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Redefining Beauty, Novel’s Chat With Jess Mackenzie

12 January 2021

Health and wellbeing have been spotlight topics for the last few years, and rightly so! We are all aware of the importance of being kind to others, checking in our friends, and how it’s OK to ask for help if you need it! Our mental health and well-being are of the upmost importance, we need to make sure we look after ourselves and others’.

At Novel, health and wellbeing is our top priority. We know how important it is to feel supported, comfortable and at home.

We have had a chat with the lovely Jess Mackenzie (@_jessyoga), a pioneer for self-love and acceptance, as well as a qualified yoga teacher and Sweaty Betty ambassador. The secret to her achievements? Being her true honest self, no filters allowed, and loving every part of it! And she encourages you to do the same.

Jess is on a journey to redefining beauty and we are so excited to be able to share her story with you! Find out how Jess got into yoga, her top tips for staying motivated, how she started her self-love journey and more, her story is full of inspiration, honesty and kindness!

“Self-love is scheduling in an hour of ‘me time’ every day to do the things you love. With self-love you don’t feel the need to change who you are to please others. ”

How did you start out on Instagram, and how did you grow your following?

This year my social following has grown from roughly 12K followers to 27K followers, which is kinda crazy and I’m so grateful. The only reason I believe my followers have increased is because I got real. I found self-love and finally stopped editing my skin, face and body shape! I share relatable and positive content, top tips, yoga videos and REAL skin. I also got a better camera and take a lot of time and effort to write captions that inspire others. I hope you love my posts @_jessyoga.


Your Instagram bio mentions that you are on a journey to redefine beauty, how would you like to see beauty standards change?

I would love to see more real bodies and real skin in the media! I believe Photoshop is extremely harmful to our mental health and I would love to see less air brushing and more skin pores, acne scarring, stretch marks and tummy rolls! After all Authenticity will always be more beautiful.

Be kind has been a huge message this year. How important is this message to you and how do you think people can be kinder to one and another?

Kindness is everything and 2020 has taught me the importance of being kinder to myself and others. Small acts of kindness such as checking in on a friend to see if they really are “okay”, writing a letter of appreciation to a loved one, donating old winter clothes to the homeless, supporting local stores, telling someone you love them. The small things make the most difference.


What does self-love mean to you?

Self-love is learning to love yourself unconditionally and the understanding that YOU are your number one priority. Self-love is not allowing insecurities to stop you from achieving your goals. Self-love is scheduling in an hour of ‘me time’ every day to do the things you love. With self-love you don’t feel the need to change who you are to please others.


You talk a lot about tackling your insecurities, what advice would you give to anyone struggling with their own insecurities at the moment?

Your insecurities do not define you. Remember that time your friend said “ugh I have a huge spot on my chin” and you looked puzzled for a moment trying to locate it? Yup, that’s what I’m talking about. No one notices your insecurities more than you do.

I have one rule when it comes to coping with insecurities and that is: switch your morning and evening inspection for meditation. Instead of waking up and going straight to the mirror to inspect your body/face/hair/skin… take 5 minutes to sit or lie quietly, focusing on your breath. Do the same in the evening.

“Your insecurities do not define you.”

Can you give us your top five tips for looking after your wellbeing?

  • Yoga/ daily body movement
  • Get enough sleep
  • Consume less takeaway food, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
  • Spend more time with positive people
  • Cut strings with toxic people, jobs or situations.

How did you get into yoga and teaching?

I found relief to my chronic pain condition, Fibromyalgia, through yoga. Little did I know how quickly I would notice significant improvements physically and mentally, finding body consciousness and sparking a strong passion. This passion led me to my yoga teacher training course in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Where I trained and lived for two months. Yoga has allowed me to come away from all forms of painkillers and I now use movement as my medicine.


What are the main health benefits from yoga?

Yoga benefits both the mind and body simultaneously. From pain relief to stress relief, there’s very little yoga can’t fix. The yoga postures, asanas, allow us to find balance in both strength and flexibility. While the breathwork and meditation calms and clears the mind for total relaxation.

What are your top tips for staying motivated?

A solid morning routine is everything! Here’s mine, feel free to follow it or create your own to start your day right and encourage you to continue on a high.

  • Yoga + Meditation (20mins)
  • Herbal Tea / coffee
  • Journal / writing 3 things you’re grateful for today.
  • Mindfully make a yummy breakfast
  • Listen to music that puts you in a good mood.

How did you become an ambassador for Sweaty Betty and why did you choose to collaborate with this brand?

My first ever yoga set was from Sweaty Betty and ever since I’ve become obsessed with the brand and everything they stand for. “Empowering women’ is our mutual goal”. The incredibly successful brand is built and run by women and I love the strong sense of community they have built in each store.


You have done quite a lot of travelling; would you recommend this to students before or after they study?

Personally, I would recommend travelling before AND after! Studying is tough work and can be very stressful, so let’s not limit ourselves when it comes to enjoying life at its fullest. Work hard, play hard!


Where was your favourite destination and why?

I travelled the north of India for a month in 2018 and it was such an eye-opening experience. I left with so much gratitude for everything I have back home but also the desire to travel back through India in a heartbeat. I’ll be honest, there was a huge culture shock at first, but I very quickly immersed myself in it all and learnt to love every aspect of the culture. I primarily went there to do yoga and learn more about it from the gurus which was a wonderful experience. I’m excited to go back and travel the south.

I think we can all agree that Jess shares some very honest and inspiring words! Please share this blog with anyone you think may need it or just to spread some positivity and, of course don’t forget to follow Jess’s journey on Instagram @_jessyoga. Thank you Jess!

“Kindness is everything and 2020 has taught me the importance of being kinder to myself and others. ”
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