Greetings to the lovely Ally Sheehan from @agirlnamedally. Ally is a lovely, down to earth gal I met through Instagram who has quite a large social media following on both her Instagram, Tumblr, and even Youtube! Ally is from Melbourne, Australia, and she is an avid traveler as well as social activist for feminism, veganism, racism, LGBTQ rights, and many other things. I love Ally’s page because not only is it filled with vibrant, colourful images, but she is also such a sweet and compassionate soul. I love that she does something useful with her large following, and is truly making a huge difference in the world.
So a big thank you to Ally for wanting to answer some questions for me! Let’s get started.
1. When did you create your Instagram and Tumblr pages, and how did you come up with the name @agirlnamedally? (To be honest, when I first saw your page, I thought your name was Dally, and I’m sure you get that a lot hahaha)
Haha yep, you’re definitely not alone on that one! To this day I definitely still get called that, and even my friends have turned it into a nickname. Honestly it wasn’t really by any conscious effort, I was sixteen, had made a tumblr and didn’t want to use my full name but wasn’t creative enough to come up with anything cool, and thus, agirldnamedally was born…
2. What is your favourite part about being vegan?
SAVING THE WORLD. I mean, more-so lessening the damage that we were once having on it before, but it does feel good to know you’re living lighter upon our planet. I’m pretty sure vegans use 1/16th of the land required for food than meat eaters, and since one acre of rainforest is cut down every SIX seconds for animal farming… its pretty important.
I also just love being able to connect with other like-minded individuals. Going vegan has brought out all of the best in me, and in others too. I find myself being more compassionate not only to animals, but to myself and people around me as well. Plus, vegan food. Oh my lanta.
3. Are you currently in school or studying anything?
I am! I’m studying Psychology at University 🙂
4. What is your biggest accomplishment in life?
Ooh that’s a good question. This might be a little cheesy, but honestly I think I have to say the community that I’m a part of online. I’m willing to say that I have some of the kindest followers in the world, and I feel very lucky to have that level of support.
5. What are your thoughts about our growing technological world, and how the main thing people seem to care about these days is digitally documenting everything they do to show other people?
As much as I really love sharing the highlights of my life, creating somewhat of an online scrapbook, I do also have concerns about the blurred lines between reality and the content we convey on social media. I was talking to a friend earlier this week who is a photographer, and she was saying that even the models or bloggers she works with photoshop themselves, which shocked me. We all kind of understand on some level that what we see in magazines and in billboards is altered and edited, but when scrolling through Instagram or Tumblr you have the expectation that what you’re seeing is essentially instantaneous and transparent, when truthfully there is quite a lot of alteration going on behind the scenes. Even if someone isn’t digitally enhancing their photo, I think it’s important to understand that what we see of someone’s life online is only about 2% of it, and it’s a selected, deliberately chosen depiction too. We have to be aware that we are viewing that persons highlight reel, and not to compare it to our own behind-the-scenes.
My other concern is how we tend to equate worth with digital numbers. Likes, followers, notes, messages and so on, have almost become a new currency of popularity or success, which takes away the authenticity and fun of it all. I never started out posting my life with the intention of ‘gaining followers’ or becoming known in a community, and neither did any of my friends who are doing the same thing, so seeing people write self promotions on your picture, or ask how to gain followers, can be a little sad. I understand that people are so passionate about veganism and want to be able to help create a huge difference, but I also just want people to know that they are no more or less valuable in the movement whether they have 100 followers or 100,000.
6. If you could go back in time to any time period, generation, or location, where and when would you go?
I was actually asked this question in my history class last week as a getting-to-know-you activity, and I said that I wanted to see the dinosaurs (everyone else picked historical monuments and events, but I’m pretty content with my decision to chill with a triceratops). However, if I can choose a location now instead, I think I’d love to jet myself over to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand or Africa, and spend time with those beautiful creatures. They are my favourite animal, and knowing what we do to them in the world, or how rapidly they’re going instinct just pains my heart, so I would like to go and do whatever I can.
7. Name your top five favourite vegan foods. It’s tough, I know.
Wow, hard. I’ll pick five meals, so that incorporates a few different ingredients..
- Smoothie bowls with caramelised buckinis and mulberries on top
- A big salad with pumpkin, sweet potato, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and corn
- Veggie stir fries with cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, bean shoots and water chestnut
- Vegan nachos. Beans and guac everywhere.
- Any form of breakfast food involving oats – porridge, bircher muesli, it’s allll good.
8. How do you cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?
A solo dance party. I blast the most embarrassing pop music I can find, and dance around, often in my underwear. Singing optional.
Talking to a friend also helps, as does sweating it out, but a solo dance party can cure just about anything.
9. Favourite iPhone app?
I’m really loving Snapchat lately. I see it as an opportunity to show people that ‘behind the scenes’ that wouldn’t make it onto the Instagram feed. It’s instant, it’s real, and I can just be myself and ramble my thoughts or show an ugly photo of whatever I’m snacking on that day. It just helps break down that barrier and show that things aren’t always perfect and pretty all of the time.
10. Where are five places next on your list to travel to? PS, come visit me in Canada xx
Haha YES PLEASE!!! Going back to Lake Louise is at the top of my wish list. I also want to go to New Zealand, Fiji, The Phillipines, and back to Hawaii and Yosemite National Park. I’ve fallen in love with so many places lately and my heart is aching to travel again.
11. If a genie came up to you right now and could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?
- The ability/funds/time to go on another USA road trip with my friends
- For my family to always be healthy and happy
- For the world to stop discriminating against others based on gender, race, sexuality and species.
12. Who are your top four favourite Instagram accounts to follow?
Ooh another great question, here’s a random selection:
- @wildernessbabes – sets my wanderlust heart on fire
- @jenconverso – my beautiful friend and soul sister
- @chloe_bh – gorgeous and vibrant travel photos
- @superfoodsiobhan – my British pal who posts great vegan recipes
13. Do you want children someday?
Yeah I think so! The idea of playing a part in shaping our next generation definitely interests me. I’m not sure whether I would have my own or adopt, but I like to think there might be kids in my future. Or at least a lot of dogs.
14. If you could create your own business, what would it be?
Some kind of holistic hub that provided a multitude of services – life coaching, wellness sessions, physical classes, social activity, therapy, nutritional education, global awareness and leadership opportunities, self esteem and body image promotion etc. I want to tackle a whole bunch of issues (especially facing young women/girls) and provide the tools for them to do so themselves.
15. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Just how deep my love for all things Harry Potter is. My brain is constantly relating things back to it, and I’m grateful because Jo’s world has absolutely shaped me as a person. Not to mention my insane amount of memorabilia in storage…
16. I love that you are so passionate about everything you do. (veganism, feminism, racism, social rights, etc) That wasn’t a question, just thought I’d let you know 🙂
Thank you so much!! I really wasn’t educated on any of that stuff AT ALL until a few years ago, so now I want to try and contribute to the discussion and help empower others to do their own research too. It’s a shame that these things aren’t addressed in the mainstream media or even education systems – my parents don’t have any clue about it and I didn’t either when I was at school. It’s awesome how we’re all kind of using social media as a platform for social change now too, it’s been a really positive movement to be a part of.
17. You and I both preach that people are not defined by their Instagram pages. No one is perfect, and although sometimes a Tumblr page or Instagram photo can make it seem that way, they are just quick snippets of people’s lives. What is the biggest misconception people think about you, and in a few words, just explain what makes you so normal.
I’m so glad you asked this!! I think I am known online for my very optimistic and positive demeanour, which is 100% authentic and definitely how I am most of the time, but it’s important to me that others know it’s not possible (or healthy) to expect to be constantly happy. As humans, we’re designed to experience a full spectrum of emotions – anger, fear, sadness, jealousy, and so on. To deny or ignore these feelings and force a false mood usually only ends up making things worse. To me, it’s fare more admirable to be real and upfront with one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, show that it’s okay to be vulnerable and that we all struggle. I have suffered from depression in the past, but it’s not something people would assume by looking at my pages or even meeting me in person, because there is a lot more to me (and also because a symptom of depression makes you not want to connect with others or share that part of your life). There’s a quote I’ve always loved that is something like “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”, or “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back”. I just think it’s great (and super important) to acknowledge that everyone has ups and downs in life, and you never truly know what somebody else is going through, so always be kind. Be kind wherever possible – and it is always possible.
18. What is the best advice you can give to young girls and boys these days?
LOVE YOURSELF. It’s not selfish, it doesn’t require looking a certain way, and everyone deserves to love themselves and feel good within their skin. I just really wish we would all be more compassionate to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us. Life feels so much better that way!
Also, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Thank you so much for your time Ally, and thank you to all who have read this. I hope you learned a little bit about this fabulous human, and have yourself a splendid day.
Lots of love,