So I have been meaning to write a blog for a little while, and have finally got round to it!!!!
On Saturday 8th January, I made my way down to London to take part in Natural Beauty: Keeping it real, a T4 Battlefront campaign. Keeping it Real is a campaign aimed at people of all ages, but especially young people who are more likely to be adversely affected by media influence. They are aiming to promote positive body image and bring back natural beauty as opposed to the distorted airbrushed pictures that we see everyday all around us.
When I found out about this campaign and what it was all about, I was pretty keen to sign up. Knowing personally what an affect images can have on people, not only those suffering with an eating disorder, but also those people who have no experience at all of eating disorders, I decided it was a pretty worthwhile thing to be taking part in.
So on the Saturday morning I headed to the train station to start my journey....what a nightmare journey it turned out to be!! Cancelled and delayed trains all the way there! I started my journey at about 7am and didn’t get there until about 12midday!!! It was only supposed to take around 2 ½ hours!! So I had a bit of a panic because I was supposed to be there at 12, but luckily I rang one of the organisers and she was lovely and said she would meet me when I got there and not to worry as she would talk me through anything I’d missed.
I got to Westfield Shopping Centre eventually, and managed to find the person I was meeting!! Then she took me to the ‘backstage’ area where everyone was getting ready and preparing for the stunt. I was really reeeeaaaally nervous as I didn’t know anyone at all, but I managed to introduce myself to a couple of other girls who didn’t know anyone either...so we kinda stuck together throughout the day :) (and I somehow adopted the name ‘tinkerbelle’ as the day went on! Who knows!!)
During the early afternoon we were doing little bits and bobs of filming and generally just getting to know each other. Me and the two girls I was with snuck out one of the doors because we saw the T4 presenter Miquita Oliver out there, so we were sat with her for a bit having a bit of a chit chat (as you do) and I got a photo with her :) Then we did a walkthrough of the route we would be doing later. Even at this stage the Channel 4 camera crew were dotted around getting footage of the build up!!
Then it was back to the behind the scenes area to get ready!!!!
We all had to wear morphsuits. Either purple or white, with the slogan of the campaign ‘real images real people’ on them. Okay....so, if you don’t know what a morphsuit is, think an all-in-one, skin tight, lycra, not very forgiving type outfit...that was what it was! I had a mini freakout, but when I looked around the room at everyone else getting ready, I realised that although other people were a bit nervous about wearing them, I also saw that there were a lot of people of different shapes, sizes, ages, cultures all wearing them and not being afraid to do so. So I thought....if they can do it, then why can’t I?!
When everyone was all ready and in the suits, Miquita came through with her cameraman, and they did a bit more filming just getting us all hyped up and ready. She also asked a couple of us how we were feeling about it all. Including me!!!!!! :O She asked me how I was feeling about it, and I said that I was nervous, and that it was quite a big deal to me because I was in recovery from Anorexia. I still am not sure what possessed me to admit this out loud to a well known TV presenter, on camera, in a room full of complete strangers...but I did. And the response I got was pretty overwhelming....there was a big cheer (although a lot of this was the general excitement) and I had a few people coming to me throughout the day and at the end saying that they thought what I was doing was really great and brave :) So that made me feel pretty good!!
After that it was through to another room, which was filled with cameras and lights.....we all had to gather around a table with Kaya (the girl who created the campaign), Miquita and Kimberly Wyatt (ex Pussycat Doll/Got To Dance judge) in the middle...and we filmed a bit for the actual programme that was to be aired. Then it was time for the big moment!!!! :D
We made our way down to where we were going to start, and waited for Miquita to sound the klaxon....then there was music blasting throughout the shopping centre and the campaigns logo up on all the big screens. Off we went!!!!! :D Led by Kaya and Kimberly, we strutted and danced around the shopping centre, making our own little chants and cheers up as we went along. The crowds were massive and it felt amazing!! When we got toward the end of our route we had to all go down an escalator....at the bottom it was all fenced off and there were paparazzi there....the cameras were flashing like crazy!! We got to the end, did a bit more filming and then it was all over! It went so quickly. We all had to get these massive lifts up to where we were based....and I was in the same lift as Kimberly Wyatt!!!! That was a strange experience, and not one I thought I’d ever say I’d done! :P As we got back up I had a brief chat with Kimberly, and got a photo with her....she was so lovely and it was fantastic that someone like that was supporting the campaign!!
Then it was time to get changed into our normal clothes (we got to keep our morphsuits as souvenirs! Haha!!) We all went our separate ways. I made my way to the tube with the two girls I had made good friends with during the day and then we all said our goodbyes, hugged and said we’d keep in touch (we still are so far!!)
I got onto my train home, exhausted! There was so much excitement and adrenalin that day I think the tiredness all hit me at once! It was so worth it though. I learnt a lot about myself, and others....I saw that people of so many different shapes and sizes had really embraced the way that they are, and they accepted themselves as they were, flaws and all....people who were happy with themselves, who didn’t feel like they needed to change how there were....who didn’t want to be ‘perfect’. They were perfect just the way they were. I think seeing so many different people, all unique in their own ways, really touched a nerve.....it made me realise that I don’t need to strive for something other than to be healthy and happy....there is no such thing as perfect....and although sometimes having an eating disorder means that being able to see those truths is difficult, I know that deep down I know them......and I know that I don’t need to be a certain size/shape to be happy, or to be accepted by society.
I can be happy with myself just the way I am.