March 1, 2021

Finding body confidence in midlife.

How I have overcome my lack of body confidence to become a silver haired curve model, modelling lingerie at 50.

Rachel Peru model

If someone would have told me in my twenties and thirties that I would become a full-time model in my late forties I would never have believed them.

To the point where I actually booked to have a breast reduction because I hated the size of them and honestly thought this would make me feel happier, thankfully I reconsidered. It makes me feel sad that I wasted so much time and energy on these thoughts instead of living life to the full.

I was very shy when I was younger and didn’t have a big career mapped out when I left school, I really wanted to go to Drama school, but my lack of self- belief held me back. I spent fifteen years in various retail roles until I had my three children and then retrained as a nursery school assistant as it fitted in with family life easily. I found myself getting divorced at 39 and decided to finally go to University and gained a 2.1 Education Studies degree aged 41. I was delighted and thought I had finally got my career mapped out and imagined a new career in teaching. Life has a habit of turning plans upside down when you least expect it and shortly after my eldest daughter became ill with crippling and anxiety which resulted in her being home schooled and me having to leave my full-time job. Little did I know what was in store for me in the following years.

Four years ago, I began a new career, aged 46 as a model. I’m a UK size 14-16, with grey hair and a 34G bust.

I didn’t plan to do this; it just sort of happened at a time when I least expected it. After getting divorced at 39 I went to university and gained a BA in Education Studies and worked as a nursery teacher which I loved. My eldest daughter was struggling with severe anxiety which in the end led to home schooling and me leaving work. This really knocked my confidence being at home and I definitely felt very isolated for what felt like a long period of time. I was asked to model in a local McMillan charity fashion show by a close friend and although nervous about it I agreed. This was just the thing to help me regain my confidence, because it took me out of my comfort zone, and it was exhilarating. I had also decided to stop colouring my hair after battling grey hair since I was a teenager. It’s hard to explain but for the first time I truly felt like me, this in turn helped my confidence grow even more. After volunteering for McMillan for a few years I decided to send photos off to agencies after some encouragement from others and to my surprise I was offered contracts.

I am now signed exclusively with Bridge models in London and I love my new career, I get to meet so many different people, travel and wear some fabulous clothes, including swimwear and lingerie.

But the thing I have become most passionate about is being able to represent women in midlife and help challenge the media and fashion industry.  I am finally happy in my skin and have never felt more confident about my body, but I am aware so many women in midlife come to a body confidence crisis and when you look at how invisible in media, marketing and the fashion industry it’s hardly surprising.

Wouldn’t it be nice to go lingerie shopping in a department store and see models in their forties and fifties as well as the younger women? I want to be able to relate to the images and imagine how I would look in them, instead we are bombarded by youth which often leads us down a negative ageing body comparison.

This is what has led me to create the ‘Rediscover You’ online course because I want to be able to share all my experience and knowledge gained,  of the things that have worked for me over the last ten years that has helped me become happy in my body and move forward in life. I have recently gained a BodyLove diploma and am now working towards my Life Purpose coaching qualifications. I can't wait to launch the Rediscover You self study course and group coaching courses starting on the 29th March to reach other women that need to re find their body confidence.

If you would like to know more please get in touch. You can email me at rachel@outofthebubblepodcast.com or why not book a free 30 minute telephone call to see how my course can help you.

Book your free call here!

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x

 

 

October 5, 2020

How to be more body confident in midlife.

I really struggled to like my body in my twenties and thirties and it wasn’t until I hit my forties that my attitude started to change. The change wasn’t created by some amazing diet and trust me I have probably tried all of them but through getting on with my life and stepping out of my comfort zone. I actually went for a breast reduction when I was thirty because I hated my large chest so much I thought it was going to change how I felt about myself, I’m so glad I decided against it as now love my big boobs and they are very much part of me.

Midlife body confidence

Hitting midlife can be real time of change and our body confidence can take a knock.

Here’s some simple tips that can make a real difference to how you feel about your body and bring back some of that lost confidence.

 

  1. Ditch the weighing scales.

Your value does not lie with the number on the scales. I wasted so many years stepping on the scales every day and it doesn’t do you any good.

My mood of the day was being dictated to what the numbers told me in a morning and if I’d put weight on, I’d be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I no longer weigh myself and it’s liberating.

 

  1. Invest in your lingerie.

When was the last time you got your bra size measured? A recent survey undertaken by the Underlines magazine in 2019 showed that 79% of women are wearing both the wrong band and cup size. Our bodies fluctuate and we need to get re-measured regularly. I used to feel guilty about investing in lingerie for myself, but I’ve realised it’s important to my mental well-being, it makes me feel good when I step out of the door. Time to drop the guilt and spend money investing in lovely matching lingerie that makes YOU feel good.

 

  1. Try something new!

Are you sitting on an urge to rekindle an old hobby or desperate to try something new? What’s stopping you? As we get older, we often fear failure more than we used to, but starting something new, whether it’s a hobby, learning a new craft or language or trying a new sport can give us a new lease of life.

 

  1. Get moving.

Find a sport or activity that you actual enjoy and don’t view sport as a chore. I used to really hate school sports and it put me off trying new activities for years, but I now go out running, dog walking and love swimming. It brings me enjoyment and time to switch off from the hustle and bustle of life for a while. I've found that it's helping my menopause symptoms better too, helps clear my head and feel less anxious. The fact that it’s good for health is of course an extra benefit.

 

  1. Be kind to yourself and show your body some love.

We wouldn’t say the things to our friends that we say to our own bodies so try and become friends with your body. I find writing a gratitude journal focusing on my body made a difference. Write 3 things that you’re grateful to your body for each day.

Be kind to your body

If you'd like some more body confidence tips why not try my Top Ten Midlife Body Confidence Free download -

Kick Start Your Body Confidence Here 

 

I'd love to hear what makes you feel body confident too? Drop me a line at rachel@outofthebubblepodcast.com

Keep being fabulous

Rachel x

 

 

July 8, 2020

Beach Body Ready – Have a body and head to the beach!

Beach Body Ready, it's really very simple, have a body then lets head to the beach!

My tips on how to be body confident this Summer as I share some of my favourite swimwear 2020.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has spotted the dreaded "How to get a beach body" articles shortly after travelling was given the green light again this Summer.

Marketing companies and the media should receive an award for piling unrealistic pressure on women as they plan their summer wardrobe and beach attire, especially when they hit over 40. The majority of the swimwear images I see are so unrelatable; I realise I didn't look close to them in my twenties so at 50 I don't stand a chance!

When it comes to choosing swimwear, all I can tell you is ditch the rules and wear what makes YOU feel good and to hell with what anyone else thinks. If you're a swimsuit woman that's great, if you prefer to wear a two piece that's fabulous too, there is no right way, what ever makes you have the most body confidence. I've heard so many women share opinions on both and it's time we stopped judging one another. I love wearing bikinis because they make me feel free but I totally understand other women feel better in a one piece.

Here are some of my favourite swimwear for 2020 to give you a bit of inspiration.

I've recently discovered the WeAreWeWear brand and I really love their collection. This Bright Pink bikini is reversible so Pink or Red depending on your mood; you could also mix the tops and bottoms. I love a high waisted bottom and the drawstrings give you control on how you wear them. I'm a 34G and went for a Large which fits well and feels secure with the halter neck. This set is in the sale too so a bargain at £31 for the set.(https://wearewewear.com/products/long-line-reversible-red-bikini-top)

If you've never looked at the Figleaves website I can highly recommend you do as they have a really great collection of stylish one pieces and bikinis to fit a wide range of sizes.

How pretty is this Toulouse curve tummy control swimsuit! I love the ladder detail across the waist which helps create a gorgeous waistline for curves. £45

(https://www.figleaves.com/uk/figleaves-toulouse-mindful-curve-non-wired-plunge-ladder-tummy-control-swimsuit/FIG-013954.html?dwvar_FIG-013954_color=755160&cgid=newarrival#start=15)

I also love this Paradise Island swimsuit as the straps are detachable so great for avoiding tan lines and would look great worn as body underneath a jacket and jeans later in the evening. I'm all for multi tasking my wardrobe. £55

(https://www.figleaves.com/uk/figleaves-paradise-island-underwired-bandeau-tummy-control-swimsuit-b-g/FIG-013546.html?dwvar_FIG-013546_color=754485&cgid=swimwear-swimsuits#start=12)

I don't think you can go wrong when you shop at Bravissimo if you're a larger busted lady. I've shopped with this brand for the last ten years and they've never let me down when it comes to choice. This asymmetric swimsuit from their St.Tropez collection really caught my eye, I think its a really stylish look. £58

(https://www.bravissimo.com/products/st-tropez-swimsuit-sw560/#tealnavy-sw560tvy)

Tankinis can be a great option too and I absolutely love this electric Blue Santa Monica set from Pour Moi, don't be afraid to be stand out and own your spot on that beach.

The ruching on this set is so flattering and again a swimsuit that would look great with a maxi skirt in the evening. £49

It's about trying different style until you find your own body confidence.

(https://www.pourmoi.co.uk/products/santa-monica-removable-straps-non-wired-tankini/?styleid=69272)

I've tried and tested several of Pour Moi bikinis in the last few years and find them to be a great fit on the bust making bigger busted women feel nice and secure. The set below is from 2019.

2019 Pour Moi set, photographed by Laura Adams.

My personal favourite for 2020 is MissesBrie's collection, I am going to have to wait for the sales but there are some eye catching pieces in this fabulous collection. I'm a huge fan of the Sports Illustrated swimwear model Brielle Anyea and have watched her career blossom so I wasn't surprised that her swimwear collection is as stunning as she is. Briella is also another great model who is full of body confidence.

The colours and the style of this Baddie bikini is stunning but at £81 I'll have to keep it on my wish list.

Don't be afraid to look on social media at what other women are wearing though as there's so many smaller labels out there that you would otherwise miss.

(https://missesbrie.com/collections/new-arrivals/products/baddie-bikini)

What ever you wear , enjoy your Summer and hold your head up high.

Repeat after me...

"I AM GORGEOUS
I AM BEAUTIFUL
MY BODY IS MY FRIEND
I'M GOING TO ENJOY MY SUMMER"

June 10, 2020

The Impact of Lockdown Life On Body Confidence

How to love your body during lockdown.

I hope everyone has been surviving lockdown and managing to keep well. I am sure I’m not the only that has found this experience to be a real rollercoaster of emotions but what I hadn’t anticipated was the effect it would have on my body confidence.

In normal circumstances I consider myself to be very body confident, it’s something I’ve worked hard on and I guess it’s become part of my personal branding. I’ve modelled swimwear with Ashely Graham and represented older women in several lingerie campaigns, so I’d like to think I had the body confidence issue covered!

During the first few weeks I found myself joining every online exercise class that was thrown at me, some of which I really enjoyed, others began to feel like a chore. After a few weeks, life settled into a new normal routine and I’ve thrown myself into working on projects and recording Out of the Bubble podcasts, so I've had less time available. That’s when the guilt set in, I started feeling bad about myself because I wasn’t doing as much exercise or healthy living as friends and others on social media seemed to be. The saying “Comparison is the thief of joy’ is so true and this was another reminder of that.

I’ve continued to shoot from home and recently completed my first paid home shoot since lockdown began, for a lingerie brand. Whilst I am really happy with the final images it took much longer to shoot as I found myself being super critical and really harsh about my body and the fact that I’d put a few pounds on. For the first time in years I even weighed myself. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t have stressed about this but during lockdown it’s caught me off guard and I admit to having a small meltdown about it. I quickly remembered it's ok not to love your body every single day but you have to accept it, that's much more manageable and realistic.

I am happy to say this blip didn’t last long and I managed to get myself out of those negative thoughts, but it did stop me in my tracks and make me analyse why I reacted this way.

We have been bombarded by social media posts and advertising selling exercise classes and telling us that we should be all improving our lives during lockdown. How many times have you heard someone tell you’ve they’re learning a new language or attending every yoga class they can find? Whilst all this self-improvement is amazing if that is right for you how about those people that are just trying to survive and get through each day in their own way. There is no right or wrong way. Add this to the glib remarks added to articles and posts about weight gain it’s no wonder peoples' body confidence can be knocked.

Here are some tips that have helped me.

Unfollow/Mute accounts that have made you feel negative about yourself. Social media can be such a positive place if you carefully curate it to suit you and can be changed depending on your own state of mind.

If you are wanting to be more active, make sure you do the activities that you genuinely enjoy. I’ve started dance classes with The School of Strutt which I love and it doesn’t feel like exercise.

Don’t be camera shy. Start taking selfies and really look at yourself. Look at your face and recognise the person looking back at you. I found this really therapeutic and it was like reuniting with a stranger. It makes you stop and remember who you are and what you’ve achieved to get to this point, it helps put life and body insecurities into perspective.

Start a gratitude diary. I’ve used this lots of times over the years and began it again during lockdown, it helps remind you of all the positive, often small things each day to be grateful for.

Start the day thinking of one thing that you like about your body and make it your daily mantra, one of mine is ‘I love my smile’ other examples could be “I love how strong my legs feel’ or “I love the colour of my eyes’.

Keep repeating it to yourself throughout the day and you will be surprised how quickly it can make a positive difference. Once it becomes a routine you can then add more body parts and keep adding to your list.

Lastly, be kind to yourself and accept that your body is a vessel that has carried you through so many different experiences in life and is always there for you, so it deserves your love. We don't have to love our bodies every single moment of the day but body acceptance is much more important and realistic. Once we gain acceptance it frees up space in our minds to get on with life and keeps everything in perspective.

Keep being fabulous x

 

 

February 13, 2020

Why women over 40 need to be seen in lingerie campaigns.

Figleaves Valentines Day Campaign

You should know by now that I'm very passionate about women over 40 being seen in lingerie and swimwear advertising, it's something that I've written about before on the blog. So you can imagine how I felt when I got booked to join the Figleaves Lingerie Valentines 2020 campaign!

We worked on this campaign back in December and from the moment I arrived I could tell it was going to be a great shoot, despite the freezing cold weather outside. The set was so pretty; it always makes me want to rearrange my own home. What I loved about this campaign was how diverse the women were; some women had never done anything like this before and the glass of Prosecco to start the day off was not only a treat but definitely helped calm some nerves. I loved watching everyones' confidence grow throughout the day.

FANTASIE Sophie Underwired Side Support Bra

I'm not going to lie, but when I first saw this image all I could focus on was my 'muffin top' but what's the point of being so critical about something that is so natural? The lingerie set was beautiful, my hair and make up was on point and I was caught in a relaxed happy moment, enjoying the shoot.

90% of the time I am happy with my body and have embraced all that it is, but there are still moments that catch me off guard and cause me to have wobbles. It's something I've been conscious of recently when talking to people about body confidence.

Being body confident is not a definitive state but should be more fluid as you grow older and your body changes. Somedays its more about being kinder to yourself and for me the bad moments don't linger as long.

Women are so quick to judge themselves and focus on the things we don't like about our bodies, instead of celebrating the positive aspects. Spending the day on this shoot really felt empowering, we all have our own body stories but we can all lift each other so much by sharing them and learning from each other. I really believe that all women should experience a lingerie shoot in their lives to help raise their confidence, I find it liberating.

I only hope that more brands start using and representing older women in their marketing. Women want to be able relate to the images they see in lingerie shops, it is demoralising to be constantly bombarded with images of slim 20 year old women when you try on that same bra. It's impossible to not compare yourself and women over 40 have very different bodies to younger women, this needs to be reflected in the images as well. I strongly believe brands should be using a real mixture of ages and sizes so that everyone is catered for. This campaign has made a positive step in doing this which I think is really exciting to see.

Harper Geometric Lace Underwired Plunge Body B-G Cup

I never used to wear bodies but I'm a huge fan of them now. Not only do they hold you in but they are comfortable and supportive too. This outfit was my absolute favourite of the day.

You can read more about all the women involved in the shoot over on the Figleaves blog.

Keep being fabulous
Rachel x

February 1, 2020

Body confidence on camera.

Body Talk exhibition with Shy Burham photography & poet Sharena Lee Sattit

Many women still feel very uncomfortable talking about their bodies, particularly in a positive manner. We are all so good at complimenting others but often struggle to show self love and appreciation of our own bodies. Photographer Shy Burhan and Poet Sharena Lee Satti came together to create an exhibition breaking this taboo and celebrating body confidence. Women from diverse backgrounds were invited to submit three words describing what they love about their bodies before being photographed by Shy. Sharena then wrote a beautiful poem called 'She is a goddess' inspired by those photographs.

Opening night was a sell out and it so lovely to see the women showing friends and family their photographs proudly hanging on the walls at Kala Sangram in Bradford. Shy ended up with 58 women, she originally asked for 52 to represent each week of the year but had such a positive response she didn't want to turn anyone down. I love that all the women were truly diverse and different, a true reflection on women in society today. Wouldn't it be great if those people who organise fashion and beauty advertising came to events like to see what true representation looks like.

There is something very moving about seeing women embracing their bodies coming together to celebrate. It's so important that we have creative people bringing projects like this to life to help break down body confidence issues and improve our mental wellbeing.

The exhibition will run until 3rd April and I'm looking forward to then buying my own art installation cylinder, it's going to become our new wine cooler and certainly a new topic of conversation!

The word joy sums up the art installations as part of the exhibition, the 58 women all look so different but so happy and free to express themselves. It was such fun shooting with Shy for this project, lots of movement and laughter.

I'll leave you with this beautiful poem "She is a goddess' written and performed by poet Sarena Lee Sattit. The opening night performance saw this poem accompanied by a beautiful dancer, it was a very moving moment.

 

What three words would you use to describe why you love your body?

Mine were.

Gratitude, Strength and Acceptance.

Rachel x

January 29, 2020

The Vagina Museum

I'd heard about the new Vagina Museum in Camden over on the Naked Podcast before Christmas so knew I wanted to go check it out. Camden market is one of my favourite spots to lose a few hours alone in London but it is like a maze and I certainly raised a few eyebrows as I asked people if they knew where the museum was. So what is it about the word Vagina that still seems to cause some people embarrassment or fits of giggles?

The Vagina Museum is the world’s first bricks and mortar museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy. The project began in 2017 with pop ups across the county and opened its' doors in Camden in 2019.

I don't know about you but sex education classes in the late 70's and early 80's was pretty limited. For starters, girls and boys were separated so there was no chance for open discussions between both sexes which I always thought was bizarre. It's certainly refreshing to have a much more healthy and open conversation about our bodies. The small museum has informative straight talking facts about the vagina and helps dispel some of those myths women are often led to believe. It certainly left me thinking about a few things. Like why women are made to feel unkempt if we don't have tidy trimmed public hair all the time? By the way, did anyone watch CH4's Bring Back The Bush it's worth a watch and reminded me how much women's bodies have been policed over the years.

I would definitely recommend any parents to take their children to the museum, I wish this kind of information was made available to schools nationwide as I am sure it would really help young girls with their body confidence and mental well being as they navigate there way through puberty. It's actually surprising that it has taken so long for a museum like this to open when you consider the Phallological museum in Iceland has been open for years.

The museum will be holding two exhibitions a year and is currently running the "Muff busters: Vagina myths and how to fight them".with lots of other events throughout the year. My favourite display has to be the giant tampon all its' bloody, glittery glory.

Could you name all your body parts around the vagina?

 

Since I have been peri-menopausal and now entering the menopause, I have become more aware of what's going on with my body in this area and it has to be said it's not much fun! Why doesn't anyone warn you about vaginal dryness (or as I've now learnt is officially called Vaginal atrophy) and the consequential links to cystitis and thrush during hormonal changes. Why is it still so hard to talk about as if it's something we should hide and not make a fuss about even at the age of 50? Apparently research shows more than 50% will suffer with this, although it is likely to be much higher as only 7-10% visit the doctor.

I think this museum is a great idea. If it gets people talking more openly and sharing our experiences about our own bodies then perhaps we will all become a little less hard on ourselves.

Maybe we need a Menopause museum in the world too!

''We have a vision of a world where no one is ashamed of their bodies, everyone has bodily autonomy and all of humanity works together to build a society that is free and equal.''

The museum is free and can be found at Unit 17 & 18, The Stables, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH.

 

September 23, 2019

Introducing Silver Cindy

I have wanted to work with @claireseville on this 'doll in a box' shoot ever since I saw Georgina’s @fullerfigurefullerbust fabulous ‘Carbie’ doll shoot.

Why? Because I want to embrace all the sides of my personality, to keep pushing my body confidence and I also love vintage and 1950’s retro style. I used to run my own vintage business and I miss this creative side to me. I am fifty next year and really want to start owning who I am and exploring all the different sides of myself.

Silver Cindy, Rachel Peru with Claire Seville photography, Rachael Davies MUA/Hair

I’m also tired of seeing so much negativity surrounding older women who choose to express their sexuality. Consider the backlash Helena Christensen came across earlier this year for daring to go out to a party in a lace bustier, at the wonderful age of 50. Former Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman wrote 'I'm sorry Helena Christensen, you ARE too old to wear that".

I'm sorry but Helena is not only beautiful and confident but also a brilliant ambassador for women in midlife who choose to wear what they like to make themselves feel good. Since when did clothes labels also have age labels too?

I find it most upsetting and surprising that such judgement is predominantly from other women. I completely understand those that prefer to cover up and not to express their sensuality in this way but what I don’t get is why women choose to judge other women who feel confident and comfortable in showing it. Why can’t we accept that we are all different and there is no right or wrong way to be or look once we reach 40. For some women wearing red lipstick makes them feel fabulous and gives them a boost of confidence and lifts them.

For others it might be wearing their favourite lingerie even though they know no one else will see it, it's a positive mood enhancer and gives you that extra lift of confidence. What's your definition of sexy, I'd love to know?

Rachel Peru as Silver Cindy, doll in a box wearing Rago shapewear.

But when it comes to women over 40 daring to show a little bit more flesh, a lower cut shirt exposing a tiny bit of cleavage or a shorter length dress to expose great legs it seems to become much more derisive. I struggled to like my body for most of my life until I reached 40 and now I am learning to accept and love it for what it is. I have good and bad days, especially being peri-menopausal and the changes that brings along.

I found this shoot with Claire both empowering and great fun and I left with an extra boost of confidence. I can definitely recommend that any woman try it if it's something they think they might enjoy. So to all those women out there that might find it distasteful to see a woman of my age flaunting their body please keep your judgements to yourself and remember we are all out there in the world trying to get by and find happiness within ourselves in our own way. I hope you find yours.

I used to love playing with my Cindy doll when I was younger and I’m damn sure I would have included an older looking doll in my collection too if they’d be available! ( P.S I’d love to work with more retro lingerie brands in the future!)

September 3, 2019

The Real Catwalk 2019

How quickly a year goes by! Last year was my first time walking in The Real Catwalk flash mob fashion show in Trafalgar Square created by American model Khrystyana. and the feel good factor stayed with me for weeks after. KhrystyAna started the Real Catwalk event after her own experience as a curve model during Americas Next Top Model series walking in Times Square, the response and support she gained from this really encouraged her to create this positive event.

The message is simple, one of "self love and acceptance for everyone to celebrate together" and we certainly did!

Krispy Kreme donuts the night before a lingerie and swimwear catwalk, surely not!!!!

Last year I wore a bikini and I saw it is an opportunity to see how far my body confidence had grown so this year I chose the lingerie option as another step forward. Body confidence is something I really don't take for granted as it has only come once hitting my forties. So many people that take part in this event feel incredibly anxious and struggle with self confidence so to be part of it and to be able to offer support and reassurance is a pleasure. This event is for everyone to feel represented, men and women, people with scars, disabilities, all sexualities and sizes, people that have overcome real challenges just to get to this point and to be around everyone is very moving.

Daryl Hembrough photographed by Mariam Gomez.

Clara, aka Rollin Funky looking amazing, photographed by Mariam Gomez.

This woman energy was amazing all day and she pulled off doing the splits on the catwalk too! Naala Lartey photographed by Mariam Gomez

Khrystyana has created a safe space for all that want to join in who may struggle with their own insecurities. It's an event to build others up, celebrate all our differences and without any judgement. It has really heightened my awareness of how judgemental we are in society and how we spend so much of our time being forced to compare ourselves to others, whether it's through mainstream advertising, the fashion industry, the media and in politics. Perhaps the world would be a better place if events like this were seen across the world on a regular basis.

A question I've been asked several times is why do I feel the need to take part in this event if I am already body confident. I think it's important to be active in things that you are passionate about. Women over 40 are rarely seen in the media in lingerie and swimwear, we're constantly fed unobtainable 'perfect' body images which then make us all feel negative about our own bodies. I don't want to be seen as invisible now I've reached midlife.

The more we get the message out there by showing up has to be a positive thing. There is also a feeling of liberation that comes from taking part in this event, after years of lacking in self confidence I am proud of where I am at right now and I along with all the people involved are celebrating ourselves and each other.

This event saw well over 120 models take part this year and could so easily become out of control but the team behind this have really worked hard and rehearsal time means everyone has an opportunity to practice, ask questions and generally help put their nerves aside. You could just tell this event was going to be amazing as even during the rehearsals the atmosphere was full of energy and joy.

Rachel Peru, Rebecca Weef Smith, Ava Thompson

 

So many people touched me during the day with their courage to overcome nerves, their stories and that's what makes it special. Older women are often cast aside once over 40 when it comes to having the freedom to celebrate our bodies so to take part with Rebecca Weef Smith and Ava Thompson was the icing on the cake, a big shout out to all the other older women for showing up and owning the runway. I have a feeling the over 40 gang will grow even bigger next year. One of the highlights of the event for me was when a lady stopped to talk with us and told Rebecca she wanted to be just like her. That's why we did it, in the hope that we might inspire others to feel more confident and press the fxxk it button!

Inspiration comes from all age groups, watching and learning from the younger generations makes me even more determined to keep doing what I'm doing, so I was delighted when I finally got to meet up with Jess Megan who is a constant source of inspiration. I also gained two new girl crushes on Kaisa Henriikka and Plussizevintagemadame, can we take a moment to honour that orange swimsuit! There confidence oozes out of them and it's highly infectious so it's another reminder to surround yourself with people that make you feel more positive about yourself and leave you feeling good.

Strutting down the runway, photographed by Mariam Gomez, Bridge models.

"Dance like no on his watching you"

If you'd have asked me a few years ago if I would share this video of myself and Ava dancing in the streets like this the answer would have been NO! Despite knowing that my three teenage children are slightly mortified to see their mum in this moment I absolutely love it. It captures our feeling of pure joy and freedom in our bodies. I don't have the perfect body, but it works for me and we have become friends, that in it's self is liberating and something to dance for. Saturday was not about competition, judgements or comparisons but about empowerment, acceptance and a celebration of each other. Very 1960's I know..... but it works!

August 28, 2019

I Am More Than project. Wings of Merit, Achievement & Ambition.

When Rosalind Main and Morgan Mctiernan invited me to join there latest project I jumped at the chance. As I approach 50 next year I would definitely class myself as a pro-ager and want to inspire other women in midlife to embrace there changing bodies and minds I believe mixing with younger people has such an important part to play. I am constantly inspired by younger women on social media and in every day life but also hope that I can share some wisdom and valid view points to inspire them too. Working on this latest art project with the I Am More Than team was a pleasure and thought provoking.

Wings of merit photographer by Joanna Stawnicka for the I Am More Than project

Wings of merit a 'Victorious Statement'. Rosalind created wings, with a twist on the Victoria Secret wings. Wings covered in rosettes to represent achievement. I think women are particularly bad at celebrating our achievements. I have recently been working with a life coach and mentor and that's one of the first things I have worked on, writing list of things I am proud of, which I now have pinned to my noticeboard above my desk as a daily reminder.What are you proud of? Why not write it down, I can recommend it as a great tool for those days self doubt wobble days.

Wings of Ambition, photographed by Joanna Stawnicka for the I Am More Than project.

Wings of ambition. Why do people assume that once you hit over 40 you don't have any dreams or ambitions? I speak to so many women over 40 that are now reinventing themselves and starting new careers and hobbies. It can be a time of life when we say goodbye to our school mum self as our children head off to university or move out and with that comes a new sense of freedom and opens up new possibilities. I have always dared to dream but the difference is now I am making them happen and working hard to achieve the goals I set myself because I have a new found confidence.

Ambition and Speech go hand in hand.  Speech and Ambition go hand in hand.

This is one of my favourite images from the shoot. Intergenerational, we are all different but the same x

Wings covered in the contraceptive pill, Wings covered in sanitary towels, Wings of ambition. A true representation of women in todays society comrade to the fantasy of the Victoria Secret perfection that so many struggle and strive to be.

All images photographed by https://www.joannastawnicka.com/ on behalf of the I Am More Than project https://www.instagram.com/iam_more_than/

Models Rachel Peru https://www.instagram.com/rachelperu1/

Rosalind Main https://www.instagram.com/rosalindmain/?hl=en

Ombola https://www.instagram.com/bolababes95/?hl=en

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Out of the Bubble champions women who are embracing life and leaving a trail of inspiration along the way. Inspiring others to become more confident in body and mind.

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