“I am not a victim. Please don’t call me loud.
If you visit Rachael Finley’s Instagram, you might think she has what could be considered a perfect life by 2022 standards and in some ways, you wouldn’t be wrong. The statuesque blonde owns Steakworld, home to her successful clothing line Hot Lava and 11 other brands – and is an OG internet celebrity as she got her start with her much-loved bad tip Tumblr. Now she’s adding “writer” to her CV as she continues her tradition of openness and unabashed honesty in her early memoir, “Nobody Ever Told Me Anything”.
Whether you met Steak online, as she is affectionately known because of the Omaha steaks her family would gift her, or had the chance to meet her in real life, you are immediately struck by this desire to bond. and soak up everything she has to say. With her doll-like features and eclectic style, everything about the Florida native exudes freshness. While her social circle may have a few famous faces sprinkled here and there, it’s the very fact that she’s shedding the sticky grip of fame that adds to the It girl status she’d never claim.
At 36, she’s had more jobs than fingers as she toured the United States a bit, managing and living with an all-male band. She was an MTV correspondent alongside Lizzo, had her own show on Vice, and was a bill-paying model at the time. In a time when people “don’t want to work hard anymore” and where fame and success are separated from talent, there’s no one who’s done it more honestly or worked harder than Steak.
In many ways, the entrepreneur and mother of two has mapped out a blueprint for so many young women, just by opening her inbox and being herself. Her 100,000 Instagram followers regularly flood her DMs with relationship questions or will share personal tragedies, asking Rachael to make room for them.
That’s why it’s hard to believe that she was ever allowed to occupy space. It hurts to know that your role model didn’t really grow up with one of her own.
Rachael Finley was left home for an entire year when she was 11. A self-made woman in almost every sense of the word, Rachael was forced into adulthood at an early age as her mother’s bipolar disorder and her father’s absence colored her childhood with instability. From learning to forge her mother’s signature to pay the bills when she couldn’t, to picking up the pieces after manic hallucinations, Rachael has fought to survive from the very beginning. It’s as if Finley’s shocking resilience came from the tumultuous environment that raised her. The chaotic Florida swamp married to a childhood spent cleaning up other people’s messes instilled in Steak an indomitable will to persevere.
Maybe it’s her swamp savvy, but Rachael isn’t afraid to wade through the mud. After all, she started her Tumblr while undergoing chemotherapy as an outlet. Despite the fact that Rachael has made her career by opening up and exposing parts of herself to others, whether through a screen or through her creations, “Nobody Ever Told Me Anything” reveals truths that ‘she never shared. Steaks’ first book dives deep into the gray and hidden areas of her life, offering the rulebook she didn’t have for her two daughters, revealing her own harrowing, yet relatable, experiences as cautionary tales.
A survivor of cancer, eating disorders and controlling relationships, Finley breaks the cycle by doing what we wish our parents had done for us – be honest. For hundreds and thousands of people, Steak is the “cool mom” or the older sister they never had, that she never had. “The results of self-navigating out of necessity, in response to a lack of true, pure and impactful advice, can be devastating. If we don’t tell our children, we leave it to the rest of the world to tell them. , mostly the hard way, sometimes the easy way.
Hypebae sits down with Rachael to discuss her early memoir, “Nobody Ever Told Me Anything.” Keep scrolling to find out more.
You discuss your marriage to Blake Anderson and your split and split views on fame. As someone who’s been on the internet for years, how do you navigate staying true to yourself, doing your job, and maintaining an online presence?
I think there are parts of me that I like to share, even the messy stuff, but there are parts that have to remain sacred to me because it’s just not safe for me to post everything. I’ve tested what my audience can handle and what makes me feel good about being known to strangers and it fluctuates from time to time. I like to keep pieces of myself for the people I eat with – I like to give it my all. It’s nothing against my followers, I just like the intimacy of a small group. It’s not that I’m two different people in these spaces – I just have a strict rule of not charging people or places that have proven to be “unsafe” to keep you safe, if that’s at all meaning.
In NETMA, you dive deep into your relationships with men as well as your female friendships throughout your journey. Can you talk about the importance of the chosen family? Given your childhood experiences, do you find it easier or more tempting to make others a home, especially when it comes to romantic relationships?
Making others a home is definitely something I have to fight hard against because it’s in my nature. I think we also need to dismantle fears of codependency. I think people throw that word around and demonize it without really understanding it. I like to be with the people I have chosen. I also just have to maintain the hypothetical house I built for myself, not just the one I built with them to make it healthy. I learn this as I grow up and get older.
Often people feel guilty for having difficult relationships with their family, especially with their mother. Although you personally have more than enough reason to have complicated feelings towards your family, how did you navigate feelings of guilt and shame when you first started telling your story?
I remember the day I realized my mom was having a bad hair day. She was super irritated with the world and in a fit of rage about the way the traffic was moving and the whole time she was playing with her hair in the rear view mirror. I was in college when I was trying out a few new looks like white eyeliner and it wasn’t like I had seen in a teen magazine and I got irritated the same way. That’s when I realized she wasn’t a god or a perfect being. She was a person like me and she could be affected by something small and stupid like her bad hair or her smudged eyeliner. Seeing your family as flawed, fearful humans helps you deal with the things that have happened because of those fears or flaws.
Were you afraid of becoming a mother because of your relationship with yours, as well as your family’s history of mental illness?
Absolutely, and I don’t think I’m done yet. Some days when my anxiety takes over and turns into paranoia. I get nervous and consult my therapist and friends. I think there will always be this looming thought that I might slip into a situation that my mom had, so I fight it by stabilizing myself in a way that she couldn’t – by having a support system in place and therapy, abs through sobriety, just so the chips aren’t stacked against me like they were for her.
Throughout your life you have had to make yourself smaller in one way or another. How have you learned to occupy space over the years? Is Hot Lava an extension of your healing process?
Hot Lava is for my follower base – they’ve spent a decade telling me what they like. I love making clothes for them. It is a tribute to this community, a work of art and a company. Pieces that reflect me take these aggressive themes and imagery and make them hot pink or lavender – intentionally and loudly “feminine”. I didn’t really have clothes like that when I wanted them. They are meant to take up space and are made to be worn in places where many “others” are asked to make themselves smaller.
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