Stood on a beach in Turkey, 18 years old, size 10/12 and I should be having the time of my life with the girls, but instead I’m covering my body and hiding away. Thinking I look disgusting and fat and not wanting to show myself up in my swimwear. Is this how my life will always be?
My relationship with my body has been a tough one. I look back at pictures and see how slim and toned I was. I had the body some women desire, curves in all the right places, but why did I hate myself so much? To be honest I will never know.
It’s taken me 14 years to be at peace with my insecurities and to love myself for who I am and trust me it’s not been easy. I have two children who I adore but obviously those pregnancies have left marks and scars on my body. I’ve gained and lost weight repeatedly over the last 10 years and at times I don’t even recognise the person I used to be.
But it took something 5 years ago for me to say enough is enough. How am I letting my body determine my life, my happiness? Come on Danielle get a grip. I went to a body confidence workshop and as Cliche as it sounds; it changed my life. I saw beautiful women who hated themselves and I thought, ‘God that’s what they must think of me.’ ‘Why does she hate herself?’
I stopped caring what others said about me and spent time looking in the mirror, telling myself what I loved about myself and looking at what I hated. Was cellulite enough to cancel girls’ nights out? Was fat on my stomach enough to make me starve myself? God no. What was the point? Live a miserable life because of the way I looked?
I started to do small modelling jobs and my confidence built, I wore outfits I wouldn’t have dared too in the past and received amazing compliments and I started to post images on my social media along with heartfelt captions about my insecurities; and saw a world of men and women struggling the same way I had been with my body.
As I continued to model and change the way I spoke to myself and thought about myself; the dark cloud lifted little by little and I felt light. I was happy to be with friends and running around with my babies. I didn’t care if someone looked at what I was wearing or if someone made comments on social media. They didn’t know me and the people that did; loved me no matter what.
I received messages from women thanking me for giving them inspiration and confidence. This was such an amazing feeling knowing other people had gained something from me. Someone had looked at my pictures and seen all my flaws and admired me? Crazy right?
Anyway, here we are in 2021, I have a great relationship with my body, I have a successful modelling career and I’m planning some major business moves this year in the industry. I’m happy, I’m healthy and I’m at peace. So what if my belly has fat on it, if my thighs jiggle or if something doesn’t fit. By the size that fits you, don’t focus on numbers or scales. Look at yourself in that mirror and say... ‘you are god damn beautiful and if anyone says anything else; F**k them!!