Keelin Moncrieff is a breath of fresh air. Amid the ostentatious, superficial bullsh*t that is relentlessly propagated by the bubblegum army of basic instagram influencers (you know the type), Keelin stands for something much more meaningful.
Intrigued by her satirical sense of humour, charming eccentricity and striking intellect – I asked Keelin things I’ve always wanted to know.
How conscious are you that you are not the stereotypical influencer?
“I wouldn’t consider myself an aberration or alternative in any way, as I know of similar influencers to me who I myself follow.”
Keelin assures me that she is not under any illusions of pioneerism.
“I think it’s more so the direction in which influencing as a whole is progressing – people want to know the content creator they are following on a more personal level, to force social media back into utilising the purpose for which it was built. The salient strategy of influencer or social media marketing is that the consumer *trusts* who they’re buying from, so I’m predicting the stereotypical influencer formula not lasting much longer. I’m not trying to repudiate any characteristics of a ‘stereotypical influencer’, I too have to make a living somehow and I enjoy what I’m doing – but I am trying to avoid becoming a walking advertisement.”
Your personal life is pretty public. Online, you’ve discussed the complexities of your parents separation, the inner turmoil of heartbreak and your own experience with sexual assault.
What compels you to share such intimate parts of your life?
“From having little to no audience, it was easy at the beginning to share so much of myself – imagining it was just a video diary. Although sometimes I forget myself, talking about such irrevocable, traumatic or just normal human experiences is not only cathartic and therapeutic for me but, having been told from feedback, has helped the people who follow me speak out about their experiences, heal and get help too. My audience is still relatively small but intimate enough that I can continue talking about my personal life – to a certain extent of course.”
You come from quite a cool family. They seem very accepting and frankly, progressive.
How much has the way you have been brought up contributed to who you are today?
“I never realised how lucky I was with my upbringing until I got a bit older. Obviously as a teenager everything my parents did irked me, but I’m glad I get to share everything with them now, it’s brought us a lot closer compared to other parent-child relationships I think. My Dad is a very left-wing broadcaster and author, my Mam owned a pottery studio and now works for Trinity, so I definitely look up to them as role models but I wouldn’t have the self reflection skills to know how much of an impact they’ve had on my development as a person. It might embarrass them to start listing out the characteristics we have in common. Like all families, we have our issues but I’m proud to call them my parents.”
As someone who has moved across the pond to London, what changes need to happen in Ireland in order to keep young people here?
“The country needs more focus and renewed legislation of the cultural and night industries. Dublin has the potential to be a tourism hotspot for its nightlife – we are teeming with DJ’s, event organisers and party goers with nowhere to go. It’s disappointing but not surprising that the Government can’t see the financial implications it’s going to have on the country. Replacing culture with hotels will not attract tourism – no one wants to travel to a country with no culture. I’m lucky enough that realistically I can work anywhere, even though there are technically more opportunities here in London for me, I just refuse to pay extortionate rent to live in a shed in Glasnevin. The Irish Government are condemning young people as irrelevant and unimportant, forcing their future taxpayers to emigrate.”
Your departure from the OnlyFans platform was a re-evaluation of what you felt was empowering for you. You have said that this tiny snippet of your life is often referred to as a hallmark moment – something that people continue to define you by.
Why do you think this is?
“It’s something that I took part of that brings the most shock factor, like the old as time saying goes ‘sex sells’. I could win the Nobel Peace Prize and people would still ask me about onlyfans. There is nothing to be shameful about having to resort to any sort of sex work as a means of living, but we should be questioning the structures that puts people in that financial situation in the first place. Using OnlyFans only instilled my beliefs of men thinking they own women’s bodies, that they deserved it and this is the only thing we are good for. It perpetuates the hypersexualisation and fetishization of women, it can empower individually depending on your circumstance but it is not empowering collectively.”
As trends (especially in today’s social media ridden world, dominated by throwaway culture) are so fickle and rapidly everchanging, the solution that satisfies such a need presents itself in the form of cheap, fast fashion. Thus, it is nigh on impossible for environmentally conscious fashion companies to compete.
Do you think it is possible to reverse the current culture of disposable fashion?
“Even the term ‘environmentally conscious fashion companies’ is redundant, there is no such thing. The way to reverse the culture of disposable fashion, on an individual level, is to not buy anything new. Obviously it’s easier said than done and there are many circumstances in which people cannot shop sustainably. The only solution would be a total upheaval of the economic and political system, which I don’t see happening anytime soon, which is why it is important to educate people on how they can help, using positive reinforcement rather than shame.”
Often, the rhetoric that surrounds fashion sustainability asserts that only two groups of people exist; those who wear garments crafted from organic cotton and recycled plastic bags, and those who frankly couldn’t give a *explicit* about our natural world. In fact, the reality is that most people lie somewhere in the middle.
How do we face this reality, whilst still tackling the climate crisis?
“Even I myself, who would’ve been seen as quite an ‘in your face’ militant activist, fluctuate between the two states now. It’s near impossible and probably quite damaging to hold yourself to such high expectations when it comes to sustainable living, the world is not built for it. The best way to encourage or lead by example I suppose is to educate yourself and others, allowing room for mistakes and exceptions. Ensuring the blame is always on the corporations rather than the individual is helpful but can also encourage a nihilistic approach of ‘what’s the point then’, which is okay too at times because it is deflating but not helpful. Allow yourself to bemoan the destruction of the planet but also don’t let it take over your life or contribution – it’s difficult to find the balance.”
Why is pragmatic attitude toward sustainability necessary?
“Until sustainable options are made ubiquitous or almost exigent, there is no need to shame or expect people to be 100% sustainable. The focus and shift of blame must be put on those in power rather than individuals who have no other choice. Shaming individuals will not encourage them to make better choices, especially when the choices aren’t even theirs to make.”
Keelin is one our newest contributors to Utopia The Edit.
YouTube: Keelin Moncrieff
Podcast: Same But Different