Talking Pink Energy, Self-love and Activism with Jade from Kawaii Riot
Creating an online alternative style platform wasn’t exactly what Jade thought she’d be doing—ever. But seeing as the alternative fashion community was avoiding a number of difficult conversations, Jade had no choice but to step up. Mental health, kawaii style, #blacklivesmatter… Nothing is off limits. Her followers were drawn in by her fun fashion, but stuck around for the insightful exchanges that she and other contributors encourage. Grab a mug of tea (and a cosy blanket too!) as we talk to Jade about radical self-love, activism and “pink energy”.
What is radical self-love to you?
Radical self-love is the journey of self-acceptance and finding worth in who you are. I don’t think radical self-love needs to be all smiles, I believe it to be a mental and physical space that allows you to treat yourself gently, with forgiveness, and realistically.
How has self-love improved your life?
I was not someone who valued anything about myself. While living at rock bottom, I still felt like the ground was still sinking. In mental spaces like that, it feels like there is nothing that will keep you tethered to just living. That gradual shift from believing “I’m worthless” to “It’s going to be okay… you’re doing okay” changed my life and helped save me from trying to get rid of it. I’m not the perfect example of self-love; I still think there are many areas I can even learn to do better. However, I can say that every day I practice it and learn to live with who I am is another day I am still here.
Please tell us about your “pink energy” and what it represents.
For me, pink energy is how my mind interprets my personal brave space. Pink is a limbo colour, a combination of red and white. It is the colour of my spirit, my inspiration, and my forever muse. Pink energy for me is about personal acceptance and the magic of just being okay with who you are. If I’m a magical girl, pink energy is the way my words and fashion intertwine.
What are your “me-time” rituals?
Firstly, I think anyone who really wants to know about “me-time” rituals has to understand that what works for me might not work for you. These self-care rituals are what I have learned about myself and my emotional needs.
Secondly, self-care is more than material things; it’s also mental and emotional care. During my low days, I find that I need to ground myself in the present. When my headspace is dark and I’m overwhelmed by memories, I need to see myself in the here and now. I do that by either sitting to watch a TV show, reading a book or webtoon and then writing to myself about what I observed. It’s such an odd ritual because I’ll be watching the movie “National Treasure” and write about how I would handle the stress of trying to steal a national document. In that space, I’m no longer suffering from my past experiences. I’m sitting in a pink space watching a movie.
On top of my quirky movie time, I also have to pause and take care of my physical well-being. For me, that’s wrist exercises to alleviate my carpal tunnel issues and take care of my respiratory system. As much as I love a good sheet mask, it’s not the self-care that helps me destress. It’s reading a raunchy or thrilling novel, enjoying anime and playing word games.
How important has social media been in your self-love journey?
Social media is a gathering of like-minded folks for me. In many ways, social media connects me to people who share similar experiences or have a similar yearning for love and life beyond their circumstances.
I believe that even without social media, I would still have found my way towards radical self-love. At the end of the day, I’m just a writer living in Maryland. I write as a way to express what I struggle to vocalize. Social media might be closer to a public diary at this point in my life, but I find that my self-love doesn’t begin there.
A lot of social media influencers call themselves “activists”. What counts as activism online?
Activism is a series of actions to bring about political and social change. Influence can be used for the greater good or to impart social change; however, not every social media influencer honors what activism is. If displays of activism are solely done for social gain or “clout”, that’s not activism.
Social media activism is one form of activism but not all that there is. There are small and big ways to contribute towards social change, but if you know you’re doing it for a “trend”, that’s not being an activist—that’s just being a consumer.
Why did you start Kawaii Riot?
I wanted a space to have the conversations the alternative fashion and lifestyle community avoided. I wanted a brave space for people in the community to explore advocacy and education as it intersects with our lifestyle. I wanted a space that shows we are more and can do more.
How does Kawaii Riot encourage community activism?
Kawaii Riot challenges the community to think with more empathy but also to engage. Whether you’re just now learning about anti-blackness, sustainability, capitalism or someone who is well-versed in the political challenges, there is something for you to engage with on the platform.
This platform is an international call to action to further unite people of alternative fashion and lifestyle communities to stand together. We don’t expect the Lolita girl who is rocking Angelic Pretty to talk about the fashion industry’s problematic issues. Still, when she does, it riles up the space she is in. If the Visual kei person wants to talk about sustainable fashion and eco-friendly lifestyles, we want to better equip them for those conversations and their future advocacy.
What’s in store for Kawaii Riot?
We go forward. We want to build a foundation that allows us to be a reliable resource for the community and encourage thoughtful conversations. I hope to see our community become a non-profit organisation that gives back to the community in as many ways as possible. We hope to encourage more of the alternative fashion community to explore advocacy. A lot is going on in the world, and this is about making a difference alongside alternative fashion. Our team dedicates our energy to activism, accessibility, and sustaining the conversations on social change for the long term.