“I Ask for a Hug When I’m Getting a Hug”

“I Ask for a Hug When I’m Getting a Hug”

Grace Campbell is as impatient as we are…

Every week, we chat to an inspiring Restless Rebel in our newsletter, The Restless Reader. We dive deep to cover topics such as power, pleasure, success, and so much more. Here’s our chat with Grace Campbell, which was our first ever newsletter interview, published in January 2020. You ready for it?

Grace Campbell is a comedian, writer and filmmaker, she also co-founded The Pink Protest, a platform for female activism. Spoiler alert, she isn’t afraid to ask you how much money you earn…

Give us an insight into your work life… 

At the moment, it’s so scrambled. I’m writing a short book [The Future of Men, for Tortoise’s Futures series], rewriting my comedy stand-up show ‘Why I’m Never Going into Politics’ about what it’s like to grow up in politics [Grace’s dad is former MP Alastair Campbell] – I am about to go on tour – and I’m directing an animation. Today I woke up at 8am, started writing straight away, then I made coffee and now I am speaking to you, then I’ve got meetings all day. Then I have to work again tonight. It’s full on, so I am having to manage my time well.

Do you think it’s relevant to talk about yourself as a woman in the industry you work in?

Yeah, I do. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Some men still think women can’t be funny. I know men, including in my family, who definitely thought women couldn’t be funny. They didn’t go to women for humour. Women have been doing comedy for such a long time, and proving themselves, that I have so much respect for women who have come before, when men were making jokes about how shit they were. Comedy even still is a very masculine world, which is why more and more women are banding together.

When do you feel at your most powerful?

Oooohh, good question. When I am on stage, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be and I had never really had that before. As soon as I started doing stand-up, I felt, oh yes this feels right. And I think that gives you power because you feel like you have a right to be there.

Restless or content?

Restless. Definitely restless. I don’t think I’ll ever be content. I’m one of those people who when I am doing something, I’m like when’s the next thing? My boyfriend says I’m the only person in the world who will ask for a hug when I am getting a hug. He will literally be hugging me, and I’ll be like “give me a hug!” I’m always trying to make stuff happen. Sometimes it is about trying to combat the restlessness with patience. Occasionally, I have to come to terms with something not happening right now, some things are more long-term goals.

What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?

Don’t fancy boys your own age, they are fucking losers.

“Don’t fancy boys your own age, they are fucking losers.”

How do you judge success?

The version of me who is trying to sound like a good person would say happiness and fulfilment. But the main thing popping up in my head is money. I like money. I wanna make money. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask each other how much we earn, I always ask people. It’s a taboo but it shouldn’t be. So, I guess my version of success is making things that fulfil me creatively, where I feel like I am learning and expanding, and making money at the same time. Having money and being comfortable allows creativity.

How different are your expectations of your adult life from the reality?

It is different. Better, I think. I don’t think I knew what it was really gonna be like. And I was one of those teenagers who thought she was an adult at like 14. I always used to tell my mum I could move out if I wanted to. But the thing is, I don’t really feel like a proper adult. I still feel quite juvenile. I hope I’ll always feel a bit juvenile. I don’t want to lose the childishness of my personality.

Do you think it’s important to be completely honest on social media?

Yes, I do, but I don’t think everyone should feel like they have to. There’s this idea that people with followings owe something to their followers. I don’t think we should put too much responsibility on people to always make their followers feel a certain way, because at what cost are you doing that? How much is that going to affect you? There are things people should, if they want to, keep private. Saying that, there’s power in honesty. The other week, I did some Instagram stories about how stressed I was feeling. I was surprised at the reaction. So many people messaged saying it was amazing to know I go through this, as it looks like I am not struggling. There is a misconception about me, no one knows I have really bad anxiety, I am very good at acting.

“My version of success is making things that fulfil me creatively, where I feel like I am learning and expanding, and making money at the same time.”

We love to shamelessly embrace our guilty pleasures, what’s yours?

The Kardashians. Love them. I think they’re hilarious, I love Kris Jenner, I think she’s a brilliant comedian. ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ is amazing television. I’d love to meet them all.

What are you currently reading?

I am listening to Sara Pascoe’s Animal. I have become an audiobook convert. I listen when I am cleaning the house.

Give Grace a follow on Instagram, @disgracecampbell. Her book, Amazing Disgrace: A Book About “Shame”, is out in October, pre-order here. Feature photo by Matt Joy.

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