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“Just ask yourself whether they’d make good telly,” Faye said. I was certain none would. Through wan smiles, they talked about “glowing” while arranging ingredients in bowls and calling it cooking. My lifestyle kept me reasonably slim, although in less abstemious ways. I’d been living as a sufficiently functioning swamp demon for some time, powered by wine, fags, Diet Coke and junk.
“What on earth do they mean by ‘eat clean’?” I grumbled. “As if vegetables pulled from the mud are cleaner than a Snickers that comes out of a wrapper.”
“All right, Deliciously Bella,” Faye said, “why don’t you start your own blog about the merits of drinking for three days straight before nourishing your body with 11 Domino’s pizzas and a vat of Ben & Jerry’s?” I laughed it off, but started looking for online wellness parodies. I couldn’t find any.
Maybe it could be funny, I thought; maybe this could be part of a future Edinburgh show. I searched the name Deliciously Bella and found the account already existed (a woman in Australia was busy documenting badly lit puddings), so I settled on Deliciously Stella instead. I found a picture on my phone of me suffering from the worst hangover of my life; I was covered head to toe in pizza boxes and smoking a fag. I captioned it as if I were a premier wellness guru, using all of the wellness warriors’ hashtags: “a perfect end to a perfect day. #eatclean #deliciouslystella #5aday #readyformonday”. That should spice up their explore page, I thought. Then I got back to work.
I can’t pretend that posting less-than-flattering pictures on Instagram wasn’t nerve-racking. I wasn’t so self-assured that looking disgusting didn’t matter to me, Bella, but “Stella” didn’t worry about her weight or what other people thought. All she cared about was eating snacks, drinking beers and having a laugh. She had no shame, and I had so much. Being her felt incredible.
As Deliciously Ella’s career continued to rocket (she currently has 2 million followers and a successful food line), mine slowly began to gather pace. I realised people reacted best to images that directly parodied other people’s content. A packet of strawberry laces – unremarkable. A packet of strawberry laces coming out of a spiraliser while I smiled manically in a Breton top? Gold.