Social-media star Chidera Eggerue, aka The Slumflower, tells us about the #saggyboobsmatter movement, self-worth and how it’s OK to be alone
The Saggy Boobs Matter movement is one of the most empowering and important messages on social media today. Started by The Slumflower, the movement encourages women to embrace their bodies and have confidence no matter how they look - and it’s already gained support from women across the world.
How did your #saggyboobsmatter movement come about?
I turned 19 and realised that I just didn’t want to go through the discomfort of wearing a bra any more. I posted a photo of myself in a low-cut top and wrote about how happy I was that my appearance was the least interesting thing about me, but at the same time, my saggy boobs are just as great as small perky ones. And the messages of happiness and appreciation came flooding in – it made mothers scared of breastfeeding change their minds, and girls as young as 16 rethink having breast augmentations.
So how did everything lead to you landing a book deal?
Twitter. I’m very vocal on there [laughs]. People engaged with what I had to say, and kept telling me I should write a book. So I started my own zine full of essays and talk pieces, and posted some pages. The reaction was so big that a literary agent contacted me.
What were the most important aspects of creating the book for you?
I wanted to make reading exciting, and the illustrations create such a visual experience. The Igbo sayings running throughout the book have guided me my entire life. Sayings such as, “If the rat follows the lizard into the rain, it’s only the rat who gets soaked”, educate people to be mindful of the influences you welcome into your life, and people respond to experiences differently. Trust your gut and let you lead yourself.
How does What A Time To Be Alone differ from other self-help books?
I didn’t want my book to be about fleeting happiness, about self-care equating to a trip around the world – I needed to address sadness, vulnerability and toxicity. A lot of self-help books don’t always consider more marginalised people – I wanted mine to be accessible to everyone.
What’s the best thing about being on your own?
To be alone gives you the chance to lean into yourself. When we’re around other people, we’re being a performed version of ourselves that others bring out – it’s not always bad, it just grants you less time to observe yourself in your entirety. While it can feel scary to be alone, that might be because you’re not used to familiarising yourself with your own company. Get used to it!
What A Time To Be Alone: The Slumflower’s Guide To Why You Are Already Enough by Chidera Eggerue (£12.99, Quadrille Publishing), out 26 July
Want to find out more? Why not attend ‘The Slumflower speaks: Power and Influence’ at 14:40 on 10 November, where Chidera will be joining us to speak about the power and responsibility - both positive and negative - that comes with being a true influencer. Find out more at: live.stylist.co.uk
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Words: Ava Welsing-Kitcher, Billie Bhatia
Photography: Tom Oldham