Behind the ‘gram with Helen Wilson-Beevers
This week we’ spoke to freelance writer, beauty editor and Instagram influencer, @HelenWilsonBeevers.
This week we spoke to freelance writer, beauty editor and Instagram influencer, @HelenWilsonBeevers. We discuss her career path which has led to her writing for big-name publications such as Glamour and Grazia despite living in the North East, as well as how she uses her voice for the greater good – such as raising awareness for the hugely debilitating female condition endometriosis and chronic illness.
Read on to discover what she had to say…
You’re a freelance writer and beauty editor who has contributed to titles including Glamour, Grazia, The Independent and Fabulous to name a few. Can you tell High Life North readers your journey to becoming a writer for big-name publications?
Since my early childhood, I always knew writing was what I wanted to do. However, my career path initially began in training and team management, and I wasn’t sure how I’d make the career jump.
Initially, I began writing voluntarily for local North East-based magazines which then led to me building up enough of a portfolio to cover book and film reviews on various national websites.
Then when I became pregnant with my second child, I began writing a mum blog called Mummy Mode in 2011. I guess I had the lucky advantage of blogs and web content taking off at the same time, so I could write from home in Northumberland for publications further afield, as well as my blog.
I worked on Mummy Mode until 2018, which led to some brand ads and collaborations. At this time, I was still contributing to websites, so I decided to set myself up as self-employed, and would get a job in retail when work was scarcer on the ground.
What an interesting career path, and one that proves it takes a lot of work, experience and, often, years to be able to become self-employed in certain fields. This actually leads me onto my next question – how did this then lead onto published work?
Making contacts alongside the blog work, I began pitching article ideas, landing my first mainstream one with Marie Claire in late 2012. It was a piece about the sheer volume of unsolicited comments women are bombarded with about their bodies.
From then, it was very clear to me I wanted to use my voice (where possible) to champion and advocate for others. Alongside this, I also carved a role as contributing beauty editor, with this being a lifelong passion of mine also.
I’ve written about everything from finance to fashion, women’s health, restaurant reviews and skincare, and I cover monthly content for businesses too. Plus, I am a regular judge for the global Beauty Shortlist awards.
Incredible stuff. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, and what’s next in your own career?
My main piece of advice if you want to be a writer, is to write, in any which way you can. By finding your writing voice, and what matters most to you, you can hone those skills further. Instagram is an ideal platform for writing too, whether lengthy paragraphs or punchy posts that suit your writing style better.
In terms of my next chapter, as I’m sure so many other millions of writers would say, a book is my ultimate dream. A book offering advocacy and support to those most in need of knowing their voice and felt experiences are valid.
It’s clear, not just from your articles but from your Instagram, that you like to use your (incredibly articulate) voice for the greater good. With this in mind, which articles and work projects have you been most proud of so far, and which topics mean the most to you?
I’ve encountered some health struggles in my life, including being faced with a hugely debilitating condition called endometriosis. I first wrote about this for Cosmopolitan in 2013, and at the time, hardly anybody knew what it was.
An intensely painful and exhausting condition, in short, it means that tissue mimicking the lining of the womb attaches to other parts of your body. There is no cure, and it can only be diagnosed via investigative surgery called a laparoscopy.
Currently, the wait for a diagnosis is 7.5 years in the UK, and mine took 9. I’ve written extensively about endometriosis, and how it has affected my life. Also writing reports and interviewing other women, there’s an incredible community on Instagram. To be completely honest, each time I do cover endometriosis, it drags up a lot of trauma and vulnerability, yet I am compelled to support those who don’t feel heard or believed. With a lot of misinformation about, Endometriosis UK are an excellent resource.
Additionally, I recently covered the impact of living with chronic illness on the whole, for The Independent. I was absolutely overwhelmed and humbled, and ultimately reaching others is why I wanted to be a writer in the first place.
Thank you for sharing your insight and personal struggles with your chronic illnesses and endometriosis. It’s really admirable. As you regularly share your own experiences of dealing with chronic illness, would you care to delve into how this affects your life overall, and the importance of the incredible online community?
An integral theme within the aforementioned-piece I wrote, was that just because a person has a chronic illness that doesn’t mean they don’t desperately want to be an active participant. One of the most difficult things associated with long-term health conditions is missing out on events, or friends, family and employers failing to understand an impossible predicament.
Whenever I speak about endometriosis, or autoimmune conditions (as this is something which affects me too), I receive messages from people feeling exactly the same. A recurring issue is that those who have chronic illness feel unheard, or even that their voices don’t matter.
Between inspiring Instagram accounts like @cantgoout_imsick and @thisthingtheycallrecovery, people within the community know they are supported and most importantly, believed. And when you are crushed under the weight of pain, random symptoms or sheer exhaustion on a daily basis, sometimes fighting for answers is a battle in itself.
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