Marie-Claire is a Professional Rebel. She inspires people, who feel they don’t belong, remember who they are and find their place in the world. Together they go on a journey of creativity, courage and curiosity to stop giving so many fucks and grab life by the balls.

She’s also a pretty badass photographer too – just don’t call her that 😉

Stalk me

Copyright 2017 Marie-Claire Ashcroft. All Rights Reserved

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You don’t fit in.
You never have done.
But instead of owning it and becoming the artist, entrepreneur or Lady Gaga-esque superstar weirdo you’ve always secretly dreamed of, you’re pissed off, lost and your anxiety ridden head will not shut the fuck up about it.
Ever.
You grew up thinking something was wrong with you.
And today, well, you’re only operating at a minuscule fraction of your awesomeness, if at all.
It’s a fucking crime.
Stuck in a job, life or business that feels two sizes too small; your days are passing you by.
You’re not travelling the world, you’re not spending time with people and clients who really get you, and you’re definitely not having all the fun.
But you’re pretty good at hiding it, aren’t you?
Well, to everyone but yourself.
Dude, come on, it’s time to do something about this.

I remember many long mornings in slow moving rush hour traffic thinking, how the fuck did I end up here?
This isn’t me.
This isn’t what I wanted.
Who even am I?
Even when I eventually made the leap and set up my first business – something I thought I wanted, it was only a few years later – again, I found myself in the same boat.
This isn’t me.
This isn’t what I wanted it to be like.
What the heck is wrong with me?
 

THIS ISN’T YOUR FAULT.

 
I repeat. This isn’t your fault.
You see, there’s only a small percentage of people that ‘fit’ in society’s tiny box of what is acceptable.
They can cope with following the path laid out in front of them; saying yes to what’s next on the checklist, offering up their ankles to the 9-5 ball and chain and making peace with 48 hours of freedom once a week until retirement.
It’s easy for them.
But not you and me.
For creative, innovative, conscious, authentic and ambitious visionaries, leaders and rebels like us – it’s complete and utter torture.
Now there’s two ways you can go about this.
You can embrace your weirdness, despite it all and go on to be a superstar à la Lady Gaga mentioned above.
Or you become a bit of a sadsack.
Just like I did.

Feel like this too?

Hello, I’m Marie-Claire.
Please do not miss out the hyphen and call me Marie because some psycho bitch switch goes off in my brain and as a consequence innocent children and puppies get harmed somewhere across the globe and I simply cannot do anything about it.
I also go by the name Maz.

Photo by Jason Purple

My background is in low self-esteem.
People are usually really shocked when I tell them this.
Yep. I have lived with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem for most of my life.
In fact, I love opening with that line ‘hello my name is M-C and my background is in low-self esteem’ at business and networking events as if I’m making an announcement at some kind of AA meeting or something.
It’s definitely a conversation starter; …and a room splitter at times.
 
“Oh, but you’re so confident, so smiley, so full of amazing and positive energy.”
 
“You’re so brave to share that!”
 
“I wish I was as X* as you!”
*insert positive and inspiring quality of choice here.

 

But yeah, I’ve had people say shiz like this my whole life – from the clothes I began wearing as a teenager, to the choices I made in my 20s to regarding travelling alone, living abroad and moving from one career to another, to finally to setting up a business the way I have done and the way I choose to live my life fully embracing my awesomeness most recently.
But the thing is I never thought I’d ever be happy.
Ever.
I was a right sad-sack underneath it all.
I just hid it really well.
I spent my whole life thinking I was different to everyone else.
It started at a really young age. Instead of just owning it and doing something about it, I totally tried to hide how I felt for ages.
I tried to hide, fit in, and be like everyone else.
I wasn’t able to make peace with who I was as a person at all.
I was totally 100% ashamed of being different and it really, really affected my self-confidence.
I knew I wasn’t like everyone else around me.
But I couldn’t see who I was.

I have memories of looking up to cool people – artists, musicians, people who always wore amazingly awesome outfits and were super creative wishing I could be like them but I wasn’t brave enough to talk to them and hang out with them.
I didn’t believe I was talented enough to even try to be creative at all.
I didn’t think those people would accept me.
So I pretended.
Mainly because I was sick of disappearing into the background.
I just wanted to feel normal.
Accepted.
I pushed some parts of me right out (the ones I thought were likeable), and I hid the other bits (the ones I was ashamed of).
And if I’m honest, it lead me down the wrong path.
I chose to be the slightly zany one amongst the people doing regular life.
The regular life I just longed to be able to slot myself into.
(Not really, but that’s just what I kept telling myself haha)
 
But every time I tried to squeeze myself into that box, I felt so wrong and misunderstood.
So I’d try something new, and then something else new just to find where I fitted.
Over time it resulted in me living with depression and anxiety – which then fuelled my bloody low self-esteem further.
It was a big fat stinking cycle.
And I was too much of a fanny to really own up and do something about it.
Thankfully, a boring career move in an export office lead me to pick up and buy a camera in 2006 when I received my first annual bonus.
And well, the journey since then has been quite an epic one – not smooth in any sense, but definitely well worth it.
 

Photo by Gemma Pixie

I used a camera to overcome my confidence issues.
 
I used photography to find out who I was.
 
I used my creativity to explore emotions and heal childhood trauma.
 
I created a business where I get to be myself, spread joy and mainly act like a knob all day.
 
And by being myself and owning all the parts of myself, I’ve met people who have felt exactly the same way I did growing up, and I get to help them feel better about themselves too.

 

This is how you’ll feel when you’ve worked with me…

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I get to help people realise how awesome they are for a living. It’s pretty fucking epic.

(read this aloud doing the wonder woman pose, imagining the item of your choice placed upon your head helping you feel all powerful, sparkly and shit)

Photo by Stolen Cactus

I believe in unicorns.
 I also believe that the way most of us live, work and think is utter bollocks – designed to keep us in our own heads, feeling shit about ourselves and in search of something to make it all go away… really quickly.
 I want to live in a world where we realise there is another way than all of this headfuckery; where instead of using all our precious life energy to beat ourselves up, compare ourselves to other people and have imaginary competitions, we actually stick the middle finger up to it all and turn life well and truly around.
And I’m on a mission to do just that; to help people feel good – about life, about themselves, about who they are so they can send ripples of awesomeness and joy out into the world and make it a better place for everyone, even the meanies.
will not rest until I am able to reflect people’s own sparkle and superpowers so brightly that they come to see and believe it for themselves.
It’s my gift and the world bloody well needs it.

SIGN UP IF:

You want to be yourself. You want to know who you are. You want to feel good. You want to be happy. You want more confidence. You want more adventures. You want to quit your shitty job. You want to stand out more in your business. You want purpose. You want meaning. And you want to grab life by the balls.

Photo by Marmalade Toast

Once upon a time I had a photography business.
It was really good. I was really good. Except I just couldn’t see it. This is a story how low self esteem killed a perfectly good business…

Read More…

Just be yourself – words we’ve heard millions of times. Hellooooo… But how? It’s not like anyone actually teaches us how, is it?! We spend our youth paying homage to the high school hierarchy; fit in, or get the crap beaten out of you…

Read More…

The way I felt about myself fuelled my anxiety and depression. And depression and anxiety fuelled how I felt about myself.
I’d brave it and make some big changes in my life, like get a new job or move house, and it helped for a short while…

Read More…

Like what you’re reading?

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SOME OF THE PEOPLE I’VE WORKED WITH 

I do my best work with people and businesses who want to invest the time, energy and money to spark their creativity, and allow their best selves, and talents to shine through and feel happier and more confident in work and in life.
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Life. Unedited.

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Formerly known as:

FlukePhotography

Happiness Ninja