‘I Had To Get Out There And Take A Stance’ Jedward Chat 2020 And Speaking Out

Well, that's it, we're all moving to planet Jedward.

Dubbed our ‘2020 saviours’, John and Edward Grimes have spent the past year tirelessly campaigning for matters they believe in, using their platforms to make a change and reminding people to ‘wear a mask!’ Denise Curtin caught up with the twins taking charge.

After a lengthy phone call with Jedward on a Friday evening, one made longer by the fact they kept telling me they’ve “all evening to chat”, the only way I can describe these two is like a tonic. In a time when it’s hard not to succumb to worry for the future and the scaremongering that fills social media, Jedward are looking at things glass half full, and pleasantly, it’s hard not to feel the same way after hanging up.

From marching on the streets of Los Angeles for the Black Lives Matter movement, to slamming anti-lockdown rallies, calling on celebrities to do better, preach more, and reminding people to wear their masks; Jedward getting uncharacteristically angry while fighting for what they believe has been one of the most relatable things to happen in the past year.

And believe me when I say, they’re far from done talking. Using this year and their voices to make a difference, there’s a lot more to Jedward than meets the eye, and it’s hard not to root for them like it’s 2009 again.

“I feel like during this time, we’re all experiencing a major rollercoaster of emotions,” explains John. “Especially with the restrictions, these times can be lonely and you can find yourself fighting through the silence, and I feel like by us all being there, sharing how we’re feeling about whatever topics or whatever situation is going on; it makes us all feel more connected, like we’re in it together.” And Jedward aren’t shy to voice how they’re feeling, speaking up against anti-maskers on countless occasions, the pair shot out a series of tweets to those protesting on Dublin’s Grafton Street in October, as hundreds of anti-mask campaigners rallied against Covid-19 regulations.

 

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“When I saw all those people out marching in Dublin, I just felt this rage inside of me that I had to get out,” explains Edward. “I had to get out there and take a stance, and call them all out because there’s so much information online that’s not being fact-checked. We’re seeing different organisations taking advantage of people who are vulnerable, not in the best mindset right now, and that’s really evident with these people who are outside – fighting against the government and the virus, thinking it’s not reality.”

But unfortunately, this isn’t a bad dream, although it often feels like one. The global pandemic is very much our reality and to think otherwise only adds to the problem. Jedward, like many of us, are all too aware of the pain that the coronavirus has caused; pain which has driven them to speak louder. “The only backlash we’re getting is from people who aren’t understanding,” adds Edward. “The thing about it is, in the past we were for everyone, and now there’s this split where you have people who are agreeing with you, and then the people who just aren’t getting it.”

Thinking back to 11 years ago, when Jedward first shot to fame, Edward notes that although they’ve grown up a lot in the past decade, the way they connect with people hasn’t changed since the X-Factor era. “I feel like with Jedward, when we first hit, Ireland was in a very difficult state with the recession, and we brought so much happiness and good aura to the people. And I feel like right now, we’re back in that place again where people are sitting down and going ‘oh my god, I really needed some of these guys’ energy in such a difficult time.'”

And with their infectious and upbeat personalities, it’s almost impossible to not feed off these two, and their positive attitude (or get a word in edgeways, as I quickly learned during this interview). But, being only human, Jedward aren’t afraid to also talk about their fair share of bad days, as recently highlighted during their time on The Late Late Show. Edward told Ryan Tubridy that in the past year, there’s been moments where he’s “never felt so low in his life”.

 

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“The thing is that we’re not always strong and we do have these really weak days, where we don’t really want to be out there and connecting, so, we do take breaks” explains Edward. “We’re just normal.” And when it comes to off days, John adds that taking a break from your phone, social media and the conversations surrounding the news is one great way to clear your mind.

“It’s not good to be on social media when you’re feeling fragile or you’re kind of down about yourself. It can really consume you knowing what everyone else is doing, and sometimes you need to take a step back, go out into the real world and say ‘what can I do with myself to make my day better?'”

Strong believers of practising what they preach, being in touch with their emotions is what helped Jedward deal with the heartbreaking passing of their mother Susanna, after she lost her battle to leukaemia in February 2019. A loss which changed them fundamentally.

“I had gained such a thick skin going through X-Factor, that I had lost touch of my softer side,” confesses Edward. “And I don’t know, since the passing of our mom, I find myself crying and being very emotional in certain situations, it has opened up another side of me.” Agreeing with him, John adds that it’s hard to put the situation and feelings into words, but they’re thankful they have each other to look back on the good times.

“When you lose your mom, I don’t know, it’s something that you experience differently, you realise that the love you have for her is never going to go, and that she’ll always be there with you. But at the same time, it’s very hard and some days you just reminisce about experiences and holidays you had together, and because we’re twins we have had each other to chat about it, which helps.”

Knowing how important it is to check in with yourself, and on others is what lead Jedward to start DMing strangers with compliments on social media – something which I’m sure everyone has spotted on their Twitter feeds at this stage. “I pick up on their style, I see what they’re wearing and I give them a compliment,” explains Edward. “Sometimes you have to be that person to reach out to someone else and give out those good vibes.” Advice we can all take onboard heading into 2021 and onwards. Well, that’s that confirmed, a one-way ticket to planet Jedward, please?

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