How to love your skin with Abbie Chatfield
By Ruby Staley
She needs no introduction, she is the moment. Abbie Chatfield gets candid with RAQ about her relationship with her body, experiences with online trolling and the intersection of the two. Pre RAQ x Abbie collection launch, the reality TV veteran, online creator, and all-round fab role model opened up about her love for RAQ and the inspo behind the upcoming collection.
R - You're such a huge body positivity advocate, and just an all-around amazing person. So great to have you on board. Obviously, a lot of people will know kind of what you do, but if you want to describe, in your own words what you do, especially online, at the moment.
A – Oh God, what do I do! I mean, I have the podcast, and then TV hosting, and I post on Instagram, I was on The Bachelor, and then Bachelor in Paradise and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. On Instagram, I just kind of like have an inability to keep my mouth shut. So, I just talk shit it on my stories most days. So that’s what I do.
Yes, I love it. I feel like the question is probably better what don't you do online?
Yeah, I feel like I've even got the ketamine song now. All that I’m missing is an album!
Getting there though! In many circles including my own friend group, you’re a huge role model for body positivity, sexual health and empowered femininity – how do you feel about this and was this always your goal?
I mean, I guess it was. When I went on The Bachelor, I was like, if I get a platform I'd like to use it for things that I care about. So that was a goal. But I think there's this idea that I like, pre-plan everything. And I'm like, this, calculated social media genius. I literally just post what I feel like talking about or feel like posting. So, there isn’t really much planning or forethought into what I do, which is to my manager and podcast networks dismay sometimes, maybe TV networks dismay! But I mean, it's lovely. It is a bit overwhelming sometimes because I don't understand really why, like, I just post what I want to post. But yeah, it's nice.
I feel like that's why people kind of gravitate towards you as well, because you do just kind of seem quite genuine. In terms of your kind of like, relationship with this audience as well, you seem quite close the wider audience, tell me about your approach to community engagement and how do you keep things healthy and hopefully not intrusive?
It’s pretty difficult because there is a really strong parasocial relationship that happens. It's a bit hard sometimes because, I feel like I’ve posted about it on my stories before, but like it isn’t even the trolls and every influencer I’ve spoken to about this, it drives everyone mad is when you post something and someone corrects you. And it's not like you're getting called out, or being held account. It's like, if I pour water into my plant and people go, you actually should use this type, it's like you think that I'm your mate? Like I don't want to hear how I should make my coffee differently. You know what I mean?
It’s also really, really great. I mean it was also difficult during COVID because everyone wants to hug me. And I had one girl when I was running, grab my arm when I was on a jog. So, it's difficult in that sense, it’s also difficult with the death threats. But it is, it is nice. It's just a bit confusing sometimes. Because like when I'm out particularly in Brisbane, where I'm from, I'll see people out, and they’ll be like “Omg Abbie!” and talk to me like they’re my friend. And in Brisbane, I’m like not sure if I went to kindy with them, or they’re just saying this because they’re a fan – that’s amazing, or like if I’ve known them since year 3. So that’s kind of a challenge. But obviously it’s nice, obviously, and such a positive thing all round.
It would be kind of hard to have those lines super blurred. Especially when people feel like they know you. It must be strange because it's very one sided.
Yeah, and understand it because I feel exactly the same way about other influences that I meet. Honestly the hardest thing is figuring out if I actually know the person, or they’re a fan. It’s literally like the biggest panic I have, like oh my god, because people will just be like “Abbie!” and I’m like “hey?” hah, just no idea!
You touched on it earlier, but because you're constantly online, how does online policing, whether that be other people criticising you, or whether it's the way that you portray yourself. How has that space impacted your relationship with your like, physical body and like your appearance?
I think it's only been positive for my relationship with my physical body. I think because I'm always online I'm always seeing unfortunately, like on Tik Tok, especially other people being trolled for how they look. And this is really awful, but it’s like a shining beacon of hope for me because I'm like, no, everyone is just shit to everyone. So, you can't take it personally. Also, everyone’s body is different, and not even like people are fake on social media. Everyone looks different, and people get shit no matter how they look on the internet. I think the amount of trolling, counterintuitively makes me just go like yeah, if you don't like it well I cannot change my face. Even with surgery, we can't change the bone structure underneath. I can't change. I'm never going to intentionally lose weight, I’m never going to go on a weight loss diet. So, what am I gonna do about this?
Exactly. And why would you want to either?
Yeah exactly. I think it's also like, the things that I get DMed to me, like, I'm going to kill you, they kind of take precedent over the you “you're ugly”. I’m like, oh my god, grow up.
Oh god, I can't even imagine. How do you even how do you deal with that? Like, because that would be so not just stressful, but quite scary?
Well, I can't really sleep in my house that I bought recently without Conrad there. Yeah, I cannot sleep. But I've got security systems being set up so I like not well.
Oh gosh, I'm so sorry. No one should have to go through that. Just going back to the body positivity stuff, how would you say your relationship to body changed over time?
I think that I think I've always had a pretty good relationship with my body because I'm very lucky to have a very supportive mom in that like she never commented on our weight and never commented on her weight either. So, I've just never I've never really had that.
I mean obviously when I was in high school I would do things like have like, I wouldn't call it an eating disorder, but like have an apple a day and that's all I’d eat. I think it just like weird moments you go through when you go to an all-girls school. I think in terms of like my memory as an adult like past high school, I’ve never like really had an issue with my body or how I look and I guess a lot of that comes from me having mum as such an amazing support. But also like, we have to also acknowledge that like as a cis thin white woman, the intersectionality of it, it’s also a huge aspect. It’s pretty easy, as a cis able bodied white woman to be like, “I've never had issues” but it's like well, yeah. Because you're not marginalised because of how you look. So I think that’s a huge part of it as well to be honest.
I’m intrigued, what drew you towards working with RAQ? And were you a customer, how did you hear about them, what’s the history here?
I was a customer! So I was told about RAQ by a friend of a friend, we were complaining about togs one day the beach so I bought stuff from RAQ honestly think like a year and a half go or like two years. Anyway, then I got sent some more and literally in lockdown because I would go for a swim after I would go for a run for our hour outdoors I wanted to fit it all in because I live at the beach, so I started wearing the swimming top as a sports bra because it was more supportive than my sports bra. It’s amazing.
Wow so smart! It really is that supportive isn’t it?
It’s literally better than a sports bra! Like I could go for a run better in my bikinis than if I wore a sports bra and a bra.
I love it. Really, truly multi-use!
Yeah, it’s amazing. Absolutely. I would just jump in the water afterwards was great. And then like walk home and my togs would dry off, fucking amazing. But yeah, so I was a customer and I loved RAQ and then I recommended to a lot of my friends who have really big boobs. Because it’s really hard to find togs that are for big natural boobs that aren’t going to squish them and also have a smaller band size because that's a struggle as well. My friends who I recommend it to, they bought it, they loved it. It’s just such an amazing product. I never knew how much I wanted my first pair until I bought them and I was like this is fucked. So when Sophia asked if I wanted to do a collab, I was like “yes bitch, of course I do”. Now I can wear my very own custom bikinis, very selfishly. It’s amazing.
I love. Speaking of the collab, can you give us a little sneak peek into like, what it's going to look like and your involvement there.
So, the way we describe is it’s like your mum's favourite 80’s bikini. Like think Kris Jenner photos in the 80s, like obviously high waisted, bold print, bold colours. The shoot we’ve done is so fun, it's very out there. We've got it in all the different cuts and styles and there’s also some clothing as well that matches the bikinis. So, super cute for summer. I'm super excited.
So exciting! I can’t wait for the launch. Let’s finish things off with a bit of an open ended one. What general advice would you offer to anyone working towards, but maybe not there yet, feeling safe and happy and beautiful in their skin?
That's a hard one babes! I mean obviously, I do have times where I feel bad, like when I'm on TV or I do photoshoots all the time, there's millions of photos and videos of me out there. So, like, yeah, as a whole I have a good relationship with my appearance and my body but there obviously are shit times. But I always think and again, all my advice is never like a Hallmark card motivational posts, it’s always quite negative, but it's like all the time that you spent thinking about your body could be used for so many other productive, joyful things. That's the biggest thing, when I'm worried about how I look, I'm like first of all, no one gives a shit you narcissist, no one cares what you're wearing, no one cares what you're doing. Unless it’s good! No one's there, like, what is she wearing? Like, no one's ever doing that. Basically, the time spent worrying could be spent on so many other things. No one else really cares what you look like and if they’re commenting on your appearance, and obviously it's cliché isn't it, but that's obviously the issue with them, and their projection of how they see themselves or how they see the ideal body or face or whatever. What they think is quote unquote beauty or attractive, that’s their own issue and projection. That’s how I deal with all the trolling.
Totally, I feel like you're so much more powerful when you just like, fuck it. I like how I look or I feel neutral about how I look.
Yeah, and it’s not like I don’t care, I just don’t really think about it.
Amazing, thanks for chatting Abbie!
Thanks so much, Bye!
RAQ X ABBIE is live 13/01/22 6PM AEDT.