Can you tell me a little something about yourself?
Well, I'm 25, I live in South East London/Kent of UK. I like coffee and when I'm not reading and blogging I work in a chocolate and old fashion sweet shop (seriously it's like the best job ever). I used to work in a book shop after finishing my degree and my other passions are going to music gigs, I make jewelery and DIYing my own clothes etc I'm a very crafty and creative type of person.
Did you have a role model growing up?
Apart from family members I don't think I ever had a real "role model" that I could say 'Oh I want to be them when I grow up!' about. Not that I remember anyway.
I can remember wanting to be book characters like Roald Dahl's Matilda or Arrietty from The Borrowers by Mary Norton. They were head strong girls and were just very cool in my eyes.
Who do you look up to now?
I look up to family members still because as you get older you understand them better as you become an adult yourself. My mum because she is a very giving person, my nan would be your friend instantly and my aunt is wonderful, and Greek, thus refuses to let you leave her presence without being fully fed and all your needs met.
I look up to strong minded people that are not afraid to be themselves and let others be themselves too even if that's different from who they are. It tends to be musicians, actors, writers and other artists because they express who they are and truly enjoy seeing others express themselves too.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have vague memories of wanting to be a ballerina, very briefly, but then I didn't like ballet class or the having to learn to dance, so for a long while after that I wanted to be a fashion designer or an artist.
I think I probably wanted to write but didn't really understand what it was to be a writer or that it was even a job or career.
Tell me something about the women in your life who have been an influence on you?
My mum firstly always encouraged me to be happy and enjoy my interests. She doesn't always understand why I like certain things but she'll learn band members names or author's new books so she can show an interest and whenever I've been to a gig or author event or comic book shopping even she'll ask how it was and want to see my photos etc. She lets me be me even if we do butt heads sometimes we still understand each other.
My Nan is a superstar. She is what I call my 'fangirl Idol Hero'. She was a Tom Jones fan back in the day; she'd wait at airports to see him, outside his house, went to TV recordings if he performed and generally loved him and his music. Now I wouldn't go quite as far, but with the fandoms I love I'm totally up there with my nan for the passion title award! She loves to hear about my tales of following bands or the books/authors I love. She thinks I'm actually amazing and in turn I think she is too!
My Aunt is awesome because she is so generous and sharing with her time and would give you her right arm if you needed it. She runs her own business and keeps my uncle and cousins organised and fed too which is quite a task! She used to be a hardcore punk back in the day and so is very embracing when it comes to letting me and my cousin go out solo to have fun and seek adventure :-)
My cousin Rebecca is my fangirl partner in crime because we are very similiar but very different too. She's a mega talented artist and though she's younger than me, she has been a big influence on who I am and who I've become.
Lastly are some really awesome friends namely Verity, Ellen, Leanne (there are more but I feel these 3 are the most suffering at times. lol) and that are so nice to me for so many reasons and even though I drive them nuts sometimes, they still call me up and want to chat or see me.
Who is your favourite fictional character? And why?
That is SUCH a hard question! I guess if I can only pick one then the one fictional character I always wanted to be or thought was someone that you should inspire to be was Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From the (bad) movie, the TV show to the books and comics she was a strong female character doing a tough job. She had to face life and death all the time and was able to balance being a fighter and a girly girl whilst finishing high school. She was cool and funny but also a leader. When times were hard, she had her family, her friends and her inner strength to make her keep going. She's the traditional action hero man meets the damsel in distress to be the distressed action damsel that saves the world.
What were you like as a teenager and how did you cope with all the changes that occurred?
As a teen, I always thought of myself as a bit of loser art kid. I wasn't really into boy bands like my friends and I was really into reading, doing art and listening to music. I was this plump kid that wore black baggy jeans and band t-shirts and I think I knew who I wanted to be or look like etc but wasn't quite brave enough to be that person at the time. I wanted to be cooler or to just be who I was without worrying that I'd be teased or called names, but to be honest that happened anyway so it was such a waste of time.
In terms of how I coped, I didn't really if I'm honest. I was a very moody teen and was probably rocking the 'emo' image before emo got big and hated for being 'a teen death cult' (ha ha emo never was and never will be that I can tell you!). I had a lot of stuff going on during my teen years like family deaths and general teen dramas to deal with and all I can say is that I feel like my very late teens early 20s were want I wanted to be like when I was 14-16.
If you had any advice for yourself as a teenager, what would you say?
-Things seem like a major suck fest now but I can tell you that they may get worse at times but they will also get a million times better.
-Be that person you want to be inside but on the outside; Be Brave.
-Let people in because they will stick around, talk to more people and just relax because all that tension will drive you nuts.
-It's OK to say you don't know or you're afraid; we all are most of the time but it's in sharing the fear that you learn to overcome.
-Also wear more colour because it won't kill you:TRUST ME.
Of the issues and concerns that women are faced with today, what's the area you most like reading about?
I always enjoy reading about women that have overcome their own issues and gone on to help others. I think one of the most powerful tools we have to share in life is experience, and even if it's just a friendly chat with a younger girl that needs a little encouragement or bigger campaigns, it's in the sharing of knowledge that we all grow.
I'm also very aware of stories and issues in the media about body image and the effect it has on younger girls, particularly because it was a big issue for myself growing up and I feel very strongly about the misuse of photo shopped images of women or when a woman is judged solely on her looks and not her talents as a human being.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Just a big thanks for doing this feature and asking me to join in.
Also concerning awesome and empowering women that everyone at ANY age should have them no matter if they are younger or older than yourself. You can be an awesome woman in all sorts of ways to people you know and total strangers too by just being who you are and being a good person. It's nice to be nice and it costs nothing to do a small thing that can often make a big difference to someone else.
Absolutely amazing answers Laura, thank you so much! Everyone, you can read more about Laura at her blog, Sister Spooky: Book Fangirl! :)