During our visit to the CoppaFeel! pop up shop we chatted exclusively to founder, Kris Hallenga, which you can read here. We were lucky enough to also catch up with Kris’ twin sister Maren Hallenga. The two make quite the team and we chatted Rankin, baked goods, and what it’s really like to work at Coppafeel!...
Becky: Hey Maren! Fancy telling us about the new campaign, #whatnormalfeelslike, and the pop up shop?
Maren: We are here to get women to reclaim their boobs, basically - we want women to get to know what normal feels like for them. We can all simply do that by checking our boobs regularly, getting into the habit of that, and starting a relationship with our boobs. We've found out that actually a lot of women are quite scared of their boobs and we want to change that and get these habits in place so they'll last a lifetime and hopefully that means that all cases of breast cancer will be caught earlier.
Becky: Makes sense to us. So, what does normal feel like for you?!
Maren: My word is definitely doughy, and we've just expanded that to cakey, for you! There's also bready...anything to do with baked items is a good thing. But yeah, I would say doughy sums my boobs up.
Becky: They're good words - it's harder than you think to come up with something. One of the big parts of the pop up shop is the boob booth, where visitors can anonymously take a photo of their own boobs as part of the campaign. After a little hesitation we did it, and it was liberating to say the least; here's hoping the boob booth makes another appearance soon. What would you say to people a little apprehensive about getting in the booth and, well, getting it all out?
Maren: Well from seeing the looks on peoples faces as they come out of the booth...I think you're right, it's safe to say it's pretty liberating and people are obviously enjoying it. The amount of women that are coming down here and joining in is quite overwhelming, and it's great. It's so nice to see, and it feels so empowering to see so many women get behind the campaign - it feels like there's this community of women coming down here and showing us their boobs, and being a part of something really special. It's so exciting.
Becky: We did have a little pre-flashing wobble, we must admit. But it's completely anonymous and for a great cause, and seeing so many women take part is fantastic. Do you think it's important to normalise boobs, for women to reclaim them?
Maren: Yeah, definitely. We've all got them, so why are we so afraid of them? I mean, there are people that will say we're desexualsing boobs but we're not - boobs ARE still sexy, very much so, and we're not saying they're not. What we're saying is they're not JUST sexy, they're important and personal. We should be celebrating them - women should be celebrating their own boobs, but also looking out for them and getting to know them, that's what the point is.
Becky: With everything that Kris has been through and you know, the fact that you're twins, a lot of people may not realise your involvement with Coppafeel!, what's your role within the charity?
Maren: I'm her donkey, I do all the crap jobs...I'm kidding, of course. We make all the big decisions for the charity, together. Obviously it's very personal to both of us, so every time something big happens, well, it's our little baby, Coppafeel! is our child. It's scary when we make these big decisions because sometimes we just don't feel grown up enough to make them! On a day to day basis we're doing very similar jobs to be honest, there's a LOT of email writing. Some people might think we have a very glamorous life with all these events and parties and travelling...
Becky: Well this is it, a lot of people do just see the parties and the fun side of Coppafeel! but that's because no one is taking photos when you're staying up to silly o'clock writing emails...
Maren: Exactly! Lots of email writing, asking for free things...it's hard work!
Becky: But do you enjoy it?
Maren: I love it. It's great, and it's so lovely to be part of something that's constantly going from strength to strength. It's such a varied job as well, there's not many people that can say they get to do the things we do.
Becky: Email writing aside, we can't imagine two days are the same. What's your favourite part of the job?
Maren: I think it's definitely speaking to people, that's my favourite part. Young people in particular; hearing and speaking to them, and understanding how important this all is, it's amazing. Some people have never really thought about their boobs or their health, and it's great to hear them go "oh actually I've never thought about this before, and now I am", it's so important, and for me knowing we're making a difference, through talking to people, is the best part.
Becky: It must be pretty amazing to know that you're making a difference, to so many people. So, the new campaign, those striking images...all taken by Rankin! He' SUCH an icon...
Maren: ...and what a scary person he is!
Becky: Is he?! To be fair, I think we'd be pretty overwhelmed, the man's a legend.
Maren: Exactly. So we went to his studio on the day of the shoot, and it's like an institution. Let's call it Rankin Kingdom. Everyone just has so much respect for that man, it's amazing. And he's so lovely, the most down to earth person and he absolutely loved the campaign, so that was incredible. He was more than happy to help, and it's great to have his name to the project. The pictures are beautiful, and the people have such a respect for his talent.
Becky: It really is such a beautiful campaign, and so striking. It's great to bring such a variety of pictures to the forefront of both the campaign and the media, to show the world that actually boobs really are that varied.
Maren: Yeah definitely, it's a variety of images AND boobs and that was really important to us. These real, raw images, that this is what women and their boobs look like. We're so used to being exposed to a certain standard in the media, and it was great to be able to showcase that there is no set normal, boobs come in all shapes and sizes and that needs to be celebrated.
Becky: And have you braved the booth yet?
Maren: Not yet! We all said we would though, whilst the pop up was on, and I promise we will!
Thanks Maren! So, what’s your word to describe what normal feels like for you?