Imagination and creativity could be the tools you already have to help boost your confidence and self-esteem, according to Kate Nash.
Kate Nash has a lot of heart. To her fans this was evident immediately from the release of her first album, Made of Bricks, which spoke of simple truths like the pain of seeing the person you like hit on someone else at a party, and the loneliness we can all feel as children, struggling to work out who we are.
Nash is unique in the way she has remained incredibly honest and open over the last 10 years, through career highs like winning a Brit award and the lows of being mistreated by her management (Nash has spoken before about being over worked and taken advantage of by men in the industry) and then discovering shiny, Lycra-bound acting glory in TV show GLOW. She’s continued to make music that speaks from her soul and maintained a connection with her fans so strong that they actually crowdfunded her last album – a show of support not every artist can say they’ve felt.
All of this, and so much more is covered in Nash’s new documentary Underestimate The Girl, which uses clips from the artist’s stage performances, interviews, pieces to camera recorded alone in her bedroom and footage from events and award ceremonies, to plot the last decade of her career and explore the way she feels she’s been underestimated, and how she’s emerged triumphant.
Essentially it’s a big middle finger up to, as Nash says, “the way media treated me and what they wrote about me, my label, managers and a lot of men I’ve worked with in the industry – it healed all of that and it healed all of the bullshit.”
Nash spoke to stylist.co.uk about the times in her life when she’s felt underestimated and lacked self-belief, and how she’s overcome this, now feeling triumphant and more practiced in self-love. As a young woman in her late teens, Nash made no secret of the fact that the music industry was a difficult place for her: “There’s a lot of vampires out there that will take from you and be dishonest, the most important thing is have patience.
“You’re gonna fuck up and have bad judgement, it’s not about being so harsh on yourself and think that you’re going to make bad decisions. Forgiving yourself will help with giving yourself strength.”
She felt underestimated by not only her management, but also critics, recalling a time when a review said her album was like “a teenage girl writing in her diary, being eye-rolly about it.” Now she feels strong in saying, “it made me the kind of person I am” and besides, “do you know how fucking grateful you should be to get an insight into a teenage girl’s diary? That’s the deepest thing in the whole world.” Here, here.
This evolution of self, centres a lot around building inner strength and gaining the confidence to not let other people effect how Nash feels about herself. One of her worries is that, as an “open, loving” person she was scared that she had “got to a point where I didn’t know how to deal with everything without being hardened. I didn’t want to lose my openness.”
Nash says she learned that “it’s not about being hardened its about being strong, and self-love is where strength comes from.” She says that ditching toxic relationships and backing yourself is key to this. For which, Nash has a creative method.
“As a woman there’s probably 20 people in your life that have underestimated you or will. Whether that be in your career or in your personal life and you’ve just got to battle it.
“Sometimes it’s funny for me to just pretend I’m a movie character, and think what would you do if this was a movie? Or, what would you do if you were one of your icons? Sometimes I like to imagine, who is your favourite female icon and what the fuck would she do?”
Nash continues, explaining that using her imagination can sometimes liberate her from situations when she feels she lacks confidence: “Create a character for yourself who has more power than you, what would the superhero version of you do? What if we didn’t care what anyone thought, what would we do?
“I think imagination can be an incredibly powerful tool and it can help you get more confidence.”
But when it comes to building that confidence, Nash is adamant it’s a process that takes time and shouldn’t be rushed. Referring to the film Shawshank Redemption, she says: “It’s like we’re all in our own tunnel, working to scratch our way out.”
These kind of grounding comments are jewels that fall out of Nash’s mouth throughout Underestimate The Girl, a piece of film that her fans will love for obvious reasons – along with any woman who knows what it’s like to feel trampled on by other people and could use a confidence pick-me-up, which is probably all of us.
Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl is available now on BBC iPlayer