• Han Butler

Influencers uncensored: with chewsing vegan


We have said goodbye to our popular Bloggers Uncensored series to make room for the new and improved Influencers Uncensored! You're probably wondering what the difference between the two is outside of changing the name slightly and how it's "new and improved". Well, in this new series we've expanded it beyond just the blogging community to involve all social media influencers and youtubers! We'll also be diving deeper into the life of an influencer, racism, mental health, feminism, LGBTQ+ and so much more! Have you ever wondered what your favourite influencers really think about the topics that matter? Well now you'll find out in this raw and uncensored interview series!


Excited? Good! Because it's time to introduce you to today's influencers...

Everyone, meet my Vegan Kings Jak & Josh but you may know them as ChewsingVegan. After being best mates for years and having a couple conversations, they finally decided to do a vegan page together. They didn't want to put any pressure on themselves to build numbers or gain a big audience, it was just a fun thing that they could do together, one that could also benefit others and spread some vegan love.


They share unbelievable vegan recipes and ideas for affordable and creative meals. They just want to be a part of the vegan community to create a kinder planet and hopefully have some amazing food along the way.




I'm not even vegan and I LOVE their recipes. I mean, I may be a little biased here since Josh is actually one of my best friends, but they are THE BEST vegan Instagram Influencers out there right now!


Before you read their interview (which is fucking incredible by the way so stay tuned), here are just a few of my favourite recipes:


> Pea & Bacon Risotto

> Ultimate Vegan Nachos

> Vegan Penguin Bar





Life as an Influencer...


What initially made you get into Instagram influencing?


JOSH - We'd talked about doing something like our page a few times and how we would do it and make it work and then one day Jak suggested we just dive in with it on Instagram and then ChewsingVegan was born.


JAK - I actually went through our WhatsApp and I found the conversation, it literally only took us 1 day to come up with our name, brand, and logo. We was ON it yo. These were some of our brand names: VeganChews, ServingVegan, AlterVego, VeganFaddy, VeganHood and RecipeasOfTheVegans.


JOSH - We wanted to provide recipes and methods that we actually use and enjoy and that are easy enough to replicate in your own home.


JAK - It was exciting because at this point I was new to being vegan, I started for Veganuary so I was looking at Josh for guidance. He's defo the brains of the operation.


What is your experience of societies perception about pursuing Influencing as a career path?


JOSH - Often people can think it's a waste of time or that it's not going to provide a stable job, but in this day and age with so much technology and everyone being only a couple of taps away from their socials it's become just as legitimate as any other day job, with all the same hard work that is required.


JAK - I think you've got to be a certain type of person for it too. It's not just a post, it's a lifestyle and a hard one. You spend your days and weeks planning so you can put it on your platform. For us, at one point we had to calm down because it was consuming our days and although we support those who do want a career as an Influencer, we want our platform to be fun, a celebration of our friendship and veganism.


What are the pros and cons to being an Influencer in 2020?


JOSH - One of the main pros is that you create a great sense of community of like-minded and creative people.


JAK - The amount of people we've met virtually has been amazing. Some of them have reached great heights with their platforms and you can see the joy they have doing this.


JOSH - Cons include the pressure that can come with trying to grow your audience and reach new people.


JAK - I'm a marketer and I thought it would be easy, but it's not and I think the pressure of content - making sure you've always got things going out otherwise your platform goes radio silent. I'm like "Josh, what you making? Make something, anything!" Ha.


What difficulties have you faced during your time as an Influencer?


JAK - Holidays. Joke. I would have loved to attend some vegan markets as this is my first year. That's sad.


JOSH - We've been lucky that we haven't faced much except for COVID keeping us apart, so we've just had to work on everything separately and then try and combine it all together for posts.


JAK - That's true. We have a good system though and we both pull our weight. Which I think is lucky!


The Influencer community is huge, who are your favourites to follow right now?


JOSH - On Instagram we love: Ella__vegan, Loc.and.twist, Yep.thatsvegan, and of course YOU!


JAK - Damn J, you hit that on the head. They are three accounts I love. Loc.and.twist account is so full of culture. You can really see they are proud of their heritage and it shows in their recipes. And Ella, I mean she has just flourished. Killing da game. Also big love to Chubz Luvz, her meals look insane! The girls are killing it right?


JOSH- Right!


Let's get deep...


Recently the Black Lives Matter movement got the world's attention. Racism is finally being talked about openly, and white privilege is being acknowledged. What is your opinion on the BLM movement?


JOSH - It is definitely something that the general public needs to keep paying attention to until actual changes are made so that everyone has equal treatment, opportunities and respect, regardless of their skin colour.


JAK - I feel like this time, there's going to be change. There has to be right? We all owe it to the black community to re-educate, donate and peaceful protest. There's a long way to go but we've got to start somewhere!


JOSH - A person shouldn't be risking their life every time they their house, purely because of the fact they're black.


There is so much more than can be said and people should really educate themselves on everything they possibly can because this isn't a protest that came out of the blue, it's been going for years and years and it's about time that changes are made.


JAK - It frustrates me when people try and disregard the movement. Someone actually said the statue in Bristol was like people going to Auschwitz. How someone could compare the two is barbaric. That statue was a waste of money to begin with, it is offensive, that plaque was untrue and it didn't educate anyone. I went to a peaceful protest near where I live and it was a very emotional experience, I actually went with Chubz Luvs. Everyone shared their stories and experiences with racism. Anthony Joshua was also there and everyone really showed respect, dignity and purpose. Nobody was violent. Somebody shouted racist slurs and everyone came together and said 'shame on you'. Did that get shared on the news? Of course not. Society is corrupt. The news had a responsibility to share and promote the positivity of BLM and out the racism. I don't think they did. They spent their time slating the protests and watching Bristol council retrieve the statue. It's a joke.


Although the protests have mostly stopped for the time being, what can we do to make sure the movement and black lives continue to be supported?


JOSH - We can all listen and learn from each other to keep propelling the movement forward. Educate ourselves on the history and the experiences of black people and use any privilege we have to stand up with and amplify black voices.


JAK - Get online, educate yourself. Talk to people, educate yourself. Then get your hand in your pocket and donate. Then educate your family. We can't let this movement end here. If we do then the world really is fucked.


What does the word "Feminist" mean to you?


JOSH - Feminist is a person who believes in social, economic and political equality, regardless of sex or gender.


JAK - And that's for all genders. You can identify as any gender and be a feminist. I'm a feminist, I will never understand the hardship of being a woman but I share the frustration that women are not equal.


In 2020, how important do you think the feminist movement is?


JOSH - Unfortunately equality is still something that has to be fought for, so it is still very important and will continue to be important until equality is achieved in all aspects.


JAK - Sad if you're not a white straight male then you really don't stand a chance do you. There needs to be noise about it, women need to be equal, I know far more inspiring and remarkable women than I do men. I'm not shaming men but we owe this to our mothers, sisters aunts, nans, mates and for compassion. I would not be the man I am today if it was not for my mum. She's the strongest person I know, she's my role model. My inspiration.


There has always been such a stigma surrounding mental health, how do you feel mental illness is being portrayed in today's society?


JOSH - Mental health has been talked about a lot more openly in recent years with a huge importance being put on speaking up about our experiences.


JAK - It's refreshing! Finally, we don't have to feel ashamed. It needs to be normalised. There's a fine line between normalising it and normalising it so far that it's dismissed.


JOSH - It definitely helps as people realise that they're not alone and can form a support network. On the other hand, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness, which can make people very vulnerable if they don't get help or talk to anyone about what's going on in their head.


JAK - Especially with COVID, I for one have had some massive obstacles with my mental health. It's funny, I haven't spoke about it to anyone really, because it's still so taboo. I'm more comfortable putting it on an interview where I can run away rather than be open with family and friends. That's kinda sad actually.


What can we, the government and society do to progress mental health services and end the stigma surrounding it?


JOSH - We can make sure that we're there for the people that need us, without any judgement and only love, offer help and share our own experiences and issues.


JAK - Do you remember our heart to heart before Milan, we were wine drunk but we opened up and it was the first time we ever spoke up to each other and that was so refreshing. We didn't say anything that would fix us because we aren't looking to be fixed but it did show humanity and that we share similar but also very personal mental health concerns.


JOSH - As a society we need to continue to break down the stigma that surrounds mental illness and work on how to help ourselves and those around us with our mental health. The government needs to provide a lot more funding and resources to the mental health sector of our health services as they're currently stretched beyond their means, which leaves people without the help they so desperately need.


JAK - I also think, when we say 'are you okay' actually we it to ourselves to be honest. And the person you say that to owes it to converse with you.


JOSH - It needs to be taken more seriously by the government, especially with how many people are affected by mental health issues in this country.


As an Influencer you have to spend a lot of time on social media. Do you get affected by online trolling; whether it be directly or indirectly?


JOSH - We've been lucky that we've had so much support and love from the community.


JAK - Yeah, we've been super lucky. I haven't realised how lucky we have been.


JOSH - But we have definitely witnessed trolling and are yet to work out why someone would use up so much time and energy being negative and trying to bring other people down.


JAK - I've experienced it on my personal account, I have had people DM'ing me about my personal life or on how I look. Often it's like a fake account they've made. Like that's a lot of effort to go to to promote hate.


JOSH - They should spend that wasted time working on themselves and whatever their own issues are.


Do you think social networks are doing enough to combat online trolling? If not, what can they do?


JAK - I don't think they're doing enough. They could do so much more. Especially when there are young children on here experiencing trolling. And it has a detrimental effect on our mental health. I often think I may delete it but then again, I'm still here on it sooooo.


JOSH - Recently there has been a rise in how seriously social networks are taking trolling and reports, this can definitely be improved but it looks like we're mostly going in the right direction.


Do you believe we are all individually responsible in stopping online trolls? What can we as the users do to help stop them and protect others?


JOSH - We should take responsibility whenever we see trolling and report it ASAP.


JAK - But the thing is, they just come back as another account. Their actual device needs to be blocked!


JOSH - We can report the tweet/post and also the individual as well. The block button is a great tool too and comes in very handy!


How much acceptance does the LGBTQ+ community receive in your country?


JOSH - We're lucky in the UK to have the rights that we do, compared to the LGBTQ+ communities in other countries at least. Despite this, over the last couple of years, the number of reported cases of abuse against LGBTQ+ people has increased, so it shows that we've still got a long way to go until total acceptance within society.


JAK - Love is Love. You should not be judged. It should be celebrated. If you wanna kiss a man, go for it. If you wanna kiss a girl, go for it. If you wanna kiss someone who doesn't conform to a gender then go for it. We need to promote the positivity, the government need to drive this.


JOSH - The government still hasn't banned conversion therapy, two years after they promised to and gay men still aren't allowed to donate blood, a ban which France has now lifted and we should follow suit.


JAK - I couldn't believe that. I didn't even know it was still a thing yano! How mad! That in itself shows how this movement hasn't developed recently.


Are we, as a society, making enough progress?


JOSH - Over the past few years, the divisions in this country have been growing and it seems that we've hit a wall with moving forward towards the fair and equal country that we could one day be.


JAK - For me, it was Brexit. That was a real moment that got me woke. I'm not sure if it was because I was 21, leaving uni and entering the world but Brexit - 2016 is where I noticed the world shift. Then Trump happened, people where up in arms about gender identity, abortions being made illegal, sexual assault and that's only to name a few!


JOSH - There is a huge amount of progress we should be making that has stalled and hopefully movements such as BLM and Pride and the ally's of these movements can push us towards a more loving and respectful society.


JAK - I really hope the BLM encourages more support to all identities and communities because we are all suffering our own oppression and discrimination. We need to come together and I'm seeing this. To see the support BLM got from a variety of people made my heart jump a beat. It's gonna grow.


In your opinion, why in 2020 do you think some people, cultures and countries still have a strong dislike or disdain towards the community?


JOSH - A lot of people use any excuse they can find to support their bigotry and hatefulness but it all comes down to the individual, and the darkness and hatred they have inside of them.


JAK - Like you said before they should focus on themselves and work on the hatred.


JOSH - They go for the easiest targets and that is usually those that are different from themselves and they're often less protected. Those hateful people are usually very close minded as well and won't even entertain the idea of discussion or even empathy.


JAK - It's hard because we have to educate these people, but we are asking ourselves to go and educate people who hate us or want to hurt us or the people we love. So we are putting ourselves in danger to be equal, to be accepted. The government really have a lot to explain and do.


In you opinion, what is the biggest issue we as a world are facing?


JOSH - Climate change is a huge one that for some reason is never really taken as seriously as it should be. There is so much science, documentation and evidence of how bad it is and what we need to do but it so often gets ignored by the government and therefore doesn't get taken seriously.


JAK - I think we should go into lockdown each year to help the world. I know it's only one small change but it had such a positive impact on the world. Surely if the world planned for it we could make it work?


JOSH - On top of this, are all the previous things we've mentioned, Feminism, BLM, LGBTQ+, that all still need to be supported and their rights fought for.


JAK - Yeah for me it's the BLM, I'll die fighting for this. Equality shouldn't be earned, it's a simple human right. Those who are expressing hate towards the movement are wasting their energy. Why would you want to share hate? Support the cause of being one. Human. Being human but still supporting your community, your love, your individuality, your passion and strive for a healthy and successful version of yourself. Not hate. Never hate.


What does freedom mean to you?


JOSH - Freedom is living your life as you are and being loved and respected for you.


JAK - Yasss! And I think it works in reverse, freedom is also letting your mind be free, free of judgement and hate. Love yourself and everyone around you.


JOSH - It also means being able to chase any dream you have and not having barriers put in your way.


JAK - Your dream is being my best mate so I guess you've already got freedom huh. Haha.


What else do you feel passionate about?


JOSH - Veganism is what our whole page is based on and we're passionate about it and all of the benefits that come with it.


JAK - That's on thing society has really brought to light and positively promoted recently and it's so nice.


Let's end this with some fun 'This or That' questions...


Tea or coffee?


JOSH - Coffee.


JAK - Tea.


Text or call?


JOSH - Text.


JAK - Text.


Summer or winter?


JOSH - Summer.


JAK - Winter.


Love or money?


JOSH - Money.


JAK - Money.


Book or movie?


JOSH - Book.


JAK - Movie.


Sex or pizza?


JOSH - Sex.


JAK - Sex.


Meat or veggies?


JOSH - Veggies.


JAK - Veggies.


TikTok or Youtube?


JOSH - Youtube.


JAK - Youtube.


Fame or quiet life?


JOSH - Fame.


JAK - Fame.


Night in or night out?


JOSH - Night out.


JAK - Night out.


. . .


You can follow Jak & Josh on their Instagram.


There's a new Influencer every Monday and Sunday at 6pm GMT, see you there!


If you're a blogger, influencer, youtuber or content creator and would like to be interviewed for the Influencers Uncensored series then please email me at - chroniclesofacreativemess@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram.


Love, Han


xo



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