#BEYOUROWN MEETS SIAN IRVINE AND EMILY NARDINI
With a mantra is based in feminism, Ultravenus is a grassroots online magazine ran by Siân Irvine and Emily Nardini. Ultravenus explores the ever-changing and evolving world of the female, from contemporary issues to artwork and creativity. Both Siân Irvine and Emily Nardini welcome you into their community, encourage discussion, submissions and new ideas.
Welcome Sian, it is great to have you with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m definitely a creative person, this has been the vein that has run through my entire life! From music to art, I’ve always surrounded myself with creative mediums and ways to express myself. I’m an art teacher by day, and photography is my side hustle. Ultravenus is the little blossoming baby from the midst of all this. It started as my final major project at university and was a stop-start project for a very long time. When Emily and I teamed up, it just grew bigger and bigger, and it’s become something that I’m really proud of and is really thriving on its own merit.
Can you tell us more about how you are fighting the patriarchy with art, words and revolutionary thought?
When I started Ultravenus, I had just discovered feminism- and in doing so, realised I was not the only girl feeling the way I felt! I was fascinated with exploring the ways I could communicate these ideas and feelings through the medium of photography. I actually created a book- this was UV’s first form- but it got lost during the packing away of our university exhibition. But it was like, a touch-and-feel book for adults. I used to stitch hair into my bedsheets. I’d ask all my friends at uni to send me old hair from their hairbrush, and I kept it in jars. I was that art student.
So…I had these phrases stitched into bedsheets… “don’t f*cking touch me” was one. Another was “can’t talk, can’t feel, do love, was real”. These were dotted amongst my photographs. It was very hair focused at the time… exploring the cultural importance’s of hair, and how when it’s on our head it’s seen as an extension of beauty, but as soon as it’s disembodied it was “disgusting.” But, I think the point I’m trying to make- it gave me a voice, and a vessel to explore this amazing new idea of feminism that I had discovered. I became obsessed with making my ideas visual, and it became something extremely powerful. It felt so revolutionary to me. And of course- since then I have learned so much.
I have unlearned so much, it’s been such a journey. So, the aim with UV now is to give others a platform to speak their truth, explore their feminism, and nourish their creativity. I always wanted UV to be a very art-based medium, when Emily came on board she completely shared this vision as well. We want to show that feminism is important, relevant, and gives a voice to women.
Can you give us 3 takeaway snippets of The UltraVenus Podcast and what we can expect to take away from it?
- The UV Podcast is fun, fierce and feminist! This is our newest venture in UV and we are still very much snowballing- a few more listeners every month, here and there.
- We discuss current pop culture affairs alongside our own opinions and stories.
- It’s a bit like settling down for an evening in with your mates. We love it.
Ultravenus explores the ever-changing and evolving world of the female, can you tell us what it really means to be a feminist?
To be a feminist is to be empowered, but also to empower others. Be prepared to get uncomfortable, and unlearn a lot of learned, inherent behaviours. It’s impossible to be a feminist without recognising intersectionality- if your feminism doesn’t account for black women, brown women, trans women, disabled women, sex workers etc… it isn’t feminism, and that’s exactly what we are fighting for. It’s being constantly aware of the world around you, and how you can use that to lift yourself and others. It’s about smashing glass ceilings and proving that this is not “a man’s world”.
How can men equally support the feminist movement?
Good question. I often go back and forth with myself over the question “can men be feminists?” I’m still unsure about that one, but they can support the feminist movement for sure. If a woman is sharing her experience, listen. I cannot stress that enough. listen! No one owes you their story, so if a woman is giving you the privilege of hers, listen and try to understand. This is really one of the most simple but effective things that a man could do to support the feminist movement.
What are your marketing methods and what platforms are you using to raise brand awareness?
Instagram!! It’s become such a powerful networking tool- it’s how you guys found us, after all! It’s so accessible and makes information fun and easy to digest. We have a Twitter as well, where we use the hashtags #ultravenus and #UVPodcast
Our blog is run via WordPress, which I’ve found is an amazing tool for analytics etc. We also go to female-empowering events together- the Let’s Talk Gynae Sip And Paint” event was amazing, we met loads of incredible women and was very educational.
Who is the most influential female feminist that you admire and why?
Emily and I both have a lot of love for 2 women in particular- The Slumflower, and Munroe Bergdorf. Chiddy (aka The Slumflower) is the queen of self-love, and her book ‘What A Time To Be Alone’ is our bible. She absolutely oozes confidence as well as empowering and uplifting other women, it’s amazing to see. Munroe, for those who don’t know her, is a Trans activist and model.
She’s very vocal about issues that the LGBTQ and black communities face- but equally, she is kind (something I think is very underrated), articulate, passionate and resilient. She’s a huge inspiration to me.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
To me, #beyourown means being true to yourself and your passions. Nourishing them in any way possible, and building them into something amazing!
What does 2020 look like for you?
It’s looking exciting! We have lots of exciting things planned for Ultravenus. Expect to see us at lots more events, lots more podcasts and even bigger and better content on the blog. The wave ain’t stopping!
Join BEYOUROWN Membership Club to connect, network and feel inspired amongst many of our like-minded ambitious women just like you.