Writing comes in a variety of forms and means different things for different people. One form of writing that has climbed in popularity recently is poetry. The Guardian reported that over a million poetry books were sold in the UK over the last year, emphasising the genre’s new found place within the contemporary writing world. Someone who is “hesitant” to call herself a writer, is Bridgett Devoue. But, a writer of beautiful verse and meaningful words is most definitely what she is. After beginning a career in acting, she wasn’t fulfilled and felt as if she couldn’t be the empowering force to women that she wanted to be. After facing some difficulties, she turned to writing. It was then that she realised this was what she was meant to do… and she pursued it wholeheartedly. Her book ‘Soft Thorns’ was created, her unique stance on social media boomed and her career was born.
We spoke to Bridgett about the meaning of words to her, the tough times that turned her mind to writing and the best advice she could give to her younger self…
“Even the worst possible thing that can happen to you makes you so much stronger as a person. It was such a huge moment for me to really, truly understand that. I wanted to go through the process of taking negative experiences, going through heartbreak and realising that I’m better, stronger and can use these situations to empower me.” – Bridgett Devoue
Taylor Magazine: Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
Bridgett Devoue: Well, I wrote a book but I’m really hesitant to say that I’m a writer. I’m unafraid to go into the dark parts of what I’m feeling and then put it out there. That’s ultimately how I connect with people… through these pieces of writing. Yes, there is the writing element where I write the literal words down, but there’s also connection involved in it too.
Before I wrote the book, I was posting a lot about my thoughts and questions about life. People really resonated with that, so I created the book, which was effectively based on a year of my life. I created this career through social media and I probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have if it wasn’t for that.
Taylor Magazine: What were you doing before?
Bridgett Devoue: It’s a funny story of how I even got into writing. I was doing acting and modelling – I used to write, but I never posted because, well, I thought what is the point of writing when no one is going to read it? I decided to focus on acting and modelling so I could get an outreach. I really enjoyed acting and modelling, but I wasn’t building the type of audience that I wanted. I want to be a positive role-model for young women. At the same time as this goal, I was doing these sexy photoshoots and being ‘Hot girl no.1’ in movies.
This really didn’t align with my goals. I did post some modelling photos online and would look up little captions I could put under these pictures and eventually, I realised that I could write these types of things myself. I started doing this and met someone who said to me that I was truly a writer and then from there, I simply transitioned into writing.
Taylor Magazine: That’s a really interesting transition!
Bridgett Devoue: Yeah – I think it’s good to keep your goals aligned. If you say ‘This is what I want to do,’ make sure what you’re doing is actually that.
Taylor Magazine: Absolutely… and where do you draw your inspiration from?
Bridgett Devoue: Honestly, it completely comes from my heart. Often, I go into the insecurities I’m feeling and just write it out. It comes from my experiences, my random thoughts, the things that buzz around inside of me. Genuinely, it comes from the differing emotions I feel day-to-day. Another thing is that I grew up with Tumblr and I’m a huge fan, it’s my favourite medium. It’s this moody world, where there’s poetry, photography, drawings and all sorts of other things. It’s an interesting, quirky and gloomy place that provides me with inspiration and somewhere I can create a world.
Taylor Magazine: Why did you want to write ‘Soft Thorns’ and what was that experience like?
Bridgett Devoue: So, I hit a breaking point in my life where I fell in love and got my heart broken. That was the first time I really felt heartbreak. I had to experience dealing with this very surface-level pain. You really feel it, right there. I was writing the entire time through this healing process, which really was my coping mechanism. All the poems in the book are things I felt in the moment. I realised that all of these bad things that have happened to me – being raped, sexually assaulted, heartbroken – every negative experience has made me such a better person. Even the worst possible thing that can happen to you, makes you so much stronger as a person. It was such a huge moment for me to really, truly understand that.
Taylor Magazine: What is so lovely about that is the way you have taken really difficult situations in your life and created something positive out of it.
Bridgett Devoue: Exactly – even the book itself is a physical representation of exactly what I’m trying to show. It’s funny because I literally got my heart split in two and made a career out of it!
Taylor Magazine: What challenges did you experience along the way?
Bridgett Devoue: I always say this to people – it’s hard to explain, but my heart was burning up and I felt like I was on fire. I just knew I had to write a book – I had never done anything like this before but it was just this overwhelming feeling that I had. When you have that passion and burning desire, it drives you and makes things easier. You just have a need to keep going – I had so much motivation to make it happen. I wasn’t even really aware of the negative things as a result. I had really long nights, I would work from 9am to 6am because I just had to put it out there. I wouldn’t change a thing about the whole experience.
Taylor Magazine: You have a large following on social media. How did you become successful with this?
Bridgett Devoue: Well, I’ve always been really into social media. I grew up with Tumblr, Instagram and all sorts. I’ve always been attracted to having the ability to connect with people all over the world and the power of what social media is in general. Growing up with that, you gain an eye of what to post and how people can relate to that. Even from the beginning I would never just post a picture of my cat, I was always trying to create something inspirational for people. When I decided to post my quotes and writing, I didn’t really have a strategy behind it. I just wanted to give it a go and did it for fun.
I’ve also always been into digital design and the way things look, so I wouldn’t just post quotes. I created designs with the quotes and researched what drew people into a design best. I settled with a few design styles that I really liked and wanted to stick to simplicity. I realised that people don’t want to read a lot of Instagram – they want short and sweet. When people are scrolling through the explore page on Instagram, that’s a big advertisement for me, so it has to be eye-catching. It’s also important to create something that people want to come back to.
Taylor Magazine: Poetry has become a really popular thing recently. How do you make people really want to read your poetry and how do you stand out?
Bridgett Devoue: It’s hard for me to look at poetry as something I’m not involved in, because people say that it’s such a big thing and our books are getting published and sold in book stores. I don’t try and stand out – when I was first starting, you look at what other people are doing and get inspiration. I would write a piece or two that was similar to what other people were doing and it just felt so weird. I decided to only post things that I liked myself.
Taylor Magazine: If you could give any advice to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
Bridgett Devoue: The best advice I could give to my younger self is quite simply, do not try and fit in. Stop! I was always so concerned about fitting in at high school. As soon as you leave high school, you realise that standing out is the best thing you can do. Being unique and being different to everyone is amazing.
“Forget the social popularity thing, that will go away in a few years. Go and focus on what you love, work on that and build on your passions.”
Taylor Magazine: What, in your opinion, is the most important thing about self-care and making sure you’re always the best version of yourself? How do you stay mindful and content in yourself?
Bridgett Devoue: Something that is really important is space. I only learned this when I was able to move out of my house – my home life was a bit of a stuffy and claustrophobic atmosphere. I moved to the big city, I was always out and about and constantly in people’s company. I never took the time to just breath and have space. I never really thought about what emotions were going on inside of me, because I think I was scared of them. I constantly tried to run away from them – I took drugs, I went out a lot. I didn’t stop and look inside of myself, until I met some people who really resonated with me. I finally became comfortable being alone and in my own company. I became vegan and cleansed my body, and once I got healthier I could really understand myself better. I now know the importance of taking care of myself through these experiences. Quite simply, it’s just important to know that it’s ok to be on your own.
Taylor Magazine: What’s your plan for the future? What’s it looking like?
Bridgett Devoue: Ok so… I’m definitely writing another book. The experience of writing my book was amazing, and I know that people want me to write another one, so that’s something I’m working on. I want to put more of myself out there because right now, I only have my words. People have grown close to my words, so I also want to connect with people through video as well. I want to figure out the right way of combining my love of acting and writing together. I also love to talk to people that read my words daily – that inspires me.
I’m definitely living in the present just now, but I can promise another book is coming. I also want to branch out into other forms of media – so a lot is on the cards! I’m also really not done with ‘Soft Thorns’ yet – it takes a while for a book to gain momentum and I want to do more with it. I’ve never believed in anything more in my life, than I do with this book.