The 10 loveliest Instagram accounts to follow in 2019
Scrolling on our phones in the mornings is inevitable. I could easily write a long preachy post here about how we should throw our phones across the room, jump out of bed and seize the day, rather than start it feeling sad about the fact that we aren’t travelling through South East Asia living our best lives like that girl we haven’t seen since we left school in 2012. But it would most likely be wasted because we’re all going to do it, no matter what. I remind myself on a weekly basis to try and ‘name one woman who got to where she is by scrolling on Instagram depressing herself with other people’s fabricated lives’ (in the words of Florence Given who will be mentioned and praised later on in this article). But still, I’ll wake up at 7.30 am and will find myself watching Instagram stories from people I’ve never met for a good hour, as a way to put off the impending doom of getting out of bed and going to work. And naturally, I’ll start my shift at 9am in a bit of a sad deflated mood, thinking about all of the wonderful things that are going on in the world and all of the wonderful things these people I follow are doing, whilst I’m stuck working in retail for 8 hours a day.
I don’t need to go on about how fabricated Instagram is and how it is literally just a highlight reel and completely impossible to compare our everyday lives to because naturally we are always going to lose to something that is completely fake. I know that, we all know that. Instead, I’m going to offer some advice. Every time you see a post on Instagram that makes your heart sink, makes you doubt yourself, makes you feel inadequate or jealous. Just fucking unfollow them! Don’t feel bad about it, because there is no sentimental value to clicking an unfollow button.
I’m going to offer some alternate accounts to follow on Instagram. Accounts that you’ll see posts from and hopefully feel enlightened, happy, inspired by, rather than jealous or deflated. Or maybe it’ll just be an account that posts nice cat pictures everyday to cheer you up. If we’re going to scroll in the mornings, might as well make it fun, right?
Mark Kanemura (@mkik808)
Mark’s Instagram fame rose considerably in 2017 when he began sharing videos dancing and singing along to Carly Rae Jepsen’s absolute bop Cut to the Feeling - consequently founding #CutToTheFeelingFriday (you can watch his most popular rendition here). I don’t know about you, but my life got a lot better when I had an epiphany when I was 20, and realised that I could love pop music unironically, and that I didn’t have to switch my Spotify to a Private Session when I was in the mood for binging all of One Direction’s discography. Damn son, we all have our coping mechanisms and mine just so happens to be cheesy pop music. And it’s way too much energy to pretend I only listen to cool edgy alternative bands (like I did when I was 17 in the midst of my indie phase, and it was EXHAUSTING). Mark is one of my favourite people to follow because his excitement and enthusiasm for life (and pop music) is all too infectious and completely heartwarming. His whole attitude is about embracing yourself and not taking yourself too seriously and I think that’s something we all need a bit more of. And more Carly Rae Jepsen music, obviously.
Florence Given (@florencegiven)
Florence is a dreamy artist lady and social activist and I think anyone can learn a lot from what she posts, regardless of how you identify on the gender spectrum. If I wake up feeling a bit rubbish about myself and see one of her posts reminding me I’m a cool boss lady, it gives me a lil push to jump out of bed, put on my fave pair of badass platform Doc Martens and metaphorically STOMP on all of the negativity that comes my way (I always stomp when I’m wearing these docs anyway, it’s hard not to because they are just so BIG). I think her post above just says it all really. Another thing I love to do when I see Florence’s posts is read all of the comments on each one (especially on this post about accepting your queerness - soooo many lovely people coming out in the comments). She has created a truly beautiful and empowered community - all the proof you need is in the comments, and it’s only growing by the day.
Obviously what everyone’s Instagram feeds needs in 2019 is more queerness. Always more queerness. Not only does Wednesday create beautiful art that makes me feel so warm and safe inside, they also set out to educate and enlighten on issues surrounding transphobia, mental health, queer rights, misgendering and more. As a cis person, I’ve found following Wednesday a really great and insightful way to learn more about being the best trans ally I can be. They also regularly share queer artists and illustrators on their story, so if you’re looking for more lovely gay art on your timeline, you can’t really go wrong here. Have a read of Wednesday’s highlights on their profile if you’re in the mood for a bit of learning - the LGBT+ history and pride highlight is especially interesting and super important to educate yourself on.
Cats Fucking Dying (@catsfuckingdying)
I don’t really know what to say about this one because in all honesty, I can’t really explain any of it but it makes me so damn emotional in the best way and I love it more than anything and maybe we all just need to see more cats and rainbows in the mornings.
Tiny Victories Zine (@tinyvictorieszine)
Tiny Victories is a project celebrating recovery, and encouraging self care - not the bubble bath face mask genre of self care that involves spending lots and lots of money, but actual legitimate self care. In fact, you can buy these little zines from their Etsy for as little as 50p. Think of them as little companions to carry around with you, serving as reminders that you’re okay and you’ve got this. They offer insights into a multitude of mental health issues, so if you have a friend or a partner who struggles with their mental health, even just following Tiny Victories on Instagram could be a really nice way to educate yourself and find the best ways to support ya close ones. A lot of their zines focus on body image and eating habits, and offer small ways you can regain control in these areas. This zine (see above) on body dysmorphia is one of my favourites, especially considering it’s something that isn’t really spoken about much and when you suffer from it, it’s pretty easy to feel like you’re the only one. But that’s the whole purpose of Tiny Victories - to remind you that your brain isn’t as weird as you think it is and that we’re all in this together really.
People I’ve Loved (@peopleiveloved)
People I’ve Loved is a super cute stationery brand founded by Carissa Potter Carlson. You can have a look at their lovely prints, books and more here (I love the socks so much). If you’re not in the mood for spending money, then maybe just have a look at their Instagram instead. I like that, similar to Florence Given, there is a true community built within the comments section. Carissa opens up conversations about relationships, self-growth, reflection, finding your purpose and more. And her illustrations are beautiful and lovely which makes the whole world of People I’ve Loved even more dreamy and appealing. If you enjoy this content, I would also recommend if you have a spare fiver to have a look at her book, which would look great on your bookshelf as your very own little personal self-love bible.
Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross)
If you don’t know who Tracee Ellis Ross is, just know first of all that she is Diana Ross’s daughter, so basically there was no doubt that she was always going to be amazing. As well as having that title, she is an actress, comedian, director, model and as her Instagram states, an ‘actively compassionate advocate for freedom, equity and joy’. I’ve spoken to so many people about the speech she gave at the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards in 2017, but that’s just because it is TRULY iconic (see a little snippet above). I love the way she sees the world and looks after herself. Listening to her speak has helped me realise that taking myself out on dates is the best, and that my life is MINE dammit. As well as all this, she is just really funny and vibrant and her posts make me laugh a lot. 10/10 gd content.
Chidera Eggerue (@theslumflower)
You might have heard of Chidera Eggerue, also known as the Slumflower, through her iconic movement #SAGGYBOOBSMATTER. Because lets be honest, saggy boobs need a whole lot more representation. As well as this, she wrote a book about the importance of being able to spend time with yourself (she also did a great TED Talk on a similar topic which you can watch here). Her outlook is amazing and not only has following her on Instagram taught me some great lessons about living my best life, it’s also given me soooo many new outfit ideas to try because her fashion sense is truuuuly iconic. I really think she is going to blow up in 2019 and I’m excited to come along for the journey in all its saggy boobed glory. A true legend. I would like her to be my best friend.
Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn)
I can’t stress this enough. Jonathan Van Ness is a true gift to this world. If you’ve seen Queer Eye you’ll be all too familiar with these lovely locks. Not only is his excitement for life contagious, and his posts are full of so much wisdom (I really wish I could keep him in my pocket as a mini guardian angel whenever I need some support), it’s his ice skating videos that I want to talk about. He wanted to learn how to ice skate, so he went out there and is damn well learning how to ice skate. I’ve loved following his progress over the last few months, and it’s the kind of motivation maybe we all need to see when we start scrolling in the morning. Being a Virgo through and through, I am always put off by the thought of picking up a new skill or hobby, because I know I won’t be perfect at it straight away and I just CANNOT deal with that. But seeing Jonathan pirouette in his crop tops makes me want to go grab a pair of ice skates (even though every single time in my adult life that I have been ice skating I have ended up crying lol). Jonathan is there to remind me every morning that I am an unstoppable qween and I love it.
100 Women I Know (@100womeniknow)
100 Women I Know began as a documentary film consisting of four rape survivors talking about their experiences, and has grown and thrived so much that it’s now a whole damn movement. Phoebe, the founder, and Jazmin, one of the women who featured in the documentary, now travel around the UK running events and workshops aimed to educate and raise awareness about consent, relationships and sex. Did I mention they’ve also published a book? I only discovered this project a couple of months ago, but even just from engaging with their Instagram, I already feel a part of a massive magical community of empowered women and I cannot wait to get the chance to attend an event of theirs. Every time I read one of their posts, they seem to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment. I think anyone, regardless of how they identify gender-wise, could learn a lot from getting on board. I’m so excited for whatever they have up their sleeves this year.