Sure! I’m Steven Sharpe Jr. I’m a content creator and mental health advocate. I’m also the founder of an influencer marketing agency called Nobius Creative. In terms of my work, I’m a creator through and through. Whether I’m creating videos for brands or working on my personal projects, I believe in telling a story and making it beautiful. Through my agency, I support creators by not only representing them in brand deals but also working with brands to develop influencer strategies that are mutually beneficial.
Hi Steven! Can you introduce yourself and your work?
Self-care plays a big part in that work and how you show up online, no? How would you describe its role in your life?Yes, self care plays a huge role in my work. As a mental health advocate, I feel a responsibility to be authentic in the way I share my life online. Within that, there’s still the reality of social media and the toll it takes on me. I’ve had to be intentional with how I spend my energy and how I replenish myself offline.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed you referencing the hashtag #SoftLife frequently. Can you shed light on what it means?So I’m not sure if there is an official definition for “soft life” but I can tell you what it means for me. I think in pictures so for me it generates the image of lounging on a garden terrace on a warm Tuesday afternoon, sipping white wine and thumbing a novel. If you can imagine that and the feeling that comes with it: that’s soft life. Generally, soft life is an expression of an internal mindset and an offline lifestyle shift. It’s the antithesis of hustle culture; centered around living gently and prioritizing wellness over productivity. I’d go as far as to say, soft life is sort of a reclamation of our personhood.
How long has it been around and why do you think it’s taking off at this specific moment in time?
I’m not certain how long it’s been around but I started seeing several Black creators using the term in early 2021 and it resonated with me. I think it’s taking off because of the current state we’re in culturally. There is a major shift happening as we discover the negative effects hustle culture has had on all of us but especially the BIPOC community.
You’ve mentioned to me that #SoftLife has helped put words to a feeling you’ve long-had. Can you share a little more about what that is?It definitely helped encapsulate the feeling I wanted to invoke in my content but it was the perspectives of my friends that helped shape it. At the time, I had been going through a bit of an identity crisis with my platform. Then on a call, a friend told me that, for them, my platform was an “expression of mental health in context”. Before that, no one had ever described it that way! Then a couple days later, another friend and I were talking about what it means to be a Black creator and she’s told me that, “in a world where there’s so much Black trauma, we need to see Black success and joy” and that my platform was part of that. Some time after that, I saw “soft life” in a new light and after hearing the two perspectives from my friends, I decided I wanted to embrace these themes fully.
Do you think #SoftLife is relevant to everyone? Can you expand on why, yes or no?
Without overthinking it too much, I’d say no. There will always be someone who hears “soft life” and conflates it with laziness and apathy no matter how you explain it to them. Like I mentioned, “soft life” is an expression of a mindset shift. When I say I’m living a “soft life”, it doesn’t mean I shirk my responsibilities; rather, I know that by resting and recharging my body, I’m able to operate from a place of fullness. So yeah, I don’t think “soft life” is relevant to everyone but I do believe everyone has the capacity to shift their mindset.
What do you hope to see more of in the self-care space in the near future?
I’d like to see more diversity in the way we talk about self-care. Since each of us has different visions of what well-being looks like, self-care can’t be a one size fits all process. Our self-care practices will change as our lives shift and as we discover more things about ourselves. Sometimes, self-care will even look different day-to-day.
What has been one of the most impactful self-care tips / routines / changes you’ve made?One of the most impactful ways I self-care is granting myself permission to feel what I’m feeling in the moment I’m feeling it. I went through most of my life burying my emotions until they would build up so much I would explode in either tears or rage or some combination of the two. And when I say bury, I literally mean that I would turn off my emotions like a lightswitch in my brain. Through months of therapy, I’ve learned to not bypass my feelings and lean into them. Does it feel uncomfortable or inconvenient sometimes — sure, but I’m literally healing from decades of trauma so I’m gonna cry when I need to, mmkay?
What would the ideal #SoftLife Day look like for you?Ooo! Well in this scenario, I’m in Paris so go with me. I awaken cradled in a sea of soft blankets and then make my way through my morning ritual of skincare, showering, and NYT Crossword and Spelling Bee over breakfast. If I’m feeling content, I’ll start on my work day. If I need some time, I’ll fuss over my plants for a bit. I’ll break up my day with a delicious lunch on the balcony. Afterwards, I’ll probably be up for creating some content so I’ll get that set up and shot. As the sun wanes and my focus wavers, I’ll close my work day and decide on dinner with my partner. I’ll end the day with an edible or a smoke and some cuddles and then off to bed!
Steven Sharpe Jr is a Brooklyn-based fashion & lifestyle content creator, mental health advocate, and founder of Nobius Creative Studios. Steven views his online platform as both a creative space to speak candidly about mental health and also an exemplification of joy and luxury through it all. Learn more about his work.
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