Watching Niomi Smart’s lifestyle videos on YouTube took me in the direction of pondering whether or not she is posh, and if so, what it means to be ‘posh’ in England these days. PLEASE NOTE: the post that follows consists of light-hearted speculation about Niomi’s ‘poshness’ based on my having followed her YouTube channel for about a year. At the time of writing, not a lot of biographical about Niomi Smart is available online therefore much of what I say is conjecture…
Niomi Smart’s Diet – Niomi does her food shopping at Whole Foods and eats things like gogi berries and alfalfa seeds. She is also fond of fancy teas that come in handmade boxes which require special contraptions for brewing. When she makes a smoothie in her Nutribullet, she sprinkles in all kinds of mysterious superfood powders too. While you may think this is definite evidence of Niomi’s poshness, these kind of eating habits are the norm among the “spiritual community” i.e. London’s hippies. Oh wait, does this mean Niomi must be a hippy?!
Is Niomi Posh? Let’s Watch Her in the Video Below:
Niomi Smart’s Boyfriend – Niomi’s long-term boyfriend Marcus Butler has always struck me as a guy who is kind-of-posh in an upper-middle class way. This might also be because he says ‘hair-looo’ rather then ‘hello’. If he went to a state school, then my guess would be that he was one of the ‘poshest’ kids there. If he went to a fee-paying school, then my guess is that he was of average wealth and poshness there. I mean, we’re not talking about the same league of poshness where your best mate is Lord Snodgrass and you’re the Queen’s third cousin. With Marcus, we’re talking about a much more comfortable, desirable and still within reach level of poshness.
Niomi Smart’s Style – In fashion videos Niomi made about a year ago I remember the kind of shops she liked being places like Russell and Bromley, L.K. Bennett and Karen Millen. I found this odd for someone her age as these kind of high-end high street stores tend to be where trendy aunts (but not their nieces) go to buy outfits for weddings. To shop in such places means to have money and a certain kind of mainstream, middle-class taste that doesn’t rock the boat.
Niomi’s Education – According to the internet, Niomi went to the University of West England and studied Law. Outside of the top 10 British universities, Law tends not to be a ‘posh’ course. Quite the opposite in fact: people who were the first in their families to go to university (such as me) are often attracted to this kind of course.
Niomi’s Background – Niomi’s beauty tips video with her grandmother and mother leaves me scratching my head because her grandmother speaks in a precise and articulate R.P. accent which is in relative terms ‘posher’ than both her daughter and grand-daughter. I am wondering if this might be because her grandmother (either by career or by climbing the social ladder) at some point trained her accent. Niomi’s mother is also well-spoken, like the grandmother, though speaks in a more approachable (less elite) manner.
Niomi’s Speaking Style – The best way to describe Niomi’s manner of speech is to say she speaks like a lady. There is a natural lightness and clippy elegance to her speech which is very pleasing on the ear. Her speaking style has posh aspects to it, such as her way of describing things with emphatic adjectives; everything she likes is either ‘amazing’ or ‘incredible’. Another posh touch is her unselfconscious use of the structure ‘Marcus and I’ when talking about her boyfriend.
Niomi’s Accent – Occasionally when closely listening to Niomi, an ‘extra-posh’ pronunciation (of her grandmother’s level) jumps out at you. For example, Niomi says ‘perfect’ with a long /a:/ ‘par-fict’. Yet, as a frame of reference, the overall impression of her accent is not-as-wholly-solidly-middle-class such as fellow YouTuber Doddleoddle. When Niomi speaks, there is still some mystery there, meaning she can’t be tidily sorted away into a neat little accent box, nor social class box, for that matter. When Niomi speaks, a rare intrusion of a glottal stop or ‘with’ said as ‘wiv’ may occur. In someone who is wholly-solidly-middle-class (either by birth or by class-identification) I’m not certain that such intrusions would occur (e.g. they do not occur in the speech of YouTuber Doddleoddle).
Is Niomi Smart Posh? Conclusion: In my estimation, Niomi is not quite posh. Her tastes, lifestyle and interests reflect those of an upper-middle class Londoner (she’s from Brighton, but hey, London and Brighton are pretty similar). I would say her wealth, taste, and lifestyle puts her in the upper-middle class bracket, yet the pronunciations evident in her speech do not match the same level of social class. For me, her pronunciations reflect a person of middle-class status who is rising further up in terms of influence and wealth.