World Mental Health Day Interview: Jay Best, Arcadia Magazine

As part of our World Mental Health Day interview series we spoke to Jay Best, Creative Director of Arcadia Magazine. Find out about Jay’s experiences in the fast-paced fashion industry, her son and why she decided to theme her next issue around Mental Health. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself / career history / what you do now.


I am a creative director and founder of a lifestyle magazine called Arcadia. I started a little online blog when I left uni with my best friend about hotels, restaurants and fashion shoots we liked and it slowly grew in to this thing that everyone wanted to get involved in. Taking it to print was a natural direction as we were getting more subscribers. Aside from running the magazine I’m also a full time mother and partner. Which gives me a great balance of family life and routine versus the chaos of being in fashion. It definitely keeps me grounded and appreciative of what I have.


What inspired you to go in to the line of work you are in?


It was a obvious route for me. I love make up, fashion and people. I’m a big people person. I love meeting new people and talking about clothes, hair, make up and anything else that is creative!


How has your experience in the fashion industry shaped you?


It has made me tougher. I definitely went through a phase of trying to shape myself to fit into what I thought someone in fashion should look/act like. But I found I wasn’t being noticed. So once I let it all go and was myself I was drawing more people towards me and met some amazing unique people from different areas and backgrounds.


The fashion industry is very glamorous from the outside, have you experienced any negativity towards those with mental ill health?


I’ve definitely seen people go through something and being dubbed as crazy or attention seeking. As Ive gotten older I’ve looked back on that and realised no, they just needed a shoulder and someone to talk to instead of being spoken about behind their back. Ive also seen eating disorders to be glamorised and shrugged of as it was the norm. And even been given tips on how to start.


So, have things changed?


I think now its being taken so seriously. I think so many people are working on ways to help. There is so much more compassion for the next generation and so many tools/apps being invented to help with anxiety and depression.


Tell us something you appreciate about yourself!


I appreciate my positivity and being able to always remain calm even when it is chaos around me!


This years ‘theme’ for World Mental Health Day is Youth. What do you think is key in helping our young people of today with their mental health? 


I 100% now more than ever think it is so important we teach the younger generation to talk about their feelings and to be able to express them. We are not meant to be happy all the time. As humans we are meant to feel all emotions; anger, sadness, excitement, anxiety. That’s what is healthy. So we should talk about it and feel it and then we can move on to the more positive experiences.


You are a Mummy! What world do you hope your little boy to live in when he’s older in regards to attitudes towards Mental Health?


I hope he lives in a world with less social media, more outdoor activities and to be given the confidence to recognise all his emotions and of  course to be able to come to me or any family member about anything he is feeling.


Looking back at your own education how do you think Mental Health education could have benefitted / made a difference to your life of perhaps the lives of those around you?


I remember in secondary school there was a room for the school counceller and I remember kids would go in and out. But I also remember not really understanding what it was for. I think we should be aware of what counselling is. Just like we have P.E to help our physical health, we should have a lesson or time set aside to stimulate our minds as well.


Setting up and running your own print magazine must be tough and stressful (!) How have you coped / not coped and what keeps you going?


I would give full credit to my best friend/business partner. We keep each other motivated. We have an amazing relationship where we always talk about how we are feeling and find solutions to our problems together. Talking and loving what I do keeps me going. All the amazing creatives that would message me saying how great we are doing and how inspiring watching the magazine grow has been for them.  We also get a lot of messages from our readers from around the world who tell us how the magazines and the interviews have helped them.


What would you tell your younger self about the journey ahead?


Keep going. You love and enjoy what you are doing so keep at it. Believe in yourself first. There’s so many success stories from the biggest founders in the world where they failed so many times before. You just keep it moving. You only have one life. Make your dream happen.


Your next issue of Arcadia is all about Mental Health, which is fabulous, why did you decide to do this?


We wanted to take a new direction with Arcadia. Every person we now feature must have a story and be an inspiration. We wanted to keep real and for our readers to feel comfort, happiness and inspiration. We created this issue to celebrate those that are doing what they can to make the world a brighter and happier place for us all. 



Finally, At Be Empowered, we use a variety of wellbeing strategies and one of them is daily affirmations, what would your affirmation be? 


I actually have a few I say every day!
I am alive
I am healthy
I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge.
I have freedom
I have a loving and supportive partner
I have a supportive network of friends and family
I have my son

Huge thank you to the wonderful Jay Best for taking some time out to talk to us!

You can buy the new issue of Arcadia Magazine online here! 

They also have a beautiful Instagram account!