I am an author, speaker, and international playgirl. My first book, Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams, was published by Hay House, and became an instant #1 bestseller. I’m writing my second book right now.
I was inspired to do this work after living with depression and an eating disorder for a decade. When I was 23, I used a technique called tapping to rewire my brain. Life without depression is like that moment when The Wizard Of Oz flicks from black and white to technicolour: everything has so much more beauty and meaning. These days, my focus is on showing women how they can revolutionise their lives, just like I did.
Writing, dancing, travelling, and daydreaming keeps me going. (When I was six years old, one of my teachers told my parents I should stop reading so much fiction, because I was “too imaginative”.) RuPaul is my spiritual leader. My apartment is full of sequins and rainbows. I’m really into eccentric icons (like Liberace), false eyelashes, and dressing up at every opportunity. I believe that playing with our appearance is one of the myriad ways we can transform ourselves into the people we want to be.
I have been single, married, and divorced; I have lived in New Zealand, Australia, and New York City; I have experienced depression and pure ecstasy. I believe in making your own universe. Excuses drive me crazy. I believe that no one is perfect, but as long as you’re doing your best, you can’t be faulted. Pangloss means “a person who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances” — I identify with that.
My vision of radical self love evolves and changes every single day. I used to think the most important thing was simply making sure you felt good, and while I still think that’s a valuable yardstick, sometimes we cling to “what feels good” as a way to avoid growth. Being uncomfortable is a crucial part of transformation. The truth is that radical self love is a rocky road (with lots of marshmallows) and a constant work in progress. I still have to fight back against my natural instincts to play small every single day. But the flipside is that the more I worship myself and act like my own best friend, the more my life blooms.
My mission is to show women how magnificent they are, and to inspire them to step up and grab the life they’ve dreamed about with both hands. I want everyone to rebel and start their own personal revolution. I think the definition of failure is not having passion, settling for average, and being too afraid to take chances.
I believe that we have the ability to define everything on our own terms, and that we should rigorously question what society tell us is normal or desirable. I want women to love other women and reject the idea that we are in competition with one another. I believe we are all goddesses and it is simply embarrassing to behave any other way.
Current obsessions: Filling my house with hot pink roses, rainbow everything, constant evolution, fake tan, psychedelic colours, writing my second book!
Style direction: Black and fitted, topped off with a leather jacket and candy-coloured accessories. Grown-up goth crossed with psychedelic housewife.
Heroes and idols: RuPaul, Liberace, Beyonce, Elizabeth Gilbert, bell hooks, Diana Vreeland.
Regular happiness practices: Making gratitude lists, watching stand-up comedy (especially Louis C.K. and Bill Burr), dancing in my living room, having mind-expanding conversations with my friends, laughing and having adventures with the love of my life.
Favourite books: Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. The Red Book by Sera Beak. Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. (And too many others to mention.)
Favourite places: New York City, Marrakech, the Greek Islands, New Orleans, Rome, Las Vegas, Berlin. (All for very different reasons.)
Best advice I’ve been given: All you need is someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.
“I have always admired everything about Gala from her sparkling heart to her fashion sense. I am also a fan of her writing, which is as inspiring as she is. She makes you feel like she’s there with you, sharing her secrets for a luminous life. I highly recommend Radical Self Love and everything else she writes.”
Gala Darling is a speaker and the bestselling author of Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams. She has been teaching radical self love — a selection of powerful techniques and tools which help women transform their lives — for close to a decade. Her site, galadarling.com, helps a million women a month find their voice, live without fear, and fall in love with life.
Born in New Zealand, she moved to NYC with one suitcase when she was 24 years old, and used radical self love to heal from an eating disorder and depression.
Gala has been called “a spiritual revolutionary”, “the oracle of all things mystically glam”, and “a modern-day guru”. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, New Zealand Herald, Teen Vogue, New York Post, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Time Out New York, Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Age, Sunday Herald Sun, The Dominion Post, Inked magazine, MiNDFOOD, Stuff, Viva, and countless others. She has been interviewed on CBS, ABC News, and Hay House Radio. Gala has spoken about radical self love and entrepreneurship at SXSW Interactive, TEDxCMU, and dozens of other events across the world, in addition to lecturing at NYU (twice). A co-founder of The Blogcademy, she taught over 1000 women how to build their business through their blog on several continents.
Gala has worn mouse ears in the Blue Lagoon, walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, and once danced naked in front of strangers at a self-esteem workshop. She believes in kale and crystals, goal-setting and gratitude, kaleidoscopic colour and kicking ass.
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