Updated: Mar 17
This BEAUTIFUL human dedicates his time to making the world a better place and encouraging others to do the same. Dave was one of the first friends I made entering this industry, and I instantly gravitated towards his selfless and caring nature. Dave works as a nutritionist, blogger and content creator. His content online beams with authenticity and lacked that stereotypical ‘influencer wall’ that many build up between them and their followers, he is just his unfiltered self. Dave is someone that I’ve had on my list to interview for a while as I think he is someone that focusses on educating and helping others, rather than preaching ideas in a less approachable way like some ‘activists’ do. To start our conversation, I went through our three icebreakers:
1. What’s the one thing that never fails to make you smile?
My Dog Stanley
2. What animal best represents your personality?
A bee (I like to keep busy and I’m incredibly loyal to my queen)
3. On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling today?
Feeling about a 9 today
His answer to number two is honestly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. Firstly, I love bees, secondly “I’m incredible loyal to my queen” … I almost cried. But Dave’s journey of selflessness didn’t start with social media. Dave started his love for wellness following his unhealthier start in life (through no fault of his own). Suffering at a young age with numerous food allergies and chronic bronchitis, he decided to focus on what he could control rather than what he couldn’t, which led to nutrition. His degree started in advertising which coincided with his passion for wellness and his co-existing blog, his online brand naturally developed from there. Upon his move to LA, Instagram was the next best thing and was booming. “No one was taking it too seriously back then, there were no sponsored posts, it was just fun” he said. His passion started and remains this authentic love for creation and photography, he’s just managed to turn his passion into a wonderful living.
One thing that sets Dave apart from the crowd is his continuous dedication to activism. Studying nutrition led to his further understanding that everything in the world is “interconnected holistically” meaning that everything we do has a knock-on effect. “So, eating well is connected to the planets wellbeing, which is connected to relationships and community” he followed. Whilst we know that every action, we take will have an impact and a consequence, it’s interesting to really think about how the way we act and how it can truly affect the planet and the people around us. Dave’s love for blogging meant that his Instagram just become a natural evolution of sharing his passions and in turn encouraging others to engage in bettering the world alongside him.
“My motivation was really that I was trying to better myself and Instagram was a great platform to showcase how I was growing, how I was changing and what I was learning. I’ve changed a lot over the last 10 years”
Something I found quite interesting is that Dave manages to maintain a high number of partnerships on social media that align with his values and don’t impact the authenticity of his content. It is no secret that the influencer industry is used to its fair share (or unfair share) of negative press. A lot of influencers that seem to get the most attention tend to live a little more on the superficial side, with minimal regard for their actions, the complete contrary to Dave’s ethos.
I asked Dave if he feels that creators that hold more value in morals than materialism pay a price, literally or figuratively, for not “selling out”. Interestingly, his response to this didn’t even reference any loss of money, he focussed more on the figurative prices we pay. “One of the prices to pay is that I’m open to more criticism” he claimed, as “it intensifies the attention around what you’re already doing”. The truth behind this is fairly solid and is relatable in my work as well. Creators that attempt to be a form of activist or encourage conversations and change are often met with more oppositions. Those that merely ‘stay in their lane’ tend to be left alone, as their impact is more subtle but long-term (the highlight reel etc). Whilst discussing more sensitive matters means we can be met with stark opposition, criticism for potential hypocrisy or corrections if we’re mistaken.
The biggest movement that has gained greater prominence over the last year is Black Lives Matter, with the murder of George Floyd sending shockwaves through the black community, and POC all over the world. A lot of influencers jumped on the black square trend and allowed their activism to end there. Dave remained a strong ally, dedicating a large portion of his content to BLM as well as encouraging diversity with his partnerships. “’I’m trying to take more time to understand these issues they’re all happening so fast that it feels like I’m riding from one thing to the next” he said, which is true, there is a lot that needs to be changed about the world to make it fairer. But Dave is actively dedicating time both on and offline to educating himself and others.
“I wouldn’t say I’m vocal on every single thing, I’m trying to focus my energy a lot more on making local change”
His activism and content online are not actually his main career (which also came as a surprise to me). Dave actually works as a private nutritionist with clients, which is his is his biggest passion. Whilst working on social media is a great project and place for creation, Dave feels that seeing the wellness journey with his one-to-one clients are the best parts of his career. This says a lot about his character, as his true passion lies with seeing the individual difference, he’s able to make to an individual’s life.
Being a wellness advocate, I was interested to know Dave’s stance on the veganism approach to wellness and environmental sustainability. People have their own reason for becoming vegan, and it varies from person to person. He fully acknowledges the validity of the ethical reasons for veganism but does not fully support it from a health perspective. Having studied and practiced nutrition for many years, he believes that some peoples’ approach to veganism is a dogmatic way to view the world. He furthers this by stating that “We’re all multidimensional people experiencing culture and environmental issues and there’s so many different layers to things”. There is complete truth to this, everyone’s body is made up differently and not every method and approach will suit everyone. He does however follow this with condemning the longevity of mass agriculture by stating that it is “completely unsustainable”. Dave believes in moving forward by listening to each-other and being open to different ideas, perspectives and opinions rather than “being completely dogmatic with this perspective”.
“I’m definitely a lot more focussed on composting and community programs that enrich the lives of youth experiencing homeless and how connecting them to their food systems can increase their food access”
For anyone that is wanting to know how to be a bit more environmentally conscious, here were Dave’s top 3 tips to get you started:
Carry a reusable water bottle with you (because chances are you aren't drinking enough water already...so it's a win-win)
Buy less stuff (generally) - clothes, etc
Everyone I interview has their battles, and Dave is no exception. Coming to terms with his sexuality was one of the hardest times in Dave’s life. He came out at the age of 22, following his graduation from university and admitted to having “deep, intimate and very real relationships with women” during his college years. During this time, he was also experiencing similar feelings towards men and it became highly confusing. With all of this confusion, he decided to take himself off-grid following his graduation and spent the summer by himself in Italy. This period of self-discovery helped Dave realise who he truly was and what he truly wanted, he realised he’s gay.
Coming out to his parents wasn’t complete plain sailing. Their confusion came from Dave’s intimate relationships with women previously, and so they responded with “we think that you’re bi”. In time, and with several long and awkward conversations, he came out the other side with much healthier and happier relationships with his friends and family. Ten years down the line, and he still has strong bonds with friends from far and wide that fully support him and love him for who he is.
For those that don’t follow Dave, he is now in a long-term relationship with the beautiful George Ramsay, and (as most couples do online) they seem to have an effortless and unwavering love for each-other. Although anyone that knows the highlight reel of social media will know that a lot more happens behind the scenes that we don’t show. I asked Dave what his best advice is for maintaining a strong relationship with your partner, and his main response was “to have hard and uncomfortable conversations often”, something that a lot of relationships tend to avoid. No one likes to feel uncomfortable, and no one (for the most part) enjoys hurting someone they care for. So, naturally we’re not going to want to have a conversation that could lead to both, that doesn’t mean that avoiding it is right. Dave and George have a date night every week that follows more of a ‘check-in’ format. This allows them to lay out calmly anything that has been on their minds and then talk through it maturely.
"We talk about things that have come up over the last week and it’s a chance to bring everything to the surface and it’s better to have these uncomfortable conversations sooner rather than later to avoid building up resentment"
Whilst his sexuality was difficult period in Dave’s life, he admitted that the biggest struggle he’s had to overcome is trusting his intuition. This was a response that I was not expecting, but interestingly makes a lot of sense, and slightly resonates with me. Most of us going through stages of second-guessing ourselves, and this was something that Dave struggled with a lot. “What is it that I truly believe and how do I feel about something” he said. “It’s really hard to get to that point when we are bombarded with information, I read the news, I follow almost 1000 people on Instagram”. Social media can become a bit of an echo chamber, we’re just bombarded with so many ideas that it can become confusing and hard to trust what we believe. He explores how we may walk away from our phones and have other people’s ideas, beliefs and dreams imprinted on us, meaning we may have disconnected from our own values, beliefs and wants.
“It’s a constant struggle for me to sit in silence and really in touch with my internal wants and needs, that’s why I do this thing called a tea ceremony where I sit in quiet for 10 minutes and drink tea first thing in the morning before I even check my phone, which is a really nice way to reset”
Finally, we ended our interview with the usual; “If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?”, and Dave responded with the following:
“All of the pain and heartache of certain relationships would be healed with time and to have as much fun as possible, play and be light-hearted as life definitely gets harder and more serious as you get older and just be kind to yourself. I used to be like “you’re too skinny” or something like that to myself all of the time, so I’d just say don’t be so hard on yourself”.
I’d like to thank this beautiful man for agreeing to be added to the Happy Smiley archive and sharing his story! If you don’t already follow him, his socials are linked below and I think he’d be a really positive addition to your feed: