One of the things that I want to focus on in this blog is giving you resources that you can use during you body positive journey. These posts will include a lot of people that I find inspirational. There will also be a few posts about where to access help and support that I’m not qualified to give.
To get started, here are the four-people responsible for my journey into body confidence.
Charlotte Coyle (plus size model)
Charlotte is a plus size model and makeup artist from Derry. Although she is no longer active within the body positive community, she is the woman who first introduced me to the movement. She made me realise that as a collective, we can begin to reshape social constructs. Together, we can change how we view ourselves and others.
You may recognise Charlotte from her campaigns with Torrid and Marks & Spencer. My memory stems back to 2006, when she starred in her very own television show which was broadcast on Channel 4. The name of the show was ‘Fat Beauty Contest‘ and it documented the organisation of the first plus size beauty contest in Britain. If you haven’t had chance to check the show out, you can watch part 1 below.
Jes Baker (body-positive activist & blogger)
If you don’t know who Jes Baker is, you must be pretty new to the movement, or you know her by ‘The Militant Baker‘, in short, she is a pioneer. As well as being one of the most influential people involved in the body positive movement, she is a genuine person. Thanks to Jes, I have not only learned to love the skin I’m in but I am no longer afraid of the word ‘fat’!
I first came across Jes back in 2013. She retaliated against Abercrombie & Fitch by posting her own campaign entitled Attractive & Fat. I remember seeing the photos and thinking to myself, I wish I had her confidence. Since then, she has fronted many campaigns and even founded the Body Love Conference.
‘Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls‘ is a self-help book written by Jes and released in 2015. It is a book that I recommend as it cuts though the bullshit and gives you a lot to think about, as well as a few fun activities. This book has changed my life in every way and for that, I am grateful.[bctt tweet=”I used to walk into the gym and ovoid eye contact with everyone, I felt ashamed of how my body looked amongst the thin and toned physiques. Now, I walk with my head held high… #bodypositive #selflove #confidence” username=”haleyryancouk”]
Mary Lambert (singer-songwriter & poet)
Mary Lambert is my absolute girl crush! She is often known for discussing difficult subjects within her music and poetry. The most common subjects include, body image, sexual abuse and bipolar disorder.
Although she is most known for her co-write and stunning vocals on the single ‘Same Love‘, I discovered her on You Tube. As usual, I was trawling You Tube one night looking for some music to listen to and bam! The song ‘She Keeps Me Warm‘ came up in my suggestions and I fell in love. I went to her channel to see what other videos she had and that’s when I found ‘Body Love‘. The perfect mix of music, spoken word and truth that made me once again begin to question the way I saw myself. As members of society, we are killing ourselves or making ourselves miserable, why? To fit into some sort of social normality, decided by who?
Louise Green (plus size athlete)
Louise Green is revolutionising the way the world looks at bigger, dare I say fat people. To most people, if you ask them for the first word that comes to mind when they think of a fat person, they will say lazy. Well, Louise dispels this suggestion and encourages people to realise their athletic potential. No longer is the word athlete reserved for those of a certain body shape or size.
Louise is the first plus size athlete that I ever came across and since then I have started to enjoy working out a lot more. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I am more comfortable now. I used to walk into the gym and ovoid eye contact with everyone, I felt ashamed of how my body looked amongst the thin and toned physiques. Now, I walk with my head held high and smile at everyone I meet because although we look different, we’re there for the same reason… To be healthier.
Like Jes, Louise has also released a book called ‘Big Fit Girl‘.
And there you have it, my list is complete.
This list is very personal to me so there may be a few that you don’t agree with and that is perfectly okay. In fact, I’d love to hear about the people who inspire you most, so let me know in the comments.