As women are pressured to pursue the ideal body image that the fashion industry and media present as perfect, the average woman is often left in the background. We welcomed three women strip down in front of the camera to show what beauty and confidence should truly look like, and give us their opinions on society’s definition of “the perfect body”.
“Confidence is the sexiest thing about a person. You could look like a potato, but as long as you have confidence, you’ll be a hot potato.” – Natasha Grullon, Photographer
Fiercely confident about herself and sitting completely topless for the majority of her interview, it took Meggan just two seconds to decide whether or not she wanted to participate in the shoot, resulting in an enthusiastic, “Yeah, I’m down.”
Falling in love with the camera, Meggan admitted that she “would rather have a glam room than a kitchen,” explaining that her physical appearance plays a significant role in her daily life. After having fought with severe scoliosis that affected her hips since she was very young, Meggan is proud of how her self-acceptance and has grown, with her confidence levels at a strong seven out of 10 on average.
She’s learned to accept her differences and ignore what others around her said. And as our shoot with Meggan went on, seeing her pictures in between poses increased her energy and enthusiasm; however, she didn’t feel the term “model” suited her.
“Body positivity to me means to love yourself for who you are and be proud of your skin.” – Meggan
“[When I think of models] I think skinny, tall and not me,” explained Meggan. “We are fixing this [stereotype] with having plus sized models. We are headed in the right direction, but it takes baby steps. We have to embrace different bodies.”
And as for girls struggling with their level of confidence, Meggan said, “Everyday you should look in the mirror and be proud of who you are and your body. There might be days where you don’t feel good in your own skin, but that’s what so great about human beings is that we can change. Get up and go for a run to feel better, but know that you’re beautiful inside and out no matter what anyone says.”
Loving the lights, Rebecca admitted that initially she was not all enthusiastic about showing her skin, saying, “I’m not fit for this because I feel like I don’t have that perfect body for photo shoots and photography.” But, hoping to gain more confidence before her upcoming wedding, Rebecca shut off the little voice in the back of her mind and cautiously joined.
Largely, she didn’t think that her body was suited to be the center of attention, defining the “perfect body” as “fitness Instagram girls who have big nice, butts and legs. However, she tries to keep it all in perspective. “I have to remind myself that the girls on Instagram work out all the time, like that’s all they do,” said Rebecca. “I feel like if I had a little bit more boobs, and less tummy, I would fit into that category.”
As the shoot progressed, her smile radiated across the room as her confidence increased and realized that people weren’t looking at what she considered her flaws, including her stretch marks.
“People tell me now that I look like a women and that’s a good thing.” – Rebecca
She later opened about personal struggles leading up to her moment in front of the camera and will impact the future of her self-love journey: “A couple years ago, where I went through depression, I looked unhealthy and bony. Then I moved to Florida, I met [my fiance], my lifestyle just changed completely. I went to the gym and I’m happy with my weight right now, I’m just not happy that I’m not fit.”
Coming into the shoot at the last minute and excited to be a part of it, Bella brought a whole new level of enthusiasm. Being the youngest model and not lacking in spontaneity, she owed her participation to her past experiences with criticism from loved ones and her struggle with self-confidence. She has since worked to embrace her unique features, like her freckles.
When speaking of models, Bella said, “It’s great for them and they look great, but it has created such a stereotype of what the ideal woman should look like.” She continued, “I’ve met certain people who have unique bodies and they are so beautiful … I think what would help the future generation – you know, the girls – would be to change that, changing the figures of models and giving more of a variety and not specifying a single type.”
Sure to suggest an experience such as a boudoir shoot to her friends, Bella stated that, “I feel like once you’re exposed and you show more of your skin to people and you get more comfortable in your own skin, it’s like your confidence just builds up. After the shoot, I started looking at myself and realized that I should really be embracing my beauty.”
“Everyone has their own beauty, and when you embrace it, and when you’re confident … people are attracted to that.” – Bella
For her, body positivity means “to feel confident in your own skin no matter what you look like physically. It’s being okay with how you look naturally and appreciating it; feeling positive and satisfied with your own image.”
Featured Image by Natasha Grullon