The muse of the healthy generation
Within the world of constant communication within the masses, Jenny Welbourn’s content on YouTube is a breath of fresh air.
Her carefully curated videos range from how to eat ‘clean’ to how to deal with a lack of artistic inspiration.
Jenny is a natural supportive caregiver for the travelers on the pathway to creating a more caring world. She takes her time, forgiving herself when necessary, giving space for needed growth within herself and the world around. She wants her platform to be a safe place for people to examine their past lifestyle choices. She has created an organic structure of support and shares a treasure trove of knowledge of how to transition into a “clean” lifestyle.
Jenny is her authentic self. When one encounters Welbourn’s enviable depth of knowledge about clean eating and a sustainable lifestyle, she gently encourages you to change the way you view your own habits and lifestyle choices.
When I had the chance to sit with Welbourn, she left me with this, “take time to soak it all up and take time to appreciate the small things that happen to you every day.” Remember we have one body in this lifetime, take time to breathe today, take time for yourself, and be easy on your mind and soul when the everyday chaos catches up.
Below Jenny and I discuss healthy transitions and how to take care of yourself when you lose that artistic inspiration! Check out our exclusive interview with WearIlive, aka Jenny Welbourn.
You describe “Wear I live” as a space to focus on what we’re wearing, how we’re living, and its effect on the planet and most importantly the people living on earth, where did this need to have an open dialogue come from?
We’re living in a time of a growing space for conversations to be had. When I personally realized the damage the fashion industry was having on the planet and certain groups of people I felt a very strong pull to change the way I was consuming and happened to have space on the internet to share these changes. I think it’s easiest to move on blindly but with the rise of social media, we have the access to learning more about these issues. My personal beliefs focus around knowing what’s important to me, making changes in my own life that I know I’m capable of, and hoping to inspire others to do the same.
How would you describe your lifestyle?
I really try to live a conscious and compassionate lifestyle. I’ve always been a passionate, sensitive person but I also really think moderation is important. With my personality type, it’s really easy to get consumed with issues but I try to focus my messaging around everyone doing what they’re capable of which is different for everyone and requires a lot of personal reflection. I try to wake up every day and make decisions to try to do my best for the planet and not negatively affect others. With every decision throughout the day, I’m hardwired at this point to think about the footprint which is a blessing and curse. I don’t always get it right but I try to live as simply as I can and weigh my options before making a decision. Ultimately, I want to live more simply and just tread on this planet as lightly as possible.
What was the process of shifting your lifestyle into a healthier regimen?
It’s all been a slow shift that starts to snowball. I always tell people it gets easier and easier the more you learn. I’m still not perfect “zero-waste” or “vegan” and I’ll be the first to admit it. I think finger pointing in these communities is what stops a lot of people from trying. Many think it’s all or nothing but it doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone has to start somewhere. For me, I became vegetarian 5 years ago which really was when I was finally really able to grasp my actions and their effects. Once I was able to gain that understanding it was a lot easier to realize my part in other issues such as clothing consumption, waste etc. It just sort of clicked for me that my actions have importance. Taking it slow, being easy on yourself, has been the best way for me to make this a lasting change in my life instead of it becoming a short-lived fad. Now, most of it feels like second nature to me.
You are very vocal about promoting environmentally friendly fashion brands, were you always careful about where you purchased?
I was not. I was so unaware and honestly never thought about it for a long time. Clothing to me has always just been a fun way to express myself. I got really into buying fast fashion in high school when I got my first job. When I moved out of my small town in Colorado to New York was when I started feeling differently. Seeing how the fashion industry functioned first hand really shifted my direction from what I thought I wanted to be. I then started researching and learning more and had the same realization that I couldn’t be apart of buying from these brands anymore and I certainly couldn’t encourage my audience too.
How did you become interested in the sustainable fashion world?
I grew up with rivers and mountains surrounding me. The love I have for being outdoors and the interest I had in fashion couldn’t coexist for myself unless I changed the way I was doing it. It was something I was directly involved in and had my career headed towards. I saw this gap between the information I was learning and decided I wanted to be a voice in the community to help spread awareness. I’m learning more and more information every day and seeing ways we can really begin to shift the industry. I don’t think anyone likes the reality of what’s going on, but they just don’t know how or have the resources to change. I think there are some really great brands out there doing it the right way and I hope to support them.
You started a YouTube channel how many years ago?
I started it around 5 years ago.
You are growing at a very rapid pace, you’re using your platform to show how easy and affordable a healthy lifestyle can be, what are the pros and cons to having such a booming presence on a worldwide access point?
I’m so lucky to have such an amazing community of people I get to connect with online and more and more in real life. I feel really fulfilled when I hear I’ve had even the smallest part of encouraging others to live more consciously and sustainably and seeing how passionate so many are to do so. I’ve also been given so many opportunities that I am so grateful for. Having an opinion will always leave you open for ridicule and Youtube isn’t always known for the most forgiving place on the other hand. There’s a lot of anxiety for me behind the scenes to make sure I’m getting it right and a lot of pressure to be on top of it all the time. You can never please or relate to everyone which has definitely been the hardest part for me to adjust to. It’s hard to translate the way you want to everyone and negative comments can definitely get to me. It’s easy for people to have very high expectations of you. There’s definitely a higher level of accountability and responsibility as I’ve grown which takes adjusting as well but that’s something important to have for any type of influencer. At the end of the day, I feel so passionate about where I’m going and hopeful for the future that the positives highly outweigh the negative more days than not.
How are you different from all the content that is accessible on YouTube?
I think my switch a few years ago to being strict on supporting only ethical or sustainable brands and openly talking about the negative side of the industry has differentiated me from the typical idea we had of fashion Youtubers before. I want to clarify I don’t think I’m better because of it, I think I just wanted my interest in it to be the main focus in my job and channel and it seemed natural to me to integrate what I know into my channel. I hope to be a place that people can learn and not feel judged. I’ve always wanted it to be a moderate space for people to learn, be inspired but not feel pressured. I stayed in the fashion industry for a reason to hopefully change it from the inside out and I think spreading awareness in a non-judgemental or harsh way is the best way to do so. I hope to share more ways with people to ease into a different mindset. I think the change of mindset and getting that “click” I spoke about before is the biggest step for people. I see more and more YouTubers starting to become aware of the idea of sustainable and ethical fashion and hope they continue to learn more and put more pressure on these brands to change and share the information with their audience. It’s not always easy especially when honestly the bigger brands are usually the ones with the most budget.
If someone was to come to you, wanting and needing a lifestyle change, how would you ease them in, how would you set them up so they can continue to benefit their body and minds?
Like any big changes, it takes time. I’ve seen a lot of the time when people get so involved in something super quickly they often get burnt out. You have to dip your toes in the water. For fashion, focus on less consumption. Take your time to make decisions about what you buy and what you need if you are buying it first hand. If you’re able to shop sustainably, that’s an even better choice. Shopping second hand is a good alternative and keeps clothing out of landfill by giving them a second life. When it comes to sustainable lifestyle choices, such as focusing on low waste it’s really a huge game of avoidance. You don’t have to go out and buy all new “sustainable” products but use what you have and repurpose things when you can. There are really easy steps such as using reusable bags when grocery shopping, not using straws, bringing your own cup to coffee that are all just building new habits but the more you remember to do it the easier it becomes. Being plant-based is one of the best things you can do for lowering your carbon footprint, so I think that’s a step people should be considering. Easing into this is important as well. Even if you have no intention of going fully plant-based making a conscious effort to consume less meat and animal products really makes a huge difference. Ultimately, you just have to start. Don’t worry about labels, don’t worry about messing up, just take what you know and do what you can.
Do you think our generation is progressing? Do you think the way we think about fast fashion and processed food being the easy route to consumption is changing?
It’s absolutely changing! I just hope it starts to change a little faster for our planet’s sake. I think the urgency is hitting a lot of people who are capable of making changes which gives me hope that things will change. I think accessibility is the hard part right now. These issues span deeper than just people’s wants but also their needs. We need to have greater equality and higher quality of life for everyone through fairer and higher minimum wages to give them the options to even be able to choose where they shop and also make sure the correct information is being dispersed. I think our generation has more access to knowledge because of the internet and social media that will allow them to be the change.
How do you want to see the consumption of materialistic goods decrease in the next 10 years?
It all just has to be a change in mindset. Buy less and use it for longer. I think there’s huge room for improvement for getting rid of single-use plastics and these convenience objects that are truly not necessary and are doing huge amounts of damage to our planet. I would love to see the focus become quality over quantity which is going to be a hard shift in a capitalist society. I think the growing urgency with the state of our environment will hopefully set more of these practices into motion sooner than later.
You are constantly making content, keeping your audience engrossed, how do you stay open to new areas of creativity
It’s very hard to keep up with. Social media can become a very unproductive place of comparison and pushing yourself to keep up with the idea of what you think everyone else is doing. It’s really easy to get burnt out which is something I dealt with a lot at the end of last year. I wasn’t protecting myself and I wasn’t taking the time to remove myself from it when I needed to. I really enjoy filming and directing so I try to stay true to making the videos that I want to create and that I think are important which is how I stay focused to constantly create. I really want to experimenting this year in different areas to learn new skills and continue progressing my content which I’ll have more time for when I finish my degree.
Do you ever get to a point where you don’t have a creative force within? How do you protect yourself and your space?
Absolutely. I started painting recently to have a hobby that was creative but absolutely no pressure for myself. It’s really helped me. Like most things, my creativity comes and goes in waves and I just try to make the most of it. I think we all know how draining social media can feel even on a small scale so I think the bigger it gets for me the more I have to have boundaries with it. I’ve recently started therapy and working on myself which has helped get through times of burnout and not wanting to create.
What are the pros and cons to a vegan lifestyle?
I technically take on the term plant-based. It sounds so alternative but the more I’ve learned the more I don’t like labels especially being in a public eye even if the way I live my life aligns with it. Anyhow, Pros: it’s one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint, no animal has to suffer or die for you, the basic diet is often cheaper, and I’ve honestly been at my healthiest since going plant-based. Cons: you’re the needy one in the group of friends who always has to approve restaurants when eating out or going to social gatherings which often makes me feel like a burden.
If you could go back in time and look at your past and fix your earlier lifestyle choices would you?
I think yeah definitely. It was a lot harder when I was younger and not living on my own but since I’ve been on my own I think I’ve been on the right train of learning at a pace that made being sustainable actually a sustainable, long-term practice for myself. I’d go back and avoid a lot of straws and plastic bags tho.
If you could choose one brand you could dress yourself, friends, lover, family in every day what would it be?
I honestly really love the brand Ace and Jig. Their pieces are so interesting and I think they’re the perfect mix of fun, well-made textiles and practical everyday pieces.
Do you have anything that’s coming up that you feel immensely proud of, grateful for, wanting to shout to the world about?
I feel immensely grateful for all the opportunities that have continued to come my way, and for the love and support! I hope this year I can grow in ways to actively help these movements and use my platform to share other people’s experiences as well. I’m in the process of starting my own sustainable line of something that I hope will be necessary and accessible for many but that is all I will say for now! There are a few directions I would love to take things in this year that I’m feeling really good about!
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?
Life is just a series of choices and you can always make another.
Photos by: Tyler Haft