If you’re involved in the body positive community, the chances are you’ve come across the badass, lingerie-wearing, body confident babe that is Niamh Morrison (HCupChronicles). Not only does she post knee-quiveringly good lingerie posts with captions to boot, but she does a lot of work towards better visibility in the LGBTQI* community. Here, I interview her to find out more about what makes her tick, what ticks her off and what posing in your lingerie is really like…
Hey Niamh! Why don’t you start by telling me a bit about yourself?
I’m a 27 year old, gay, feminist, introvert, body positive lingerie blogger and small business owner. I started my blog, H Cup Chronicles, just over a year ago, and my business Ellen & Hick about 8 months ago. I’m massively passionate about lingerie, and in particular, large cup lingerie and bra fitting. I worked in Bravissimo for over two years and loved the personal aspect of the fitting service, but not so much the retail side of things, and that was really what kick started my passion in lingerie and got me thinking about how I could do it myself.
Surprisingly, I am very introverted and like to spend a lot of time by myself reading, watching TV shows, listening to podcasts and of course, scouring the internet for lingerie pieces I can’t live without!
- What first drew you to the body positive community?
Gosh, it was probably about 6 or 7 years ago when I used to have a tumblr account. I was discovering myself in a lot of different ways, and only just properly learning about intersectional feminism and that led me to the fat activism side of things. I used to follow Kyla The Great (still on tumblr with that handle and @truefat on Instagram) who was one of the first women I’d seen openly and happily accepting and embracing her fat body. However it wasn’t this instant lightbulb moment where all of a sudden I loved my body because of these fat activists, and it took another few years before I was really able to unlearn all the societal bullshit and start to just form my own opinions and write my own rules for my own life. Before I started my blog, I followed a few other lingerie blogs but it wasn’t until I started my own and rejoined the online community that I really started to have my eyes opened again and fully embraced everything about body positivity. And then of course joining Leyah Shanks’ The Body Confidence Revolution and all the amazing people who are a part of that was a huge moment and gave me even more confidence and encouragement to keep going on my journey.
- Who are your biggest inspirations?
Definitely Kyla who I mentioned above. Literally all of the TBCR ambassadors, because they’ve all had such different experiences and teach me so much. I love CurvyWordy, Curves Become Her, Power to Prevail and Sassy Latte. I’m kind of just endlessly inspired by other women, to be perfectly honest. My friends. My sister. Even myself, sometimes!
- What challenges do you think young men & women face every day?
Just trying to exist in this stupid world without being bombarded with so much negativity. It’s so hard to avoid it all, in all its little annoying forms. Trying to be themselves without being shaped by other people’s irrelevant opinions
- As a lingerie blogger, which brand do you think is the most Body Positive?
I struggle with this because at this stage in the bopo game, my standards are quite high and its inexcusable how poor most brands are at being body positive. Then there are the ones who are clearly doing it as a marketing tactic, and not because they really care, but I still think it must help some people to see them using bigger models, models of colour, with a disability etc even if it is just one, token “diverse” model. In my experience, it’s smaller brands that do the best at being body positive because they actually care, for example MyMilla. Bluestockings Boutique, a US online store, is super body positive and LGBTQIA inclusive. (Also, I think the shoot for my business was quite body positive if I do say myself!). That being said, Curvy Kate do very well to be inclusive. They’re the only big lingerie brand I enjoy following online anymore as they share so many customer photos, which a lot of other brands I used to like seem to have given up on that because it doesn’t fit in with whatever idea they have for their “aesthetic”. Makes my eyes roll all the way back.
- What gave you the confidence to first start sharing your lingerie posts?
I get asked this a lot and I don’t really know, because there was never any question personally. As soon as I decided to start the blog, I sort of just knew I would post my own photos, and I never even thought about hiding my face, which a lot of lingerie accounts on Instagram do, understandably. Also, because it’s a lingerie blog, I couldn’t see a way around talking about fit etc without showing the lingerie on my body! It doesn’t even really seem like an issue of confidence. I honestly don’t feel like
I am confident sometimes…I just don’t see the point in not sharing my photos and my body, because representation matters and it was sort of important to me to put my body out there as another type that wasn’t being shown in the media. Honestly, not a lot of thought went into it initially! I took a photo of a cool new bra I’d bought to show my friend, then decided the photo looked really cool, then decided to start a blog! I know though as soon as I decided that my message would be obviously body positive.
- You recently began a podcast, Oatcast, tell me more about that?
It’s so exciting! My friend Helen and I have a lot in common and, like any good friends we have great chats about important things and also go off on really silly, hilarious (to us) tangents. We both love podcasts and I think it was Helen’s idea ages ago to start one. We kept talking about it and not actually doing anything about it until a few weeks ago we just went for it. We talk about our experiences as gay women, feminist and queer stuff, things happening in our lives…it’s really just a podcast by two friends having great chats, which I think are sometimes the best kind! We’ve only posted two episodes so far but the response has been really positive, and it’s something we want to keep doing for as long as possible. It’s available on iTunes and Soundcloud!
- Do you think that the body positive world offers enough representation for those who are LGBTQI*?
Only because I actively seek out people from that community. Again, it’s a matter of people actively choosing to represent themselves because nobody else is. And it’s something that’s definitely done better by smaller communities, groups and business. But when it comes to big brands and corporations? Lol. No. I definitely think there isn’t enough representation for trans* and non-binary people. I have to go looking for them. And I feel like I shouldn’t have to. It should just be readily available, but that’s not the world we live in unfortunately. It’s definitely getting better, slowly but surely. But there’s still so much more to be done.
- How would you like to see society change?
I would absolutely love diet culture to just do one. I’d love it if food was just food, and there was no bullshit negativity attached to it. I want the phrase “clean eating” to die a death. I’d like to see photoshop piss off in the fashion industry. In fact, I’d love it if the “rules” of how models are chosen just were completely abolished and it became actually, fully inclusive. I’d like to see a huge shift in how we view mental health. Like, I think we’ve done enough about awareness, we’re all aware now. How about we change how mental health services are accessed, so people can actually get the help they need?I woul
d like cisgender, heterosexual people to just like, get over being homophobic and transphobic and stop acting like the existence of LGBTQIA people is such an affront to their happiness?? It’d be great if bigotry in all forms could just end. I’d like people to stop saying “All lives matter”. I want pizza to be cheaper and I want puppies to be allowed in all workplaces.
- What piece of advice would you offer to someone wanting to smash through body image ideals?
Man, just ignore everything that makes you feel bad about yourself. Surround yourself with positive people, and also curate your newsfeeds online so they are only positive too. It’s perfectly okay to tell people you don’t want to talk about their diets or listen to their body shaming crap if you know it isn’t going to help you. Don’t worry if you have to try different clothing sizes in different stores, because those clothes were not made for your body type anyway. They were not made for mine, they weren’t made for the majority of your friends. Really ask yourself what would make you happier – staying at home and eating a bland salad, or going for dinner with your friends? Generally, living your actual life is way more fun that aspiring to a life that isn’t easily achieved and is very hard to maintain. Question everything you see online. Wear what you want. Fuck flattering.
Check out Niamh’s blog here.
Instagram & Twitter: @HCupChronicles