In July 2017, Gina Martin was at a music gig in Hyde Park when a man took a photo up her skirt. She later saw the picture on his friend’s phone and realised it was of her. After taking the phone to the police, she was told there ‘wasn’t much they could do’ as this type of crime was not a sexual offence in England & Wales. It made her so angry that she launched a campaign against “upskirting”. Eighteen months later, legislation has been passed to make it a crime in England and Wales! We just couldn’t wait to chat to this girl boss activist and hear about her new book launch!
We are so proud and inspired by your success with the Upskirting Movement and your win at the Cosmo awards – can you tell us a bit about how it all started?
Oh thank you! It all started when I was upskirted at a festival in 2017. I got the guy, the photo and the phone to the police and was told there was nothing they could do. So I looked into the law and found out non-consensual upskirt photo were not a sexual offence here but had been in Scotland for a decade.
How did you feel when the government passed the bill to make upskirting a criminal offence?
I was exhausted and just purely relieved. I’d been there every step of the way for the whole process for two years so I was just so so elated we’d managed to get it over the line.
We can’t wait to read Be The Change! Can you tell us a bit about the book?
Yes! It’s a toolkit for change at any level. It’s really readable and really accessible because its the book I needed when I started this work and was desperately trying to read legal and political articles about activism that I just couldn’t understand. Half of the book is a positive and supportive place to convince you to begin and the other half is practical advice.you can dip in and out of – like how to write a press release, how to handle high pressure meetings and how to get media.
What is an average day like for you?
Lots of emails and then anything from doing interviews, to planning my next campaign, writing articles or working on brand deals. Campaigning doesn’t pay at all so I do lots of bits and bobs to make money so that I can be flexible and do the activism work on the side.
What has been your best career highlights so far?
Oh wow, probably my book tour. I was able to have amazing conversations with local activists and show people what activism is really like, and I also met so many lovely people, who say my work has helped them which is everything.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Not to dull my passion, or take the traditional routes.
Which beauty products can you not live without?
Sudocreme for healing spots and coconut oil for taking off makeup! Also pears soap for washing. It’s the only thing that keep my skin happy.
Do you have any tips for balancing such a busy schedule?
No, I’m barely managing! The only thing that helps is early nights and putting your to do list in order or priority!
What do you do in your down time?
I paint, drink wine with my friends and cuddle the hell out of my partner!
Can you tell us your best beauty tips?
Bronzer as eyeshadow creates a lovely subtle Halo around your eyes. If you have no time, do your eyebrows and shove on tinted lip balm to your cheeks and lip. A bit of colour and groomed brows does the heavy lifting.
What is next for you?
I truly don’t know! There’s so much happening I can’t quite see the wood for the trees but as soon as I know I’ll let you know 😉