Now is there anything harder than being a young girl and trying to figure out who you want to be, what you want to look like and how you should act? Arguably being a young boy but come on now, let's be real.
When I look back on my 16 year old self I immediately laugh and then wriggle with embarrassment and concern. I did not have it together at 16! How I wish I could turn back the clock and follow some sound advice but c'est la vie. The way I see it, the best thing I can do is share a few hard-earned nuggets of advice with all you other young folk to try and spare you some of the same pain and shame.
Don't waste your time with those girls
You know the ones - whether they're straight up bitchy or underhand confidence-destroying types; they are not worth your time.
Skip beer, cider and vodka and go straight to rum
Find a drink you actually like and savour it. Don't drink for the sake of it - it's really not cool. Find a spirit or wine you genuinely enjoy and skip to the stage of life where you sip and enjoy a truly beautiful drink.
Confidence is earned through experience and love, not through weight loss
Be healthy, don't put your body under pressure and find a form of workout you love. Then focus on your relationships and how you spend you time. Put very simply, don't spend five years worrying about your weight.
Spend more money on skincare and make up
Invest in your future! Using decent skincare and makeup may feel expensive but you'll thank yourself when you're creeping towards 30 and those fine lines are starting to appear.
People are small-minded; don't fit into their boxes
Do not limit your ambitions and dreams to what other people think is right, or think you capable of. A lot of the people I grew up with deemed a career in fashion as shallow and not worth my time, in fact they still don't think it's worth their time to ask about it. But you know what? I am my own person, I am more than their boxes. You are too, go after what you honesty and passionately want.
You will always have your bitch
Whether its your sister, a colleague or a school friend – you will find a friend who loves you no matter what. The lovely E, who I have affectionately called my Bitch for years, is an incredible woman who supports me, challenges me and inspires me every day. She knew and loved me as an awkward 16 year old and she will know and love me as a feisty 60 year old. Find the friend that really counts and invest in them.
Grades really don't matter very much
Do not listen to your teachers. Repeat, do not listen to your teachers. Occasionally you will find a teacher who isn't horrifically overworked, bound by a limited curriculum and passionate enough to accurately advise you - but mostly they are forced to group you into a stereotype and go off what they can see and chart: grades. Seek advice from friends, family and people who's jobs you fancy. Has anyone else ever thought about the fact that teachers are in fact, teachers. They haven't worked in the industry you want to work in, so be sensible and get some real insight. Also, grades really, really, really do not matter. Exams are a severely limited way of measuring intelligence. Severely. Place value on your people skills, intuition, emotional intelligence and humour - it all counts for infinitely more.