how to be a better version of yourself, according to self esteem
Stop pretending, get a hobby, stay hydrated. Life advice from a woman who knows how.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.
Rebecca Lucy Taylor calls herself the people’s popstar. “I’m 32, not super skinny, and I’m definitely not flawless! I’m just hoping to be a national treasure for the masses,” she laughs, elaborately framing herself as an alt Princess Diana for the kind of people who stan Britney. She is joking, of course, but there is an element of truth to it.
“I’d always been looking out onto an indie audience who secretly listened to Little Mix when they got on the bus home -- like I did too,” she tells i-D now. We’re looking back on the time she spent as one-half of the British indie-rock outlet Slow Club who, after releasing five albums as a duo, bowed out in 2016 with their critically acclaimed One Day All of This Won’t Matter Anymore LP. Shortly after they parted ways, Rebecca breathed a sigh of relief. Finally she could embark on a search to become a happier, more creatively content woman in control of her work. After three years of shedding her old self, she’s found it. Enter a new kind of musical entity: a brash, honest, DGAF pop star for the ages, this is Self Esteem.
“I wanted to make pop music for those who wanted to listen to...” -- she brings out some ostentatious, self-aware air quotes -- “proper music”. A year in the studio working with producer Johan Karlberg (as well as a short sesh with Jamie T back in the early days) culminated in a brand new album that shimmers and shouts from every possible surface. The forthcoming Compliments Please is a pop record imbued with attitude, deconstructing everything from lesbian flings (Girl Crush) to failed relationships (The Best). Not only is it Very Fucking Good, it sets Rebecca up to be one of the most interesting and outspoken pop talents Britain has.
Not one to wallow in self pity -- much preferring to take the piss out of herself instead -- Rebecca has been through some shit, and her experiences have transformed into a vast, unmatched oracle of knowledge on how to climb out of a life of dissatisfaction and become the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be. So, we put her to the test and asked her to give us her tips on how to become an even better version of ourselves in eight simple steps. Here goes...
"I did a lot of pretending to try and fit in to things, like the social circles I was in or the genre of music I was making. I know so many people who are trying to convince themselves that their relationships are as good as they’re ever going to get -- so they stay there. That might be the only way to have a long term relationship, I don’t know; I just reckon it’s good to ask yourself how you feel about those kind of things.”
Get a hobby -- preferably watching RuPaul’s Drag Race
“I do this joke about how Self Esteem wouldn’t have ever been if it wasn’t for RuPaul’s Drag Race: that ethos of working hard, being present and being great or you’ll go. It really was important. Hobbies are good for you because it’s important to truly switch off. I guess that’s how watching Drag Race can help! It pulled me in because I’m like a toddler: if something’s really bright and shiny I’ll become obsessed with it. I can’t get enough of all of that Trixie and Katya shit either, and I them fancy them both -- in and out of drag.”
Stop thinking about “guilty pleasures”
“Nothing is guilty. I’m not embarrassed by anything like that anymore, but that might be because I’m too tired to be bothered! My friends and I talk about guilty snacks: beans on waffles with grated cheese on top, or fish fingers, chips and beans -- those tea on the table meals that I actually love. Hide those from lovers, though. In those circumstances, try and remain as bouji as possible in the beginning.”
Set some life goals
“It’s always good to have a plan -- even if all the books I read tell me to live in the moment and allow things to happen. I have goals, and I tend to stick to them because I’m stubborn, but all that mindful bollocks? I’ve spent years doing meditation and all that stuff. I find it exhausting and I’m bad at it, but I think it’s good to keep trying. Surely it’s bound to be chipping away somewhere.”
Ignore society’s expectations of you
“If you’re a woman, no matter what, you’re still looked at differently if you’re not going to get married or have children. I think a lot about what might happen if you took ‘settling down and having kids’ off the menu: that’s such a relaxing thought. It helps you to zone out and realise that milestones aren’t that important. I mean, until it’s 6am and you’re drunk in someone’s kitchen in Margate, at least. That’s when you need to go the fuck home.”
"When I was 16, whenever someone said something nice to me, I would always react horribly. But then someone responded to that with, ‘Fine, I won’t give you any then’, and that’s when I realised that it’s better to accept them than risk not getting them at all. Joke your way around them if you have to! I’ve just started saying [in a deadpan tone]: ‘Yeah, I agree’.”
Emotional or creative, go through some kind of glow-up
“Since starting Self Esteem, I do feel like I’ve been reborn and have another chance. It’s never too late to change anything, and loads of stuff that I do now would have been eye-rollingly lame to my peers. Now, I’m buying into meditation and therapy, and I’m deciding how I want to look -- no one else dictates that. Unfollow basically everyone on social media; all I had on there were ex-boyfriends in bands. I realised that, if you live with a bit of a ‘I don’t care what Johnny Knobhead thinks’ mentality, you’re on to something!”
Compliments Please is out 1 March via Fiction Records.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.