18 Nov 2020

Up Close With Flo Windey: “I Want to Make Something Useful for Young People”

We teamed up with Tommy Jeans to capture the new generation of upcoming artists and media personalities who have the power to change our society and perspective on life by using their influence for good. In collaboration with the iconic denim giant, we portrayed five influential frontrunners in their favorite Tommy Jeans look and had an introspective talk about their personal motives, view on our society, and future plans. TV-host and pureblood ‘Enfnts Terribles’ Flo Windey is up first.

Flo Windey is the new messiah of Generation Z. Only a few media personalities dare to talk about the topics she’s opening up about: sex, drugs, and mental health. Flo Windey isn’t shy to share her feelings about all of it and now she’ll host a TV-show on VTM 2 where she explores the boundaries of these themes. Her first TV-show Club Flo, which is premiering on Thursday November 19,  is a unicorn in our tv-world and is exactly what youngsters need. In our interview, Windey talks about her struggles in the past, breaking taboos, and shares her definition of being an influencer.

You finished studying and are now working full-time. How is your work-life so far?

It’s very fun, but I really have to adapt to this new situation. When I was studying, I also worked two or three days a week. Now, I’m really focused on my job, and I noticed that there’s a big difference between producing something for television and online. Whenever you make online videos, you have instant gratification, and it’s mostly out within a week. Television is like being pregnant and looking forward to the moment it finally comes out. I have to be more patient now because the television formats I’m shooting mostly come on television three months later.

People got to know you thanks to a takeover of Studio Brussel’s Snapchat a couple of years ago. Do you like to be called an ‘influencer’?

It’s an expression that was invented by marketers, which YouTubers and Instagrammers took over. I think it’s better to label yourself as a YouTuber, Instagrammer, or content creator. I don’t feel like you need to attach yourself to the advertisement part of the job. Besides, influencing — to me — is way more than just posting pictures for a brand. You can take your responsibility and use your platform to talk about social problems, and that’s what I do too.

Is it stressful to know that people are influenced by the statements you make?

It doesn’t bring stress, and it wouldn’t feel right if I would think too much about it. When I feel comfortable sharing my feelings, I just do it. I never think differently from whatever I post, and I don’t speak up about things when they don’t feel right to me.

Sometimes I have that struggle with body positivity. I really want to be body positive, but there are days that I look in the mirror and don’t really like what I see. I would have mixed feelings when I would post something like “I’m so positive” when it’s just not true. That’s what I’m sometimes struggling with. You don’t need to hop on a hype train because everybody else does. You need to continue to do whatever makes you feel good.

Are you still shocked when you post something personal and someone comments something very harsh?

Yeah, sometimes it hurts when you post something very personal. A couple of weeks ago, I posted something about my grandmother. I was calling her, and she told me: “I don’t see you, and you don’t visit me anymore. Do you still love me?” and I had tears in my eyes because I couldn’t visit her due to the restrictions. Someone commented on my post: “You’re lucky. My grandmother died like a dog during corona.”

It really hurt to read that because I’m really happy that my grandmother is still here, but we can’t forget that there are so many people dying alone now. Everyone has their own reality, but when someone shares their story, you understand that you have a privilege. At that moment, I just missed my grandmother a lot and wanted to share that without any bad intentions.

We grow up in a society where everyone has an opinion about everything. Does it bother you that people have prejudices about you?

Not really. There are a lot of prejudices about me, but I just forget about them. It’s not even intentional! The same thing happens with important things: I always have to write it down or I’ll forget where I have to be.

I’m single now and when I go on a date, I’m a little bit anxious. I make things about sex, and I’m afraid that people expect that I’m brilliant in bed. In those moments, I just know for myself: “I’m here to disappoint!”

You don’t only talk about sex, but also open up about very vulnerable topics such as mental health. Have you always been this open or was it a longer process?

I was at a very low point when I was fifteen, and I’m sure that I wouldn’t say that I was unhappy back then. Our society has changed over the past ten years and social media wasn’t the outlet valve it is now. It was rather focused on showing the beautiful side of our lives, and I was very fragile. I guess that my personality would be quite damaged if I would have received backlash for being open about my struggles back then. As a teenager, I was too shy and afraid to admit that I was struggling with my mental health, but that’s different now. I realized that nobody can deny how I feel!

Were your insecurities from the past a motivation to do it differently now?

I just try to be the person that I would have needed when I was younger. I used to watch Spuiten en Slikken or shows like Skins, that were really out there, which didn’t exist in Flanders. Or when it existed, it was too dramatic. I want to make something that’s useful for young people and try to make something that would’ve helped a 16-year-old Flo.

Media and entertainment are often made for a grown up audience, who mostly have their lives already pretty organized, to give them some sensation. I don’t want to make a sensational show. I want the people that I invite on the show to feel comfortable with the result. That’s very important to me. I always make sure that everyone involved is okay with what we put out and make things that I’d love to see on a screen myself.

Your shows Flowjob on Studio Brussel’s YouTube channel and Club Flo, which is premiering now on VTM 2, are breaking taboos. What made you realize that we don’t talk enough about sex, drugs, and social problems?

Every time you talk about it with, for example, your friends or family, there’s a slightly uncomfortable vibe. Once you go a bit more into detail, people quickly say: “TMI!” But that’s not ‘too much information’. I don’t know why, but we’re a little bit too prudish.

As a girl, you sometimes have a white discharge in your panties. At first, I didn’t know what it was because no one ever talks about it. I googled it, and it said that if it smells weird, you have an STD and if it doesn’t smell weird, you’re good. I was questioning why we’d rather google things instead of asking our friends because they have a vagina too. Everyone always thinks a vagina has to be clean, look good, and smell fresh, but that’s not always the case.

Are there still taboos you want to break in the near future?

It’s difficult to just choose one, but I think we have to talk more about the fact that average sex is okay too. You can’t always have amazing sex. It isn’t clean. Sex really stinks. When you enter a room where people just had sex, it really smells. We have such a romanticized image of so many things like sex and drugs because everyone thinks it’s cool. That’s not the case for everyone in real life.

In your first big TV-show Club Flo, you’re looking for boundaries. What can we expect?

You’re going to see everything you want to see. We don’t want to shock our viewers or hunt for sensations but want to inform our audience so they do things informed. If you’re not sure if something’s for you, we tested it for you. For example, you don’t know if XTC is something for you, we gathered information about it to educate you.

Aren’t you afraid that people will interpret the show in the wrong way?

When you watch the show, you’ll see that we don’t promote, for example, the use of drugs. We want to encourage people to not do it in a dark corner, where it often goes wrong but instead create an environment where it’s more accepted. I believe that harm reduction is a good solution to the problems we have. Whenever we talk about drugs, it’s because someone had an overdose, and it’s already too late. Most of the teenagers that use drugs use it at parties and don’t take it because of the problems they face. We want to inform you to prevent it.

What kind of other shows would you love to make one day?

I think I will continue with making human-interest formats in the coming years because I love to address topics that we’re not talking about enough. Now, that’s sex and drugs, and I’m very happy with it, but I don’t think I’ll talk about the same things when I’m thirty. To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it before, but it definitely goes wider than what I’m doing now.

Flo Windey is wearing dungarees, T-shirt, jacket, coat, and sneakers from the latest collection of Tommy Jeans.

Photography by Ines Vansteenkiste-Muylle
Production, styling and creative direction by ENFNTS TERRIBLES Studio, Dries Vriesacker
Makeup and hair by Gladys Ferro
Interview and text by Maxim Meyer-Horn
Photography assistant: Syntyche Boda


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