Nicole, 27, is self-described “curvaceous woman”, a part time plus size model and body positive champion. A fun and loving person, Nicole is passionate about bringing out the best in others and herself. A natural risk taker and someone who likes an adventure, Nicole has joined the Be Real Campaign as an Ambassador to present full figured women and give a voice to those who are struggling with low self-esteem.
“I first started to struggle with my own body image when I was around eight years old. A relative called me fat, thick legs and referred to me as the fat one in the family. This has been an on-going issue with some relatives and has had a real impact on me when I was young. There came a time I refused to go to some family functions and would feel insecure about my image.
“I would be called names and just smile like it didn’t hurt me. As I got older my body changed some more I began to wear baggy clothes to hide my body because I didn’t want to wear anything that revealed my body shape.
“To help me feel better about myself, I changed my circle of friends to girls who were confident with being a little bigger than the average. I attended a body confidence workshop and took part in a beauty pageant.
“But although I’m feeling more confident about myself, sometimes I still struggle. Wearing a bikini is always a big challenge for me. Even wearing shorts is a challenge and I would usually only wear them when I travel on holiday out of the UK. But I’m always trying to push myself and break out of my comfort zone, so the other day I wore a bikini on a beach in London for the very first time.
“I think it’s really important that we continue to promote positive images of people who feel confident about themselves. Social media has been a great tool to champion positive body image and I believe this will continue until we see change.
“It takes time to be body confident as we all have pitfalls but we must not let that stop us from feeling happy about who we are. Body image issues start in childhood and I’ve experienced this first hand. Unfortunately, I was not able to talk to anyone about the way I felt. I did not have anyone to compare myself to or know services that could help.
“To stop negative body image we have to involve young people and give them services they can go to for help and support without any fear or embarrassment.
“If I would be able to speak to my younger self I would tell her to consider how she can think about her body in a positive way. Think about the reasons why you do not like your body and find positive words to replace them. Try to remember that your body is unique and you were not born a copy of anyone. If you see someone with a body that you think is better than yours, remember why your body is different.”
Do you feel inspired by Nicole? Find out how you can become a Be Real Ambassador.