So, after much procrastination and some very forceful conversations with friends who have implored me to begin, here I am, starting my blog.
I have had a manically busy few weeks, manic because I have had literally only two evenings in the last month where I have been able to stop and enjoy a glass of red wine. I have started a new campaign, ‘EM’, which will promote positive body image and work with local primary schools to educate the new thinkers of our society on what is right and what is wrong. What is right here being, to love yourself no matter what, and to be healthy, not an off the hanger replication of a plastic Barbie doll that doesn’t exist without Photoshop anyway…It’s a beautiful dream and I knew I had to join the bandwagon after my gorgeous 11 year old sister came home in fits of tears because her face was too round and she thought she was too chubby. It seems girls, and boys too we must remember, feel the pressure to look a certain way younger and younger each year. It needs to stop.
I think it is naive to think that this mentality is caused purely by what kids see in magazines and music videos. There’s been so much stigma about this but there has been enough publicity about the artificiality of these publications and productions that it’s almost entirely common knowledge that that front page model with legs the width of poles are probably not that real… It’s deeper than that now. It seems to be a cultural movement these days.
It really shocked me yesterday when a colleague messaged me to discuss how she was struggling with losing weight. She asked me how I did it, how I managed to stay so confident and sure of myself when everyday there is a new vision of the perfect beauty. I corrected her immediately and told her I don’t. I don’t do it. I don’t even try and convince myself I’m doing it. I feel the same way everyday, there’s always hair out of place, a broken nail or an extra biscuit that niggles away at me, what I have learned is that it’s OK.
No one is perfect and I’ve got news for you, in the words of Ezra Furman ‘My body was made in this particular way’. I have cellulite on my thighs, a big bum that makes me think I must have some booty heritage somewhere along the line! When I skip the gym for even a day my body feels puffy and it was times like these not so long ago that I’d stand in front of my mirror tape measure in hand and shame my body.
But who was this for?
I joined the modeling world 2 years ago. At 5ft5 and a solid size 8/10…sometimes a 12 on my bottom half after a heavy month, it was hard to break the mould. I had many potential employers approaching me for PLUS size modeling, and I would go for a casting and feel totally out of place. Parallel to this if i succeeded in a casting for a fashion shoot I’d feel exactly the same way. Standing next the 6ft size 0-8 girls with my head shots and stats in hand feeling absolutely terrible about myself and wishing I could afford Chinese bone elongation surgery and private liposuction and a breast reduction whilst they’re at it!
It all changed last year when I met with a fantastically talented photographer on an impromptu shoot in the grounds of a local hotel. We drank champagne and shot barefoot in the biggest and most outrageous costumes to Adele on Iphone speakers. Those photos are the best I’ve ever produced. They’re un-retouched, they’re raw and they’re me. Un-apologetically me, and that was that.
Since then I have determined to be simply myself. My work load has evened out. I’m getting by. I work with photographers who want to work with my look as a whole, they rarely ask for measurements unless they’re designing the clothes themselves, I earn a decent wage and I love what I do.
I don’t diet anymore or panic when I miss a leg day at the gym. I still get days where I feel a mess and wish my face was the replica of Angelina Jolie or Khloe Khardashian but on the whole I am comfortable with my figure with all its flaws and wobbles. It’s about acceptance. I am a woman not a doll and the next time I am told to wax my eyebrows, tone my legs or lose 10 pounds, I will have the strength to walk away with one finger in the air, because what’s it all for? I’d rather focus on being the best me I can be instead of the best version of whatever someone else envisions. We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives. We are beautiful. Join the cause. EMbrace you.