Hello all! Last week I posted a review of Never Mind my Thigh Gap, a story about a teenage girl who enters a modelling competition and overcomes her confidence and self-esteem issues. I was lucky enough to also get a chance to interview the mother-daughter duo behind the book, Sarah Newton and Bronte Huskinson!
1. Never Mind My Thigh Gap is based on a true story. What made you decide to write a book about it?
Sarah: We felt that getting over your body image by entering a modelling competition was an extreme and counter intuitive measure. People often talk about how degrading competitions like this are, but for Bronte it was an empowering experience and we felt it would make an interesting story. Also the fact that like Alice, Bronte was a nervous shy teenager who did something extraordinary may help to give normal teenagers some confidence that they too could be courageous.
Bronte: Body confidence is an issue which many young girls are facing today. I wanted to get my message across the only way I knew how; writing. From the age of 13 I have wanted to write my own books, and this experience felt like the best opportunity to do so while at the same time, highlighting the issue that body confidence can affect anyone.
2. Sarah, I noticed other books that you’ve published have been nonfiction, giving advice to parents. What made you decide to write a fiction novel?
S: I am actually currently writing a non-fiction book to complement this novel. Most of the books I have written in the past are for parents and I wanted to empower more teenagers too. I think stories are very powerful and I like the idea that you can affect someone’s psyche through a story. Stories play a powerful part in our lives and I love the fact that we can write them to empower young girls to feel better about themselves.
3. Which character do you view as most similar to yourself and what about them do you relate to?
S: I guess I am Alice’s mum and how she behaves is how I behave. I say the same things to Bronte that Alice’s mum says to her. I think her mum is nurturing, honest and supportive, but not stifling, and I like to think that I am that sort of parent.
B: I’d like to think that I’m a combination between Alice and Maddie, Alice’s story is obviously very similar to my own, but I like to think that I’m not as whiny as she was for the first half of the book! I don’t have the general bad-ass attitude that Maddie has, but her sarcasm is definitely similar to my own.
4. Who is one fictional character (can be from a book, TV show, movie, etc.) that you think Alice would be really good friends with?
S: I think she would be good friends with Hermione Granger. I can see them getting along and having fun together.
B: I feel that her and Bianca from ‘The DUFF’ would make a pretty awesome pairing as they both learn to accept who they are without caring what other people think of them.
5. What was one of your favorite scenes to write and what made you like writing it so much?
S: For me, it was the scene after the final catwalk, as this is the scene where Alice really finds her own inner strength and decides who she is going to be for the rest of her life.
B: There were two scenes which I really loved writing. The first was the little section from Maddie’s point of view. It was really fun to play around with her narration. The second was the scene where Alice was walking down the catwalk. This was actually the first chapter I wrote a few months after the competition. Each time I read it, it gives me the sense of empowerment I felt when I was doing the same thing 3 years ago.
6. What would be one piece of advice you would give to someone struggling with low self-esteem or confidence?
S: Great question; a tough issue for most young girls. What I would say is that every girl in some way feels a lack of self-esteem and confidence and often it is because they don’t honour who they are and want to mimic someone else. Firstly, I would like to understand what confidence and self-esteem mean to you. What would you be doing if you had them? How would you be acting? Then in small ways every day, act a little more that way, start to do the things you think you would be doing if you were confident. Actions speak louder than words and like Alice, sometimes faking it helps you make it.
B: Don’t let yourself suffer, be active in wanting to change. Sometimes doing the thing that scares you the most can actually end up being the most empowering feeling in the world.
I want to give a big thank you to Sarah and Bronte for participating in this interview! All of you guys should grab a copy of Never Mind My Thigh Gap
if it sounds like something you might enjoy!