Blog The Extraordinary Ordinary

Episode 09 – Rachel Hopkins: The Extraordinary Ordinary Series.

I first met Rachel during my college years, when we both would get together to listen to music and local gigs by ‘The Harks’. From the off I was blown away by how cool, friendly and welcoming this girl was, and yet as I have followed her online over the years, I have genuinely been influenced and inspired by so many of her actions, words and insights, perhaps even more so then when we used to hang out more in person ten years ago.

Rachel is an incredible advocate for body confidence, positivity, and all round self-love. She has helped me, as well as so many other women and men online, with her reminders of how we all should make a daily positive choice to love our bodies. Honestly, over Christmas and New Year she completely re-wrote my dialogue and perspective on festive indulgence worrying and self-confidence.

She is also a brilliant girl boss, with an incredible career at Zara, as well as being THE biggest and most dedicated Florence and the Machine follower I have ever known.

Her commitment to so much, Florence, Queen, Cute Dogs and Body Confidence just shows me how this woman can be summed up in two words. ‘Positively Determined’. Rachel is forever seeking, sourcing and advocating for happiness in so many ways, and this has a profound impact on others.

Plus, she has a lot of cool tattoos, and a damn neat sense of style. If I was to ask you to take something from Rachel, it’s her refreshing honesty, inspiring drive and to also seek that ‘sod it’ moment she refers to below.

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So here are her answers to my twelve questions:

What makes you happy?

Being around the people that I love. I have a really strong support network around me. A big family, fearless friends and the most wonderful boyfriend. I am their biggest cheerleader. Seeing the people you love happy is the best feeling in the world.

I also really love dogs. I will cross the street to pet a dog for that one moment of pure love and appreciation.

What book had the biggest impact on your life?

Paper Aeroplanes and Goose by Dawn O’Porter

Maybe not the most impact but the most relatable book(s) I’ve ever read are Paper Aeroplanes and Goose by Dawn O’Porter. It’s basically a coming of age story of two very opposite best friends. I can see little bits of myself within both characters and it just made me realise no matter how traumatic, embarrassing or disgusting any part of your life is, you are “normal” and your friends will always forgive you and love you anyway.

 

What quote, or saying, do you live by?

Not really a specific quote but I read something online once that  basically said that the person you think of as “yourself” only exists to you. Every single person that you meet has created their own version of you in their heads.

Or if a specific quote is needed, there’s a Florence And The Machine lyric (surprise surprise) “I’m gonna be free and I’m gonna be fine” and the next line is “maybe not tonight”  things will be fine in the end, even if they aren’t right now.

How do you remain, or regain, your focus?

Music. I’m not musically talented at all. I’m a terrible singer and the clumsiest person I know. But to hear a song and interpret it in a way that means something to you is the best motivation. Do a little dance and shake off the day or put on a power ballad and reflect. Music is the best medicine.

 

What inspires you?

People overcoming their fears or obstacles that are against them.

To have that one moment where you think “sod it” that changes absolutely everything. 

 

What are your top three priorities?

  1. Do the things that make you happy.
  2. Read more books.
  3. Spend time with the people you love.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane everyday of your life. Don’t let work consume you. Stop wasting your time scrolling through Instagram looking at the best version of everyone’s lives (it’s not all real, not all true) Spend money on that gig ticket to see your idol. See or speak to your friend you were thinking of the other day. Go out for tea. Get a takeaway. Cook something new. Snuggle down in bed in some new pyjamas and fresh bed sheets. Look at yourself naked. Wear clothes that make you feel good. Appreciate the little things.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?

That I’m confident. Body confident, yes. Mentally confident, no.

I literally wake up in the middle of the night and think about conversations I’ve had years prior. I don’t like walking into a room first, I hate phone-calls and doubt myself all the time.

 

What two purchases have you made this year that you really value / had most impact?

My nude commission from “Are We Nearly Bare Yet” which is a project by Louisa Foley to celebrate the diversity of self-identifying women and their bodies.

It was so liberating for me to have my body, something that I spent a lot of my life hating and being objectified and judged for, turned into a piece of art for the world to see. I chose to do it completely naked to see the whole of me. My boobs, my belly, even my toes are a wonderful piece of art that hangs in my hallway for everyone to see.

My tattoos. This might sound strange as a purchase but I suppose technically it is. I’ve known that I’ve wanted tattoos my whole life but didn’t actually start getting tattooed until I was 20/21. Most of my tattoos have personal meanings to me but some of them are just cute as hell. Similarly to my nude, my tattoos have helped me so much with my confidence. I grew up very sporty and did a lot of swimming so I’ve always had muscular legs, which were seen as manly, (shout out to the high schoolers who nicknamed me  MAN LEGS and BACON LEGS) so I was very paranoid about them and would forever wear tights or trousers. Now I can’t wait to show my legs off. People actually stop me in the street to compliment me on them.

Top tips for someone who wants to do what you do?

Surround yourself with good, honest people. If you mess up, they’ll tell you. If you do well, they’ll compliment you. If you doubt yourself, they’ll encourage you.

 

What are you most proud of?

Myself. When I think about how I’ve grown as a person compared to my teenage self.

The more I’ve thought about it, I now realise that I was in a mentally abusive, controlling relationship. I was isolated from my friends and family, hated the way I looked and was made to feel like I wasn’t good enough for anything or anyone, constantly compared myself to other women and ended up resenting them through jealousy.

I couldn’t be more opposite now. I’m in a very loving, happy relationship, I’m closer to my family than ever. I celebrate and empower women at every moment I can, including myself.

Sometimes I think to myself “what did I do to deserve this love”

The answer is nothing, I did nothing. I deserve this love, I deserve this life, I deserve to be happy. As does everyone.

An unusual habit of yours?

Im a leg shaker. I can’t sit still. Even when I’m relaxing at home I rub my feet together.

What do you do every single day?

Tell the people I love that I love them. You never know when it’s going to be the last time.

 

Thanks Rachel. Honestly your answers have been incredibly insightful and my key takeaway from this is just how actively you advocate a life filled with happiness, and love, and inspire others to do the same.

You have achieved so much, whilst being a voice for many others and being a champion for body confidence, awesome female friendships and good music!

Her Key Advice:

  • Music is the best medicine. 
  • Do things which make you happy, and don’t get caught up in the mundane day to day of life. Appreciate the little things. 
  • Surround yourself with good, honest people.
  • I deserve this love, I deserve this life, I deserve to be happy. As does everyone. 
  • Tell people that you love that you love them every day.

If you want to follow Rachel, she is an active Tweeter, as well as a regular Insta-poster of cute outfits, dogs and awesome tattoos!

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