From young, we're always seeing tall, thin women with flawless skin in magazines and on TV. We are taught to believe this is the only definition of beauty. But, what we see is not always true, and at best, it is only the surface. We have no idea of these women’s lives or their stories! Even the most ‘perfect-looking’ woman you can think of has her insecurities. We want to celebrate what's behind that perfect picture, with real people, real bodies. We all have our struggles and we want to share them, with you.
Hi! I'm Sherlyn, the founder and creative lead at Twenty3! Growing up, I was very insecure about my body. I was eating 2 eggs and one bowl of soup a day, and doing countless hours of yoga. This is all because one person asked me why I'm still eating chips when I'm already so fat, right in front of my friends. I felt so ashamed of myself. In 2 months' time, I was down by 10 kg. I was too weak to even walk and one day, my Dad had to bring me to the doctor because I was fainting. I self-harmed a lot during that period of time because all I wanted was acceptance from others. But I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't continue eating so little and working out so heavily just so that I could be skinny. People were slut-shaming me, complaining that I shouldn't be modelling for my own clothing brand because I'm fat. They shamed me for my fat armpits and thunder thighs. I quit. I gave up because I had no courage to continue but today, I'm back, hoping to inspire more of you that you can be who you are and you can love yourself.
I have always struggled with body image, particularly due to my social media presence and modelling. I used to be a little bit larger than I am now, and I would be scrutinised because I was too short and not lean enough to be a model. Recently, after going off the contraceptive pill and dealing with stress, I have lost a lot of weight. Now, I am scrutinised for being too skinny to model and I am constantly being judged because I look "underweight", "disgustingly thin", and "in need of help". To say in short- you can never please everyone, and no matter what you look like physically, bullies will always have something negative to say about your body and what should be changed. I have come to this realisation and tried my best to stop caring what others think. I'm not completely comfortable in my skin yet but I am working on it every day. One tip I would give to girls struggling with body image is to not compare themselves to others. We are ALL different. Different skin tones, different body shapes, and different bone structures. Look up to YOURSELF rather than the photoshopped girl on the front of a magazine because we are ALL beautiful.
I grew up with eczema and naturally dry skin my entire life. This isn’t something I’ve been too vocal about, and growing up with a stigma surrounding blemished skin did not make it easy to accept myself and my body. I remember the first ever time I walked into Bobbi Brown, it was to buy their most pigmented concealer. Not for my face, but for the scars that spanned across my body. I remember being in the bathroom washing my hands once and having a woman stare at me, as if she were disgusted by my scars. My eczema wasn’t limited to my arms, legs or elbows. It runs across my body and this condition makes it harder for other scars to heal properly. It didn’t help that I was a huge klutz as a kid and often injured myself. It definitely didn’t help that I felt I was a little on the chubbier side, either. I hated my skin, I was never content with my appearance, and I didn't own a sleeveless shirt until the age of 13 due to how insecure I was.
I was about 16 or 17 when I realised that this mindset wasn’t getting me anywhere. My skin shouldn’t be a hindrance to the potential I have to contribute to society, nor does it taint me as an individual. Some of us have stretch marks, blemishes, and lack the conventional hourglass figure but that's what makes us who we are. And hey, some scars bear the most hilarious stories, and my stretch marks are kinda like tiger stripes (cause I’m a fighter? haha!). The media gives us this idea of a beauty that will somewhat always be unattainable - “and you don't have to change a thing, the world could change its heart. No scars to your beautiful”. Be yourself, love yourself, accept yourself - and this will project onto others too.
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There are more stories to come and we’d love to hear yours!
Email our Unicorn at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, and we might feature it next. It could be on body image, self-love and acceptance, or even to tell us about that cool birthmark you have!
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