Creating Welcoming Spaces For Women To Share Their Stories

Instagram has become a hub for people to share their lives with the world and become more connected. As our generation takes advantage of this, it creates a space for community and connection between people internationally. Tess Baldwin, a 23-year-old Canadian living on Australia’s Gold Coast is tapping into her passion and this idea to share Seaside Renegade with the world.

Ever prevalent, there has been a spotlight on women and stories they have to share which might have previously been hidden. This year, the media industry has made changes towards equality and allowing women to use their voice. Although progress has been made, there are millions of stories still untold by women across the world.

Aura 32: What inspired you to start Seaside Renegade?

Tess Baldwin: In December I went through an incident that made me feel powerless as a woman. This inspired me to focus on telling the stories of women. It started with a note in my phone where I began writing down ideas, the first being: A platform for women to show strength and resilience, proving they can find themselves and their purpose in a world against them. It all sort of unraveled from there.

Seaside Renegade (Facebook)

A32: Why the name Seaside Renegade?

TB: I chose the word renegade because it’s pretty badass. It’s all about going against the norms and following what you believe in. The technical definition refers to political/religious/national groups. In my interpretation, it’s about being whoever you want to be regardless of what society tells you. Taking a stance, making a change, and doing what you need to do to create the life you want – which will ultimately lead you to find yourself. Seaside comes from my own renegade journey. The seaside is where I found myself.

A32: Is there a specific reason why you decided to launch it through Instagram?

TB: There is so much façade on Instagram. I wanted to create a space on Instagram that is completely raw and honest.  

Seaside Renegade (Instagram)
A32: What is different about Seaside Renegade than other story sharing accounts?

I feel like I’ve really been encouraging 100% honesty on Seaside Renegade. I don’t want people to only tell stories of the sunshine and rainbows. It’s a space to tell the story that includes the lows in life so that others can be inspired by the ability to overcome. I’ve had a few people reach out to me since starting it. They’ve told me they’ve been through similar experiences and knowing there’s a light on the other side of the tunnel keeps them going. It’s all about the journey.

If you want to tell a story about the sunshine and rainbows, please do – I’d love to hear about it. But, I also want to know about the storm before the clouds cleared up and the rainbow made its way into the sky.  

A32: Who would be a few people you’d love to have share their stories on Seaside Renegade?

TB: Oh gosh, this is hard.

My mum is one, but this is kind of cheating because she already is going to be featured. She is the most inspiring person I’ve ever met and keeps me going every single day.  

Lisa Messenger, the creator of Collective Hub. Her magazine gave me the inspiration to create some sort of platform. I never saw myself as someone who would create but, each issue gave me a burning desire to do something.

Crystal Anderson, Manager of Operations at Man Repeller. I read a quote from her once that blew my mind. “Each morning, I put my feet on the ground because I truly think a part of my larger calling is showing people that there are real women out here, making a change, having a seat at tables that they weren’t necessarily invited to.”

And all of the incredible women that I get the privilege of calling my friends. I am lucky to be surrounded by such inspiring women, and I can’t wait until they get to tell their story.

A32: What would be your advice to people struggling right now who look to Seaside Renegade for inspiration?

TB: I think the most important thing to take from Seaside Renegade is that every person that I feature has struggled.

I want the stories I share to ignite a flame for anyone who may be going through the same thing. No matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone. Someone has been there and they have made it through. And you will too.

When you make bold, renegade moves, you’re likely not going to find the success you’re after right away. And that’s okay!

The lows suck and I don’t mean to glorify them at all, but when you overcome…that’s a feeling worth every single moment of struggle. That’s the moment you know that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

There’s something infectious about people who live passionate, purposeful lives. I want everyone to work towards finding the things that allow them to live that life for themselves. Don’t be afraid of the struggle! I’ve been there and I’m sure I’ll be back there again. But always remember that the life that you want to live is not going to come from staying in your comfort zone.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, please tell someone. If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in friends or family please seek professional help. I have been there and didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling, so I went to a psychologist who played a huge role in changing my life around. Seeking help isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s bold. It’s a renegade move.

If you or someone you know wants to share their story, contact Tess Baldwin @seasiderenegade to share!

Liv Fitzsimons

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Liv is a recent Temple University graduate with a degree in Media Studies and Production and certificate in American Sign Language. A city girl at heart, she divvies up her free moments by exploring literature and music. On the unending quest to find the perfect pizza, Olivia holds a resolute passion for sports. She invites you to get lost in the wonderment of Aura 32, a project she impressively founded at age fifteen.

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