. How did that happen?
I always wanted something bigger than New Zealand, and knew it from a very young age. I remember sitting in the Wellington Public Library as a 13 year old girl, poring over NYC travel guides and writing notes in my journal. When I first visited, at age 22, I felt like I was home — and I’d never felt that anywhere else. I ended up moving to NYC kind of by accident a year and a half later… I flew over for a party and decided to stay!
You have shared publicly your challenges around depression, self harming and an eating disorder. Can you share a little of that story?
I was a miserable teenager, and didn’t have any tools to deal with my emotions. So I turned to some coping mechanisms: self-harm and an eating disorder. My story is certainly not unique; almost all of my friends can tell a twist on that same story. But I was very fortunate to discover EFT or “tapping” — effectively acupuncture but without needles — in my early 20s, and was able to reverse a lot of my negative thought patterns.
Your passion is radical self love and helping women find this within themselves. That can be easier said than done. What are the steps to unlocking this?
Women are always asking me for the magic bullet that will help them love themselves. More specifically, they ask how they can “fix” themselves. But there’s nothing wrong with us! Radical self love is a process and a journey; something that takes time, effort and commitment. The first and most vital step is to commit to making radical self love a part of your daily practice. You have to jump in feet first: a little dabble here and there will never have as great an effect.
I heard you say that women feel like they are being held back by an invisible hand. Where does this come from?
Society, the media, our friends and family, our own expectations, our fears.
Radical self love has turned into a movement. Were you surprised at the momentum that has developed?
Yes, absolutely! I started writing about my experiences because I wanted to share what I had gone through and the things I’d learned. My hope was that by talking about it, I could help other women feel less alone with their own “stuff”. It’s incredible to see people take what I’ve written and run with it. Even better is to see them apply it to their own lives and start to make real, lasting change.
What inspired you to have a gratitude list or to inspire others to do so?
When I started to change my life, I began to realise that being thankful was transforming my existence. I wanted to stay in that space, so exercising gratitude in such a public way was a great way of doing that. It keeps me accountable and keeps me in my radical self love practice. I never imagined I would inspire other people to do the same but I’m thrilled it has turned out that way!
I know that so many people would be fascinated by a peek into your life. Can you share a glimpse of what a day or week in your life looks like?
They are all so different. For example, I’m writing these answers from Santorini where I’ve been celebrating my upcoming 30th birthday with two of my best girlfriends! The only real constant is that I use my mornings to write and I use my afternoons to explore, take meetings and enjoy life! I force myself to stop working by going to the gym in the early evening, too. I’m very blessed to be able to design my own life, so I’m structuring it the way I want it!
I am doing a PhD in gender studies, looking at next generation feminism and women and power. How do we get to true equality? What will it look like when we get there?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. My definition of liberation may be another woman’s oppression, and vice versa! I think the most important thing is that each woman strives to live a life of joy and integrity. You can’t ask for much more than that.
When I say women and power, what comes to mind for you?
I think of women defining their own future and fighting to make it come true.
It’s not too late to get your ticket to the Sustaining Women in Business conference. We have spent a year putting this magical two days together, with some of the most amazing, inspiration speakers around. I would love to see you there.