Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Kelly Francis

January 25, 2017

Meet The FW17 #HoughtonGirls | Kelly Francis

Meet Kelly Francis below, one of the inspirational women featured in the film, as she speaks candidly to Katharine and opens up about motherhood, self esteem and body image.

Kelly Francis Houghton Girl

Kelly: "I was going back and forth to NYC to work for eight years. And I moved here permanently a few months ago. My family are Jamaican, my grandparents are Jamaican on both sides, my parents were born in England too, so I’m like second generation British.  My Dad’s actually been living here since I was nine, so I’ve been coming here so it’s been my second home since I was 9 years old. When I graduated a friend of mine was working for MAC and she was like do you want to come intern for us, so I did and then I got on so well with them that they kept me on. So I just kept coming back to help them with Fashion Week and glam projects so that was fun."

"I was a fashion director for MADE for 7 years. I recently left and have been consulting with brands since... Right now I’m working on a fashion tech project for WME which is cool. So it’s like a start-up. It’s interesting, every day now is a bit different from what I was doing before so I’m going to a proper corporate office, which is new and working with like very different people, people who are not from a fashion background. It’s more development teams and talking with people about IOTs and crazy technical things that I’ve never experienced before, but it’s really interesting. I’m in a new space and it’s great."

Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

Katharine: "And whats your day-today like being a mother?"

Kelly: "It’s always a hustle cause I have Noah, so it’s like I have to get up, I’m always up at 6am every day because he gets up at 7am and you need to have an hour of chill before the kid gets up. Otherwise you’ve lost like everything in the day. So like I get up ahead of him, make him a breakfast, get him ready, send him off to day-care and then I’m in the office in meetings. Or it’s meeting the development team, or it’s meeting with designers and brands to get them involved."

Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

Katharine: "And so Noah is three? I knew you when you were running around and pregnant, so how did that impact your work life and being a mommy?"

Kelly: "God, yeah. Well, first of all I mean I thought I’d have kids but definitely not now. I always thought I was gonna work, and do all these things when I’m like 36, that was the age. 36 was the age I was gonna have kids. Then 26 I got pregnant, so.... But then it didn’t stop anything, I was still working constantly and I was working up until he was born pretty much. As soon as he was born it was about to be Fashion Week, so he was born on Sunday and on Monday morning I’m in the hospital emailing trying to get Fashion Week together. So it never stopped. He came out to New York with me, he travelled with me constantly, but he would be a bundle passed around at meetings and anybody else in the meeting would be just holding him like he’s like a proper fashion baby."

Katharine: "Let's take a step back and talk about your childhood and your body image when you were younger vs how you feel now being a mother."

Kelly: "When I was younger growing up in England, I was super tall and gangly and I had really goofy teeth and I was just a very late bloomer. I come from a Caribbean family where the beauty idea is different and more about curves and having a more womanly body. I was always the very skinny one and would have nicknames like flamingo... I was teased at school... I definitely compared myself to other woman and its something we naturally do. I was always wondering why I had such a small chest and why I had no butt whatsoever. To me I looked like a boy, so I dressed in baggy stuff, now I still dress that way not because I care about that but because it just moved into my style, but you would never see me with my legs out..."

"I was a tomboy just through and through and I think that’s the best way when you don’t like how you look that’s also a compensation, it’s easy to fit into that mold as well, cause you don’t then have to be pretty and all those things.  I was really not comfortable around guys in any way and I’ve always had that problem of being to relate in a romantic way cause truthfully I never felt pretty so I could never believe that a guy would ever wanna talk to me on any other level than like a friend. It also stunted that growth in me."

Katharine: "And then your body started changing when you got pregnant, what kind of mind game did that play on you when you never felt feminine before?"

Kelly: "All that time in my life where I felt like I didn’t like who I was, I didn’t like how I looked and I finally got to a place where I was like happy with myself and then it changed again! I was really excited to be pregnant, I really enjoyed my pregnancy, but when I found out I was pregnant I did initially start to think like oh my god this body is over. I started to think about what was gonna happen next and I was religiously like, resistant to the changes, so religiously I was slapping on raw shea butter on my stomach trying to make sure I wasn’t going to get stretch marks.  I would stink like completely because like that stuff doesn’t smell good. But I would do whatever, I was just trying to figure out how to not go for the processes that I mentally thought of like stretch marks and the droopiness and whatever."

Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film

"I still enjoyed my pregnancy and I didn’t dwell on it too much until I actually had Noah. My family loved him to death but my mom was like you know I had you on Wednesday and on Saturday I was back in my jeans, and I was like great and now I have Noah and I’m walking around with this extra baby pouch and looking like 6 months pregnant still and it’s been 4 weeks. I started to feel really conscious of it again, and I’m like oh my god, I’m in another place where I didn’t like how I looked and I was trying to hide it and trying to do all those things that you do post pregnancy where you band up the stomach and you’re trying to loose everything quickly and yeah I couldn’t really look at myself for a little bit."

Katharine: "You went through this huge process of finally accepting your body and now its like you're dealing with a whole new body?"

Kelly: "I don’t think people realize how much your body changes when you have a baby. Even the alignment... like I’m boxier now, and when I did lose the extra baby weight my stomach looked completely different. I had this wash board stomach before and now I have muscle separation. The skin is not as tight, and my boobs went from a small C to E when I was breastfeeding and then back when I was done, your breasts don’t looks the same, they’re small and saggy. I’ve never experienced something like that before. I was like wow this is not what I was expecting."

Katharine: "How do you deal with that?"

Kelly: "I think for a long time maybe for the first year and half I really toyed with things like I’m gonna have a surgery. I was like really thinking about this maybe I need a boob job, but as time went on I realized Noah was the most important thing. My body had served its purpose and done thing sit was meant to do. I'm proud of my child and my pregnancy and I started to put myself into a different headspace and be like, this is what I've meant to looks like. We see all the time these images that we're always consuming that are not accurate, and if you look around everybody is supposed to be different- thats the beauty of the world. Even though my body changed so much through my pregnancy, I started to adjust to the differences and now I wouldn't change it. This is who I am and now I'm happy with myself. Just because I don't look the way I used to, that doesn't mean my body looks bad or is wrong."

Katharine: "What gives you strength, grounding and foundation?"

Kelly: "Family for sure gives me strength and grounding for sure. Like my Dad is the wisest man I know, he always has a word or anytime I’m going through anything he has some kind of tale to tell me either about his life or my grandparents. That makes me realize what I need to do next. And it’s great to have that."

Katharine: "What brings you joy and happiness?"

Kelly: "Noah all day long... he always brings me the most joy. I’ve never experienced anything like it. And I always hear people saying having a child changed your life but I’ve never experienced love like the love to my son. 100%."

Katharine: "Define self-esteem."

Kelly: "Self-esteem is having the  confidence to be yourself. I love my legs now by the way. After hiding them for years because I thought there were too skinny and its weird I love them and I think that’s my asset!"

Kelly Francis Houghton Girl Film