Photography by Antoine Verglas
What I’m Wearing:
Black Patent Leather Jacket by Emanuel Ungaro, shop similar here
Black Bralet by Alexander Wang, shop similar here
High-Waisted Black Pants by Dolce & Gabanna, shop similar here
Navy Velvet Choker by ASOS
Silver Ear Cuff by Jennifer Fisher shop similar here
Silver Ring by Stephen Webster, shop similar here
Hello guys! So as you may have guessed from the title, this post is about embracing what you have and being body confident. I did a video, which you can watch here that gives a little background on how I came to love the skin I’m in! I was overwhelmed by the support from you all after posting this video and since then a lot have you have shared with me your struggle with body image. I wanted this post to be a positive guide on how to conquer those inner voices and really feel good about yourself!
All around us is a pressure to conform to ‘beauty standards’ set by people other than ourselves. This can have a detrimental effect on our confidence and body image. The beauty industry whilst influencing this pressure, at the same time offers many ‘solutions’ to our insecurities. I for one have succumbed to the pressure and have tried everything from chicken fillets (FYI the ones you stuff in your bra) to crazy fad diets, herbal slimming teas and pills. Needless to say, none had the desired effect – well, at least not long term and only served to further my insecurities.
Having spent a lot of time in front of a camera with every part of me judged and scrutinised by strangers, it was only natural to feel self-conscious. This was compounded by the outright rejection that I could face along with other models on a daily basis; From agents calling to say the “option’s off” to being told “you’re not really the ‘[body] type’ to work well in that part of the world”. Even when I actually got the job I wasn’t in the clear – on one occasion having finished my shoot for the cover on this magazine – something I was thrilled about! I received a call telling me they didn’t want to use the pictures because my abs weren’t as visible as they had wanted. I then had to try and explain myself as to why the week before when they cast me I ‘had’ defined abs and now less so! Having to explain myself to my agent was not only awkward and embarrassing but at the same time filled me with a sense of indignance. Another client wanted to know the date of my menstrual cycle when casting me for a job to ensure I wouldn’t look bloated for the swimwear shoot. But rather than questioning myself, I began to question the industry I was in.
To answer that, I was in an industry that made me a decent living for a girl my age but at the same time was influencing a generation of young girls to conform to narrow, unattainable beauty standards and affecting their lives in a seriously negative and harmful way. Instead of wallowing in my self-consciousness, I began to become more determined than ever to make a career for myself not based on fickle things such as the size of my waist or the length of my legs. That’s not to say that I don’t have those days where I feel somewhat disheartened by the fact I don’t fit into that beautiful ‘sample’ size dress or my jeans are too tight and I have to undo that top button after eating – I’m only human! However, I’ve come to realise that life is short and you can’t spend it beating yourself up about things that will not bring you happiness, even if you had them! What you have that is different to someone else, makes you unique and if we all looked the same how boring would that be? It’s time we all stop judging each other’s size, shape, skin colour or height- all body types should be celebrated! We need to stop comparing ourselves with others thinking ‘I wish I looked like that’, instead, own it, be confident, because that is what’s beautiful.
It may seem contradictory that I’m putting this post up alongside images from a magazine editorial. However, the shoot marks a point when I stopped myself from turning down an opportunity because of my insecurities. A point when I said to myself ‘Yes, I do look different to when I was seventeen but I’m okay with that; I have a woman’s body now and I’m going to embrace my curves’. The pictures were shot in my hotel room at the Park Hyatt hotel in Paris by my talented friend Antoine Verglas and were published in GOSEE Magazine, you can watch the BTS video here. I was slightly nervous to shoot with Antoine who has shot with everyone from Angelina Jolie to Victoria Secret models. I was even considering saying ‘let’s just have a catchup over coffee?!’ But the easy option isn’t always the best option and why should I let a few self-doubts hold me back? What I really like about these photos and why they form part of this blog post is that these are me in the raw and you can still see my imperfections. Life is about being happy not perfect and that, ladies is gentlemen, is why I’m writing this post today.
I’d love for you guys to share your experiences, thoughts and tips on how you keep body-positive. Maybe it’s a quote or someone you’re following who inspires you! It would also be great to see some of your pictures using #Bebodyconfident and I will be reposting! Looking forward to hearing your feedback on this post and if you would like to see more of this kind of post!
Below are my top seven tips to boost your body confidence:
1. Channel Your Alter Ego
We have all at some point related to some fictional character and thought what a day in their shoes would be like! If you havn’t well, now’s your chance! Whether you’re stripping off into that bikini for the first time this summer, or slipping on that dress for a night on the town with your friends, channel your alter-ego and go get ‘em!
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
Benjamin Mee, We Bought A Zoo.
2. Action Before Appearance
So logical. Rather than focusing on what a certain part of your body looks like, think about what it can do. For example, instead of saying you hate a certain body part think about what it enables you to do and how that makes you feel. For example, I don’t love my thighs but they let me dance, run, swim etc and those things make me feel alive! Shifting focus to something positive can help transform the way you think about your body.
What I’m Wearing:
3. Focus On Body Parts You Love
Instead of looking in the mirror and thinking about what parts you dislike or want to change, think about the parts of your body that you love – your boobs, butt or tummy! Write them down or say them aloud to yourself. Positive self-talk can help counter those negative thoughts.
4. Set Different Goals
Stop wishing for the number on the scales to go down, try setting yourself different goals. Maybe its adding more greens to your meals or perhaps trying a 5 km jog. Aim to be stronger, healthier rather than skinnier.
Fun fact: People who exercise daily feel better about their appearance than those who don’t, regardless of their weight.
What I’m Wearing:
5. In It Together
Even the most beautiful women in the world have insecurities, we all have parts of our bodies we struggle with: some areas have cellulite or aren’t so toned. When you open your eyes and realise that you’re not alone and there are many women out there with different shapes and sizes, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself. A few body confident women to follow are -> @winnieharlow @theashleygraham @iamiskra @lenadunham
6. Don’t Waste Time.
Rather than wasting time on fad diets and thinking about how look, take your time and talent and think about what you can contribute to this world! When you think of the bigger picture it helps keep things in perspective. You have so much more to offer than what you look like- don’t forget that!
7. You Are The Beholder.
One of my favourite quotes is from Salma Hayek- ‘People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I say that the most liberating about beauty is realizing you are the beholder’. Empower yourself by accepting your insecurities and embracing your uniqueness. Only you can do this and you know what? You’ve got this!
Watch my video here on ‘How I Chose To Be Strong Not Skinny’: