Irene’s rules for a life well lived

To celebrate the launch of our latest TTYA x Long Tall Sally collab, we talk exclusively to Irene Agbontaen, founder of TTYA. On the agenda? The things that REALLY matter in life.

1. Laugh

I mean laugh out loud - a proper laugh. One that reaches your eyes. I speak to my best friend like 50 times a day; she’s hilarious. We do a radio show together called Don’t Cry Don’t Beg and we talk about the pressures of being single women in London with shopping addictions.

2. Don't put your self worth in other people's hands

You don’t get validation from other people. It has to come from inside.

3. Work hard

Work bloody hard in fact. Serena Williams is an inspiration to me. I love her quote ‘you are strong, powerful and beautiful.’ It’s the wallpaper on my phone.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help

When you're doing your own thing you can get tunnel vision. I don't know everything, I’ve learnt it’s OK to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness.

5. Wear stuff that makes you feel good

I used to think, ‘why does everyone else have clothes that fit and I don’t?’ That’s the reason I started TTYA; because I wanted to feel good on the inside AND the outside.

I figure we stand out anyway so I might as well create a way for tall girls to look great.

6. Don't be a d*ck

I’m a big believer in karma. When I first started out I thought lots of people would help me who didn’t, and those I didn’t think would help, went over and above. I believe in treating other people the way you want to be treated. Be kind…!

7. Be in the moment

When I turned 30 one of my closest friends got sick. It made me evaluate everything that bit more. Every summer my friends and I go on holiday and to a couple of festivals. We always take disposable cameras and get them developed at the end.

It’s so important to create memories and capture them.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff

It’s easy to get bogged down in the nitty gritty but then you don’t appreciate what you’ve accomplished. You’ve got to enjoy the journey.

9. Put your big girl boots on

You know what? Sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. You’ve just got to get on with it.

10. Be ‘jisty’

It’s my favourite word. It means awesome. I’ve got my friends saying it all the time. I love saying ‘I’m feeling jisty’ because it means it’s a REALLY good day.

Shop the TTYA x Long Tall Sally collection

Follow Irene on Instagram and Twitter.

Photography by Beccy Nuthall and make up by Jessie Owen.