Francesco Ferranti: Hey Ben, my pleasure having you as part of #QueeringLockdown. Can you first of all introduce yourself?
Ben Pechey: My name is Ben Pechey. My pronouns are They/Them. I’m non-binary, in-between everything, enjoying all expressions of gender. I am a writer, content creator, someone who are always busy.
Francesco Ferranti: What does #QueeringLockdown mean to you?
Ben Pechey: Queering Lockdown is very important to me, because many of us have been forced back either into home situations that might remind us of who we used to be, or are on our own. What makes our community so special is the way we interact and the sense of self we get from being in this wonderfully inclusive environment . Queering Lockdown reminds us how wonderful we are and that we will come back together when we can, but until then, we have resources like this.
Francesco Ferranti: In your daily posts and Instagram videos you discuss fashion as a powerful tool to express identity, body positivity and embracing confidence to be visibly queer.
Ben Pechey: Queer is one of those words I was bullied with at high school. But now I think that queer is such a magical and inclusive word. It’s for us, it’s for everyone! Fashion has always been part of my identity. Clothes for me were the key in the lock moment , gave me permission to understand myself through fabric, colour and texture. Clothes add another layer to my identity and sometimes do the speaking for me . When it comes to the queer community, our visual representation is so integral to our identity, that you cannot negate the importance of dressing and be who you are.
Francesco Ferranti: How do you keep yourself sane and thrive in these surreal times of isolation and self-distancing?
Ben Pechey: Having a routine keep me alive during these times because sometimes when you leave a day open-ended, with no to-do lists or set timings you can allow negative thoughts and feelings to wash over you. A routine should not be massively structured but at least make sure to have activities to anchor your days to.
I tend to go out for the government-approved walk around 12 noon, as there is no-one around, and walk my dogs. Highly recommended to take some time away from yourself and your day: I tend to take an hour to run a bath and absorb myself in some crappy Netflix series (Giri/Haji is so good), and it recharges my energy. It works for me!
Francesco Ferranti: On your Instagram you started a Weekly Book Review. What is reading to you? What are you reading at the moment?
Ben Pechey: I started this Weekly Book Review last year to coach myself to read more and read smarter, picking book that will work for me. I tend to read a book a week, but sometimes it goes over. One of the things is that the regularity of the content keeps people calm and happy. I am currently reading “The Stepford Wives” by Ira Levin, highly recommended!
Francesco Ferranti: Do you have any personal projects you would like to spotlight?
Ben Pechey: My podcast “The Happy Place”, which I started last year, was a result of a frustration I felt as I wanted to listen to something, which merges meditation, well-being, relaxation and self-help. It tackles themes such as motivation, failure as part of success, and the idea that winning does not always equate happiness.
The podcast is a positive, uplifting and helpful tool. It can be used as a sleep aid in these days of isolation. My amazing friend Wednesday Holmes aka @hellomynameiswednesday helped me massively with the graphics. The podcast is now available on ITunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
Francesco Ferranti: Shoutouts to 3-5 creatives who inspire you during this period?
Ben Pechey: I also just wanted to share with you creatives that give me life and get me through day-to day and during Lockdown because they are inspiring and wonderful people.
Radam Ridwan (They-Them) are doing the fabulous #TheLockdownLookbook and they are an example of being unapologetically themselves and vocal about queer rights. Love their fresh approach on things and found them so inspiring!
Beyond Brighton UK is a stunning IG live series at 7 pm every day, featuring interviews with queer people, queer allies, trans activists such as my friend Jamie Windust and Carmen Carrera . If you haven’t been watching- I can’t help you!
Now someone who is not queer, Katie Jane Hughes, the make-up artist serving us looks on looks on looks. If you are interested, Katie serves amazing things and her tutorials are so soothing.
Who shall I finish off with? Oh my darling Annie Wade Smith is a mental health worker, youth worker, and amazing ally of the queer community. She brought us together as a group of plus-size fashion people and made a stunning video which you should definitely go check out.
Francesco Ferranti: Now back to us, have you learned anything about yourself so far during this time of isolation?
Ben Pechey: I have learned to have time to give myself compassion, understand when something hurts and learn to enjoy my past success. I am personally enjoying watching the content I put out in the world and being thankful for what I do. It’s important to put yourself first and sometimes we forget about it.
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