We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, what do you want your legacy to be?
I think about this a lot. As the kinds of topics I write about, push people to think outside of their conditioning in uncomfortable ways. I hear often that I get “too hard” for people and they unfollow me only later to come back when they feel more “ready.” So that kind of gratification of, “people really like what I do!” can’t be the driving force. When I’m doing my job well, “liking me,” is not necessarily the response. Even though everything I push about is with so much love and hope that we unlearn all the ways we’ve been taught to embody oppressive ideas such that we all get to feel more safe and free. I hope to be remembered as someone with integrity, even when it there was a cost. That was driven by values over appreciation. And that the ways in which I pushed people to rethink their old ideas, they eventually found were a part of what freed them, too.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started out online as a personal trainer. Which is funny because even when I was actively doing that work, I never used my online space to recruit clients. Instead, I was talking about the road to emodiment. The intersections of body image and rape culture. The bigger picture of what kept me from myself. Overtime the fitness aspect of my buisness, never really haven been the point, fell away. And the issues I speak to have grown beyond body politics, to personal politics, social justice and emotional responsibility. That shift was not well received, but as a 20+ year veteran to activism, the idea that our work should be likable first has long not been my goal. I’ve written 5 books and 2 deck of affirmation cards. Traveled internationally for speaking engagements. Some accomplishments I’m really proud of. I’ve learned that integrity matters more than anything. That some relationships will last beyond difficulties in work and beyond, and some will disappear when you no longer are advantageous to them. That being “self made” seems to mainly be “impressive” if you have a lot of money to show for it. That in the end, as long as my goal is to strive to make the world a safer, gentler more welcoming space for my daughter- for all our babies, that will be what mattered.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Venice beach. The skatepark. All the foot traffic. The quirky shops. It reminds me most of where I’m from.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Jennifer Bonilla is one of my oldest friends. She inspired myself, a crew from junior high and eventually an entire coalition to run for office this year and we all won. She is a badass librarian, dedicated to creating a space where all of her students feel seen and cared for. With books reflective of all their identities. She is always reminding me who I am and inspiring me to think of community, first.