Words: Tara Matthews
So you’ve listened to all of Season One? Well don’t worry we’ve got ten more episodes in Season Two for you to enjoy. Not sure which one to start with, well take a read through our summaries to see which one grabs your fancy as we cover everything from politics to fanfiction in this season.
EPISODE ONE – LOVE STORY (LINDSEY’S VERSION) OF BEING A TAYLOR SWIFT FANGIRL WITH LINDSEY GILLESPIE
Lindsey Gillespie joins Laurel in episode one to talk all things Taylor Swift. Lindsey is a TikTok creator, PR student and our Assistant Content Creator! They also chat about tackling the toxic side of being a content creator and how a Taylor and Harry collab would blow up the fandom.
Lindsey is a hardcore Taylor Swift fan, who first discovered Taylor in the car with her family; this is where her obsession started, and has since developed it into a full-time fangirl creating TikTok’s about Taylor.
“I think being a fangirl is one of the coolest things a person can be, because they are so passionate about it. And passion is an amazing trait to have, it shows that you are a loyal person, a loving person & it shows that you care about a group of people”
During their discussion, the girls chat about the development of Taylor and her many different eras, but also the critique she has faced along the way. Regarding the hurdles she has conquered throughout her career, Taylor has always been able to stand up for herself, and take the reins. Lindsey states: “She’s badass, independent, strong and a great role model”.
The use of TikTok and sharing her passion online has allowed Lindsey to really find her community. Having been a big fan of pop bands and artists, yet keeping it to herself during school and college in order to strive to be liked by everyone, Lindsey found the last few years, and Quarantine in particular, an eye opener and she’s been able to shed that persona and allow herself to be free with her people.
“People will look down on you [for posting online] but these aren’t people you’re going to be with your whole life, you won’t talk to, or connect with them in a few years so just be you and do what you enjoy”.
EPISODE TWO – NOBODY COMPARES (TO FANS): THE POWER OF FANS WITHIN ARTIST MARKETING WITH KELSEY CHRISTINE
In episode two, Laurel is joined by Kelsey Christine – brand strategist and designer, and TFGL’s branding and web designer, aka the woman behind our swanky new site – where they chat about the power of fangirls, how musician’s management teams should utilise fangirls, and the success of Harry Styles’ Eroda campaign for Adore You.
The Spice Girls were the band that first truly revealed the fangirl in Kelsey (and also Laurel), as she was just besotted with the girl group; from wanting to dress like them and wear platform shoes in their honour, to obsessing over the collectors photocards, and moving Geri’s card to the bottom of the pile when she left, as she initially held the top spot in Kelsey’s heart.
“Unapologetically loving something or supporting something so much that it becomes a significant part of your life is something anyone can relate to. But when it’s us Fangirls, for some reason people think of it as something different when it’s really not”
The conversation swiftly moves on to cover the progression of being a fangirl and how it develops alongside your own personal growth into adulthood. The girls mention that having online spaces to be open and free about embracing your inner fangirl (like here at TFGL) has definitely let them both become more vocal about their true passions.
“The power of some of these fandoms is mindblowing, why would they not want to leverage that”
Marketing campaigns, e.g. ERODA, are then covered by the girls and they discuss why fans are so important and play a vital part in the success of bands/artists. Listen to the girls chat about this topic because, honestly, it’s such an interesting discussion and we could chat about it all day long.
EPISODE THREE: WHY FANFICTION NEEDS
NO ABSOLUTION WITH AUBREY AKA _LONDONBELOW
Meet Aubrey, or more commonly known as _LondonBelow on socials and Wattpad. Aubrey is a Legal Assistant by day, and by night she’s the incredible author of Absolution, the Harry Styles fanfiction; which now has gained over 2.21 million reads since starting the book in March 2020. She joins Laurel this week to discuss the highs and lows of writing fanfics and why fanfic is so popular amongst teenage girls.
From the age of 12, Aubrey has been interacting with fanfiction so is understandably well versed in the subject, kicking it off with all things WWE related as her first chosen reads. From WWE she moved onto covering the Jonas Brothers, and then One Direction, where she firmly stands her ground to this day.
“I think Teenage Girls especially are the most important fans anyone can have because they are so artistic, passionate, they will stop at nothing to get their artist to where they want them to be”
The girls discuss the fact that fanfictions are so popular amongst teenage girls primarily, is because it’s free content that is so easily accessible. Having the ability to visualise yourself within the story is also a huge factor with fanfic as the readers can put themselves in the scene as they are so familiar with the characters already involved.
Moving on to cover how Aubrey got into writing fanfic, and also the reason behind her choosing of Harry as the main character of Absolution. After a whirlwind of TikTok’s created about Absolution went out, the number of reads shot through the roof and it has been ever-growing since.
“A girl named Grace (@beetlepimpsidepiece) posted about Absolution on her TikTok and it blew up on Harry Potter TikTok. They thought it was about Harry Potter but it was about Harry Styles”
The episode ends with Laurel and Aubrey talking about the benefits of writing fanfiction, the impact fanfic has had on Aubrey’s life, and a sneaky teaser for the latest chapter is revealed! Have a listen to their discussion if you’re a fanfic stan, or alternatively, read it if you’re new to the fanfic community and would love an amazing Harry Styles fanfic to be your stepping stone into the world of fanfiction.
*Trigger Warning* – This episode discusses eating disorders and topics of a sexual nature.
EPISODE FOUR – READY TO RUN AROUND THE GLOBE FOR HARRY STYLES WITH RUTH CAPPS
In episode four, Laurel is joined by Ruth Capps, who in 2018 travelled over 35,000 miles, and visited 13 different cities whilst seeing Harry Styles on tour 20 times! Listen along as the girls chat about when Ruth met One Direction, and find out whether it was
Ruth spoke about the debate of whether she could afford the 20 concert tickets or not, and then the process of how she managed to rein in the spending and save as much money as possible to make it happen (a true inspiration in my eyes).
“I just wanted to do it & it wasn’t a question in my brain of ‘you can’t do this’. I was like I will do this & will sacrifice anything to make it happen”
Having suffered backlash for travelling around the world to see Harry, Ruth is now learning to process and move on from the hate she has received. Twitter can be a toxic place, and Laurel mentions the fact that people often forget that there is an actual person on the receiving end, and to be able to move forwards from the hate you have to be able to just ignore it because defending yourself adds fuel to the fire and 99% of the time, it’s not worth it.
Laurel confesses her consistent love for boy bands, throughout her life and the fact that she has finally embraced the fangirl label, and Ruth mentions that at school she was always the ‘One Direction Girl’ and has always accepted that and never been afraid to own it.
“That’s the happiest and most me is when I’m being a fan & I think I’ve never really been ashamed or embarrassed about that.”
As one of our most popular episodes, there is no doubt that you’ll enjoy listening to this episode, it’s just full of feelgood chat about Harry Styles, and One Direction, and the sense of fulfillment and adoration that can come from pursuing your dreams, and working hard for what you want.
EPISODE FIVE – LOST IN ALL TIME LOW WITH CHARLEY MCDONALD
Charley McDonald joins Laurel for episode five to chat about meeting your idols, and the lengths Charley has gone to, and why going to multiple shows of the same artist is OK! As well as what Charley hopes the future of All Time Low entails, and who her dream collab with the band would be.
Charley juggles being a full-time NHS worker and full-time fangirl. She’s got her best friend to thank for introducing her initially to All Time Low, where she instantly fell in love. After seeing them on tour but only going to one date each time, Charley and her best friend decided that they wanted to go to *almost* every date on the band’s small UK tour. And with their upcoming tour again, Charley and her group of friend’s, who have all connected via their love for ATL, are heading to every date on their UK tour this year.
Luckily, her parents have been pretty understanding about her passion and love for ATL and weren’t too shocked by the fact she wanted to head out to the entire tour as she’d been involved with so many things prior; gigs, meet and greets etc. Her mum just thought she was a bit crazy, and questioned why. Her auntie is a big Stereophonics fan, and if she were younger she’d have probably done the same for them, so at least she was on the same level and more understanding of Charley’s passion.
“I do get told maybe I shouldn’t spend all my money on concert tickets and save”
Charley speaks about her times meeting the band, including the first time where she won a meet and greet slot, as opposed to the previous signings that they’d been to prior. After this the girls discuss the craziest fangirl experiences, and going to obscure places in order to meet their idolised artists.
“It’s crazy you go from liking them, to listening to their music at home and then meeting them in real life”
The conversation then moves onto the topic of social media, and the potential backlash and arguments that could arise from being such an open fangirl online. Where Charley chats about her experiences online and going into protective mode when people tweet hate aimed at her or her friends.
If you want to find out more about Charley’s experiences travelling round the UK to see and meet her favourite band, as well as what she thinks the future of ATL entails, then head over to your streaming platform of choice and listen along to this episode.
EPISODE SIX – HOW YOU LIKE THAT K-POP WITH CHEY BRYAN
Chey Bryan joins Laurel on the podcast for Episode Six, to delve into the world of K-Pop. Chey is a Multimedia Journalism student and has been a fan of K-Pop since 2014. The girls are here to discuss the pressures that K-Pop artists face to be picture-perfect for their fans, which comeback Chey can’t wait for, as well as what it’s like being a Western fan within the fandom, and their thoughts on BTS’ Grammy snub.
Chey discovered K-Pop with friends online as they all originally bonded over their love for anime. She watched the video and then got caught up in a YouTube rabbit hole and just discovered a whole array of K-Pop artists and bands.
“The first song I listened to was Dope by BTS; which I feel like is the gateway drug for every K-Pop fan back then”
After a chat about the pressure and upkeep that artists have to deal with on a regular basis, Laurel and Chey discuss the similarities of online hate, driven towards females who are involved in various artists videos and social media, relating K-Pop to Harry Styles with the fact that any women that are seen with and are speculated to be involved with the artists, in anyway are targeted online in video comments, hate tweets and even comments of their own personal accounts on Instagram etc. It’s often a younger audience who think in that way, and target the hate because they can’t bear the thought of them being with someone who isn’t them, despite the extremely low chances of that ever happening. Laurel mentions that if you are a fan of someone and support their success with their career, then why wouldn’t you support them with what they choose to do in their personal life as that emasculates to letting them thrive to be the person they need and want to be.
“BTS fans are known as Army; and they are the craziest fandom. It rivals 1D fans to the max. If world war 3 broke out, I’d want to be on Army ‘s Team or 1D fan’s team”
If you want to find out more about K-Pop, then listen to Chey talk about being a Western fan of K-Pop, the ignorance some people portray towards K-Pop artists with their blatant racism, and how people online believe BTS should have won the grammy for Dynamite.
*Trigger Warning* – This episode discusses suicide.
EPISODE SEVEN – JUST A TOUCH OF LITTLE MIX WITH HOLLY ELLIS ALLTON
Meet Holly! She’s a journalism student who indulges herself in all things music, fashion, and celebrity culture. She chats with Laurel about Little Mix, specifically Jesy’s exit from the band, why fangirls of girl bands are perceived differently to fangirls of boy bands, and what Holly hopes will come from Little Mix as they move forward as a trio.
Holly’s fangirl journey started off with Girls Aloud, particularly Cheryl – being a fellow Geordie – and their album was her first ever CD purchase. As a band, they pretty much paved the way for the likes of Little Mix and co, especially with their similar journeys to success.
“Jade was 2 years above me at school, I knew her but she didn’t know me. She used to sing in assemblies and we always knew she’d be a star”
Holly followed the Little Mix journey initially because, obviously having grown up in the same area and knowing Jade from school, it’s exciting to see someone you know on such a mainstream, prime-time TV show like X Factor. But after them forming on the show, Holly realised her love for them as a girl band as she discovered really how amazing they were. That and their X Factor win, tipped the boat for her and took her from being the avid supporter to ultimate fangirl.
The topic then moves onto the development of them as a band and how they have progressed through the years along with their music. Holly states that people who comment saying that Little Mix are still making music targeted towards a younger audience, obviously haven’t listened to their newer songs as they’re a lot raunchier and have more freedom and space for maturity.
Holly chats openly about her feelings towards Jesy’s departure from the band, and how Mixers had assumed that it would have been coming for a while prior. But a recurring theme in the girls discussion is that as an artist, whatever is going on personally in your private life, is 100% the most important thing to focus on, primarily when it’s regarding a person’s mental health, and all Mixers just want to ensure that Jesy is ok, and her fans are supportive of her journey whatever it entails, even though they feel portrayed from her initial decision to pursue a solo career.
“Little Mix have taught me how to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community, how to speak out on female empowerment. They’ve impacted me more than just their music”
Have a listen to the episode to hear further about how Holly expects Little Mix to work as a trio and their future releases, and the difficulties she faces being a fangirl of female artists, specifically Little Mix, as people often judge her by saying she’s too old to be listening to Little Mix, or not taking her seriously when finding out she is a huge Little Mix fan. They also discuss how the band has impacted Holly in a sense of educating and helping their fans to become better allies to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as being able to speak out on female empowerment and just being an all-around better human.
EPISODE EIGHT – THERE’S A PIECE OF YOU IN HOW I DRESS WITH EMILY FROM PRESSED PAPER SHOP
Emily joins Laurel for episode eight, to chat about the idea behind Emily’s Harry Styles themed merch came from, how the One Direction reunion t-shirt became a four-times sell-out hit overnight, the pressure of creating new ideas whenever Harry drops new content, and what Emily hopes for in the future for her shop which has gained an extreme amount of success from TikTok.
Emily’s fangirl experience started off with One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer and originally she was a bigger 5SOS fan than 1D but both bands opened the gates to her inner fangirl. Emily had guidance from her older sister, and whoever her sister listened to, Emily did too; they went to concerts together and bonded over their mutual love for music.
Emily’s dad has been screenprinting for years, so when quarantine first happened, the idea behind her shop came about so effortlessly, taking her hobby and passion for One Direction and Harry Styles to a new level so that other people were able to enjoy it as well. She states that it was never initially intended to become a business, it just started as a passion project that she wanted to share with like minded fangirls online.
“The last year has truly been the golden era for small businesses; I’ve seen so many great fan merch shops start and succeed including ours”
After the initial video on TikTok to show the world her first t-shirt, the honey shirt, Paper Pressed Shop blew up instantly, with fangirls worldwide desperate to get hold of Emily’s gorgeous designs. In terms of her family, due to her dad’s creative passion and flair, Emily has been lucky with the fact that her family has supported her throughout every creative project she’s worked on, and now developing Paper Pressed Shop.
With an overwhelming amount of orders, and having all of her family knuckle down and help with the printing, packaging and dispatching process, Emily explains how they had to eventually outsource the products in order to be able to survive the surge of purchases. Listen along to the episode and hear Emily and Laurel discuss further about how Emily keeps up with the demand for new products, and also what the future looks like for Paper Pressed Shop.
EPISODE NINE – “VOTE WITH KINDNESS” HOW POLITICS & POP CULTURE GO HAND IN HAND WITH NATALIE HELD
Meet Natalie! Natalie Held is a digital storyteller who is obsessed with all things pink, politics and pop culture. Laurel and Natalie discuss how artists are now using their platforms to speak out about political issues now more than ever, how fandoms are tapping into their communities to raise awareness on social issues across the globe, as well as Natalie explaining how including being a fangirl on her CV helped progress her career in ways she never thought would happen.
The girls discuss the world of fandoms and the crossover between activism and politics, and the progression of it within the last few years. In addition to this, the girls cover the topic of freedom and incredible experiences that arise throughout fandoms and the use of social media online. The community that is built online surrounding various artists, allows fans to engage and develop intimate friendships with people they’ve never met irl, to becoming practically best friends all because they have been able to bond over a group of people, specifically One Direction in Natalie’s case.
“I never thought making Harry Styles TikToks would benefit me career wise & lead me to be working with Calm on social strategies”
Natalie states that her view on the Harry Styles x Calm collab started as her thinking it was cool that he was doing a sleep story for Calm, to then turning around and her working with them to engage Harry fans on TikTok and creating video ideas on their social strategy campaigns. Which she said was a crazy and surreal experience to be a part of.
Moving on from that, Natalie mentions a project she worked on with some friends where they wanted to meet the political moment, and bridge together the gap between music and politics, and they raised roughly $6,000 for a community and were able to utilise their skills within fandoms in order to do so.
“The beauty of Harry’s fans is that they are socially & politically in tune with each other; & will educate each other on certain issues. That’s a testament to Harry for his character”
The conversation spirals back around to the stereotype of fangirls and the deemed bad reputation that is portrayed among us from outside perspectives. The girls discuss the matter that the bad rep often comes from those who see fangirls as just being a fan of male artists because of their attractiveness and how they look, regardless of their actual talent, and morals. Women are always put down for being passionate about things, regardless of the matter, whereas Laurel compares fangirls to people supporting sports teams; no one would bat an eyelid if you were to announce you were traveling to another country to see a football match, but as soon as it’s reversed onto someone travelling to go to a concert everyone likes to input their opinion on the matter.
This episode is a heavy one in terms of facts and worthwhile conversations, so I would 100% recommend listening, even if I am slightly biased to TFGL. Give it a listen to hear Laurel and Natalie discuss the importance of those with a platform, using it to do good in regards to politics and worldwide issues, and the impact that has amongst fandoms.
EPISODE TEN – SAME OLD SH- BUT A DIFFERENT DAY WITH MIDNIGHT MEMORIES: THE PODCAST
It’s the Season Two finale!! Laurel is joined by the lovely Aoife, Allie and Harry, aka Midnight Memories: The Podcast. Listen as they chat about creating a podcast all about One Direction’s discography, how gatekeeping within the fandom as well as the boys’ romantic relationships is still happening, and who their dream guest for the podcast would be. They also chat about their collective views on Larry, and what is next for Midnight Memories: The Podcast.
Whether it’s because it’s the season finale, or the fact that it’s Laurel chatting with Midnight Mems, but you’re in for an extra bumper long episode, jam packed with good little pockets of information. Aoife, Allie and Harry are all Ireland/Northern Ireland dwellers, and Harry and Aoife met at Uni, and Allie had a One Direction fan account back in the day which Aoife had followed and they later met up at a festival through their collages, and she later met up with Harry through knowing Aoife and they watched the Game of Thrones finale together.
The team chat about how they manage running the podcast, Instagram and TikTok, alongside their actual day-to-day lives, especially now the world is starting to open up again. Allie, in particular, mentions that she chats enough about One Direction and Harry as it is, so having the podcast makes no difference, it just gives her space to be able to direct and refine her thoughts.
“You do not realise how many people out there that love One Direction so passionately”
As firm non-believers in Larry, the team chats about how they took the middle ground when it comes to discussing Larry on the podcast for so long, and finally just had to release their true thoughts and discuss their reasons for Larry, or the lack of, in their opinion.
With the usual quickfire round, you’ll be familiar with this once you’ve listened to a couple lessons of the podcast, there were discussions about their favourite and least fave One Direction songs, but also highlights of their podcast journey so far. Also, pretty unsurprisingly, they reveal their dream podcast guests, and it might be a 1D member…
Talks of fandom gatekeeping comes around and the team discuss their hatred towards those who are doing it. The importance of fandoms is that you are all celebrating and loving the same thing, be it One Direction, or Little Mix etc, so the need for some people to think they are superior to other fans just because they know an obscure b-side track, isn’t ok. They also mention that especially now, people are beginning their One Direction journeys, starting from the beginning of them in their X Factor days, and they don’t often realise how the boys themselves have grown and developed in those years, with the fans from the start growing and developing alongside them.
“People still see them as kids from the X Factor and it’s so regressive”
Give this episode a listen! Celebrate the end of the second season with us! And check out this bumper long episode because it truly unveils some gems from Laurel and Midnight Mems. Grab a cuppa, and have a little chill time and pop on TFGL.
That brings us to a wrap on Season Two; can you believe that’s over 20 hours of chatting about being a fangirl (and Laurel mention Harry Styles in every episode) for you all to listen to. Tell us what’s been your favourite episode, what would you like us to discuss in Season Three (coming in September) or if you want to be a guest fill out the form on our Contact Us page.
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