Words by Brittany Joyce.
It's a rare and special thing when family members come together to play music, but especially so when those family members also share a passion for "feminism for other freaks and weirdos." Sisters Delilah and Ursula Holliday, alongside cousin Amelia Cutler, make up London punk outfit Skinny Girl Diet. We met up with the trio to talk about everything from politics to periods and, of course, their Broadly "Badass Witches Wid Attitude" playlist.
Born and raised in London, Delilah, Ursula, and Amelia began taking music seriously at a young age. The sisters started playing music together seven years ago under the name Typical Girls. When Amelia joined, they decided to "amp it up a little bit more."
The origin story of their unique band name starts with the day that Delilah was surfing the internet and stumbled upon the "Skinny Girl Diet," an actual diet promoting fast weight loss by The Real Housewives' Bethenny Frankel. "It really scared me that that's allowed to exist in the world," Delilah tells Broadly. "I just thought we have to change something about that: how women are viewing their bodies and how society's telling them to look at themselves in the mirror. That's why we called the band that—as kind of a message of self care and self love."
I can't think of another band that's been non-white and punk...
"We wanted to take over the internet so when you search 'Skinny Girl Diet,' you find three punk girls, instead of the diet," Ursula adds.
Though Skinny Girl Diet played shows throughout high school, it took a while for their peers to catch up with them, partially because they were usually too young to get into the venues. "At the start, it was sort of old punks [that came to our shows]," Ursula remembers. "That was a big compliment because they actually went to the punk shows back in the day." With the release of their debut LP Heavy Flow in September, the group has seen their fanbase grow in both diversity and number, but their message has remained the same. "We're three women of color making feminist punk music for other freaks and weirdos like ourselves," Delilah says, smiling.
Delilah and Ursula are English and Jamaican, and Amelia is English and Japanese. They see their cultural backgrounds as something that has been needed for a long time in the punk scene. "I can't think of another band that's been non-white and punk," Ursula says "I guess I wouldn't even say we're punk; because we're non-white, we are diaspora punk."
We wanted to take over the internet so when you search 'Skinny Girl Diet,' you find three punk girls, instead of the diet.
London is well-known as a cultural and ethnic melting pot, but that of course doesn't mean it's not without its political and social pressures of oppression, particularly for women of color. "Especially this year, with things like Brexit, it's a reminder that a lot of people don't think the same way you do," Ursula says. "It's very easy to fall into that sort of bubble."
Even their album cover, which features the three artists in period-stained white dresses, has received unexpected attention. "It's not even serious—the album art—which is funny in itself," Delilah says. "We're just trying to say... we get periods."
Beyond the political, Delilah, Ursula, and Amelia are also constantly breaking personal barriers. "I'm kind of shy and find it weird to believe that I can still get up on stage and scream at people," Delilah laughs. But above all, Skinny Girl Diet just wants to be Skinny Girl Diet. "If we wanted to sign to a major [label], we wouldn't be talking about the issues," she says.
"If we wanted to get money, we wouldn't have a name like this," Ursula adds. "So the ultimate goal is to be able to do this, which is something we all love doing," Amelia tells us. That same idea is embodied in their playlist—empowerment. "[It] makes you feel like a badass witch with attitude."