Constance Hall has a lot of haters, but she also has a lot of lovers – 1.3 million on Facebook alone.
After the Australian blogger launched her Facebook page in late 2015, she has laid it all out bare – sex, body shape, the end of a marriage, the start of a new one and the challenges of raising a blended family of seven children. But along the way she’s created an entire community of ‘Queens’; women who are fighting loneliness, sexism, postnatal depression and body issues, and she’s done it through love, kindness and humour. We caught up with Constance ahead of her TEDxChristchurch talk on 25 August.
You’ve had a pretty massive year, how is everything going?
Everything has finally settled into a beautiful space. It took a while to adjust to life in Sydney for Dancing with The Stars, I missed my kids and don’t love the media world, then even coming home took some adjusting too, back to a world of forest and ocean and piles of washing. But now, the sun is out and I feel extremely happy.
How excited are you to be heading to Christchurch for the TEDxChristchurch event in August?
There was some divine intervention that made TEDxChristchurch be the place I was asked to give this talk. New Zealand is my favourite place in the world. Never has a country embraced me like New Zealand has and when I visited Christchurch two years ago, my shows sold out and I was completely blown away by the crowd, almost like I had finally come home. I couldn’t be more excited to share this experience with Christchurch, it’s a new experience for me and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervously pushing the boundaries of what I’m comfortable with, which makes me happy I’ll have such friendly faces in the crowd to keep me on track.
What are you going to be talking about?
I’ll be talking about my experiences with my blog and life taking off in public and how quickly that was followed by online bullying, how that has affected me and what I think we can all do to make a difference to the bully culture we live in online.
You have developed a global following by empowering women with your messages about self-love and supporting other women. Why do these messages resonate so strongly with you?
The messages of self-love and women supporting women resonate so deeply with me because at a point in my life I realised how lonely I was, I saw an invisible barrier between me and the women I met, and I realised that when that barrier was broken down I was completely fulfilled and at my happiest.
I realised that in order to get there with each other, we needed to love ourselves. Lack of confidence as women was what made us competitive, which was making us lonely. Once I came to this place, I wanted to share the message as far and wide as I could to bring about a sisterhood and village that I knew we could all thrive in. Or maybe I just wanted a job that included a f**k load of girls’ nights and drunken 3am conversations in the toilets like, “No you’re prettier… I’ve always had a girl crush on you!” That’s where the magic happens.
What have been some of your most powerful posts in terms of engagement?
I think the biggest post I wrote was about communicating with our kids, how we need to stop thinking we failed if our toddlers are whinging, teens are complaining and kids are fighting. It’s the quiet kids, it’s the kids who are trying to disappear, not communicating and locking themselves in their rooms, that we need to worry about.
A child therapist explained to me that it’s not so much about how the kids are communicating with you but the fact that they are that’s important. And it resonated because so many women think we are doing a bad job if our house is chaotic, or our kids just screamed “I hate my life!” But that’s all normal stuff and we need to be a bit easier on ourselves. Keep an eye out for kids that aren’t communicating at all; they are bigger warning signs than a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Really we all just need someone to tell us that we are doing OK. The blogs that remind people that they are doing OK, that there is a bigger picture, that everything is going to be just fine, are the ones that do well.
So much of the internet is designed to make mums and women scared; “If you don’t buy this you are screwing up your kids,” or “If you don’t do this your husband will cheat”. We leave the internet feeling like crap. People leave my page thinking….. it’s gonna be OK and even if it’s not, Con’s definitely got it worse!
How does it feel to be making such a positive difference to women throughout the world?
You never sit back and say, “Wow, look what I’ve done”, you just sit back and say “Wow, what else can I do?” It’s terrible but it’s the way we are designed. I wish I spent more time enjoying my accomplishments and taking the things women say to me on board and less time pressuring myself to do more, but I think that’s just the way the human brain is designed.
It seems these days that people – particularly women – can’t do anything right. Why is it so important that we stop this culture of ‘mummy shaming’?
I think mum shaming has peaked and it is dying; I hope so anyway. Women don’t really judge other women; they judge themselves and it makes them pretend to judge other women as a way of deflecting their self-doubt. My mantra: “When you can love you, you can love me”.
What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Who the hell knows? Life is crazy. I want to open a shop for my clothing label, but I also want to give away everything I own, buy a bus, teach the kids what our country really looks like while I vlog my life to the world. There is always the option of nothing. The ocean calls, it calls every day and that might just be enough.
To find out more about TEDxChristchurch, check out page 26.