“I’m really happy with where I am as a person now”.
Laura Banks is a theatre and performance student at Salford University. We chatted to her about queer punk, Black Mirror and being body positive online.
What are your plans for today?
I’m meeting up with my friend Lewis, before work until 10 tonight. I’ll then head to Leeds to see my mum and dad. And my dog, most importantly.
Are you studying or working at the moment?
I’m studying Theatre and Performance at Salford and I also work at Topshop.
What are you listening to?
A lot of queer punk and a bit of Robin, at the moment.
And what are you reading?
Poetry mostly. I don’t really do novels, they’re too much of a commitment.
What poets do you like?
I love Sylvia Plath, she’s the best. Kate Tempest, she has some amazing performance poetry. John Copper Clarke is an idol. I’d love to see him live.
Lots of people don’t like it; Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey. I understand why people say, “No, that’s just really bad.” But it changed my life, literally. I struggled with self-acceptance and when I read that, something clicked with me. It was really weird. I had this new lease of confidence. I used to be terrified of even leaving my room in Uni, because I didn’t want people to see me. But when I read this I realised I don’t need to be like that for anyone. It’s no one else’s business.
Are you watching anything?
I watched Spotlight, I really wanted to see it in the cinema but no one would go with me. A really good film but it made me really angry. It’s about Catholic priests. I’m Catholic but not by choice. I don’t practice it, so I definitely watched it to make myself mad.
And I finished the new series of Black Mirror.
What did you take away from Black Mirror?
Technology is bad, basically. It makes you kind of scared to go on your phone. It’s really weird.
For what in life do you feel most grateful?
I’m really happy with where I am as a person now. It probably doesn’t sound like a big issue but to me it really is. And I’m really grateful for my friends. I used to have a lot of toxic friendships but now I’ve got a solid group of people that I’m gonna be mates with forever.
What do you do to stay mentally healthy?
I’m big on practicing body positivity and self-care. I don’t really like the whole social media thing but I understand that everyone uses social media that we should utilise it in a positive way. So my Instagram and Facebook is a lot of spreading awareness and body positivity. Helping to make people feel okay with themselves. My mates have said to me, your confidence in yourself is helping me with mine, and that makes it all worth it. There’s so much stigma about talking about things but I think whatever your comfortable putting out there, put it out there because it will definitely help someone.
Who inspires you and why?
My dad, he’s probably been the only person who’s been there for me, throughout my entire life, my mum as well. She’s very Catholic my mum so she didn’t really like the piercings and tattoos. But my dad was like, if you wanna do this you go do it. If you wanna drop out of college, you do you. So long as you’re happy.