F equals for women on the rise

Vicki Psarias aka Honest Mum

DANIELLE NEWNHAM

Posted on July 25 2018

Today, we catch up with the amazing Vicki Psarias, aka Honest Mum - best-selling author, blogger, vlogger, and presenter. A former award-winning TV/film director, screenwriter and lecturer, Vicki set up her blog - Honest Mum - in 2010 as a way to find her voice after she became a mother. Her blog has now become her business and led to her recently released number one book - Mumboss. Here's her story:

Newnham: What were you like growing up? How would your friends and family have described you? 
Psarias: I was loud, confident (for the most part), a risk-taker and creative to the core, although a lot of that was sadly dampened as with many, during puberty and also thanks to me attending a strict, conformist private school which didn't help either. Culturally, that school wasn't the right environment for me. I felt misunderstood and unappreciated there.

It took many years of relearning who I was and what I had to offer, to overcome those formative and somewhat damaging years. I did however relish Sixth Form and University (Notre Dame, and Goldsmiths, University of London, respectively) which collectively taught me to think outside the box and offered me the skills and tenacity to not only survive but also to thrive in the sometimes turbulent media world I entered soon after. 

Newnham: Can you tell about your career prior to setting up Honest Mum?
Psarias: I was a TV Director and filmmaker and also lectured at universities pre-Honest Mum. I made two multi award-winning short films Rifts and Broken which were turning points and milestones in my career. Rifts tells the tale of warring kebab shop owners in London and won the Euromed Cafe Peace Prize among others and Broken is loosely based on my mother's own experience as an immigrant to the UK in the 60s. The latter won the Channel 4 4Talent Award, among others, marking me as a 'Future Creative Hero' and 'One to Watch' and led to me working in the film and TV industry.

I earned my stripes at Redbus (now Lionsgate UK) running, script reading and working in P & A before directing Broken and then social docs and drama for TV. I started Honestmum.com during maternity leave with my first son Oliver, after a traumatic birth, and it organically became my full time job. A flexible, empowering career, I use my creative skills and experience, every day as a blogger and vlogger but within a medium I can control. I create what I like and share instantly. 

Newnham: What conversation led to you starting the hugely successful Honest Mum brand and how did it evolve into the business it is today?
Psarias: The business evolved naturally and came to fruition after a close friend, the filmmaker Amancay Tapia nagged me to start it when very few were blogging in the UK. I have a lot to thank her for. I was in the right place at the right time but I was also consistent and wrote from the heart. Writing was, and still is, therapy for me. I had no idea when I started it, that it would become a personal brand and full time career but it is and the book deal was a dream come true, offering me a way to extend my work on the blog, sharing all that I know to encourage others to set up a side hustle or full time digital job or return to work with greater confidence. 
 
Newnham: You wrote a book called Mumboss– can you tell us more about it and what you hope readers can take away from it?
Psarias:I cover my own experience of setting up Honestmum but also other entrepreneurial women's experiences too from those who found gaps in the markets to others spurred on to achieve their dreams after overcoming adversity. There's also lots on how to overcome the imposter syndrome and self-doubt with a huge emphasis on self-care as well.


Newnham: There is a lot of mum-shaming online – something you have talked about it in the press – if you could change how women, and especially mothers, are portrayed in the press – what would you do and what do you think its impact would be? 
Psarias: I think platforms such as blogging and social media are breaking down the previously dated and limiting versions of parenthood. That honesty cuts through the immense pressure burdened upon us (we literally can't win, whatever we do) and primarily supports us. Being candid about the ups and the downs and empowering one another as we go is what I witness primarily online. As the traditional media diminishes in power, hopefully our voices will resonate further and further, making shaming a thing of the past. There are many diverse ways of being a parent and social media shows this authentically.

Newnham: If you could go back in time, what advice – if any – would you offer a younger Vicki?
Psarias: Don't doubt yourself or let others try to change you. At school I seemed to be too much. Too loud. Too much of a personality. It is those characteristics that have resonated with others and led to my success. Integrity and authenticity is everything in life, on and offline.

Newnham: Finally, what’s next for you?
Psarias: I need to be stimulated so hopefully more of what has come before and I'd love to be pregnant next year. I just need to convince my husband first! 

                  Honest Mum website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / YouTube /
Buy Mumboss here / 

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