If you follow me on social media you’ll have probably noted me speedily putting together a basic af flat lay yesterday morning (white card, MAC lippy, and almost dead succulent) because whaddya know, your girl made it into this month’s Marie Claire magazine and needed a cute way to document it.
I received the email way back when in November, had my interview during a stretched out lunch break whilst freelancing as the Digital Editor of Now magazine, and had the photo shoot the following week in a studio in West London.
I’ve never had a professional photo shoot before.
Meh, I lie. I had one with my best school pals when I was 15. We all trundled onto a train to Brighton armed with knee-high boots and pretty fly halter neck tops, before having our make-up and hair done and posing awkwardly for photos that would later cost £40 a pop to buy.
(Somehow I hoodwinked my mum into buying five and she probably still has them somewhere, sandwiched between all the underwear shots I took in her bedroom for my ‘glamour model career’ a few years later. Not even slightly soz.)
Anyway, the shoot was pretty cool. I got to meet some new inspiring women, try on about 547897 different outfits until something fit over my boobs AND thighs. I tell ya, Zara’s medium is not generous. And then I got my hair curled and my cheeks sculpted into something made from the gods and then posed just as awkwardly in front of the camera as I had aged 15.
But I had fun and I came out feeling good about myself. Feeling hot, feeling like I had a body and a face to be proud of. I’d squeezed into the most un-Hannah Gale item of all time. A navy bodycon peplum dress from a concession at New Look.
But it clung to my curves and it made me feel sexy and sophisticated and dayum, that girl got sass.
And maybe that dress, and that day, helped spur me on to spend more time getting ready, dolling myself up, doing my hair, putting on dresses. Because I feel like lately I’ve been making the most of myself, and I’ve been feeling good about my appearance.
Here’s the part where I should probably go into a few more details about why I was in Marie Claire. Or still am in Marie Claire. Like, if you pop to Tesco Express for ice cream and a sneaky bag of Doritos today because LAST DAY OF CHRISTMAS MUST EAT ALL THE FOOD, and flick to page 69 (lol), you will see my face beaming out at you).
I’m part of their #BreakFree campaign, an ambassador if you will. A face of.
And I, my sweet, delightful internet friends, am breaking free from body hate and insecurity.
I am breaking free from the boundaries I set myself by hating my body and comparing myself to others and thinking less of myself because the body that I see staring back at me in the mirror in the morning, is not the body I want to have.
I am leaving the hate and the negativity, both from myself and from other anonymous online commenters behind, and I am moving on.
I am taking my body and my confidence back.
Because, weight and shape and size regardless, we all deserve to feel good about ourselves. To be able to appreciate our bodies for everything they do for us. To be able to look in the mirror and say hunny, you looking damn fine right now, just keep on doing you.
I downloaded MyFitnessPal again today for the first time since the summer, because I’d like to start the year feeling like I was working towards making myself healthier.
I’ve been slammed before for saying I was happy with my body, whilst also simultaneously attempting to lose weight.
And I think we need to get rid of this idea that you can’t do both. You can’t be happy with what you’ve got, and yet still be striving to be healthier.
I don’t want to lose weight and become fitter because it *might* stop people leaving fat shaming comments on here, because heaven knows they’ll pick something else to hone in on – my eyebrows or my skin or my hair – I want to do it because I want to give my body the best chances of sticking around for as long as it can.
I want to be in a place where I’m not only giving myself mental fist pumps for what I see in the mirror, but also slotting into a healthy weight, body fat and waist circumference category.
Because my sugar levels are already particularly touchy and rocket and nose dive all over the place, it puts me at risk of diabetes. And because of my possible PCOS, it means I could struggle with my fertility unless I lower my weight a little.
So this January, and this year, my focus is on health. Both physical and mental. Because you have GOT to love yourself, and feel secure with what you already have before you can even begin to go looking for life success and happiness.
You HAVE to accpet your flaws and your lumps and you bumps and the things that make you YOU. You have got to be your own best friend and your own cheerleader.
And so, right now, as I mentally step away from all the fears and lack of body confidence that have held me back, I already feel a lot lighter. I can feel the pressure and the hate disappearing from my shoulders and my mind and making me feel like hell yeah girl, you got this, you can achieve anything <3
So, what are you going to #BreakFree from this year?
Oh yeah, and Marie Claire is out now, and yeah, there’s a wee little HG interview in there for you to nestle on down with (alongside the Tesco Express snacks obvs).