Friday Night Book Club: Read an excerpt from the deliciously dark and devious People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd
More about the book!
The Friday Night Book Club: Exclusive excerpts from Pan Macmillan every weekend.
Treat yourself to a glass of wine this evening with this excerpt from Ellery Lloyd’s People Like Her – a smart and thrilling debut that delves into the darkest aspects of influencer culture.
People Like Her is about what you risk losing when you don’t know who’s watching …
About the book
People like Emmy Jackson. They always have. Especially online, where she is Instagram sensation Mamabare, famous for telling the unvarnished truth about modern parenthood.
But Emmy isn’t as honest as she’d like the fans to believe. She may think she has her followers fooled, but someone out there knows the truth and plans to make her pay …
Read the excerpt:
I never planned to be an Instamum. For a long time, I wasn’t sure I’d be a mum at all. But then who among us can truthfully say that their life has turned out exactly the way they thought it would?
These days I might be all leaky nipples and little nippers, professional bottom wiper for two cheeky ankle biters, but rewind five years and I guess I was what you’d call a fashionista. Ignore my knackered eye twitch and imagine this frizzy, pink-hued mum bun is a sleek blow-dry. Swap today’s hastily daubed MAC Ruby Woo for clever contouring, liquid liner and statement earrings – the sort that my three-year-old daughter would now use for impromptu pull-ups. Then dress it all in skinny jeans and an Equipment silk blouse.
As a fashion editor, I had the job I’d dreamed of since I was a problem-haired, buck-toothed, puppy-fat-padded teen, and I truly, truly loved it. It was all I’d ever wanted to do, as my best friend Polly would tell you – sweet, long-suffering Polly; I’m lucky she still speaks to me after the hours I spent forcing her to play photographer in my pretend shoots, or strut with me down garden path catwalks in my mum’s high heels, all those afternoons making our own magazines with yellowing copies of the Daily Mail and a Pritt Stick (I was always the editor, of course).
So how did I get from there to here? There have been times – when I’m mopping up newborn poo, or making endless pots of puréed goo – when I’ve asked myself the same question. It feels like it all happened in an instant. One minute I was wearing Fendi, front row at Milan Fashion Week, the next I was in trackie bums, trying to restrain a toddler from reorganising the cereal aisle in Sainsbury’s.
The career change from fashion maven to flustered mama was just a happy accident, to be totally honest with you. The world started to lose interest in shiny magazines full of beautiful people so, thanks to shrinking budgets and declining readership, just as I was scaling the career ladder, it was kicked out from under me – and then on top of everything else, I found out I was pregnant.
Damn you, the internet, I thought. You owe me a new career – and it is going to need to be one I can build around having a baby.
And so I started blogging and vlogging – I called myself Barefoot, because my stilettos came with a side order of soul-baring. And you know what? Although it took me a while to find my stride, I got a real buzz out of connecting with like-minded ladies in real time.
Fast-forward to those first few months after giving birth and in the 937 hours I spent with my bum welded to the couch, my darling Coco attached to my milky boobs and the iPhone in my hand my only connection to the outside world, the community of women I met on the internet became a literal lifeline. And while blogging and vlogging were my first online loves, it was Instagram that stopped me from slipping too far into the postnatal fug. It felt like a little life-affirming arm squeeze every time I logged on and saw a comment from another mother going through the same things I was. I had found my people.
So, slowly, it was out with the Louboutins and in with the little human. Barefoot morphed into Mamabare because I’m a mama who is willing to grin and bare it, warts and all. And take it from me, this journey has got even crazier since my second little bundle of burps, Bear, came along five weeks ago. Whether it’s a breast pad fashioned from rogue Happy Meal wrappers or a sneaky gin in a tin by the swings, you’ll always get the unvarnished truth from me – although it may come lightly dappled with Wotsit dust.
The haters like to say that Instagram is all about the perfect life, polished, filtered and posted in these little squares – but who has time for all that nonsense when they’ve got a ketchup-covered curtain-climber in tow? And when things get hard, both online and off, when wires get crossed, when food gets tossed, when I just feel a little lost, I remember that it’s my family I’m doing all of this for. And, of course, the incredible crew of other social media mamas who’ve always got my back, no matter how many days in a row I’ve been wearing the same nursing bra.
You are the reason I started #greydays, a campaign sharing our real stories and organising meetups IRL for us to talk about our battles with the blue-hued moments of motherhood. Not to mention that a portion of the profits from all #greydays merchandise we sell goes towards helping open up the conversation around maternal mental health.
If I were to describe what I do now, would you hate me if I said multi-hyphen mama? It’s definitely a job title that confuses poor old Joyce from next door. She understands what Papabare does – he writes novels. But me? Influencer is such an awful word, isn’t it? Cheerleader? Encourager? Impacter? Who knows? And really, who cares? I just go about my business, sharing my unfiltered family life, and hopefully starting a more authentic discussion about parenting.
I built this brand on honesty and I’ll always tell it like it is.