Interview with Different, Not Less author Chloé Hayden

Growing up, Chloé Hayden felt like she’d crash-landed on an alien planet where nothing made sense. Eye contact? Small talk? And why are you people so touch-oriented? She moved between 10 schools in 8 years, struggling to become a person she believed society would accept, and was eventually diagnosed with autism and ADHD. When a life-changing group of allies showed her that different did not mean less, she learned to celebrate her true voice and find her happily ever after…

Amaze spoke to Chloé about the themes that inspired the book, Once Upon a Times, her favourite part about being Autistic and more.

 

What are some of the key themes in Different, Not Less?

Learning to embrace all that you are, finding your place in the world, and creating a world that is more accepting, more accommodating, and more ready to embrace the brilliance of difference.

What inspired you to write this book? And were there any times where you felt like giving up on it or felt overwhelmed by writing it?

Writing has always been my outlet and my safe space; it’s always been how I was best able to share my thoughts and my mind and everything I didn’t have the voice to say; writing a book felt like a natural progression.

Writing it was immensely difficult- I was filming Heartbreak High at the same time! There was lots of tears, lots of “I can’t do this”, but never once did I feel like giving up. I waited my whole life to see a book like this, and I’m not letting another child go through what I did. I want to make sure that people have resources, they have hope, they have the knowledge that they’re going to be okay… And I hope this book is a remedy for that.

In your book, you talk about life in the context of three fundamental stages, which we are taught through fairy tales: Once Upon a Time stage, Adventure stage, and Happily Ever After stage – What advice would you give to those who are currently in their Once Upon a Time and Adventure stages?

Your Happily Ever After is coming- I promise you. No fairytale can exist without a Once Upon A Time, without dragons to fight… And, likewise, no fairytale will close without a Happily Ever After. You’re going to be okay, I promise you.

Your book is structured with lots of headings, pull-out quotes, and even an index – What made you decide to format it this way?

It was a collaborative decision between my publishing team and myself. I wanted to make sure the things that were important were highlighted, that people could easily find and access the parts of the book they needed to read… And, as an ADHD’er, having things broken up is immensely beneficial!

What’s your favourite part about being Autistic?

My mind is absolutely magical. I don’t see the world the way a typical person does, and I think that’s brilliant. Autistic people are the makers, the do’ers, the creators.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about how non-Autistic people understand autism, what would it be?

See us for who we are, not for who we’re not. Unlearn your bias, your expectation, your stigmas, and instead learn from the community, from us. We are not your stigmas.

Finally, I feel there’s no better way to end an interview with you, than by asking for a fact about the Titanic?

These questions are. My. FAVOURITE.

The largest ship in the world at its time, deemed unsinkable, not enough life boats on board, and sinking tragically after hitting an ice berg. Am I talking about the Titanic? NO. This is the exact storyline of a book entitled ‘Wreck Of The Titan’, written 14 years before the Titanic sank!!!

To make up for even more coincidences, the fictional ship and the Titanic were the same length, were going the same speed when they hit the ice berg, had the same capacity, and the same amount of passengers actually on board, were both struck by the berg in the same spot, at the same time, in the same spot in North Atlantic ocean.

Crazy coincidence? Or curse because the Titanic refused to christen their ship?

 

Buy ‘Different, Not Less’

 

About Chloé Hayden

Chloé Hayden is an award winning motivational speaker, actor, performer, author, influencer, content creator and disability rights activist and advocate, the heart of which these all intersect being her passion for creating change, celebrating diversity, and pushing towards a better future.

Diagnosed as autistic (and ADHD) at the age of thirteen and feeling ostracised from society, Chloe started an anonymous blog to share her feelings and to find a community, and ended up building something bigger than she ever dreamed.

Now, Chloé is a power house in advocacy and a worldwide known name, with platforms of half a million followers and nearly half a billion views, in-person presentations at seminars, conferences, schools and her own tours in three continents to over a hundred thousand people, as well as starring as one of the worlds first autistic characters, Quinni in Netflix’s Heartbreak High.

With her messages of ‘Different, Not Less’ and ‘Find Your Eye Sparkle’, Chloé is fighting for a better future for those who’s voices have been silenced for too long.

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