60% of young Australians are currently suffering from anxiety. It is an alarming, perturbing statistic to say the least, and one that with a quick scroll of Instagram makes complete sense. Social media – that unrelenting, all-encompassing beast of over-filtered, over-blown “perfection” – is a world of perfect selfies, perfect bodies, perfect relationships, perfect jobs, perfect holidays. A world which is thrust down the throats of our youth. A world which makes them feel inadequate and not good enough. For so many young girls and boys, social media – in all its forms – is soul-destroying; this giant pressure-cooker purporting a perfectionist ideal and one frankly, that is totally and utterly unrealistic.
But Sportsgirl is here to change that. The iconic Australian retail giant is imploring young girls to “be that girl” and share their day-to-day experiences of the ordinary. It may be jamming out in the car with girlfriends, that first sip of coffee or going blissfully makeup-free, Sportsgirl’s new Be That Girl campaign is all about celebrating the ordinary but beautiful joys of quotidian life. Basically they want you to celebrate the big, the small, the every day and the in between. And what better way to send the powerful message than with a diverse, interesting and most importantly real girl gang. Influencers Sammy Robinson and Jadé Tuncdoruk join models Mackinley Hill, Mercy Sang and up-and-comer Inga Ringdal to share their real selves on social media and push this significant sentiment of of empowerment, liberation and acceptance.
Here, GRAZIA chats exclusively to one of the beautiful faces of Sportsgirl’s Be That Girl campaign, model Mackinley Hill (who you may recognise as the sister of Taylor Hill) about her own struggles with anxiety, what Taylor has taught her about being real (Taylor famously and brilliantly shares selfies with pimples) and how she likes to switch off.
The pressures on youth – particularly girls – is enormous. As a young woman, how do you navigate the pressures in your life and what advice do you have for others?
I navigate the pressures in my life but making sure I take time for myself. Even if it’s something super simple like taking time out of my day to watch an episode of the Desperate Housewives. I think it’s wise to remember to take a break and relax.
Social media can set unrealistic standards for many girls, including “perfect” bodies, relationships, jobs. What are some you have been intimidated by and how did you overcome them? How do you escape these pressures of perfection?
Just like anyone else, I also get intimidated by what others post on social media. Sometimes I find myself envying a trip someone went on, or a beautiful dress they are wearing. When this happens, I take a step back and try to remember that whatever people are posting to their social medias is only 10% of their iceberg. They are only sharing the beautiful things. You have to remember that just because someone’s life looks perfect, it never truly is.
60% of young Australians suffer anxiety. Have you or anyone close to you ever suffered anxiety, or any other mental illness? And how did this affect you?
I personally suffer from anxiety. I have huge social anxiety to the point where it’s hard for me to leave my house alone and do simple tasks like go to the grocery store. When I’m struggling, I like to remember the phrase “fake it until you make it.” If I can make someone else believe I’m comfortable in social settings, then I start to believe I am.
How important is it to disconnect today – and how do you do it?
I think it’s so important to disconnect these days. I personally like to delete Instagram every now and then when I realise it’s been affecting me negatively. I also like to leave my phone at home when I’m running errands. I don’t need my phone when I’m going to the grocery store, getting my laundry, or going to the corner store to get a snack, so I don’t bring it.
Your sister Taylor has been somewhat of an inspiration showing herself – zits and all – on Instagram. Do you take any advice from Taylor? And how important is it for celebrities and those in the public eye to balance out the perfection with the real?
Yeah, I learn a lot of stuff from Taylor, she gives me advice just being an older sister. I’m thankful for her guidance. I think it’s really cool when celebrities stray away from perfection and show us something real and relatable about themselves. Because it reminds us that we are all human, and no one is perfect
How do you differ from your real self and your Instagram self? And do you actively try and show as much of true self as possible?
My online persona is completely different to who I am. I find that people are often shocked how different I am from my Instagram. They always say they never thought I would be so weird and quirky. I think I refrain myself from showing the world all of me because people can be really cruel on the internet, and I’m pretty sensitive. So, I like to keep a respectable distance.
Describe your personal style…
I would say my personal style is very tomboy, but I love to make them girly by accessorising my outfits.
What are you go-to pieces?
My go-to pieces would be a great band tee and some shorts I took from my friend Cayley.
What’s the best styling advice you’ve ever received and from who?
I think the best styling advice I’ve been given was “If you feel good in an outfit, it’s a good outfit”. My mom told me that.
What ordinary moment brings you the most joy?
If I’m being real, falling asleep is my favourite ordinary moment. But other than that, I really love driving alone, blasting my music and having my own personal concert.
How do you switch off and unwind?
My favourite way to unwind is throwing on my comfy clothes and binge watching the office. It always makes me feel like I’m at home no matter where I am!
What does Be that girl mean to you?
For me, be that girl means staying true to who you are as women and never changing for anyone. It’s mean to always being the kind of person you would want in your corner.