Mary Skinner: Redefining Mental Wellness in the Modern Age
Introducing Mary Skinner, the dynamic podcast host and lifestyle content creator who has boldly redefined the landscape of what living with a mental illness looks like. Through her candid and heartfelt podcast, 'Prologues,' Mary offers an intimate look into her life, covering a wide spectrum of topics from mental well-being to everyday experiences. In this exclusive Miami Living Magazine interview, Mary shares insights into her journey of self-discovery, explains her choice to leave TikTok, and emphasizes the importance of authentic content in a digital age dominated by curated highlights. As a dedicated philanthropist and a newlywed, she masterfully navigates her personal life, content creation, and advocacy. Join us as we delve into the inspiring world of Mary Skinner, a beacon of authenticity and empowerment for her dedicated followers.
Miami Living (ML): Your podcast "Prologues" covers a wide range of topics, from mental health to beauty products. How did you decide on the name "Prologues," and what inspired you to create a platform where you openly discuss such personal aspects of your life?
Mary Skinner: When I was planning my podcast, I kept coming back to this idea of being at the very beginning of my life story. I'm 25, and as a teen, I used to think that seemed like such a grown-up age, and surely I'd have my whole life figured out by that point. As I've gotten older, I've realized how untrue that really is. Prologues is all about being at the very beginning of your story and embracing not knowing everything about life yet. I also consider Prologues to be a digital journal of sorts, with every episode serving as a new entry. This format allows me to be open and vulnerable about a wide variety of topics, instead of sticking to one niche.
ML: You've been open about your own mental health journey, having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and OCD. How has sharing your experiences on your podcast and social media platforms impacted your own life and the lives of your followers?
Mary: Every week, I get messages from women saying that listening to the podcast or following my social media accounts has inspired them to seek therapy or treatment for their mental health. I honestly can't describe how surreal that feels to me! When I was diagnosed, I didn't know a single person in real life or online who was speaking about mental health in a way that I could relate to. I felt deeply alone with my diagnoses and ostracized from other people. It's hard for me to comprehend that sharing my experiences online is helping other people in that position feel a sense of community and belonging. It helps me in turn by making me feel like something good is coming out of the moments when I'm struggling.
ML: Quitting TikTok, where you had amassed over 1.4 million followers, was a significant decision. Can you tell us more about the reasons behind this choice and the importance of recognizing social media's impact on mental health, especially for young women?
Mary: I had been thinking of getting off of TikTok for about a year before I did so - I literally woke up one morning last spring and thought, "Why on earth am I still doing this?" and didn't go back on the app for months. I haven't looked back or regretted it at all. I was so addicted to it - addicted to scrolling the fyp, addicted to checking it first thing in the morning, addicted to knowing the latest trends and news. My attention span was practically nonexistent, I was irritable, and I wasn't enjoying my real life properly because I was always consumed with other people's lives online. TikTok was a massive part of my day that never really made my day better. It wasn't easy to leave; I'm a full-time content creator, and TikTok is the most popular social media platform currently, but I am so glad I did. I still post occasionally, but I rarely allow myself to get on and scroll. I have more hobbies now, I have a generally more positive outlook, and I feel less pressure to keep up with trends because I'm not constantly being bombarded by them. It has genuinely made my life a more positive place, and I hope I can inspire others to confront their own social media addictions as well.
ML: Your content seamlessly blends deep discussions on topics like mental health and relationships with lighter subjects like morning routines and girl talk. How do you strike a balance between these diverse themes, and what message do you hope to convey to your audience?
Mary: I figure that if makeup routines and mental health discussions are equally relevant to me, they must be equally relevant to a lot of people in their mid-20s. I never want any one theme to define my content, because people are too multifaceted for that. Personally, I don't want to follow accounts that only talk about mental health - I don't need the constant reminder that I have diagnoses of my own. I want to follow creators who are open about struggling with mental health, but who are still living full lives and allowing themselves to be defined in other ways. I find that to be much more inspiring and encouraging to me, and I hope my content provides that for other people!
ML: Your YouTube channel offers weekly vlogs of your day-to-day life, providing an authentic look into your world. What motivates you to share both the highs and lows of your life in a culture dominated by "highlight reels"?
Mary: I just feel so fake if I don't share the lows! I physically can't do it, I cringe at myself so hard if I only post the highs. I also think it's every creator's responsibility to use their influence mindfully, and part of that is not contributing to the toxic highlight reel culture whenever possible. If I don't share the lows, I feel like I'm pretending to be someone I'm not. That's exhausting!
ML: What are your plans and aspirations for the future, both personally and professionally?
Mary: I'm moving to Scotland with my husband this year, so my immediate personal future is all about getting ready for such a huge change and adjusting to my new home once I'm there. I want to invest my time into my podcast, because it's my favorite platform, and I have a vision for a personal brand that I'd like to launch in early 2025. I used to feel a lot of pressure to accomplish everything now now now, but these days, I'm content to enjoy the journey. I have loads of goals and plans, but they will all happen in their own time!