from Livia Brown
Jacqueline Schipper doesn’t think much about karma. Or the belief that you can do anything if you focus on it. A lot happens in life that you can’t control. Like where you were born. Or when loved ones leave one of them. Or when a disease takes hold of your body, shaking it and turning life upside down. What you can control is how you handle it. For Jacqueline Schipper, this means above all: radical openness.
On her Instagram, Jaqueline Scheiber aka Minusgold gave her 43,000 followers an insight into her life. 29-year-old author and former social worker Jacqueline Scheiber has been sharing her most personal thoughts and best and worst experiences online for many years. First on a blog, then on Instagram, she writes about origins, privilege, and feminism, but also on taboo topics like mental health and grief.
“Unbeautified” is published by Piper Verlag and is the revised and expanded form of “Unbeautified” by Jaqueline Scheiber as of 2020.
In her new nonfiction book Unbeautified, Jacqueline Schipper reflects on her own openness and how it helps herself and so many others. Between personal stories, clever considerations, and intriguing ideas, the author sometimes offers advice. We met her for an interview.
FM4 Radio: Your new book is mostly about the same topics you write about on Instagram. Where do you see it in the book trade – in manuals, non-fiction or fiction?
Jacqueline Schipper: My book has already been presented as a non-fiction classic, but of course it has this strong autobiographical component. In terms of writing style and the way it’s told, it’s more like a story, so it’s not entirely dry and sober. But it is based on facts.
FM4 Radio: Can books do something that blogs or Instagram can’t?
Jacqueline Schipper: Books, of course, are much nicer to the touch. I’m also a big fan of analog things, whether it’s analog photography or books, I really hoard them. So I am not a moderate at all. I just think it’s nice to have something on your hands.
Radio FM4: Your new book is an expanded version of your book Opening Up. How did it happen that you republished the book and what has changed?
Jacqueline Schipper: “Openness” was an article and part of a book series. The nature of the article is that it is very short. It was also just over 100 pages long. The biggest criticism of myself and many of my readers has often been that there simply wasn’t enough space to go deeper, especially with difficult subjects. Then, Piper was interested in doing a paperback out of it, and that’s when I saw the opportunity to take a closer look at the material. Also to show the evolution, because a lot of what I wrote in 2019 has also changed since then.
Radio FM4: In your texts, both on Instagram and on paper, you talk a lot about topics that are otherwise hushed up. Often these are very private details – low points, illnesses, personal problems. How do you feel when you share something very special and what does it bring to you personally?
Jacqueline Schipper: I have a feeling that confrontation on a public stage has never been in question for me. It occurred to me in an interview a few days ago that I simply lack shame. I always thought it was normal to talk about these things, because these things matter to us. I see this as a great opportunity to open up these spaces. I don’t want it to always be about me, but I am happy when people identify themselves in it and I can start the discourses.
FM4 Radio: Social media is under increasing criticism for data breaches, for promoting polarization and not necessarily having a healthy impact on the psyche. However, for you personally, social media is very important for expressing yourself and also for breaking taboos. Do you think the positives of social media outweigh the negatives?
Jacqueline Schipper: It is very important that we take a critical look at the digital space. But I think it’s pretty daring to keep pointing fingers at her and saying what breaks it all and how bad it is. I think we have to find some way to deal with digital space and digital reality. Because he’s not going away anytime soon. That is why I try again and again to focus on the things this space can be good for and where it can also do good things, without diminishing the fact that there are of course downsides.
FM4 Radio: Where should one ideally read your book?
Jacqueline Schipper: Well, I think it would be better if people read my book in a Viennese café or in a thermal bath. I think this will work fine.
Radio FM4: You are now going on a reading tour through Austria and Germany. What can one expect from reading Minusgold?
Jacqueline Schipper: You can look forward to personal insights, good stories, good laughs, and a little behind-the-scenes about the book.
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