The YouTuber and author talks to Carrie Lyell about sheep, sexuality and self-acceptance.
BY CARRIE LYELL
FROM THE VAULTS
Filmmaker and YouTuber Lucy Sutcliffe, 24, wowed us last year with the release of her memoir, Girl Hearts Girl, an uplifting and inspiring insight into her life as a gay teen in a small town in Oxfordshire. We caught up with Lucy one year on to find out how the book is changing lives – including hers.
DIVA: We’re thrilled to have you taking part in the inaugural DIVA Literary Festival in November 2017. Why do you think events like this are important?
LUCY SUTCLIFFE: I’m thrilled to have been invited, so thank you! This is the perfect platform to give our community the respect and recognition we deserve. So often are we overlooked. We are such a deeply diverse and in- credibly talented group of people, and I’m so proud to be a part of this.
For those who haven’t read your memoir, can you tell us what it’s about, and how you came to write it?
It’s about my life growing up as a terrified, closeted lesbian in a small, very rural, Oxfordshire town. I was deeply afraid and incredibly lonely, and my book documents my journey from timid little gay teen to out-and- proud adult. Where I grew up, there was no “LGBT community”. There were just sheep. So many sheep. I was so scared that there was no-one else like me, and I like to think that if I’d had a book like Girl Hearts Girl back then, I wouldn’t have struggled so much. All the sadness, anger, and shame… I carried it with me for years. It affected me so deeply. That’s why I wrote this book. I don’t want young people to have to go through what I did. I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t know that at the time. I hope Girl Hearts Girl opens the door to people who feel like they have nowhere to turn.
You are dealing with some very personal subjects in the book, which must have been difficult. Was it a challenge to lay yourself on the page like that? Did you self-censor at times?
It was definitely challenging. Partly, actually, because it forced me to re-live bits of my life that I had previously locked away in a little box in my brain, never to be looked at again. It was sometimes quite painful to revisit all those feelings again. I was definitely conscious of what I wanted to keep private and [make] public, too, but I wouldn’t call it censorship, necessarily. Even when I was writing about my most vulnerable moments, I made sure to be as honest, open and genuine as possible. I want my readers to connect with how I felt, and that wouldn’t be possible if I just glazed over the more difficult memories and pretended like things were easier than they were. There’s a real beauty to honesty, I think. When you’re willing to be vulnerable, you encourage others to be, too. And what’s more authentic than that?
You talk a lot about your ex-girlfriend Kaelyn in the book. Is it hard to read back those parts now that you are no longer together?
No, it’s not hard. That was then, and this is now. The book is almost a time capsule: it’s about growing up and it’s about me as much as it is about Kaelyn. I feel proud to have built myself a fantastic independent life, here in beautiful Arizona, with a wide circle of friends and a job where I get to make films all day (and sometimes all night!). Right now, at 24, I’m exactly where I want to be and can truthfully say I’m having the time of my life.
Read the rest of this interview in the June issue of DIVA, available now at divadigital.co.uk.