Who do I want to be on the internet? It’s a question that I consider on a regular basis. How do I want to come across? How do I want people to perceive me? A question you’re asked a lot as an online writer/blogger of sorts is ‘who are your audience?’, and actually, that’s the one question that has stumped me consistently for quite a while now.
I’m a big advocate of not assigning labels where labels aren’t needed, whether that applies to typecasting yourself as a ‘sort’ of girl, or narrowing your style down to suit what you’re told is your body shape. Any attempt at defining my audience (and to be less wanky, I’m obviously just talking about you lovely lot) ends up being this impossibly broad: ‘umm, well, they are 20 somethings who love fashion, food and the occasional fuck (both the swear word and the act itself).’
And I think a large part of that comes down to the fact that I’m often just writing for myself. I start the day with a random thread of thoughts and then tease them out as I’m getting ready, walking to get my coffee and avoiding irritating emails. Once I open up Pages (and yes, I use Pages instead of Word, I’m sorry) I’m writing more to relieve my busy mind as opposed to rubbing my hands together and cackling ‘corrr, this will be good for traffic’.
Yet the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’ve wanted to chat to you guys about what my intentions are as a blogger, what kind of content I hope to produce and for what purpose, if not least so you can get to know me a little better beyond my day-to-day life snippets on Instagram stories and my choice in coats (which is exquisite, if I do say so myself).
So let’s start with the basics first, shall we?
I’m 23 years old (despite being routinely mistaken for a 16 year old), I’m a petite gal at 4’11 and I fluctuate between a size 10 and 12. I’m a chubby girl for my height, and my weight is something I’ve discussed openly as, like plenty of other women out there, I struggle to learn to embrace my body in a world where I’m told I need to be taller, thinner, and more tanned.
I’m a working class girl through and through. I grew up on a council estate as part of a single parent family, I’ve worked since I was 13 years old and I boozed it up in my local park every weekend from age 14 to 17. I was not cute throughout school, and I fancied plenty of boys who would routinely sent me one word text replies which I interpreted positively as ‘I’m sure they are just busy’ (happy ending: a few of these boys tried to chat me up a few years later and I was able enjoy the long-brewed pleasure of pieing them off).
After sixth form I was accepted into my dream uni, which I quickly realised I hated and so quit a number of months later. I then started again at UEA in Norwich, and managed to drag myself through three years of lectures, seminars and late night Tesco Express trips for cheap cocktail ingredients and chocolate digestives. I graduated, but I didn’t go to my graduation. I then worked in marketing before - et voila - winding up here, with you lovelies, as a blogger.
I now live with my boyfriend Keiran, who I’ve been with for roughly about two years now. We bicker about my unpredictable mood swings and the fact that he leaves his pants all over the floor, but we start every morning with a cup of tea and some shit TV. We snack together, play games together, and love each other unconditionally.
So that’s me in a nutshell, my 23-going-on-24 years condensed into digestible chunks of facts and dates. But beyond that, who do I want to be? What is the purpose of me writing and sharing and exploring my own opinions online?
I think it all comes back to my aspirations as a 17 year old sixth former, rejoicing at my £30 EMA and secretly begrudging the fact that my single Mum couldn’t afford to pay for my driving lessons or buy me my first car. I wanted more from my life, but I also wanted to retain the core of who I was - the chubby, opinionated writing fanatic who got called a ‘boff’ in school but also poured over the pages of fashion magazines without understanding who any of the obscure designers were.
A taste for high-end fashion and a working-class background are not mutually exclusive, and that’s at the heart of what I want to share online. All too often I see bloggers, influencers and media titles falling into one of two camps: the high-end, aspirational camp, or the budget, realistic camp.
Well I want to be both. If you’re working in retail right now and feeling like that YSL bag you pinned on your Christmas Wishlist Pinterest board is outside your realm of possibility, I want you to be able to see my content and read my words and understand that it isn’t. I'm not saying it's easy, but you can do it.
I want to be able to talk about the things that are important to us as young women - like sex, contraception, current affairs and feminism - but also be able to share a love for designer shoes and expensive coats. I want to be able to mix my favourite £17.99 H&M jumper whilst in the same breath, confessing that I’ve splurged a little bit of cash on a much-hyped facial serum.
I want to bridge the gap between budget and high-end - between the everyday and the special. I want to show that not every influencer you see sharing leafy autumn pics online has come from a middle-class, two-parent nuclear set up and that, instead, some of us have weird, problematic families and giant student debts and the real, impending fear that we'll never ever be able to afford a mortgage. I want to create a space where fashion is realistic and accessible for body types that don’t fit the norm. I want to be a source of attainable, day-to-day dressing inspiration.
I’ve thrown up in my own mouth from drinking too many Jagerbombs, made terrible boy decisions and not showered for days because I’ve been sad. I’ve also purchased my own designer bag and I've loved editorial style photographs since the first time I glimpsed Lara Jade on Deviant Art. I'm a multi-faceted human being, but for the most part, I'm just Chloe from Ipswich, doing something online.
So that’s who I want to be online. Your foul-mouthed working class friend who loves to eat rice with mayonnaise but is also partial to a beautiful set of designer shoes. I hope you like it, and I hope you’ll stay with me.