Wholehearted Stories : Chelsea Leyland
Chelsea Leyland is a British DJ, model and activist who has spun tunes for the likes of Chanel and Burberry and is a familiar face on the front rows of fashion week. For the past two years she has been on a mission to destigmatise the use of medicinal cannabis to treat epilepsy. She’s been using it to prevent her own seizures for two years now and is currently producing a deeply personal documentary on the subject called Separating The Strains.
We caught up with 31-year-old Chelsea — who wears our new Links Wholehearted collection — to reflect on romance, adopt her motivated mindset and discover what she believes in with all her heart.
Links of London: What does living wholeheartedly mean to you?
Chelsea Leyland: To me, living wholeheartedly means living in your truth. And something that has taken me a while to discover is that authenticity is really powerful. From my own experiences, I’ve found that when I’m living in my truth and being 100% myself, that’s when I feel like I’m living passionately through life.
LL: And what do you wholeheartedly believe in?
CL: I wholeheartedly believe in going with the flow of life; going towards things that feel right. I think that when you trust yourself and move towards people and places that make you feel good intuitively, you’re on the right path. I also believe in the mission that I’m on right now. I believe that patients across the board should have access to medical cannabis. That’s something that I’m fighting and campaigning for. It’s what means the most to me at this moment in time.
LL: Who or what makes you feel like anything is possible?
CL: Caroline Sharp and Sophie Daniel, the director and producer of the documentary I’m making, have really given me the courage to believe in my work and the fact that this is an important cause. Whenever I doubt myself, I always have them rooting for me. We’ve gravitated towards a lot of female medical professionals, scientists and researchers too, which is interesting because when you’re working with cannabis, it’s the female part of the plant that you use to extract the medicine. If it wasn’t for these two girls, I never would’ve thought that making the film would be possible. I owe them everything really.
LL: What are you most proud of and why?
CL: I’m most proud of trusting myself. I was on really horrific anticonvulsant medication since I was 15 and I never thought that I would be able to come off pharmaceuticals. When I made the decision to wean myself off two years ago, my parents and my neurologist told me that it wasn’t a good idea, that it was irresponsible and stupid of me. But at the end of the day, I think when we’re attuned to our bodies and intuition, we know what’s best for ourselves. That whole experience taught me the importance of always doing your own research, always going that extra mile to educate yourself.
LL: What’s the best advice that anyone has ever given you about l-o-v-e?
CL: I think it’s very hard to follow advice because when you’re truly in love, it’s so powerful that it pulls you in many directions and you don’t often have as much control as you think you do. So I try to remind myself that love should lift you up and make you feel supported and powerful. And also that love is not to be confused with passion. But I mean, who knows! I’m still learning.
LL: Whose love story, real or fictional, do you consider to be the greatest of all time?
CL: The insane relationship between Burt Pugach and Linda Riss. They were going out for a few months before she broke up with him, and he was so obsessed with her, so heartbroken, that he sent someone round to throw lye in her face. It blinded her and put him behind bars, and while he was in prison he fiercely wrote to her every single day professing his love. 14 years later, he was let out and went on national television saying how sorry he was, and proposed to her. Basically, in the end they got married! It’s non cliché and unexpected but I think there’s something beautiful in how he wanted to make amends for what he did, to treat her like a princess and wait on her hand and foot forever. I think it’s the craziest love story of all time. There’s a documentary on their lives called Crazy Love and it’s my favourite.
LL: Which piece from the Wholehearted collection are you most drawn to and why?
CL: I like the Endless Love heart hoops because I love wearing lots of gold jewels in my ear that I’ve collected from different times in my life. I wouldn’t naturally be drawn towards hearts, but these have a really great abstract quality.
LL: How does wearing them make you feel?
LL: Finally, what styling tips would you give to somebody wearing them?
CL: Make it your own! For me, it’s always about wearing things back to front, inside out, topsy turvy. It’s more interesting when it looks eclectic. So if you’re going to go for a nice classic piece of jewellery, it’s always nice to mix it with vintage and not worry about things matching. Just make it different.