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5 Australian self-love advocates on overcoming your insecurities

IMAGE BY YASMIN SUTEJA
WORDS BY ROSANNA WATTS

“You are most beautiful when you embrace who you are.”

Did you know as much as 10 per cent of your thoughts can involve comparisons? Yep, apparently, we humans are just wired that way, which was probably a useful survival quality, once upon a time. 

But these days, social media has changed the comparison game. It’s brought us the likes of FaceTune and Instagram models, as well as many “aspirational” hashtags like #fitspo or #belfies, all of which contribute to social media’s reputation for making us feel inadequate and insecure. In fact, since social media’s inception, study after study has been published to warn us of its potentially damaging effects. 

But it’s not all bad. The number of ‘BoPo’ or body positivity accounts on Instagram is only growing, and we’ve also seen a rise in #nofilter and acne-positive content. Plus, we can’t overlook social media’s saving grace – the power it gives us to curate our social feeds.

Thanks to the pandemic, many of us are short of some of our usual means of practising self-care and boosting our confidence. On top of this, there’s been a recent increase in social media and phone use, for obvious (lockdown) reasons. Which is why now, more than ever, it’s important we’re consciously curating our feeds, so that they bring us joy and positivity. 

In the spirit of such curation, I asked five Australian self-love advocates to open up about their insecurities and give us their best tips for cultivating self-love. Because we could probably all use a socially-distanced, virtual hug right about now, no? 

Amelia Zadro

Australian model Amelia Zadro is a fierce advocate for self-love as well as an embodiment coach – that is, someone who helps others live more consciously in their bodies. On Instagram, she speaks openly about her struggles with body image and eating disorders, with the hopes of helping others.

What she wants you to do

To help overcome insecurities, take time to reflect on what you really want to create in your life. Having a meaningful goal in mind makes the transformation process feel empowering. And when you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, notice how it makes you feel in your body, and then actively try to replace those thoughts with positive affirmations and feel how your energy shifts. 

Also, good physical health care is a big confidence booster – exercise at least a few times a week. Find exercise that feels good for you. Make it fun. Make it about enjoying your body’s capabilities and not just its appearance. And finally, pay attention to what brings you genuine joy in your life and prioritise some of that each day.

On her insecurities  

One of my biggest insecurities as a teenager was the shape of my hips as I always had a bone structure that was curvier than most of my friends. I felt really self-conscious about looking womanly or different. Once I became aware of it, I started to fixate and would always want to wear clothes or swimwear that would hide my shape, so I could feel more ‘normal’. 

What she wants you to remember

That you are most beautiful when you embrace who you are and do what lights you up. 

@ameliazadro


Kaydee Kyle-Taylor

Kaydee is a makeup artist, and when she’s not sharing makeup looks, she’s using her IG to advocate for plus-size body positivity. 

What she wants you to do 

I think facing insecurities head-on and just throwing yourself into that uncomfortableness can be the best thing to do. Personally, I just stood in front of a mirror naked and became aware of what I thought of myself, as opposed to what others thought. Being a ‘big girl’ means people often label you as unfit or unhealthy and doubt your capabilities. So, I just started to prove people wrong. I would perform better than them and run faster than them, which helped me to combat the stigma I faced.

On her insecurities

Personally, my biggest insecurity was my body and my weight. When I was five, I was bullied for being the ‘chubby’ or ‘fat’ kid. At the time I was so upset and couldn’t understand what the problem was. I eventually started to get over it and gain a thicker skin in primary school. As a kid, I believed, ‘If my mamma didn’t say it, then it ain’t true’. But, it wasn’t till later in high school, when the media started to better represent curvy women, that things really changed. I began to praise my tummy, my stretch marks and my thickness as growth and as beautiful female qualities.

What she wants you to remember

That you are deadly! And that overcoming insecurities is a long journey of practising self-care and self-love, but it’s completely worth it!

@ithinksheafreak


Dani Adriana

Dani is a fat activist and online content creator. She uses her platform to promote positive body image, mental health awareness and self-care. 

View this post on Instagram

During times of stress or anxiety old habits around control can creep in. You might find yourself wanting to control your body and food more lately. You might find yourself preparing for food access changes or wanting to feel a semblance of normal especially if your routine or work life has changed. Just know this is super normal but that you also are in control to not succumb to damaging and toxic food and body behaviours which may feel calming or distracting but aren’t helpful to your mental, emotional or physical health. Also if you are engaging in distraction or control behaviours to get through this time there is nothing wrong with you, you haven’t failed, there is support out there if you want/need it and we are all doing our very best!!!! … So I ask how are you? You can be honest and no judgement will come from me (or I hope others who tune into the comments) … #bodyimage #eatingdisorderrecovery #bodypositivity #bodypositive #selflove #confidence #tropicalparty #flowercrown #swimsuit #plussize #plussizecostumes #tropical #tropicalvibes #tropicalparadise

A post shared by Dani Adriana – Cairns, AUS (@iamdaniadriana) on

What she wants you to do 

My biggest advice is to find your people. Social media, when used in the right way, can be a supportive, welcoming and affirming experience, especially for those in the fat-positivity space. For me, my insecurities developed into eating disorders and various mental health issues. Overcoming them was only possible thanks to seeing a therapist when I turned 18. Utilising mental health services, focusing on building your self-worth and surrounding yourself with people who make you feel worthy, are all extremely beneficial for overcoming insecurities. 

On her insecurities 

Growing up, my biggest insecurity was being one of the biggest girls in my classes. Knowing from a young age I was fat meant that I was hyper-focused on my weight. Plus, being in a larger body comes with a lot of discrimination from an early age. Doctors would comment to my mother about how large I was and throughout primary school, I would get comments made about me like ‘Pumba’.

What she wants you to remember

That speaking about others’ bodies can have a devastating impact. So, always lead with kindness and the understanding that all bodies look different and come in different sizes, and that’s a wonderful thing.

@iamdaniadriana


Iain Jeffery

Iain Jeffery is a Melbourne makeup artist and blogger who has turned their acne journey into a fulfilling career. They use their platforms to share their skincare and makeup wisdom to help others be more confident. 

View this post on Instagram

𝔟𝔞𝔟𝔶 𝔟𝔩𝔲𝔢𝔰 ⚪️ Products Used // Face // @narsissist Tinted Glow Booster in Kalvoya mixed with @ctilburymakeup Hollywood Flawless Filter in 1. @makeupforever Ultra HD Stick Foundation in R230 used as concealer. @Hourglasscosmetics Veil Setting Powder @WestmanAtelier Baby Cheeks Blush in “Petal” topped with @hourglasscosmetics blush in “Mood Exposure” @Fentybeauty Diamond bomb highlighter. Eyes // @narsissist single eyeshadow in “Baby Jane” over @plouise Base in 0.5 @Kevynaucoin Curling Mascara @nyxcosmetics jumbo eye pencil in “milk” on waterline Random scrapbooking pearls @lorealaustralia Plump and Set Brow Artist in Dark Brunette for brows Lips // @fentybeauty Gloss Bomb in “Glass Slipper” //✖️

A post shared by I A I N J E F F E R Y 🍯 (@iainjeffery) on

What they want you to do 

I think finding a way to turn your insecurity into something that empowers you instead, is a really powerful strategy. For me, ironically, the thing that made me fall in love with my skin was diving into the beauty industry. Also, make sure your Instagram feed isn’t full of people who FaceTune themselves into oblivion. Cindy Crawford once said, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.” I think that’s such a powerful thing to remember.

On their insecurities

My biggest insecurity has definitely been my acne – combine that with realising that you’re queer, and it’s a recipe for angst and insecurity. When I realised my acne was more relentless than others’, it really drove home the feeling that it wasn’t something subtle that only I noticed. Also, I think this insecurity felt like a physical manifestation of the feelings of otherness and difference I was feeling internally about my gender and sexual identity.

What they want you to remember 

Be kind to yourself and your skin, it’s an organ that’s doing its best to protect and look after you.

@iainjeffery


Jasmin Amma

Jasmin Amma is an Australian-Ghanaian social worker and model with an innate talent for styling and fashion. She’s passionate about sharing the joys of creation with others and loves finding new ways to express herself and celebrate her personal identity.

What she wants you to do 

I think it’s all about embracing the parts of yourself that make you different. Growing up, I just wanted to fit in. But as I grew up and grew into myself, I learned that the parts I was trying to play down are the parts of myself that I want to celebrate and I want to exaggerate. I think it’s also important to learn what works for your body. Try things and be brave. Try to realise and remind yourself: ‘I don’t have to be skinny to wear a bikini, I can just wear it now.’ 

On her insecurities

Growing up, particularly in a small country town, I was always aware I was different and that my brother and I stood out. I think, at first, I really wanted to fit in and I tried so hard to play down the elements of myself that stood out. My hair was a good example of this. I have curly afro hair, but I really wanted straight hair that slicked down and went behind my ears. I chemically straightened it and did whatever I could to be more like everyone else. Looking back on that moment now, I think I was just struggling to find a way to express myself. 

What she wants you to remember

I find I’m really inspired by my friends and the people I surround myself with. So surround yourself with people who you can always turn to for guidance and support. That way you can kind of push each other to try things and you can create a safe space to just have fun and be creative. When it comes to embracing your differences and self-expression, remember that expressing yourself can be a forever-changing, forever-learning experience… that’s the beauty of it.

@jasmin.amma

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