Live Your Best Life: Emily Coxhead
I’m thrilled to bring you another interview in my Live Your Best Life series, this time with the super inspiring Emily Coxhead. I came across Emily on social media when she was running a crowdfunding campaign to create The Happy Newspaper. I got to know Emily and I’ve had the pleasure of writing for every issue of the paper. Emily is one of those people who not only has an idea for how to make the world a better place but actually makes it happen, with great impact. It’s a delight for me to share with you our conversation…
Hi Emily! So, tell us a bit about yourself and your life, and the path you took to get to where you are today.
Hello! I’m Emily, a 23-year-old British designer, illustrator and happy thing maker. I graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2014 and decided I didn’t want to work for a big company or brand that was going to tell me what to do, personally I think that sometimes defeats the whole point of being a ‘creative’. My tiny world was flipped upside down just two days after my graduation which caused a whirlwind of sadness and stress, in what was already a stressful time. Although I had a lot of dark days it also made me think more about the sadness in everybody else’s lives and I basically didn’t want to think of anybody else feeling that way. So, (without really realising) I started on my little happy mission. I thought if I could make a few people’s worlds a little happier then that’s what I would do until I figured out what I was going to do for a ‘proper’ job. It turns out I made the most perfect job of all time which has made me and so many others a little bit happier along the way. In December 2015 I published my very own newspaper, The Happy Newspaper, celebrating only the good stuff going on around the world. After a successful Kickstarter campaign which tripled its target and some extra funding from Lindt, I was able to create and print the first issue as well as an extra 2,000 copies which were given out for free in hospitals, care homes and left on buses and trains for strangers to find.
What inspirational quotes or mantras hold meaning for you?
“We can’t always choose the things that happen to us in life, but we can choose our attitude to them.”
An old manager sent me this in an email not long after my graduation. He had no idea what I was going through but he had noticed me trying to spread a bit of happiness to others, and he acknowledged the fact that nobody’s lives are perfect but it’s how we deal with those curve balls life throws at us that really matters. This tiny quote has stuck with me ever since. There’s a great strength that can be found from turning a negative into a positive.
I completely agree with you! So, how do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
Not always very well! I’m the kind of person who will let absolutely everything build up and then will have a total melt-down over a burnt piece of toast.
And what do you do to get back to how you want to feel?
I find writing things down helps me massively, I write everything down – the good, the bad and the ugly. Spending time on my own is important for me to top up on my happy as well, I have a certain place I walk to whenever everything gets a little too much – I’ve been going there since I could walk. Fresh air is always good, but so are hot chocolates with squirty cream and sprinkles!
How do you see your future, what plans, hopes and dreams do you have?
I am continuing to expand all things happy from the world’s tiniest, most rainbow-filled office with help from DRi Licensing who are going to represent The Happy News. This means I can (eventually) have total creative control over all of my new ideas and products, I won’t have to worry so much about trying to pack, post and promote it all single-handedly – yay! I have recently published my range of greeting cards with Pigment, these are currently making their way into hundreds of shops in the UK, and some in America too – which is super exciting! The Happy News is in the process of being trademarked and I have just finished the first draft of my interactive book ‘Make Someone Happy’ with Penguin Random House in New York (eek!!). It’s all so super exciting and ridiculous and a little bit overwhelming but I wouldn’t change absolutely any of it.
And finally, Emily, what does living your best life mean to you?
To me it means staying true to yourself, not letting others or the weight of the world put too much pressure on you. So many people, in particular my generation (or any generation growing up with social media) are always striving for something better, which in lots of senses is amazing, but not when it involves comparing yourself or your life to somebody’s highlight reel on a screen. Be okay with carving your own way in the world, keep doing your best, be okay with your sometimes messy self and put something positive into this funny old world if you can.