As a young teenager growing up I was a bit of a late bloomer, which meant I was stick thin. And I know what your thinking, ‘Oh please, cry us a river.’ But I hated it. I hated the backhanded compliments, I hated the ‘do you even eat,’ comments and every variation they came in, I hated that you could see the bones in my chest with no boobs to cover them and when I would sit down I would wish my thighs wouldn’t look so fragile. It wasn’t like I didn’t eat, let me tell you… this girl could eat. It was straight genetics, my mum weighed even less than me. We both have this thing where if we’re going through something really stressful our appetites just disappear and we find it hard to eat a full meal for weeks at a time, so imagine that on top of a really fast metabolism. I remember going through a bad breakup and a girl complimenting me on how skinny I’d gotten. She had good intentions but to me it just reiterated the fact that I was miserable.
Interestingly enough, at the late age of sixteen puberty finally hit me and out of no where I turned into a curvaceous little teen with thick thighs, a bum, and a chubby little face. The boobs I was waiting for never quite kicked in like I hoped they would though. It was bitter sweet. I was ecstatic in some ways but being my own harshest critic like most 16 year old girls are, I missed my abs I never had to work for and now I had these hips I didn’t even know what to do with. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t right?
Going through this was already a bit of a struggle but modelling really intensified the focus on what my body looked like - or should have looked like. I would get anxiety over the smallest details when posting photos from work. I would be so conscious of strange angles that may have made my body look unflattering, or ’fat rolls’ which were really just skin folds from sitting down that are 100% normal. I even noticed my body pretty significantly photoshopped on a particular swimwear campaign which I was extremely uncomfortable with. Not because I wish I looked like the photoshopped version of myself but because the brand was perpetuating an ideal body type that literally doesn’t exist. I love seeing brands that embrace how bodies actually look. Lumps, bumps, freckles, stretch marks, skin texture, the whole nine yards. What we see in magazines should reflect what we see in the mirror.
So, anyway… back to the point. I thought I was too skinny, and then too big, and with the added pressure of modelling and being able to see your lumps and bumps in HD and constantly told you have to be a certain size, I started counting calories and going to the gym every day.
It didn't take long for me to realise I’d never be 100% happy. I’ll either be too skinny with no boobs and bum, or I’ll take the boobs and bum with they extra curves they come with. I just had to learn to accept it. I don’t know if you’ve ever counted calories but your daily recommended intake to lose weight is ridiculously low, plus how does Google know how my metabolism works? Also an avocado had more calories than a diet coke and I know full well that my body needs avocado over soft drink any day, so the concept is seriously flawed. It became apparent to me that not everything works for everyone and this wasn’t working for me.
From then on I looked at everything with a ‘everything in moderation’ mindset. If that four cheese gnocci looks delicious… best believe I’m about to demolish it. If I want a night out with my friends and some sugary cocktails, that’s happening too, but I’ll be back at my gym boxing on Tuesday night with a vegetable stirfry for dinner.
I guess I’m sharing this because it’s important to know that everyone has their struggles. Even the most unlikely of people. Obviously 90% of the time we are only sharing the very most positive aspects of our lives on social media so from the outside those people you may envy for whatever reason are very likely fighting their own obstacles and this was one of mine growing up.
Another reason is bringing light to the power of your words. You may have good intentions like that girl trying to compliment me on my recent weight loss but her comment had the opposite effect. Sometimes the intentions are more toxic. I won’t go into detail but people think they can get away with saying some pretty horrible things to young girls out of jealousy or ignorance or as a reflection of their own insecurities. Apparently it’s off limits to fat shame but you get the green light to drag skinny girls through the dirt based on your personal preference or to make yourself feel better. I know even at my lowest I have a pretty strong mindset so while it felt like a bit of a punch to the stomach I knew I would bounce back. I would hate to think what the same comments I copped for years would do to someone who takes things a little harder.
At 22 now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I understand that there’s more than one ideal body type, and whether I’ve been killing it in the gym or if I’ve just gotten back from a two month stint in Europe living of pizza and pasta… it’s all good. It’s not to say that I don't have bad days or I wouldn’t change anything about myself given the chance, but all-in-all I’m happy with myself physically and mentally, and it’s all good.