#NotPlayingTheGame Conversation

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#NotPlayingTheGame Conversation
An Introduction to NotPlayingTheGame

We've met Fearne and Adrienne before, they are better known together as Daughters of Davis. That was nearly 2 years ago and when I spoke to them they were starting a new mission called #NotPlayingTheGame. I had the chance to catch up with them recently to see how things were going. In this interview we delve quite deep into some of the topics nd how it all relates to faith and church.

So since we last spoke all the #NotPlayingTheGame stuff has really started to take off, because I think it was about 18 months ago we spoke last as an interview. At that point you were recording and album and you didn't know what else is going to happen with it. So the album's out. What else is happening with it?

"So we're doing loads of worskshops, we're touring the country doing workshops for churches and events and also youth workshops as well. And it's all around the content of #NotPlayingTheGame. Basically, in a nutshell, it's breaking down the lies that are coming to us through media, society and culture, that kind of perpetuate that we're not good enough as we are and we need to be fixed and that is obviously going to come at a cost. The cost is that they happen to be selling it to us, selling us a cure. You know it's just so much out there that's telling is we're not good enough. We just want to shed some light on truth. It doesn't cure you, it doesn't fix you what the world sells.

So basically workshops and the album has been released as well. We're also doing a series of videos around it and that's going to be coming out in this year. Have you seen the stuff online we've been doing?

I've seen some of it. There was also talk of TBN picking up some stuff, what's happened with that?

Well what happened is we decided to create our own channel through our website, so we are creating a lot of content and showing the #NotPlayingTheGame campaign in a more bite sized way. In our society today we need to share all forms of content and I think more bitesized as well, because our culture is trailing Social Media and that's where people are watching. So that's why we have decided to focus on.

The attention span is not there for a long time. School assemblies used to be an hour long now you're looking at 10 minutes because that's the attention span that the average teenager.

We might revisit that in the future and we're just going to concentrate on a series of videos and they are coming out this year ahead.

It seems to have expanded because I got the impression last time when we talked it was more for women and how the world perceives you and how you have to look. Listening to your workshop today it seems moved on to talking about other things including old age and other things that are more universal, not just for young girls and young ladies. Is that a conscious thing, was that something you planned and thought it should be something wider?

I think the more we thought the more we realised that the game is everywhere. It's not just in your body image and how young girls and guys feel about themselves. It's from everything it's older people in aging, how we spend our money, what it is to be successful.

There's just so many lies in every avenue, even around love and things like that. We used an example in our workshop today about being referees. We want to be referees to the lies that come in and blow the whistle on all those things coming at us and say I'm not going to let that into my mind, I'm not going to let it dictate my attitude, not going to let it change my decisions. I'm not going to let it ruin how I feel about myself, it's hard because it usually just washes over you and you don't really necessarily realise that it's having an effect on you. Until you actually start thinking, or you start feeling really down or you start thinking you're not good enough, order of you about how you might see something online and you step back and go "I don't need that" Maybe it's a new piece of clothing or whatever and the next thing you know you're in shops and it's really hard not to think I want to go and get what I saw.

We like to think we're more advanced than kids. I mean i've got kids so I know what they're like when they watch TV and see the ads and want everything. As adults we think we're a bit more refined because we don't sit there and go I want that, but actually inside it's burrowing away and it's going to come out with I want that!

You know you think you are immune to it, and sometimes you can see something, you can flick through a magazine and see the ideology and say that's not affecting me. I'm flicking past pages, then you don't realise it, but it's sort of affecting something in your brain, the subconscious. It might affect how you speak to somebody else, or how you portray yourself. You might come out with a lower self-esteem to someone than you would have previously if hadn't seen that article or that image of that person.

One of the things we've been talking about with Triple O and some other artists is the the mental health aspect that comes from that. I guess what you guys are doing is kind of pre-empting the stage where it gets to that anxiety and that panic and that feeling that you're just not worth anything. Is the mental health aspect something that you guys have been through yourself?

I'm actually a lot better now, but there was a time when I never ate normal in a day either. I'd either really undereat or really overeat but never had something in between. I think that was because I was starving myself and my body was like "eat something" and then I would eat too much!

So I think to be honest this campaign has actually come out of the fact that we have we've had these struggles ourself and we've seen it in ourselves. Actually it's a daily struggle too, it's something we have to work on all the time and you know it's something that we have lots of people getting in touch about this as well. Struggling with self harm or suicidal thoughts, we get a load of that coming through. You can see the overall kind of low self-worth. It seems to be on the increase. I don't know whether it is or not, but it is in the messages we get and what we've come across since we've been on the road. So over time it does seem to be on the increase.

So we want to help people do something about. We want to help people see that you dont need to feel that way because they've got immense value. Jesus died for them. That's how amazing their value is, it was worth God giving His life for. That's something we want to help people understand.

It just seems to me sitting here, and I don't know it's someting you're doing or something you've considered, but is this a message that you're able to take out to schools?

100% yeah we've done some.

The saying "Jesus died for you" wouldn't be so welcome in a lot of schools these days. But the whole teaching around that is very needed I think.

It's been interesting having done some workshops with schools and just see the response, even in young ages you can already see that they have the hang ups that people older have. It starts young!

You know it's amazing how quickly that affects kids, even my 7 year old, you know nails and all that stuff. The Disney Princess stuff all sells into that.

One of the things like social media, things like Snapchat that is being used a lot by young people and there's such an emphasis on the way you look through a filter. A lot of filters enhance your face to a point where your skin is smoother, your eyes are bigger and your lips are fuller. These are the tweaks that a filter would put on your face. As soon as you have seen your face like that you then feel inadequate, that your face isn't like that. You know that there is a version of yourself, albeit a digital one that is better and you want to be that, and then it starts striking questions in your head about 'am I good enough as I am or should I actually look more like this?' It's no wonder why there's young people wanting surgery. I think Kylie Jenner had permanent surgery in her teens. Her face is arguably not fully developed into adult features and she's had permanent surgery on it! I think it's really, really sad to see people changing their face because they don't think it's good enough. When really who is to say that those alterations make your face better? It's just society and an idea. Those ideas change with fashion and culture.

That also speaks into the LGBT scene as well because you've got a lot of young boys and girls that are forced to make up their mind about what their sexuality is going to be before their sexuality is fully developed. So yes there's a whole thing around that. It's important to have that conversation not to be identified as this or that, but just be you. I guess that's kind of what #NotPlayingTheGame's about.

So the Chrisian side of it, how does that work out in the secular scene when you go into schools and places like that. A lot of people going to schools and they do the PSHE stuff, and then they have a concert at the end of the week. Do you do that kind of thing or is it just you go in and do the workshops?

Yeah when we did the school workshops we were doing, we were also talking about music as well, how to songwrite, as well as the campaign and we did a concert at the end, that's something that we love to do.

It takes a load of different forms, and that's why we've got these videos coming out in a nice sharable form that you can put online and things like the workshops and gigs as well. So really it's quite diverse in that sense.

You're not hemming yourself into one area! When you were talking just a minute ago you said about filtering thoughts that go through our heads, which is like "Take every thought captive to Christ" isn't it? The whole teaching seems to come from that verse, I don't know if that was active thought.

Very true, yeah!

And the verse that says 'do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind' in Romans, that's a strong one for us. I think you have to be attentive to it, don't you? You have to work on it and it's not easy especially. The thing is our lives are 24/7 and you can access your phone anytime and get the internet up and you're constantly bombarded all the time. And that's just through the internet and you've got billboards, magazines, TV, it really is coming at you from all angles and you've really got to be on your guard.

Also you can show people Jesus without actually really being open about faith, not that we are hiding it, but Jesus is the truth if you reveal the truth then you reveal Him too. Being transformed by the renewing of your mind, well when we share the light and the truth and tell people basically what Jesus would say to them through exposing lies through media and society, that person becomes transformed because they're addressing the lies in their minds. Our expereience is that people are starting to see Jesus in their lives, they are starting to see Jesus transforming them. I know that we are having professionally made testimonies done, I know one girl said that she couldn't look in the mirror and now she's going out, she's just transformed. Jesus transformed her life, I don't even know if she would say it's definitely Jesus, but we know it is because it's the truth He's set her free.

I guess that people who work with the homeless and hungry, they say you can't deal with the spiritual until you've dealt with the physical. I guess this is exactly the same thing, unless people's physical needs and mental needs, in this case, are dealt with they're not going to be in a place where they can understand that somebody can love them.

I don't know if you would agree with us as well but would you say it's kind of like a mental slavery that people have these days?

It can be, yeah, we are slaves to television, or a slave to what people expect of us at all points, even in work. If you don't perform and behave in a particular way in a company culture or whatever it is, then you are ostracised and you find yourself out of employment quite quickly.

I think God is in the business of setting the captives free, we see that all through the Bible. Just so much of Jesus and God is about setting people free. I really feel like this is on God's heart and it's why we're seeing so much impact with it.

I've felt like in my life I have been like a captive to my thoughts in terms of the negativity. There was a time in fact, I never dreamed I would lead workshops and I can't believe I'm doing this type of thing now, when I stand on stage doing music. When I was in school I actually couldn't even talk to one person, like my grandparents who are lovely, but just anybody. I was just so ashamed, so full of negativity and low self-worth. So you know God has really set me free over time to do all that. It can be a journey and we just want to help and be a step on that journey.

We have a great friend called Sam Gungaloo and he said how you get healed through community, and I really think when you get people who are good friends, and especially Christian fellowship, there's nothing like it! I know when we hang out with our mate Sam and some of our friends that the community is so healing in it, and it's so important to spend time with those people. You might, if it's someone who gets bullied at school, you might feel like there's certain places where it is hostile, but if you find that person in your friendship, a relative to confide in, in that relationship there's the truth. They see with loving eyes, they see you for who you really are.

I know that me and Adrienne, when she was going through that, I knew who Adrienne was the whole time, and when she was getting bullied at school she couldn't be her true self at school. I've just always seen that best side of Adrienne and I love that side of her and I see now that she is fully that person, on stage and with people she knows. There's something about being in close relationship with people in community that heals us and helps us. I think that's probably, most certainly, why Jesus so likes church, because that's why it's so important to have fellowship with people.

Our culture has surrogate community doesn't it? This community is on the telly. It's soaps, it's the Queen Vic, it's where they hang out in - Hollyoaks, The Dog and Duck or whatever it.'s called. The Australian soaps they have those places where people hang out, and it's completely false to what we have in our society today. Church is one of the things the bucks that trend that we have, even when we don't hang out every day.

We should, definitely.

I always say to church leaders because the early Church did, why aren't we eating together and breaking bread?

Every day really it is important to hang out, or as much as we can.

That seems to be a good point to end on!


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