Can you remember....Putting on your Mam's reddest lippy, finding your most fabulous dress-up princess dress....don’t forget the plastic tiara, oversized jewellery and plastic play time half inch heels!! You were totally over the top… Then you would strut up the street like the fabulous little girl you were!... Feeling invincible and beautiful…
What I wouldn’t give to be that fearless 5-year- old again! The little girl with the world at her feet and nothing holding her back because she hadn’t yet been subjected to the mental torment our society continues to dish out daily… that there somehow is an ideal woman… an ideal body… an ideal figure… and if you don’t have exactly what is shown in advertising/music videos/sign boards then you are lead to believe, from a young age, that you as a person are not worthy of self-love or body acceptance!
You see this shoot was probably the hardest ever, for all of us! Not only was it beach wear but it
included a 2-piece bikini, on an actual beach, in front of normal people going about their business. As models and ambassadors for body acceptance we at Celtic Curves do lots of photoshoots but we have never had one so public or with our bodies so bare. When we received the package from Viva Voluptuous we were all genuinely excited. “This is it ladies… we’re doing this shoot to be plus and proud… we’re going to show that normal women with plus size bodies are beautiful too…”. The package included the “Daisy Plus Size Swim Suit”, “Daisy Plus Size Tankini Top and Bikini Bottoms” and “Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Top and Bikini Bottoms”.
As the day drew nearer division in the ranks about the shoot became apparent. This was getting daunting for all of us. Not one of us escaped the self-loathing that week. We began to nit-pick at ourselves. We spoke honestly to one another about how we didn’t feel confident. Tears were shed and confidence was at an all-time low. Our stomachs were bloated. We had all gained a little weight from down time. Our stretch marks had suddenly become more raised, red and visible overnight. The cellulite on our legs had suddenly developed into pot holes on our skin. Our bingo wings had gotten so large they could be used as wings to take off.
None of this was the case; we were simply scared. Grown women and mams, scared to put on a swim suit on a beach! Body ambassadors who constantly strive to build up a positive body image for Plus Size women, scared to show their bodies. Role models for the next generation, scared to put themselves out there. Honestly, it was a low for us all and it did take a toll. Fiona and Emma, due to personal reasons, decided not to participate in the shoot. Even after all of us trying to badger them into it. They personally were not okay with their bodies that week and did not feel confident, comfortable or ready to participate in a beach wear shoot. At Celtic Curves, we have a united stance - we are a support network for each other; we are a family. So, it was hard to continue without them that day, and even harder that we couldn’t make them see just how beautiful they truly are. However, we will never force another person in the group to do something they are not 100% ready for.
You see what people don’t understand is that putting yourself out there, to help other women, to possibly be judged by trolls and people with ideal body images, is hard! We are normal women, with normal jobs, normal bodies and normal everyday feelings. We are not always full of confidence. We don’t wake up every morning and say “YES I AM THE MOST STUNNING CREATURE CREATED!” We genuinely have down days too; we’re normal women, we also have days where we hate the sight of ourselves. We hate the rolls we have, the stretch marks, the extra boob at the side, the fact our old jeans no longer fit us.
On the day, myself, Rhian, Charlotte and Nicole took to the beach for the shoot with Emma and Fiona there to support us, because we needed all the support we could get for this shoot. We started the shoot behind the sand dunes. This was intentionally done so we could almost hide ourselves from the public eye. We were literally hiding ourselves in beach wear, on a beach! I was the first to put the bikini on...not going to lie, I was terrified, but someone had to do it… What happened next was true strength, love and acceptance for ourselves and each other. We all stood there together, looking at each other, waiting to see what everyone thought of the “hideous body” we hide underneath our clothes. The responses began to flow and do you know what??… they were all POSITIVE COMPLIMENTS! We all looked amazing!
The beach wear completely flattered our body shapes. All the suits sat correctly on our chests and stomachs, while providing support without cutting off circulation. Our thighs weren’t bulging out of the end because the fabric was flimsy or too tight like normal beach wear. My boobs weren’t sagging down to my knees because the tops are all underwired. We didn’t have belly over flow because the briefs are made to size. These suits gave us back our confidence, they enhanced our best assets, and allowed us to look and feel comfortable in them. All plus size women will know the struggle to find good, solid, comfortable beach wear that works with a larger body instead of against it. Well ladies this is it!
The shoot continued, we moved out onto the main beach. We got into the water. We rolled around. We ran up and down the beach. We laughed. We had fun. All the while we were oblivious to anyone around us. Mostly because no one batted an eyelid in a negative way at us and because we felt good about ourselves. Emma and Fiona after being around us in the swim wear that day have decided to complete their Viva swim wear shoot at a later date! The day was a complete success on so many levels.
You see, I feel your life and emotions are greatly affected by the vibes you put out there or vibes you are subjected to daily. The vibes and comments we allow ourselves to dwell on. That week not one of us as good vibes to add about ourselves to the group, and it did affect us all negatively. This is normal though. It is okay to not always be okay about every little thing about yourself and your body. You just need to remember not to allow it to consume you. Rise above it! Push yourself to be the best you! Take a risk. Take a chance. Trust me, all of us can now say it was the best and most fun shoot we’ve ever done!
The best thing for all of us as individual women, and as a group, was we didn’t allow it to stop us. We did the shoot. We wore swim wear, with our bodies bare, on a beach, in front of the public! This truly was a huge step for all of us! The confidence we all felt from being around each other. From being around strong fearless women who faced their terrors (and yes, sometimes being half naked is a genuine terror for a plus size woman!) and came out all the more fabulous for it! That’s the kind of inspiration and good vibes that will get you through the hard days. It is what you need to hold onto on the dark days when self-loathing is consuming you.
We are so happy that Viva Voluptuous provided the swim wear for the shoot and we would just like to take a chance to thank them from the bottom of our hearts. Firstly, because they allowed us to test ourselves and push our boundaries. Secondly, for making such amazing swim wear for Plus Size women.
We at Celtic Curves all believe that every woman deserves an enjoy full day at the beach, feeling confident in her skin and would highly recommend this brand and swim wear to provide you with all that and more. So go on, embrace your inner 5 year old, or better yet, show your child, that fierce 5 year old who watches you in amazement, that you are the strong, empowered, fearless woman that she already knows you are!
Rach @ Celtic Curves xx
Daisy Swimsuit 1 piece
Daisy Plus Size Bikini Bottoms
Daisy Plus Size Tankini Top
Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Top
Sabrina Plus Size Bikini Bottoms
Photos by Mark Leddy
Rachel's MUA - Emma's Makeup Room