"Positivity passes on."
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What does body positivity mean to you?
Bopo is recognizing and having gratitude for your body. Saying ‘My body is amazing!’ I live in this body. Why does it matter what it looks like when I can do amazing things?
Why did you want to be a part of this campaign/photoshoot?
I think that any opportunity to celebrate and appreciate yourself, as well as other amazing women, is really difficult to pass up! We don't have these opportunities often enough, and I think it's SO crucial and SO healthy to practice looking at and thinking about your body with gratitude and celebration.
The best descriptive word you’d give yourself and why?
Passionate. I am perpetually empathetic (sometimes to my disadvantage) and I feel things deeply and powerfully. I'm often described as "driven", or "a go-getter", and I know that it's my passion that drives everything I experience and accomplish in life. I'm proud of that.
Past advice you would give yourself regarding body image or self-love?
Positivity passes on. We do affect one another so we need to hold each other accountable. I would stress that it's significantly more important to recognize and appreciate what your body is capable of than it is to worry about the way that it looks or the way that other people see you. It's difficult for anyone to make that kind of mindset shift, and I think that if someone had presented it to me in that way, and helped me change the way that I thought about my body in general and what it's actually for, that I would have grown up thinking and feeling completely differently.
When did body image issues start and how did you know?
It sounds really terrible, but it's definitely a reality for a lot of people - I distinctly remember being a kid, not even a teenager yet, and getting comments from family members about the way I looked and about my body in general. They would tease me about my "pudgy belly" and my "chicken legs", and make suggestions about what they thought that I should wear in order to "look better". The conversation always revolved around my appearance, and never around my health, or my self-esteem, or my confidence.... which just isn't okay, especially coming from the people who are supposed to be teaching you those essential concepts.
what do you struggle with accepting the most about yourself?
I think it's both fortunate and unfortunate that the source of my insecurities, for the most part, is a health issue - I have PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome. This means that my hormones are all out of whack, basically all the time, which causes things like easy weight gain, acne, hirsutism, and a whole host of other issues. I spent several years not knowing that I had this condition, and just wondering what was wrong with me, and feeling like I had no control or ability to affect my situation. Knowing what I know now is helpful, even though there's no known cure yet for PCOS - at least I have a place to start, which helps motivate and inspire me to make healthy choices in an effort to take charge of my relationship with my body.
what do you love about yourself, physically or otherwise?
I love my mind - I'm intelligent, intuitive, compassionate, and I have a natural skill when it comes to connecting with other people. This is what drives me, energizes me, and inspires me - the things that I'm capable of achieving and experiencing as a result of my passion, intellect, and desire for genuine, intimate interpersonal relationships.