HATC MAGAZINE HOSTS LAUNCH PARTY AT ICONIC THE HAWLEY ARMS ON 21.10.21
· HATC Magazine celebrated its launch party one year after its first issue shook the publication world
· Delayed due to COVID, it took place on Thursday October 21st 2021
Breakout mental health and culture publication HATC hosted its launch party at The Hawley Arms in Camden on October 21st, 2021. After having to delay their celebrations for a year due to COVID, the much-anticipated event took place in London last week with a star-studded guest list alongside passionate sponsors. The highly anticipated night was supported by a range of sponsors including our main sponsor Je Jouis, a company not only focused on helping people find the perfect sexual experience but whose mission is highly focused on the mental health benefits found in pleasure.
Guests were welcomed with Ice cream courtesy of Little Moons, before dancing the night away with guest DJ Sam Fuller before heading over to the photo booth to capture their evening thanks to Je Jouis. Once home, guests delved into their gift bags with gifts from Je Jouis and Fountain Hard Seltzer.
First published in August of 2020, HATC Magazine covers culture through a mental health lens to have meaningful conversations and break down stigma brick by brick and has risen quickly to become the go-to publication for A-list names to engage in soul-baring discussions about their mental health struggles and illnesses. Anne-Marie, Hayley Williams, Raleigh Ritchie, and Jake Bugg have already graced the front cover with even more star studded names lined up for 2022.
Taking over Camden’s iconic pub and music venue, well known for being the local haunt of Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Liam Gallagher and Noel Fielding, is a full circle moment for the publication’s owners who have a long history with the pub.
“The Hawley was where we would sit and imagine all the great things we wanted to do with HATC. Its where the gig nights were born, the podcasts were scripted, and the first magazine interviews took place. They have been such an integral part of our birth and journey it seemed only fitting that we return to celebrate all we have done and become” - Jade Poulters, Co-Director
HATC Magazine is the latest venture of HATC Media LTD an independent female run media group with humble beginnings as a one-off charity gig night. It is now one of the most exciting names in content creation with a podcast, panel series and yearly festival in its ever-growing portfolio.
“Head Above The Clouds is more than just a media company. It’s a space where individuals can find a community alongside moments of escapism. Since starting the company we’ve focused heavily on providing a safe platform where people feel comfortable to share their experiences with mental health with it being our mission to reduce the stigma surrounding the conversation. With that in mind 2022 is set to be our biggest year and we can’t wait to share both new and old elements. ” – Alice Gee, Founder
2022 will see the company expand into the world TV and Streaming with several programmes currently in production all whilst delivering our usual highly anticipated content.
The ever smiley Lucy Fry pops up on my screen beaming from ear to ear. Although she admits to having a “rough night” due to a tornado, you wouldn’t know at first glance, with the actress energetic to speak with me. Having moved from Australia 8 years ago for the city that never sleeps, Fry has made strides in the film and tv circuit with a lead role in Bright alongside Hollywood royalty Will Smith, with her most recent role returning for season 2 of the Godfather of Harlem and thriller Night Teeth. “It was so much fun to make.” With Night Teeth in waiting, ready to come out of the shadows, I check in with Fry about her experiences at Comic Con alongside co-star Will Smith.
“I was so thrilled to be there. Will Smith is just incredible. He is such an incredible human being and such a leader. He knows how to lift the energy of any room, so for me, it was a thrill to be there with him, watching him lead the crowd. It was such a positive feeling.”
Speaking of positive feelings Lucy tells me about her love for all things Head Above The Clouds “this is such a cool idea of merging culture, psychology, and mental health. It is something that needs to be talked about more, and I’m super passionate about it.” As I blush, I explain to Lucy HATC’s origins and how it was more of a beautiful accident that I found myself setting it up. With the UK government giving as little care and funding as possible when it comes to the welfare of the nation, Lucy tells me how it’s a similar story over in Aus. “In Australia the government do some campaigns but there’s such stigma that although it is shifting, there’s a big, big issue in Australia around needing to talk about it to make it more normalized. I think in the US, that’s one of the things I love most, it’s slightly more normal to go to therapy.” I recall Lucy, part of the film Side Effects, that’s always stuck with me, and how Jude Law states that in England people see it as ‘being ill’ when individuals go to therapy rather than in the US they see people as ‘getting better. And although it may be a fictional story, I resonate with the stigmas having been diagnosed with Bipolar. As I tell Lucy about the film she asks me how I’ve found balance with Bipolar, with some of Lucy’s friends having struggled. With it being something I put down to insight, medication, and support amongst other things I think it is the perfect time to delve a little more into Lucy major in Psychology in an arts degree and her biopsychology subject.
“‘I’m taking a biopsychology subject. I’ve just learned about how the chemicals and your transmitters work. Incredibly, we have drugs today that can act as those neurotransmitters or inhibit the ones that are offsetting us. So much of the time, there’s this stigma around as if there’s something wrong with you, but it’s just the chemicals in your brain.
“Learning to live with different situations and our chemical makeup and how to find the right supports can be challenging. For some people it’s such a relief to be like, okay, this is how I can manage it.”
Although a lifelong condition, it’s all about management. I find myself agreeing with Lucy. With the topic on management, Lucy tells me how she was hoping we’d speak about therapy and the benefits it can have.
“I was hoping to talk about finding therapists. I’ve been seeing a somatic therapist for three years and I love her so much. Since working with her, I’ve noticed my quality of life improve so much.” As a big fan of therapy, I find myself on the same page as Lucy when it comes to the importance of it.
“I love how many different kinds of therapy there are. I feel as though sometimes people don’t know that there are so many different kinds. It depends on who you choose. With each person, there’s going to be a different experience. I do a lot of somatic therapy which is all about trauma being stored in the body, listening, and finding the areas that need to be released.”
Speaking of release, as a person who finds stability in logic amongst other outlets I’m intrigued to hear how the physicality of acting has helped lucy find release or kinesthetic as she tells me.
“I think it’s a couple of things. I’ve always been fascinated by human nature and why we do what we do. And I feel like that’s why I’m an actor. I noticed that as an artist when you’re working and you have these waves when you’re super busy, and then the waves of waiting for the next job. In that time of waiting for the next job, I found I could get a little depressed. Which I know is normal. When you don’t have current employment, that can be a big psychological stressor which a lot of people are experiencing that right now with the pandemic.”
With the world in turmoil not just because of the pandemic, I asked Lucy whether it was the time she found herself within Lockdown that made her take the leap from actor to the student.
“It was maybe five years ago where I was like, you know what, in this downtime, I’m going to find something that gives me structure. Australia is such a gift, University is affordable, really accessible. I signed up for psychology with literature because I love writing as well. I liked it, especially to have that thing like, okay, you’ve got a deadline. You’ve got something to do. You’re accountable to get it in by this point. I guess it was kind of to give the monkeys in my brain something else to play with. To be honest, I’m pretty shocked at how effective it’s been at keeping my mind a lot more stable, productive and focused. It’s become one of the things that give me purpose. There’s so much I don’t have control over, but I can control this, with it as a healthy outlet.”
Being able to acknowledge healthy outlets isn’t something that isn’t easy to find so I wondered whether that’s what attracted Lucy to acting, whether it’s a space to express herself or a moment being someone of something else. “I love how you can tap you into different archetypes when you play a character, like if you want to play Cleopatra to have that Queen feeling.
I guess it’s a form of escapism. It can be healing, to be in touch with that side. I think the reason that I’m an actor is because of the idea of being present. Being on stage you have to be completely in the moment. It’s exhilarating.” That exhilaration is not something new to Lucy having played a variety of roles that have required her to truly be in the moment. Having played the role of Tika in Bright, Lucy had to obtain her yellow belt to take the role to the next level. “We had to all get our yellow belt. I love karate. I’m such a karate nut now. I’ve been doing it for five years. I love the community at our dojo. It’s so supportive. My sensei is such a good teacher. It has been such solid support through everything that happens in my life. It’s not only a great community but learning to protect yourself physically has made me feel much more confident.”
On the subject of community, I tell Lucy the importance it has played in Issue 5. Lucy is keen to speak about communities, with them having played a huge role in her life over the past few years.
“The karate community at the dojo is such a safe space. You go in there and whatever has been happening in anyone’s day there is so much respect and so much kindness. The thing with karate is you have to be present, otherwise, you get hit in the face. Learning to be present is kind of has an incentive. And then the other community that has been so supportive is the surf community.”
As we linger for a little bit longer sharing the communities that have become part of our safe spaces, I ask what’s next for Lucy. “Right now, I’m angling towards my dream which would be to get paid to do two things I love at the same time, acting and psychology. I’m passionate about is the idea of using acting, art, and dance, as healing modalities. I’m also loving studying literature and how that’s inspiring my creativity in terms of maybe collaborating on projects. But eventually, I think doing a master’s in art therapy or Narrative Therapy, using my experience as an actor. When I was 14, my physical theatre classes were a community where I felt safe and supported. It’s such a pivotal time going through puberty. You need a safe space to be yourself. I’d love to work with girls going through puberty, and the use of art and creativity at that pivotal time, ultimately creating a supportive space with that age group.”
I have no question that Lucy will find herself in her rightful place incorporating her work as an actor alongside her philanthropic side, endeavoring to make a difference for the next generation through safe spaces, education, and mental health awareness. Something that won’t go amiss is her determination and inspiring energy for the cause, to the point of contagion. Give her time and keep your eyes peeled as you are going to be hearing her name even more.
Words: Alice Gee
Photography: David Higgs
Hair: John D (Forward Artists)
Makeup: Jo Baker (Forward Artists)
Stylist: Lucy Warren (The Only Agency)
I check in with Munroe following what can only be said as a long day for her, having interviewed a variety of guests for her upcoming podcast series ‘The Way We Are’. “I’m slightly exhausted, positive exhaustion. I’m so excited about everything I’m doing right now”. Munroe, who I can only describe as an all-powerful presence, emitting positive energy over zoom, lets us in on the shoot behind her Issue 5 cover. With our team being unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions, and images both breath-taking and mystical, we are pinging over the inside details, “We shot it on Hampstead heath, right at the beginning of the heatwave. It was a beautiful day. It was the first cover shoot that I’ve done in a while, none of us had been creative for a while.” Having had an eye on her for quite some time, I’ll admit how much I’ve been looking forward, possibly verging on fangirling, to sit and talk with her.
With the release of her debut podcast series, ‘The Way We Are’ only several weeks away from the time we spoke, it felt only right to dive straight into not only the making of the podcast but the thoughts and intentions behind it, with Munroe initially opening up about the nerves she felt at the beginning of the process.
“I was intimidated to do something new that’s going to be seen by so many people. So it was kind of intimidating to be the interviewer, not the interviewee. I’ve done some hosting but not necessarily holding the reins as it were. So it’s been a process of adjusting but also believing in myself.
“It’s a conversation about both of our experiences, my guests opening up, talking about how we’ve turned our trauma into a form of triumph, the lessons we’ve learned, and how we hope to push forward into a future of empowerment and ownership of what we’ve been through.
“I want people to understand that you don’t need to see yourself in absolutely everybody that you can learn something from. We’ve all got something to learn from others who aren’t immediately like us, and I think that’s the ultimate takeaway. Even if somebody goes through something that you didn’t go through, you can learn something and get something empowering, from how they dealt with that adversity. I wanted to hear how they turned the narrative into something empowering across every episode. So often we see powerful imagery and videos. Seeing them talk about such vulnerable things makes me remember that mental health is something that we all have. So in listening to their stories, I hope that people feel less ashamed. Shame is the thing that allows mental illness to get worse. It keeps you in a vicious cycle of feeling unseen and unloved. So I hope that the podcast encourages more people to see themselves and to exercise self-love.”
I love that the podcast is focusing on being not only relatable but how it is also about championing marginalised voices. We often hear of the highs and lows, but so little about the smaller things in between. On the topic of mental illness and self-love, I wanted to delve a little deeper into who Munroe is. Knowing the pressure placed on us about who we are I wondered how her identity and the pressures society place on her have played into her mental health and if she has found some form of autonomy.
“I think it’s, it’s a constant process. The thing with mental health is that you can have good days and bad days and it’s almost like you need to constantly monitor it to stay on that equilibrium, rather than, you know, take a nosedive. So I think it’s been a journey of getting to know myself.
“Sometimes it is the smaller things that can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, which is why microaggressions matter, pronouns matter because you never know what someone else is going through. Especially as what seems small to somebody may not be small to somebody else. There’s this big debate about, what pronouns we should be using, and ultimately, it takes nothing out of your day to just refer to people how they want to be referred to and to respect people with their identity. Identity is invisible, it’s not something you can see, but you can see the expression of identity. I’m all for just listening to people, and not minimising something because you don’t think it’s an issue.”
Hearing Munroe speak so fondly about her podcast and the space it’s giving others to speak about their mental health is so crucial to the understanding others have in feeling they can not only be open about their journeys and that they won’t be judged. As we continue down the path towards Munroe’s mental health journey she boldly tells us about how experiencing PTSD and anxiety has forced her to navigate through what feels to her like a domino effect of mental health experiences.
“I experienced PTSD after having a stalker. He broke into my house and I was raped. That made me scared to live in houses, which sounds wild. Every single time that I stayed around a friend’s house and whatnot, I felt very, very uneasy. Because once that situation has happened to you, which is so unbelievable, something flips. Something switches, and you’re just like, Okay, I need to just make sure that I’m never in this situation ever again. And then you start looking at everything you can do to help prevent that from happening again.”
Through my similar experience and time with PTSD, I don’t think what she’s saying is wild, I can completely relate to establishing every exit whilst everyone else around me tries to persuade me I’m safe. I’ve felt there are so many misunderstandings about what is behind PTSD and the trauma it causes. Something that emulates is her positive intentions to help those around her. I feel my heart wrench as she talks to me with such strength all whilst hoping she knows how her talking about her story with me isn’t just helping me but how it will help so many other people who read her cover story.
“It’s still something that I have to constantly monitor because the PTSD can trigger my anxiety and if I have too much anxiety that can trigger my depression. It’s like a domino effect. Before you know it, you’re in a hole. So I’m having to navigate multiple mental illnesses, along with things like gender dysphoria. I don’t get too much gender dysphoria now, but now and again, it will surprise me. It’s not as bad as it has been, because luckily, I’m in a position where I can afford good health care, but it hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t the case for a very long time.
Here at Head Above The Clouds, our intention of creating safe spaces and mediums for a moment of escape has been in our DNA from day dot. It’s something we don’t see often enough, so to see Munroe create a podcast specifically for those reasons is something that you bet we want to get behind. But what stands out to me is how Munroe is applying the idea of safe spaces to herself and her life in making sure she has her boundaries to protect and maintain her mental health.
“I think all of my guests have seen my journey in the media and that it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve always tried to remain open with my followers, being as open as I can be. So when it comes to exercising healthy boundaries I understand that there needs to be a space where my guests can be open and that there’s no gotcha moment. It’s very sensitive. Some of the stuff that we’ve talked about is very hard, and at times extremely heartbreaking.”
Having had the opportunity to speak with a life coach in a previous production, I found it mind-blowing the strength others have when it comes to putting in hard but fair boundaries. I know it’s something I struggle with let alone most people around me, so it’s refreshing to hear Munroe boldly tackle the issue.
“I think you need to be unapologetic about it. There’s always a way that you can exercise boundaries, without shutting people down. I think it’s about communication and prioritising yourself and your wellbeing, but also making people aware of why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
Having briefly spoken about the pressures presented in society on our identity’s I wanted to return to a similar topic, the pressures that come hand in hand with social media. With Munroe having shot into the public eye from her activism in the LGBTQ+ community and her no-bullshit approach to tackling stigma much of her work and presence have been through social media. With that in mind, I can only imagine the constant pressure and weight placed on her shoulders to showcase a form of education in all topics. If I feel the exhaustion to be constantly present on social media I can only imagine how she feels in trying to carve out some sort of balance.
“I think the breakthrough for me came with the understanding that I am just one person, and that it isn’t all on my shoulders. Once I started realising that it isn’t all on my shoulders, to speak about absolutely everything that happens in the world, or to constantly post about situations that are extremely distressing to me and my community, I started understanding that it’s okay to not post. It’s okay to not be present all the time.
“The focus has to be on my mental health before it’s on standing up for a situation that is bigger than me. At the beginning of my career, I felt because there weren’t many trans people in the media that pressure. I think a lot of people did pressure on me because our community is so disenfranchised and so marginalised. But I started to learn the importance of community, and there are so many amazing people that although they may not have a platform, or be a public figure, that are still doing the work. When you plug into your community, you’re plugging into a power source. Being a Virgo, I was finding it hard to ask for help, and how to completely slow down and prioritise myself. So I was pouring from an empty cup, and it was completely unsustainable.
“As a fellow Virgo, boy do I understand how asking for help and removing the mask that protects us isn’t something we do lightly, but at times it’s oh so necessary. “Now I recognise when I’m getting triggered, or when my mental health is taken to nosedive, or when I need to just say no.”
As a Munroe has never been one to shy away from the struggles she sees in front of her. Having faced personal challenges in the industry I asked what she feels is still not being addressed in the industries and what changes she would like to see.
“When it comes to race, we talk too much about the symptom, we’re not going to the root of the issue. We’re not talking about race as a systemic problem enough. I think we all within our own echo chamber within our communities, but as a society and in the media, get stuck on very redundant conversations of is Britain racist? Yes, we know Britain is racist, and what are we going to do about it? That’s the direction we need to go in. We need to stop thinking and acting through a white sis male lens and start listening to the people, that have experienced the things.”
“Another important factor is understanding that certain people experience multiple oppressions in one go. Search Inside black trans women experiencing anti-black racism, transphobia, and misogyny. Another example is if you’re a Muslim, black, trans woman, then experiencing Islamophobia as well is another of the multiple oppressions your experience. So I think this conversation is much more nuanced and complex than a lot of people either willing to admit or willing to delve into. It’s not just outside of the LGBT community it’s within as well. So I hope that we can start to look at oppression as just oppression, and stand up for each other as much as we stand up for people like us. It’s about equality.
As an hour of chatting comes to a close, Munroe explains to us the inspiration she feels and the hope see’s in Generation Z when it comes to the leaps and bounds they are making in society to provide a better future. As she talks about the inspiration behind her latest endeavours I can’t help but feel how she too is not only a beacon of hope but also is helping provide a better future. A woman we can all learn from.
Catch her new podcast series “The Way We Are” now on Spotify.
Words: Alice Gee
Photography: Sam Neill
Photo Assist: Kamie Jorn
Stylist: David Evans
Stylist Assist: Marc B
Hair Stylist: Jay Amir-Nazemi Afshar
MUA: Bianca Spencer