Growing up I was always the ‘odd’ one out. I was taller than all my classmates (including all the guys), I was always bigger and I was a bit quirky. While this individuality was welcomed t home prior to starting school, once I got to school I stood out like a sore thumb and ended up getting picked on a lot. I was teased, bullied, and was always left with this feeling that I was just not good enough. Not good enough to fit in the cool crowd, not cool enough to do everything everyone else did and I wasn’t good enough to just exist – or so it felt.
Fast forward today and what was unique about me – being ‘plus size’ and taller is actually the very foundation of what I do for a career as Plus Size Model, Blogger, Motivational Speaker, Former Miss Plus Canada and now an assistant Editor at a Body Positive Lifestyle, Health and Fitness Magazine – FabUplus Magazine.
The time in between these two drastic times in my life are what made me who I am today, what gave me the strength to be a voice for other women. You see if I had ignored the hateful things people said to me growing up and learned to see my unique beauty as something actually beautiful, my life decisions, confidence and path would have been very different. But I didn’t, and it took getting out of my abusive marriage to finally take a good hard look in the mirror to see my beauty – not just on the outside, but who I was as a woman. Growing up I didn’t see women that looked like me in media, so the pressure that I had to be something that I wasn’t was always so tough – but what if we really stopped thinking that we should be what society tells us we should be?
Well, that’s where Dove comes in. Truth be told I’ve been an avid Dove user since I was a kid – it was the only body wash and soap we had in our home. It was always gentle on our sensitive skin and was the only thing I used on my face for most of my life. But what I love about Dove is what they have been doing over the years to show more diversity in their media and really displaying what different women look like and how beautiful each uniquely is. Some of their research is staggering however and actually appals me – they’ve found that only 22% of Canadian women have a high body-esteem! That’s crazy! What I’ve learned more and more recently is that it’s not just plus size women who have body issues – is women who are not overweight, its men, its kids (which is hella scary) and it really isn’t about just being plus size where we are hung up on our body issues. “The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report states that 8 in 10 women globally say it is important to feel they are their own person and are not trying to copy anyone else. The same report also revealed that the pressure to be beautiful is higher than ever before, partly driven by the influence social media has on us; 1 in 2 women feel social media puts pressure on them to look a certain way and 6 in 10 women and girls agree that in today’s society it is critical to meet certain beauty standards.”
With this in mind Dove had created a limited edition series of their body washes to emulate some of the different body types women have. When I opened my box I almost cried! It was so beautiful to see something so symbolic – bottles emulating tall and thin, short and plump, curvy bottles that really depicted the varying curves on a woman’s body.
Will you join me and Dove in remembering what #RealBeauty is all about – and that it starts with you. We are each unique and there is beauty in our own uniqueness. It’s OK to not look like what you see in media, or who you see down the street – being you is where it is at and it’s time to see just how truly beautiful you are. Leave me a comment and let me know something that you see as beautiful in yourself, or a new perspective you may have on your beauty – I’d love to hear from you! When you leave a comment, post a photo on Instagram and tag me in the photo and use #RealBeauty and #Dove you will be entered into receive your own set of this Limited Edition Dove Body Wash set. A winner will be chosen the week of February 29, 2017.
Photos, Hair and Makeup by Katiuska Idrovo
Body Wash provided by Dove
(all opinions expressed are my own)