SHE’S 17, from Perth, Australia. A vegan, borderline nudist, and self-confessed feminist. She shoots in film, listens to old music, believes in astrology and doesn’t believe in virginity. Freya Haley – one of the most honest, genuine people I’ve ever spoken to. She’s widely followed through her Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr and personal blog – if you haven’t heard of her, you’ve been missing out.
In all her art forms – photos, video and writing – she communicates moments of youth that, somehow, make you nostalgic. I spoke with her about ideas, values and issues, and I’m so excited to share with you everything I learnt from her. In everything she believes in, she opens my eyes and challenges my own opinions. It was an absolute pleasure learning more about her.
All photos: Freya Haley
Me: Hi, Frey. It’s so lovely to talk to you! So, one of the first things anyone finds out about you is that you’re vegan. Why did you choose to go vegan, and how has it impacted your life?
Freya: I chose to become vegan as I believed I had an ethical responsibility to live to my morals and therefore not directly or indirectly harm animals. I’ve always loved animals and after being vegetarian for a month, I realised that I wouldn’t be truly living to my values unless I went vegan. It’s impacted my life in so many ways. It’s completely flipped around my health, although I don’t consider myself to be a ‘healthy vegan’ I’ve noticed that I’ve become a lot healthier since making the transitions (I don’t constantly feel lethargic, I have better digestion etc.). It’s also made me a much happier person, I think! I [also] believe there are a load of stereotypes in regards to veganism – you can either be a health freak, a hippy or someone who forces veganism on others which just isn’t true!
You say you believe you have an ethical responsibility to not harm animals. How do you believe a vegan lifestyle impacts animals?
Well, by being vegan you aren’t supporting cruel animal industries such as entertainment, fashion and agriculture. Because of vegans and vegetarians, less animals are being bred for agriculture and more and more farmers (particularly dairy due to the rise of non dairy milk alternatives) are shutting down businesses. I believe being vegan makes a small difference, but there’s more and more people living like this daily so the demand for meat and animal products is decreasing.
You’ve referred to yourself as a ‘borderline nudist’ before, and often talk about dancing around nude in your backyard. What do you think of the social stigma surrounding nudity, especially for women?
I believe that society has led us all to believe that our naked forms are to be ashamed of, that being naked is indecent. Personally, I don’t agree with this, I see the human physical form as something beautiful and to be appreciated. Particularly in regards to women, we are taught from a very young age the “acceptable” ways to show/not show our bodies, which can be incredibly damaging for self esteem, particularly for those who may not conform to the “perfect” body ideal etc. I personally find nudity to be something incredibly empowering and freeing.
If nudity was more widely accepted, do you think it might negatively impact how ‘incredibly empowering and freeing’ you find it?
No, I don’t think it would impact on it, I think it would make us feel more free in a way because we could walk around as ourselves without fear of being fined!
‘Virginity is a social construct’. What do you think of this?
I agree with it! Virginity is something used (particularly in adolescence) to name and shame people about their sexual history. I don’t believe people (both men and women) should have their self-worth based on their sexual experiences. It’s incredibly damaging and people should be allowed to feel fee to be sexual beings.
Do you think virginity also invalidates members of the LGBT+ community?
Yes! Definitely, especially with sex-Ed – it’s all very hetero normative and a lot of the time people believe that non-heterosexual sex doesn’t “count”, which is silly!
Would you refer to yourself as a feminist, and what does feminism mean to you?
Yes I would, an intersectional feminist. Feminism means equality for everyone. This includes men, POC, trans men and women, LGBT+ etc. I feel like I need to mention as well that a lot of feminism nowadays is misconstrued online and that misandrists often label themselves as feminists, when in reality they don’t speak up for men’s rights (issues such as sexual assault, the difficulty of having a mental illness if you’re a man etc). That’s where the whole “feminazi” theory comes from in my opinion.
What’s some of your favourite music?
Lots of music! Some of my favourites artists are Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, tame impala, sticky fingers, parks squares and alleys, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the kinks, ocean alley, Matt Corby and The Babe Rainbow!
You obviously love film cameras. Why?
I love film, it feels a lot more real and raw to me than digital photography. Seeing film pictures almost makes me feel like I’m living a 70’s coming-of-age movie as well, which I love!
Do you believe in astrology?
Yes I do, everything I’ve read about myself has been very accurate, especially my full birth chart! I believe it can describe personalities very well; however, the weekly predictions can sometimes be a bit off.
What inspires you?
So many things! The natural world, strangers, music, art, everything! There’s inspiration and poetry everywhere from my eyes.