Charlie Craggs 24 London
Categories: Activism, Nail Artist

Posted: 28th June 2016

Every now and then you come across a person whose positivity is so appealing it’s hard to stop yourself from just wanting to squeeze them. 24 year old Charlie Craggs is one of those people. It’s a sickening thing to comprehend, that Charlie has faced persecution from strangers, just for being her- that she’s been attacked verbally, physically and sexually. But she has. All for being trans. Three years ago Charlie ‘came out’ as a trans-woman. That’s probably the wrong phrase. Charlie has always known that she’s a woman. It just took her twenty-one years to pluck the courage up to reveal her true authentic self. Thank god she did because she’s now at the helm of one of the most pro-active and positive activist schemes in the country- Nail Transphobia, a travelling, pop-up nail salon that follows Charlie everywhere she goes. The premise? Anyone can sit and have their nails done for free. It is at it’s core a simple idea but it’s a concept that’s made Charlie’s main aims- spreading awareness of the Trans community and collecting “allies”- a reality. One file of a nail at a time, and Charlie’s fostered another friend of the cause to go out and spread the good word. In her own words: ’bad nails for a good cause'. It’s rare to sit one on one with someone for half an hour; to have someone touch your hands, make eye contact with you and chat. For many people Charlie knows it will be their first time talking to someone who’s trans which makes the intimate interaction all the more urgent and pertinent. It’s not just her abilities as a nail technician that help; her long term aims of conquering widely-held misconceptions and combat poor media-representation of the trans community are undoubtedly aided by her ability to laugh in the face of it all- her iconoclastic wit and wicked sense of humour belie the incredibly important work she does.

Like all real girl-hustlers, this one’s also making her own money. Charlie finances self defence classes for femmes and non-binary women via sales of her nail decals she sells on her website. Violence against non-binary people is on the rise: More than 600 hate crimes against transgender people were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2014-15, and the murder rates of trans-women have inclined. Charlie herself has been physically attacked in the past, and thanks “allies” for having stepped in, crediting them as one of the only reasons she’s alive today. It’s a gross thing to consider, but it’s real and it exists and trans people need figures like Charlie to bravely pave the way and help provide a voice of positivity.

Charlie has become not only a role model for trans people across the UK, she’s also become a role model full stop. Charlie’s charmed the socks off of BBC news, written pieces for titles like Teen Vogue and she’s a regular on every panel talk worth it’s salt. Earlier this year, things really went big. Charlie starred in a short film by director, Kathryn Ferguson, for Selfridges entitled Incredible Machines, where five women discussed their changing and multifaceted relationships with their bodies. I mean- not just any women. Body positive activist Naomi Shimada, WAH Nails founder and MBE Sharmadein Reid, British Thai boxing champion and designer of the hijab activewear range Ruqsana Begum and Michele Lamy, Rick Owens’s longterm muse make the cut. And, then, there's Charlie, in all her glory, flowing glossy mane of dark hair, satin underwear in place, long legs stretched in the boudoir setting. “I spent two decades wearing the wrong gender’s underwear and I was so uncomfortable” Charlie intones, “I’ve fought my battle and won”.

If you’ve not all ready pinned a picture of Charlie to your bedroom wall, you’ll soon be able to add her book to your Amazon wish list, Oh yeah, we forgot to mention she’s writing a book too *rolls eyes, flicks hair, exits stage left*

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO:I’m a trans activist - I run a campaign called Nail Transphobia.HOW WOULD YOUR FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU IN A SENTENCE?A hot mess. My friends know the real me.A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOU…Now that Nail Transphobia is taking off and I’ve got a growing public profile, everyday is different, which I love. One day I’ll be talking on a panel about activism, the next I’ll be writing a piece about trans stuff for Teen Vogue, the next I’ll be speaking on the news about transphobia- sometimes I’m even doing all these things in the same day. I’ve basically made a career off being trans. If life gives you lemons make lemonade, if life gives you a penis make a career off it etc etc. WHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET UP?Shave my face. The struggle is real #transgirlproblems WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?When I’m eating. Pref something made of potato.WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?Every single trans woman in the world.WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT OBSESSION?Sailor Moon.WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE?Do whatever you fucking want.WHAT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?Potatoes.BOOK CLUB RECOMMENDATION?My book, *flips hair*, which will be out in all good bookshops in the next year!BEST PARTY YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO?BEST PARTY YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO? My friend’s run a night called Straight Nasty at Vogue Fabrics in Dalston, it’s the first time I’ve been to a club where I’ve liked every song that’s come on. The first time I went, I arrived at the club with straight hair and by the time I left my hair was literally curly again because I sweat so much from dancing so hard to all the bangers.SONG TO BE PLAYING AS YOU ENTER THE CLUB?The America’s Next Top Model theme song (circa season 10 -13). Obviously.TIME YOU LAUGHED THE HARDEST?I try not to laugh because I don’t want wrinkles. My mum always tells me off for this. WHAT'S YOUR SIGNATURE DISH?Anything made from potato.ONE ITEM OF CLOTHING THAT BEST SUMS YOU UP?Spanx lol.WHAT WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVERUSE?I say ‘like’ after almost every word. I need to work on that. WHAT THREE THINGS WOULD BE ON YOUR RIDER?3 men. All of different ethnicities, because I’m an equal opportunity employer. BIGGEST LIE YOU WERE TOLD AS A KID?That I was a boy lol.WHAT'S YOUR PET HATE?Lads.WHAT'S NEXT?Though we’ve come a long way in the last couple of years with regards to trans rights, the number of trans people (specifically trans women of colour) being murdered every year is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate and I was on BBC news recently talking about the fact that transphobic hate crime is on the rise even here in London. I’m tired of just talking about this issue, so I’ve decided to actually do something - I’m about to start running free self defence classes for trans and non binary femmes. Verbal, physical and sexual abuse is a part of most of our lived daily experience as trans and non binary femmes and we all need to know how to defend ourselves; It can literally be a case of life or death. Full proceeds from the nail decals that I make and sell on my website go towards funding the classes (that’s a hint). Classes will be starting in the next month or so! AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Ione Gamble, Editor of Polyester.
Why: She’s such a boss.
Contact Charlie Craggs