Happy Friyay, Cowes!
Today, we shine light on freelance journalist, Meaghan Wray. This queen has enlightened our community with a fresh perspective on body positivity and we love her for it.
Give us your elevator pitch — tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know what you’re all about.
Hello! I’m Meaghan Wray and I’m a freelance journalist, editor and content creator. I usually cover topics related to women’s health, self-love, fat positivity and diet-culture, and am a regular contributor to publications like Chatelaine, Yahoo! Canada, Refinery29 and more. I also started my own body love video series on Instagram called Self Love Sister, and I’m currently working on my first book about fatness, sexuality and desire (stay tuned!).
#LocalLove is all about showing love to bad-ass bosses like yourself. Can you share with us what you do for work and how you make an impact?
I’m super grateful that I’ve been able to work with organizations (like FLARE.com and my former lifestyle team at Global News) that allowed me the freedom to explore topics important to me that aren’t necessarily on the wider radar yet like I did with one of my feature pieces on what traveling is like for larger-bodied people. My personal Instagram has also morphed into a space for fat positivity. I spend a lot of my spare time there sharing profiles and photos on Instagram of people I love who are doing the incredible work of changing the way society views larger bodies. I also share a lot about my own personal journey in self-love and recovery from addiction, in hopes of making others struggling feel less alone. At the beginning of quarantine, I launched a series called #SelfLoveSister, which included five weekly IGTV sessions about how to love ourselves a little better. I hope that just by showing my own vulnerability I’m able to inspire others to look inside themselves a bit more
How did you get into this line of work?
Writing always called to me because I spent a lot of time feeling invisible, ignored and not listened to as a young kid and teenager. It was cathartic putting my own words out there and knowing they were being read, which drove me to seek a career in journalism. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but didn’t know at what capacity until I got to high school and became the editor-in-chief of my school’s newspaper. I went on to university to work at the Queen’s Journal both in news and arts reporting, before heading to Humber for a post-graduate diploma in Journalism. I landed a dream internship at FLARE.com during that program and was offered a full-time job at Rogers Publishing from there. I spent two years at HELLO! Canada, while freelancing for FLARE.com, Chatelaine and Reader’s Digest before moving to Global News in the summer of 2019. Now, I’m a full-time freelancer, which is equal parts exciting and TERRIFYING!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (career or otherwise)?
I have two pieces of advice that have really served me well in this industry. The most important one was told to me by many of my women colleagues, and it’s: Advocate for yourself because no one else will. This has really helped me navigate situations with bad bosses, contracts, etc. Another one that’s a bit more general is: Nervousness feels the same as excitement, so change your perspective. I’ve struggled my whole life with anxiety, but particularly around starting new opportunities and feeling like an impostor. I was once told that nerves and excitement feel the same in the body, so if you just tell yourself you’re excited, not nervous, you’ll start to believe it!
My own advice for those going after their dream job? It’s not that you can’t do it, you just haven’t done it yet.
How about the worst?
I’ve been told many iterations of put your head down, smile and nod, and don’t rock the boat throughout my career when it comes to negative experiences at work, office bullies, and disagreements. I think we all know when it is appropriate to do this, and when it simply isn’t. I’ve always regretted not saying something and standing up for myself when I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. It’s important not to burn bridges, but not at the expense of your own well-being and the greater good.
I became privy at one point in my career to comments about my “revealing” Instagram page, and have had a few people imply that I shouldn’t post photos publicly that could be deemed sexual. I’m glad I’ve never heeded this “advice” because the images I’ve posted of my body have inspired other people to not be afraid of their reflections, their imperfections, too. Always be true to yourself.
If you could paint your ideal life, what would that look like in 5-10 years from now?
That’s a tough one. Any time I have “seen” into the future, it never actually turns out the way you think. I thought I wouldn’t be in Toronto this long, but it’s my home now! As I’ve started freelancing, I’ve really seen how life-changing it is to be your own boss and make your own schedule. I know not everyone has this luxury, and every day I’m grateful that I can live this way and in turn use my time to give back to my community. I’d love to one day live by the beach in a warmer climate, but who knows, really! I hope in five to 10 years, I’ll be a published author with a dog in a slightly bigger home, ideally.
What are your favourite resources that you’ve come across over the years (e.g., email extensions, design apps etc.)?
The best resource I have for intuitive eating and kicking diet culture out of your life is Christy Harrison’s podcast FoodPsych, as well as her new book, Anti-Diet. If you’ve ever struggled with disordered eating, body image and self-esteem, this is the podcast for you.
For a wealth of sexual health education and knowledge (and lots of lols and fashion looks!), I look no further than @samantha_bitty.
Explore more #LocalLove here, Cowes.