At only 20 years old, Lauren Nicole has established herself as one of the go to plus size fashion influencers in the UK. Having worked with notable brands such as New Look, Missguided and Simply Be to name a few, Lauren Nicole is using her platform to show that curvy girls and plus size women can be fashionable, sexy, stylish and just simply fabulous. Passionate about diversity in the fashion industry, Lauren has joined the Be Real Ambassador team to help us reach even more people and champion positive body image, while she also studies for a degree in journalism.
“I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. It started with my lips being too big, then not liking my birthmark…and so it went on. I think the lowest point in regards to my body, weight and size was when I hit puberty, and a few years after that.
“My origins are in the Caribbean. Unfortunately for me, Bajans are quick to mention your flaws. As a child I experienced small things that made me believe I wasn’t beautiful. From being called plump to having my wrist measured and told “you’re so fat”, despite being a perfectly average sized child. While, the comments were never meant to be malicious, I held on to those comments.”
“I also developed a lot quicker than my friends. In year 5, I was having my period, wearing a bra and had body hair. With all of that came hips and a bottom; far wider and bigger than any of my friends. While I was never bullied, I constantly felt out of place, and the few times I was called names further anchored my issues.
“I became my worst enemy. My love for performing arts was ruined by my hatred of my appearance. I couldn’t bear the idea of joining a drama club because I was “too fat”, or “too ugly”. It didn’t matter how many people told me I was great, or how much I wanted to take part, my fear of not being pretty or skinny enough stopped me. “By the age of 16, I wasn’t treating my body with respect; from binge eating to comfort eating, to forcing myself to be sick because I overate. As much as I knew what I was doing was wrong and damaging, I was aiming for this twisted image of perfection. An image that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve through my choice of methods, an image that was simply unattainable.
“After years of battling myself I finally had enough. On my 18th birthday, I promised myself that this year would be different. I would celebrate myself, whether I was a size 12, or size 18. My body didn’t determine my worth or value. Every time I made a negative comment about my body, I would follow it up with something positive.
“I’m a strong believer in representation. If people see more shapes, sizes, races and so on, the perception of beauty would shift. Unfortunately, the images that we see, many people aren’t able to attain and due to that, struggle with negative body image. A shift is starting to take place, but there’s so much more that needs to be done.
“Diversity shouldn’t be a trend. We shouldn’t be using plus size models, black, trans people, people with disabilities, Muslims, or other minorities as a marketing tool. We also need to focus on how we can share the message of self-love and understanding that there is no perfect image, body, woman or man.
“If I could say something to my younger self, I would tell her that her beauty doesn’t determine her worth. Don’t allow other people’s opinions and comments to get to you and make you feel less than. Be gentle and be kind to your body.”
Do you feel inspired by Lauren Nicole? Find out how you can become a Be Real Ambassador.