The YouTuber joins forces with The School Of Life to explore the secret of happiness – but just what did she find?


Launching on the 8 October 2019, The School Of… is a new YouTube Originals series tackling life’s, “eternal, moral and ethical issues with the simplicity and wit that only The School of Life can bring.”

And they’re doing so with the help of the very finest young YouTubers out there – and the wonderful Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is one of them. Jessica’s episode in the series, What Is The Secret Of Happiness?, sees the outspoken LGBTQI and disability advocate explore what it is that makes humans happy, above all else.

So just how did she discover her own, Seven Secrets Of Happiness? #TakesAllTheNotes

YouTuber and The School Of… presenter Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

DIVA: Hello Jessica! What drew you in to The School Of… series? Do you have an interest in philosophy?

JESSICA KELLGREN-FOZARD: Yes, I have an interest in philosophy. I studied it at school and, a lot of the things we discuss on my YouTube channel, we discuss in quite a philosophical way. Things like, thinking about the broader picture, to give just one example. Even if we wouldn’t necessarily recognise that in itself as philosophy.

I’d say that’s philosophy, no?

I mean to be fair, everything’s philosophy. Put that in the article.

*MIND-BLOWN* Absolutely! In your episode, you share your Seven Secrets Of Happiness – how did you come up with them? 

A long-time viewer of my channel would probably be able to watch this episode and see that, actually, these are things that I’ve been saying all along. This was just a case of crystallising those ideas.

Were you given much help by the creators at YouTube?

It was really lovely, because they actually asked me for my input and were very much like, “We want to know what your secrets of happiness are and then we’ll build everything else around that.” It was great to be able to work that way because I’ve worked with other companies before and so often it’s, “Stand here and say the things we want you to say.” So yes, these are my Seven Secrets Of Happiness – they’re how I live my life. It’s really nice to be able to share them. 

And they came easily to you?

Again, they’re ideas that I’ve been sharing with people often. In fact, they’re some of the things that I will reply with if someone sends me a DM asking for help.

Do you think they’re quite universal? 

Yes, I do. I think there are always elements that you can take no matter what situation you’re in. I like to think that, although my channel is very much taking the lessons that I’ve learned, it’s about using those lessons to help other people see how they might be able to apply them to their own lives. They don’t have to have exactly the same medical problems that I do, they don’t have to be gay, and you don’t have to have been brought up the same way, you can still take things from it.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned that others could benefit from?

How about my ability to lie in the dark for two years, but keep myself amused?

Very useful. In fact, in your episode you say that having chronic health issues helped inform your ideas around happiness. Have those experiences given you a unique perspective, do you think?

It’s a unique perspective, yes – but also a universal one. It’s the kind of perspective that we would all come to had you all been in that position but instead, I’ve saved you all the trouble of being ill and almost dying and have shared my wisdom instead – its fine, I did it for you!

And we appreciate it! Thank you.

You’re welcome! [Laughs]

It feels a little like philosophy – certainly pop philosophy – is having a bit of a moment. Would you agree?

Yeah, it’s likely that philosophy and being more cerebral is having a resurgence in the… interesting climate that we live in at the moment. That’s my mum’s favourite word when something is awful but she doesn’t want to say it, it’s like, “That outfit’s very… interesting.”

Very diplomatic… Do you think, as humans, we should strive for happiness? Above other things?

Yes, happiness is like health. It’s something that we should all prize and it’s something that we should all work towards and not neglect. Happiness isn’t a by-product. So, “Oh, I’m going to work towards getting that car,” or, “I’m going to work towards getting a bigger house and then I’ll be happy.” Even things like getting married, or finding the love of your life, you know? That’s seeing happiness as an extra where, what we should be doing, is seeing happiness as a journey and looking at how we can inject happiness into whatever it is that we’re doing everyday.

Certainly, you can’t keep attaching happiness to one faraway thing and then another and another or you’ll never be content in the present moment – not for long at least. 

Yes, we should all be able to take an hour out of our day and do something truly because it makes you happy, not just as another end goal. 

There’s certainly something to be said of intrinsic happiness, I agree. Have you had your “injection of happiness” yet today? 

[Lifting her small, white dog off her knee] Yes! I have a puppy and we’ve had a nice cuddle! This is Tilly the little one of the two.

Hi Tilly! So, we know you have your Seven Secrets Of Happiness but can you sum up your philosophy? Do you have a mantra, of sorts?

Two things I repeat often to both my audience and myself when I’m feeling not great, is: “This too shall pass.” Whatever you’re going through right now, there’s always an upward path – you can get through it. I say that when I’m having horrific migraines: “It’s happened before. It’s gone away before and it will go away again.” That and, “You are not alone.” Whatever our happiness, whatever our sadness, whatever the emotions we’re feeling, we’re never alone in feeling those things. There’s always someone out there who can relate. 

And finally, to others who may have recently been diagnosed with a chronic health condition and who see your episode on happiness. What would you say?

What I would say to anyone who’s just been diagnosed with a condition is: first of all, “Congratulations on your diagnosis!” Because so often the struggle to get a diagnosis is a hard one. I would also say, although your life and the world may look different to how you thought it would be, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wrong. Your life is just different, it’s changed, but it can still be fun and positive. 

Absolutely. And, eventually, it could even give you a similarly unique perspective on happiness?

Exactly. Exactly. 

Fancy an epiphany or two? Then don’t miss The School Of… available to stream from the 8 October 2019 here

Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. // //

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