First of all, Happy New Year! What are you looking to get out of 2021?
Happy New Year…I think! It sounds very cliché but honestly, I just want complete contentment. After 2020, I think the only thing we can wish for is complete happiness. If you have a roof over your head and food on your table you are very lucky indeed. Happiness shouldn’t be for the fortunate it should be free for everyone.
Talk us through your career online and how it’s evolved?
Oh my! I started my Instagram account in February 2019 as a bit of a hobby. I was bored to completely honest and I knew I couldn’t do a normal 9-5 job. I wasn’t built for it babes. The hobby turned into an online diary where I now share my love of skincare, my mental health struggles but also aim to educate people on what it like living with HIV in 2021.
One of your biggest focuses online is skincare, why do you think it’s become more and more popular in recent years?
It’s the ultimate escape from reality for a moment in time. There is nothing better (for me anyway) than lighting a candle, running a bath, applying a face mask and forgetting about the world for a short while. A skincare routine is much more than a skincare routine it’s my daily ritual and the 10 minutes of self-care morning and evening that I look forward to.
What are some of your top skincare brands to check out for people looking to start a routine?
There is so much choice out there at the moment and it’s so confusing for everyone but the foundations of a good skincare routine need to be: cleanse, moisturise, SPF in the AM and double cleanse (cleansing twice) retinol product and moisturiser in the PM. You don’t need a serum laced with gold, just pile on the hydration. A brand I love are Medik8, Skinceuticals, Deviant, Sunday Riley – these are not the most affordable brands but for me, if you buy cheap you buy twice. Thank you maam. You should also check out Skin&me who are an online dermatologist subscription service who will tailor-make a formula based on your skin’s needs.
We love how honest and open you are with your journey with HIV, why is breaking the stigma and education so important to you?
HIV is no longer a death sentence. We are not in the 80’s babes. Change that mindset now. There was so much media coverage back then about how contagious and deadly the virus was and in 2021 that is no longer the case. A person with HIV can live a normal life when on effective medication. It’s so important to break the stigma and spread the correct information to ensure no one suffers in silence but also to protect the mental health of anyone living with HIV. Your words and
misinformation could be the reason someone doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What are some common misconceptions you wish more people knew about?
You cannot pass HIV on when on effective medication. If you take effective medication daily (one tablet for me) then your viral load will be classed as undetectable which means you are untransmittable. U = U. its impossible to pass on HIV when a person with HIV is on effective medication. You cannot catch HIV through hugging, kissing, sharing cutlery and saliva!
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
Being alive in 2021! Haha. Seriously. I have suffered with my mental health for nearly 15 years and to be able to feel like I’m over the worst of it is the best feeling ever. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, always. Pain is only temporary. You will get through this like you always have. I also feel super proud of raising over £4k for the National AIDS Trust in December 2020
What are you currently working on?
I am working on projects that are due to go live at the end of this week and through 2021 at the moment but the most exciting thing I’m working on is my book! I know who knew! I’m working on a book that’s all about going through tough times and how you can survive it. It also talks about getting drunk with Bradley from S Club 7 when I worked at Butlins and so much more!
Who are some of your favourite follows online?
I adore @lisapotterdixon – Lisa is a ray of sunshine, she is the most gorgeous, friendly and uplifting human.
@skin_t__ is a beautiful Scottish human being who delves deeper into ingredients of skincare – if you need skincare advice he’s your go-to.
@carolinehirons is the queen of the beauty industry. She speaks her mind and knows her shit.
@glow_with_ola is a mood. He serves looks and home truth’s that make me gag for days.
There are so many more but I regularly share my favourites on my stories!
What do you always carry with you?
Lip balm! I never used a lip balm regularly until I got Invisalign this year and they have saved my lips over and over again! No one warned me that Invisalign would make my mouth like a desert. Chanel & La Roche Posay are my faves.
What does your perfect weekend look like?
At the moment…nothing! Saturday my fiancée @nickkimberleystyle and I cuddle the dogs and watch Netflix with the filthiest takeaway! What else is there to do?!
If you could only eat one meal again what would it be?
I’m a chocaholic. Addicted like you wouldn’t believe. Chocolate over anything. Men, sex the lot. Give me chocolate. I don’t even have a favourite either, ill eat it all.
If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?
Pain is only temporary. Honestly, this is what gets me through on those tough days. Sometimes it seems dark but the darkness will separate and you will see the light at the end I promise you. Keep going, sometimes it’s tough but just before you are about to give up you could’ve just been playing the biggest role of your life. Love ya bye xx
Follow Andrew on Instagram here!